30 Aug
2012
Posted in: Family, Simplify
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False Dilemmas

People really seem to beat themselves up over certain choices. ┬áThe pulses race. The minds flip flop and then settle. The camps get divided — and heated.

But there are many things that are framed as “either/or” choices that really aren’t just either/or. Forcing you to pick a “side” on these types of debates means that you have to dig yourself a trench and face giving up the benefits of the “other” side. Instead, I often prefer to cherrypick the aspects of both that I like, and enjoy the benefits of whatever I’m after. It’s amazing how freeing it is.

Case in point: despite what the mama mafias might say, you do not have to “choose” to breastfeed or to formula feed. I was lucky and found that breastfeeding my baby was enjoyable…so long as I gave him a bottle of formula at night before bed. (I know, I know: Heresy! She is mixing the two causes! He’s going to be a mutant!) The truth was, after we tried it, the simple truth is that our little guy slept much better, my husband got to feed the baby at least once every day, and I had an opportunity to rest and to build up my “milk stockpile.” Doing some formula meant that I could continue to breastfeed without the stress of missing sleep and for longer than I’m sure I would have otherwise.

Another example involves schooling. We can’t afford private school, so it was out of the question anyways, but after we read reviews of it, we weren’t sure if the local, neighborhood-assigned elementary school would be challenging enough for our son when it came time to start kindergarten. After talking over my feelings about it with my husband, I realized that while I wasn’t interested in home schooling full-time, I did want to make sure that he learned things outside of the standard Texas curriculum, particularly science, business skills (like using technology and budgeting) and geopolitics. Once I understood my hangups about going with the local public, it was easy to see the solution: Benji gets homeschooled for one hour a day after school here at home. I picked themes for each day that I thought would be fun for both of us, and we both enjoy it. He gets his public school education, but also the tidbits that I, personally, think are important.

Don’t let people make you feel like you have to pick a side, unless you want to and it is in your own interests. Not picking sides might just free you up for the creative choices that mean you are happier and more productive.

So, what do you think?