If you ask any of my family members or close friends about my ability to make swift decisions, they would probably laugh out loud. From what to make for dinner, to how to navigate awkward interpersonal situations, I regularly feel crippled by my indecisiveness. My husband refers to it as “paralysis by analysis,” and it’s a perfect description of how I feel inside when I’m faced with choices of any kind, big or small.
But, when it comes to my kids, it’s a different story.
I have a “spidey sense.”
You have it, too.
You all know what I’m talking about. It’s that little ping in the pit of your stomach when something is just not right. Maybe it hits you when you drop your child off for a playdate and you can’t put your finger on why you’re not quite comfortable leaving. Or, maybe you feel it when you meet your teenager’s new friend and just get the sense something is “off.” Some may call it intuition; I often attribute it to God’s voice in my heart. Whatever you credit it to, your spidey sense – that small, tiny feeling rising up in you – is a gift.
We need to embrace it.
I was recently reminded about the importance of this concept when listening to a message from my pastor about decision-making. When facing situations that need action, he suggested we ask ourselves this question: “Is there a tension that needs your attention?” While it’s often much easier to push aside the unsettled feeling that makes us uncomfortable, he explained if we feel tension rise up in us, the wise choice is always to sit in it. The longer we let that discomfort bother us, the more clear our next right steps will become.
Let me be honest about where I struggle most with this. On top of being indecisive, I’m also a people-pleaser to my core. I hate making other people uncomfortable and go out of my way to avoid causing unnecessary conflict. Yet, this part of my personality has rarely served me well when my kids’ best interests are at heart. This has been especially true for me as a food allergy mom, as I’ve had to navigate countless awkward, tension-filled situations in which my fear of what other people were thinking threatened to interfere with my ability to do the right thing. While most of my friends and neighbors have not had to put a shot of epinephrine when their in their kid’s leg during a life-threatening allergic reaction, I have. So, when my gut screams at me in certain situations – regardless of what other people may think or understand – I absolutely must trust it.
The same goes for you.
100% of the time.
I know this hard. But when it comes to our intuition, the path of least resistance is rarely the direction we need to go. Please rest confidently in what you know to be true. Lean into what you know to be best for your child. When that gut feeling rises up in you, hold on to it. Take a minute to sit in what feels uncomfortable and really listen to what your heart is tugging at you to do. Learn to love this discerning voice that becomes ingrained in us when we became parents.
And, let’s support each other when we notice alarm bells ringing in the hearts of our mama friends, too.