Thursday, January 12, 2012

if mothering were a drug, it would be a Category "C"

I was pregnant once, for about a week. And then there was another time that I was "possibly" pregnant. Yes, through the wonders of IVF you can be "possibly" pregnant. "Your levels are high enough to maybe be pregnant but we really need to wait a few days and take another few gallons of blood to be sure." But the other time, when I was really truly pregnant my husband and I received the startling news while in the hospital ER, where I had gone for a totally unrelated issue. Imagine our surprise - we weren't even trying to have a baby. I came home from the hospital dazed and surprised, and armed with pamphlets on how to care for myself, safely, especially how to treat the horrible case of flu I was suffering. I landed squarely in the world of drugs and their alphabetical categorizations.

Category "A" are the drugs considered completely safe for a pregnant woman to ingest. Basically, it's vitamins. Category "B" are generally safe. These drugs have been proven to not have any adverse effects on the baby. The categories go down to "D", if I remember correctly. Category "D" drugs you don't even think about taking, no questions asked.

But Category "C" is the one that always worried me. These drugs are sometime safe. Sometimes not. Sometimes it depends on the doctor prescribing them, as every doctor has a different opinion. often the decision to take these medications is based on the potential outcome. If the expected outcome outweighs the potential risks then you take the drug. Category "C" is a very gray area. I understand gray areas, and even enjoy them in some aspects of my life. Many a passionate discussion has been had over a "gray" area - religion, politics, sexual orientation, career choices - I am thankful that this world is not black and white. But when it comes to parenting I wish it weren't so gray. When it comes to my parenting decisions I often feel as though I am trapped in a Category "C" kind of life. I find that Category "C" is a tricky place to be. And I feel as though many of my motherhood decisions fall into this gray and confusing category.

Some of my mothering decisions falls very easily into an understandable category. Kissing my boys goodnight, Category "A". Taking my shoe off and beating my child with it- Category "D". Give a time out when the 2 year old refuses to sit at the dinner table? Category"C".  Do enough research on a discipline or children's medical issue and you will find experts weighing in on both sides of the equation. I feel as though many of the decisions I make regarding my boys are Category "C" decisions.

  • pulling the preschooler out of school all day for mommy and matthew time
  • allowing the tiny toddler to eat the cheerios he just found on the floor, even though I cannot remember when we last had cheerios. On the one hand, they may have been there a while, but on the other hand, I scrub the floor frequently, so how old could they really be?
  • letting my big four and a half year old ride his scooter without a helmet.
  • the occasional all day pajama and television fest that occurs in my living room.
  • letting the big four and a half year old occasionally sleep in my bed with me when he wakes up at the crack of dawn.
  • giving my boys juice. in sippy cups.
  • giving my big four and a half year old most of his drinks in sippy cups instead of  teaching him how not to spill.
  • occasionally giving the boys popsicles for breakfast.
  • pulling pants out of the hamper for the boys to wear again.
  • testing the truth in advertising when they say those diapers will hold for 12 hours. (please don't judge me. most of those hours are spent asleep.)
  • allowing the boys to watch tv during breakfast on a school day just so they will, for god's sake, eat and get moving.
  • putting the baby to bed in the crib awake. not crying, but awake.

My Catagory "C" list could go on and on. Daily I allow my boys to do something that I feel maybe I shouldn't do. We all do, I am sure. As mothers, we are sometimes frustrated, in need of a few moments of peace, or just plain tired.

We all allow Catagory "C" to creep into our daily routines. I don't know about you, but I know that I need to give myself a break when this happens. And if your Catagory "C" moments are weighing on your heart, then you need to give yourself a break too. Besides, I have to say, I don't think my boys are any worse off for my moments of weakness. This parenting job is a long exhausting journey and there are going to be Catagory "C" moments. Which is hard for me, a past straight A student. I want to always be an A. I strive to always  be an A. But sometimes, I will be lucky to be a C. And I need to be ok with that.

side note: this former straight A student can't spell the word "category" and misspelled it every single time in this post. Thank goodness for spell check. The word shows up at least 15 times here- it took me longer to fix the spelling errors than to write the post!

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