Like many of you mamas out there, the photo below best illustrates what is in my head every single minute of the day.
I don’t know about you, but I can feel a bit overwhelmed with all these thoughts spinning around in my head. Add a full-time job to the mix and it becomes daunting to think straight sometimes.
Recently, I was confronted with a gigantic life decision. Deep down in my heart I think I knew what to do, but all the thoughts were jumbled in my mind (gee, I wonder why?). My husband was tired of hearing me talk circles and going back and forth on this particular issue and finally he suggested writing down a good ole list of “Pros” and “Cons.” I gave it a try because I had nothing to lose. I was driving everyone in the house mad, including my daughter who would run around the house mimicking me saying “I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to do!”
Hubs and I chose to do this exercise in the car on our way to a weekend getaway in honor of our 5 Year Anniversary sans distracting two-year-old. Here’s what I found to work for me:
Step 1: Do this while you are in a positive, upbeat state of mind. We were in a great mood since were on our way to vacation. As I was driving, my hubs was taking notes. I feverishly spouted off all the pros and cons of this particular issue, while he recorded them on paper. It felt very cathartic to spew all the ideas, emotions, and questions in the confines of my head and set them free to a concrete list.
Step 2: Be as honest as possible. Let it all out! I am a list person and need structure, so this was a perfect exercise. However, I must point out that having someone else do the writing so that I could talk as fast and freely as possible made it easier. I also feel like I am little biased when I am writing down my own pros and cons list, so this was a good way to have my answers be neutral. I couldn’t see how long each list was.
Step 3: Have the person writing down the pros and cons indicate your emotional responses. I didn’t know my husband was doing this, but while he was jotting down the notes he put a star next to the things I had a very strong, emotional reaction to. (This is why I love this man, he’s so clever.) This helped identify the really critical points in the decision.
Step 4: Tally up your destiny. This is the easiest part. I was amazed to find that the overall score was Pro – 20 to Con – 27. That was closer than I thought, which is also why I think I was so torn over the decision. But when adding the emotional quotients in Step 3, those are what really set the cons over the top. It was really interesting!
Step 5: Go forth and conquer! This is the challenging, yet rewarding part. My result was what I had been thinking all along about the matter. I feel better having fully explored this while releasing all my thoughts, stresses, and fears from my head.
So if you find yourself in the same situation here’s what you do: Put the kids to bed, grab your spouse or good friend, find your happy place (wine may help you get there), and list away! It will make your mind clearer and your heart lighter.