Have we talked about decision fatigue before mamas? No? Ok. Let me introduce you to one of the most interesting concepts I've learned about in the last few years. And probably one that is impacting you as you read this.
Basically, moms have to make a thousand decisions a day. Yes, I know that dads do too but this isn't a dad blog.
Whether you're a SAHM or a working mom, every day your decisions influence your family and everything has consequences. Scary! And overwhelming at times!
As a working mom, and a business-owner on top of that, I can tell you that the list of decisions I have to make on a daily basis is endless. Even the decision whether or not to open my email when I wake up (sometimes at stupid hours) is a decision that could have drastic consequences for me - if I open my work email to see what I've missed while I was sleeping, it could spiral into a few hours of stress just because of whatever issues I'm DECIDING to face.
And that decision to start the day happens even BEFORE my two sons get up. Then, it's endless decisions relating to parenting - you know 'em: what clothes everyone is wearing, whether they need their scarves that day, how many snacks are going in the lunches.
And during the pandemic: do I send them to school with the runny nose? How serious is this tummy ache? When schools are closed are we doing online learning? Asynchronous? Are they getting vaxxed now or later? Should I keep them in hockey or is it too risky with cases?
The list of decisions goes on, and on, and on, and on. And COVID has just plain been a real bitch for mothers, because we already have so much of this to face on a daily, the pandemic is a new world of questions and decisions.
If you also happen to be a person with mental health differences (I have panic disorder and OCD, lovely additions to the daily COVID grind), then making decisions, even simple ones, can be more difficult. Personally, my brain has been trained during my working career to make quick, smart decisions (ones related to my business) often on a moment's notice. I HAVE to be a great decision-maker or my business suffers. And I think I have been able to do it well, up until the pandemic started. But - when there are too many decisions outside work that are added to my daily decision roster? My god, sometimes my brain feels like it's going to explode...or, I am. Decisions related to big things like getting vaccines for the kids trigger my panic response (fear of making the wrong decision), so then I also don't feel well in addition to having to do the adult thing and make the decision.
Anyhoo, all that to say, decision fatigue is real, and it's the pits! Here is a great article I like on decision fatigue: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/too-many-choices-decision-fatigue/2021/09/21/2dffce74-1b22-11ec-bcb8-0cb135811007_story.html
I urge you, if you're reading this, to make a mental note of when you've made TOO MANY decisions in one day. And if that's the case? Give yourself a break. Like, a real one. I understand that during this pandemic that's not really an option for most people. But, I am talking 5 minutes. Go in a room, lock yourself in there, and literally just don't make any decisions for a few minutes. I don't recommend taking your phone into "break from decision" time. That won't help. Trust me. Go somewhere and try to shut off even for a couple of minutes.
All of this pandemic stuff really blows. I am so hoping it's over soon. But, in the meantime, we have to try to take care of ourselves mamas. Basic level care.
I'm thinking of you today, and sending every person that reads this big hugs. Good luck out there.