Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mind Clutter

On any given day, I often feel like there are just too many decisions to make. I'm not just referring to the biggees in life, although those certainly tax the peace of one's soul from time to time. I'm talking about the day-to-day quandaries that fill up what little space is left in this tightly packed noggin of mine. And I'm not just yacking about whether to use a dryer sheet or liquid fabric softener. Or white versus wheat. My ax-to-grind has more to do with the seemingly benign, ostensibly inane options that will determine the fate of life as we know it for generations to come. Or so we're told anyway.

Am I nuts or does anyone else worry about whether one should use paper towels or, as Janie used to say, a tea towel? You know, of the good old fashioned cloth variety. We're told that our kitchens will be festering, bacteria ridden cesspools if we use anything but disposable paper products on our counter tops, handles, etc. One the other hand, the Green crowd tells us that paper towels are waste of precious resources and cloth does the trick. I used to think about this all of the time when the kids were in diapers. Was I irresponsible and lazy for using disposables? Or was I being practical and realistic?

Anti-bacterial everything or plain old soap? Some day care centers will not use antibacterial hand cleaners and cleaning products. The thought here is that bacteria become resistant to the germicide and can actually mutate into stronger, more potent little buggers. Makes sense to me, sort of. Why then do hospitals use antibacterial hand solution like it's going out of style? Aren't hospitals bastions of medical science and knowledge? Wouldn't a hospital know a thing or two about efficiently killing germs? Hmmmm.

And there's more. Lots more in fact.

Some video gaming for kids vs. none at all

Analgesics to reduce mild fever vs. using nothing and allowing the body to heat up and kill the virus and/or bacteria (this is actually the purpose of a fever). An ER doc once told me that by giving my child Motrin for a fever, I was sabotaging the body's way of killing an intruder. My child's pediatrician, on the other hand, said that while he was technically correct, the reality is that Motrin/Tylenol make your kids feel a lot better and that is an overriding priority. But still...I think about it.

Antibiotics or allowing the passage of time to work it's magic? I can tell you that I wasn't on half of the stuff that my kids now take. Perhaps I should have been a time or two. But do I over medicate my kids in an attempt to control every physical malady that comes their way? Or am I just thorough?

Sugar vs. sugar free

Commercial TV or PBS?

Scheduled Activities vs. Free Time.
My guess is that both parents think my children are over scheduled. I might agree. The problem is if you decide to de-schedule your kids, they're gonna be playing alone because all of the other kids are busy at their appointed activities.

SUV or Minivan?

Light bulbs or those new spiral things that look suspiciously florescent to me?

Milk or no milk.
My sister-in-law drinks the stuff by the gallons and gives an equal amount to her kids. But PETA and even some less radical groups would have you believe that all of this milk is turning our 8-year daughters into curvy, mini women. Hormones apparently. In the milk, that is. Or is that propaganda?

I could go on and on. My wheels spin with this stuff all day.

One day, maybe I'll just have the confidence (some might call it hubris) to say, "This is what I'm doing and I know it's the right decision". Don't get me wrong--there are some key issues on which I do not waiver. But there are an equal amount that have me sitting on the fence. The mental fence that is. And this head of mine needs a little freed up space. Do they have a TLC organization team for the mind? How about a Discovery Channel feature on thought hoarding?

A reality show in the making.


Anonymous said...

Let me alleviate your mental distress.

Paper vs. tea towels....It doesn't matter.Theydo not cut down old growth forest for paper products. It is a renewable resourse. If you believe differently, you are a victim of propoganda. Cloth works too. Just use one towel/day.

Antibacterial wash vs. soap. Soap is antibacterial. It breaks up the cell membranes of bacteria and kills it. The big deal with hand washing is time and friction. That is the most effective. Hospitals use Purell-type stuff because so much frequent hard core hand washing is murder on the skin and causes hands to crack and bleed.

Video games....A little is ok. If you care enough to worry/think about this, chances are your kids don't play 24/7 and you have some control.

Tylenol/no Tylenol....Mild fever--no. High fevers need to be worked up so at least call your doctor with these. For high fevers, give Tylenol for comfort. Also, you don't want to have a really high fever because it can cause seizures.

Antibiotics vs. time....How high is the fever? How sick is the kid? Case by case thing.

Commercial TV vs. PBS....Show by show decision. Not everything your kids watch needs to be educational. My kids love Boomerang and I like it too becase it is all the Hanna/Barbera stuff that I grew up with. It is part of their cultural heritage as Americans.

Sugar vs. sugar-free....Sugar, but I don't flip out if they have a little of my diet coke. No soda at home for the kiddos. OK to have Sprite in a restaurant or party.

Scheduled activity vs. free time....How much can Mom take without guilt being part of the decision? For me it is 2 activities/kid. And less is ok too.

SUV vs. minivan....Who cares?

Regular bulbs or twisty bulbs....Twisty bulbs last longer. That sells it for me.

Milk vs. no milk....Milk, but how much are you drinking? 2 cups/day seems reasonable. Try to get the kids to like water.

Do you feel better now?

Leigh said...

Not really. It's not so much about the individual dilemmas as it is about my propensity to dwell on them. I could otain definitive answers on everything I mentioned and I'd think up 15 new and exciting conundrums.It's a twisted, ingrained pathway from which I have a hard time deviating.I've been like this since I can remember. I believe the shrinks call this NEUROSIS.  :-)

Silvia said...

Hi, I never EVER read blogs (let alone posting replies:),but I came across yours while searching for opninions about L.Jensen`s potty training programm. Then I read this Mind Clutter post - well I probably live very far from you and my life is very different - yet this is EXACTLY how I feel especially since having my children (I`ve got 2 little boys). But just like you,I`ve felt like that. But now I AM responsible for the wellbeing of two other human being! I feel very responsible,I want to look after them and my husband the best possible way,but I also want to look after the environment, my own body, my family`s, friends` wellbeing, please God as much as possible, etc.. I always want to make everything better and do everything the best way and yes, all these decisions to make... What is the solution? Maybe we can get used to being mind-cluttered or we have to force ourselves to take time off and not think at all... But I guess some people just think more than others. Take care, thanks for your post, makes me feel I am not the only `crazy` mum in the world. Silvia

(I hope you post a short reply to this post,thank you.)