You receive the call you’ve been waiting for. It’s the daycare center where your name has been on the waitlist for the last 6 months while you've kept your fingers crossed for one of the coveted infant spots to open up. Meanwhile, you have paid countless other waitlist deposits for other facilities, looked into at-home daycare providers all across town, and even interviewed a few nannies as a possible backup plan. You don’t even want to think about the amount of time (and money) you have invested into the process of researching childcare options.
So when that call comes in, you’re surprised that you feel nervous and anxious at committing. You assumed all you would feel would be relief. But suddenly, what you thought would be an easy decision, feels like something you still need to “think about”.
What about all those other options that you researched in the meantime? What if this daycare isn’t as great as you thought it was when you first toured it 6 months ago? This is a BIG decision!
We’ve all been there, whether it’s about childcare, or something else, when it comes to a decision that impacts our kids, the final choice feels HUGE.
You could face the same feelings with choosing to breastfeed or formula feed, to co-sleep or not, to use disposable diapers or cloth diapers, or to work full-time, part-time or not at all. There’s the decision cycle of making gut reactions to the options, researching the crap out of everything, then polling your friends for their advice, and finally, sitting in indecision until you are forced to make a decision and you either own it or second-guess yourself the entire way.
Decisions Feel Final
I think one of the biggest reasons we sit in indecision (which is actually a choice, by the way), is that we are afraid that whatever we choose we’re going to have to live with forever. We feel like we are making this choice for our kid that will be the same for the rest of his or her life. So, for as long as childcare is needed, he will stay at this facility. For as long as she is in diapers, she will be in cloth. For as long as he is little, I will be working full-time.
It’s easy to forget that hardly any of these decisions are actually final. They feel final, but are they really?
Last time I checked, you are in charge of your life and your baby’s, and therefore, you are allowed to change your mind.
I’ll say it again, you are allowed to change your mind.
How does that make the pending decision feel? Not so big anymore, right? If you knew that enrolling in that daycare facility was only going to be for the next year, at which point you would have the option of hiring a nanny or moving to an in-home sitter, would it matter quite so much?
Because that’s the truth. You can change your mind, and life can change its mind too. Nothing has to be permanent.
The Cost of Change
But what about the cost to make a change, or the fact that sometimes available options change? Those are valid concerns. But just like you are researching the options available to you today, you will have the opportunity to do the same thing in the future too.
And as far as costs go, can you place a cost on happiness, or ease of mind, or minimizing stress? If that’s what could be gained from changing your mind, it’s worth considering that.
Do you have a big decision weighing on your mind right now? Or are you feeling trapped in a decision you’ve already made? Maybe it’s directly about your little one, but maybe it’s about you too (your job status, maybe?).
- Remind yourself that nothing is permanent.
- Ask yourself - Is this working? Or do I feel good about my choice, given the information that I have today?
- What would it look like if you were to change my mind? What would it take? What are the steps involved?
- What could you gain if you made a change?
- What could you lose (money, time, etc.)?
- What’s the worst that could happen?
I encourage you to really write out your answers to these questions, especially if you’ve been stuck and have been undecided for some time, or if you’re second-guessing a decision you’ve already made.
Seeing the worst case scenario, or the steps that it would take to make a change can often remind you of how not-a-big-deal something is. We so often create these insurmountable hurdles in our heads because we haven’t truly thought through what it would take to change. It’s easier to tell ourselves that it’s not possible. And our brains especially like that because it’s the same thought pattern we’ve always had. Change is what is scary.
Think about it. How much has your life changed in the last 10 years, 5 years or even 1 year? How many decisions that you thought were permanent ended up changing somewhere along the way?
You have the proof. Now you just need to remind yourself.
You Are In Control
So the next time you’re facing a decision about what to do, where to go, or whether to take that job. Sure, do your research and weigh your pros and cons, but remember that you can always change your mind. You are in control.
I’d love to hear what decision you’ve labored over only to find yourself changing course at a later point. Email me at email@example.com.