Decisionmaking: What The Cheetos Won’t Tell Me
Do not run to your calendars, it is not Wednesday. But… it is guest writer day. I’m switching things up on you this week. That’s how we keep our minds, uh, keep them, hmmm, oh – sharp. How we stay sharp. Or it’s just what we do when schedules get wonky and the best solution is to run the guest post on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.
My guest today is my friend Gigi. You may know her as KludgyMom. Gigi is one of my very first blogging friends, and also one of the very first people that crossed over from the virtual world to real life friendship. Sadly, I don’t see her much these days, because she had the nerve to move back to California, but thankfully I still get to “see” her online. I think her post today is one that will resonate with a lot of people, especially if you’ve ever had to make a decision. Surely you’ve made one or two before even eating breakfast today.
I have a health problem.
One that affects me not only physically, but emotionally.
I have Sporadically Mute Gut Disorder. I’m sure you won’t find it on WebMD, although I diagnosed my symptoms there and if I don’t have SMGD, I might very well have osteoporosis, colon cancer or just a nervous eye twitch.
Sporadically Mute Gut Disorder is a condition in which your gut doesn’t tell you anything when you’re trying to ask it a question.
I try to go with my gut and my gut is utterly MIA.
Not always, though. On really uber major life decisions, my gut is there for me when I need it.
Last year, I asked my gut: Should I do a cross-country move with two kids, a dog, an unemployed husband and an unsold house in ten days’ time from beginning to end?
YES, my gut said emphatically. And we moved.
When Boy Wonder was two and not speaking, I asked my gut: I think this kid has a developmental delay…I’m not being a helicopter parent, am I?
NO, my gut stated. And I took my kid to the pediatrician, ignored him calling me a worrywart, and was vindicated when my son was indeed diagnosed with developmental delays.
But I have other decisions to make that ambush me daily – and for those, my gut disappears like a toddler in the crowd at Disneyland.
I listen carefully in case it’s just speaking quietly. I try to fold my head into my lap…nothing but the sound of Cheetos digesting.
When my gut shuts its mouth like this, it causes another chronic condition: Second-Guessitis.
Should I have punished Little CEO that severely for ignoring my seven requests to pick up her Littlest Pet Shops? Have I just broken her spirit? Will she no longer trust me? How long before she ends up on an episode of Intervention?
How much damage did I just do to Boy Wonder in feeding him that frozen, highly processed corn dog? Are the chemicals coursing through his body at this very moment, mutating themselves into some debilitating disease that make his life hell when he’s older? Did I just sign his death sentence?
Was I hasty in sending off that snappish email to the PTA mom? Should I have volunteered to contribute yet another $100 to the Teacher Appreciation Fund, even though some parents contributed nothing? What nasty things is she saying about me to her kid that will get back to mine? Will my kid be an outcast on the playground tomorrow? Worse yet, will she get a crappy teacher next year, thereby precluding her from ever getting into Harvard?
It’s times like these that I want to trust my gut. I want my gut to tell me: yes, Gigi, you’re doing okay, or no, Gigi, you shouldn’t do that. But instead, there is silence. And I spend the rest of the day in a tornado of self-doubt.
Other times, I want my gut to talk to me so badly that I just pretend it’s answering, giving me the response that I really want. The response that makes me feel like a better mom, wife or friend, justifying my bad or impatient behavior, giving me an excuse.
By day’s end, the symptoms of second guessitis have passed, only for another round to return the next day. I can count on it, as reliably as I can count on my Hillbilly Bob neighbor parking his bombed-out military vehicle on lifts in front of my house.
And so it goes.
I don’t know if I’ll ever kick this condition. My gut fails more more the older I get; the older my children become; the more complicated the problems we face together. All I can do is hope that next time, I’ll hear something besides those Cheetos.
:: Do you experience situations where your gut doesn’t tell you what to do?
:: How do you make decisions when you can’t trust your gut?