Confessions of A Recovering Chronic Decision Dodger


It’s true that I started out my parenting journey as a decision dodger. No decision was too big or too small; I would dodge them all. I could envision how every decision may decide the future fate of my child. From what day of the week should I enroll my son in swimming lessons to what type of laundry detergent to buy, every decision was painstakingly difficult and I was fraught with worry and anxiety about what the consequences would be with each choice to be made. 

Confessions of A Recovering Chronic Decision Dodger | Duluth Moms Blog

The analysis paralysis started before my first was even born. I researched the you-know-what out of car seats, baby carriers, birthing methods, and breast pumps. I was utterly paralyzed in fear of making the wrong choice regarding the amount of suction my pump might offer or which crash test ratings were most accurate. The theme continued into infancy with a new set of development goals to reach and research. Was Baby-Led Weaning the best option for feeding? Was a set schedule better or did I follow baby’s cues? I read every contradictory opinion and book written on infant sleep so as to make a “well-informed” decision. In the digital age, we have so much information, studies, opinions, and choices at our fingertips that it can be so overwhelming to sort through it all. 

Think back to the day when your own mama went to the store and whatever products they sold locally were her purchase options. They were limited. Whatever advice her mother, grandmother, neighbor, and friends had to give, were her parenting “methods” to examine and mull over. We now have access to a world wide selection at the flick of a fingertip. We can study all the options for labor relief, watch home births on YouTube, and join a baby carrying group to get 103 comments on the best ring sling carrier. Truly remarkable–but also totally dangerous… dangerous for us decision dodgers, anyway.  

I’m a believer that some of us are natural-born, decisive decision makers, powering through the day and our choices as if every second spent wavering is a wasted one. Some of us are more analytical. We value the selection process and like to weigh or options before carefully selecting the most suitable one. I’m definitely the analytical type, and being married to an engineer doesn’t always make well for our “parenting together is better” motto when it comes to how we approach decision-making. 

A truly difficult part of parenting is knowing that some of the decisions you make will impact your child well into the future. However, I have also realized that as a parent, part of my responsibility is guiding my children in their own decision making process. I have found that when I put myself in teaching mode for the kids, I often improve on my own skills and really teach myself along the way. 

When my oldest was having a difficult time selecting a gift for a school friend’s birthday party I found myself frustrated and running out of patience. “Well if you can’t make a decision then we won’t being buying a gift today and you won’t have anything to take to the party tomorrow.” There are consequences that come with not making a decision in a given time constraint. It’s like that with most things now that I am a parent of three; the need to move forward in any direction limits the amount of time I have to make a decision. 

Now when I start feeling the analysis paralysis coming on, I remind myself that I need to move forward in the best way I know how, with the information I have on hand at that given moment. This is the motto I use to frame the decision-making process with my kids as well. Let’s examine our options, use what we know, and make the best decision we can from that information. This doesn’t mean I don’t do my research, or seek out the most information I can when it comes to those bigger decisions. But I try my best to no “sweat the small stuff.” Because whether we skip a session of swimming lessons, or go with the Velcro shoes for Kindergarten is not a decision that is going to impact them into adulthood. What will however, is that they have a mother who portrays confidence in her choices and confidence in their ability to make the best decisions as well.