Tresta Payne | moms@nrtoday.com

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March 22, 2014
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If parenting was a mathematical equation | Moms

One of the hardest things about parenting is that there are a billion-and-one decisions to make, daily. There are X number of questions per child, per hour, per day, and their complexity grows exponentially as they get older.

How about a math story?

Mrs. P has four children who each ask Y number of questions per hour, per day, 365 days a year, and each year the questions grow in complexity (a) directly proportionate to each child’s age.

(4Y x 24 x 365)ª x 18 = 7.4 gazillion questions

Don’t try to correct my math because I’m obviously not being rational.

I’m talking exponential functions verses linear ones.

I’m talking that way because my brain has been stuffed with such questions this week, questions that Saxon math forces us to work out and I suppose life itself could be graphed like a function.

Not a nice, oblique line segment, slowly and steadily rising. The graph of an exponential function would look like an easy walk in the park with lovely toddlers and butterflies and a picnic lunch, and suddenly Mt. Everest is before you and fierce, ferocious lions are behind.

So it’s like parenting, right? One day they’re asking to watch Veggie Tales for the 346th time or for milk in their sippy cup.

The next day they want to go to a “get-together” at so-and-so’s house and of course their parents will be there and the boys will not talk to the girls and we’re just playing board games, Mom.

Or, you know, they just want to know if they can take their gun and their dog for a walk in the woods and see if they might see that bear the neighbor saw, because they have a tag and they took the hunter’s safety course and dad would say OK.

Get it together, Mom.

I agonize over the littlest things and sometimes I really don’t agonize enough over big things, being that I’m not very analytical and decision-making is not my forte.

Suffice it to say – all the questions and answers and x, y and z cause little gray hairs to coil themselves up on the top of my head.

Can’t we just pop in a video and take a break?

And then there are the times like yesterday, when mom and dad debate and weigh all the options and come to a conclusion about a pressing question – a question two or three days in-the-asking, and we finally come to an answer.

“Yes. You can do such-and-such, but here are the stipulations...”

Everyone is satisfied with the arrangement and we move on to the next monumental question.

And then “such-and-such” is cancelled. Which can either mean that: a. God overrode all our plans and calculations, anyway or b. “such-and-such” will be scheduled for a different time and with different circumstances and a whole new set of stipulations will have to be considered.

To my children, who will inevitably read this and worry about their freedoms and my sanity: I love you. Ask away, but realize that I can only truly process about one request per child, per hour. The rest will have to wait till dad comes home.

Also, if the question involves, “Where is the…” – don’t even bother to ask me until you’ve searched for a minimum of five minutes and moved at least 10 items in the process.

The other day my youngest son, age 9, asked me if I wished he were two. I said no, quite emphatically, and he asked what age I wish he were.

“Nine,” I said. “Nine is perfect and when you’re ten, that will be good, too.”

One day at a time, folks, and grace enough for each one.

Can’t we just pop in a video and take a break?


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The News-Review Updated May 21, 2014 03:38PM Published Mar 31, 2014 03:21PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.