Have you ever heard of decision fatigue? We all experience it, but rarely even notice it as the cause of our burnout and exhaustion.
The daily grind of decision after decision wears us down into a huddled mass binge-watching Netflix.
As homeschool moms, we live in a state of decision-making overload at all times. We are making decisions almost every moment of the day for the entire family.
- What’s for dinner?
- What’s for lunch?
- Should we take this field trip?
- What math curriculum should we use?
The choices to be made are never-ending, so how can we reduce this stress on our sanity and keep it from stealing our joy?
A Little Planning Goes a Long Way
I’m not a planner by nature and have come to realize that attempting to plan too far in advance only increases my stress.
However, I do plan in three broad ways. First, at the beginning of the year, we post a huge year-long calendar in our kitchen. When it first goes up, I fill in birthdays, holidays, and other activities already planned.
Then as things pop up, I’ll add them to the calendar. This helps because everyone in the family can see the calendar, so mom doesn’t have to be the gatekeeper of the mental calendar.
Second, as the year goes on and we add to the calendar. I’ll look at each month and consider what we have coming up. This just keeps me aware of days I need to keep free and what big events we have on the horizon.
Lastly, I look at my calendar and commitments each weekend. From this, I can do a lot of easy planning.
- What day is super busy, therefore I should use my crockpot?
- Is there a day I’m near the store and could pick up a few groceries without making an additional trip out?
- When can we work in trips to the gym?
By planning this way, it gives me both flexibility and a general idea of how the week is going to go. I can make a lot of those smaller but significant decisions at once, and it won’t leave me with the moment-by-moment drain of decision-making.
My introverted personality also needs a little warning of busy days so that I can mentally prepare for downtime. Sometimes the only thing getting me through a crazy week is knowing I won’t have to leave the house on Saturday.
Let Some Decisions Go
Just because you’re the mom doesn’t mean you need to make every decision. Sometimes what feels like a decision is really just a preference.
One decision I released early on in my parenting was clothing. I know there are moms who love to have their children in color-coordinated outfits, but once my children can dress themselves, it’s all theirs. I don’t particularly care if, on some random Tuesday, they have mismatched socks.
It’s just not important enough for me to drain my energy reserves arguing over attire or deciding what they should wear.
Look and see what other areas you have where your preferences and need for control are driving decision fatigue.
Decide and Stick With It
Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is just make a decision and stick with it. This could be something as simple as always having a “Taco Tuesday” to larger decisions such as homeschooling.
My husband and I decided many years ago that we would be a no-sleepover family. We weren’t considering the decision-making benefits when we decided this, but now I see the advantage.
I don’t have to analyze endless questions about sleepovers, try to disperse them equally among five girls, or give explanations for my decisions; the decision has already been made.
Frankly, I can’t imagine my life without this pre-made decision.
I used this same principle when it came to homeschooling. We are a homeschooling family, I don’t revisit this decision time and time again, creating exhaustion through indecision.
Of course, not all decisions fall within the category of “set it and forget it,” but many of our everyday choices are that small and shouldn’t be constantly revisited.
Be Mindful of the Daily Decision Grind
Decision fatigue is a silent killer of our happiness and joy, and today’s world makes it more insidious than ever. But it doesn’t have to be this way! We can be mindful of the wear it inflicts and create a life that minimizes its effects.
Most decisions, from what math curriculum to buy to choosing a new refrigerator, are not life-and-death decisions. We need to become more confident in ourselves and stop the second-guessing.
Stop letting decision-making or decision fatigue control your life. Your time and happiness are worth more than that.