By: Revanche

Life talk: Always see Option C

May 22, 2017

At work and at home, I’ve been working a method of getting a desirable outcome. I present JB with choices, any of which that I would be ok with, which gives zir some options but not unlimited choices.

This works perfectly for organizing work group events when everyone has an opinion – I narrow down 50 choices to my top 3 that are the best cost, easy to work with, and catered to the most diverse tastes. Any of the 3 would be fine and the group gets to weigh in on the selection in a sensible manner. Win win!

Ten years of wins. Naturally, when I try it on my child, the results … well. You’ll see.

In practice…

Me: you may hold the leash in the middle, or you may hold my hand.
JB: *thinks for a long minute* Up, please.

Me: Do you want oranges or pears?
JB:  Stah-berries plz!

PiC: You can either walk with me or you can hold mama’s hand.
JB: Hold Gigi (Seamus) hand!

It turns out that JuggerBaby is the absolute champ at refusing to be limited, or manipulated, in zir choices.

The wonderful thing about teaching a sometimes-savage small child to be a civilized human being is what we learn in return.

You don’t have to take one of the two obvious options. Think about what you really want.

It’s fine if you want one of the options on offer but many of us don’t realize there’s more than what you can see.

I definitely didn’t want to be a stay at home mom if we had kids. I also didn’t love the idea of being a working mom the way my mom had been: doing everything for everyone except myself, plus working 15 hour days. It took such a toll on her, and I wanted my parents to be in my life more than I wanted anything they could buy me.

For years, I knew the happy medium had to be out there, though I didn’t know what it looked like. I assumed that I would be the working mom and PiC would be the stay at home dad. He was willing to entertain the notion, but we stayed in CA, and even moved to the most expensive possible region so going down to one income while I was still supporting my own family wasn’t possible.

Based entirely on faith, I kept working at having more than two options, trying to foster the right circumstances for C to come along when I needed it.

As it happens, it did!

I earned enough seniority, autonomy, and respect to get some serious flexibility. That’s what the gold ring was: flexibility to make the right decisions for our family based on what we need, and not just what the boss demands.

Our option C kept changing, and that was good

My work situation is flexible enough that I don’t have to go to the office five days a week and spend 13 hours a day there like I used to. I can preserve that commuting energy for taking care of my family, taking time out for myself to write here, or check on friends and make sure that life doesn’t just pass us by. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for the choices it gave us:

We had JuggerBaby and the nanny search failed miserably, so I transitioned into a working from home mom for a year.

Then we had childcare but we still juggled a combination schedule because we wanted to save money.

Saving that money meant that we could more comfortably afford full time childcare when that time came. Full time childcare in these here parts is heartbreakingly expensive if you can’t find a spot in one of the cheaper in-home situations, and assuming they’re good.

Thank goodness that even though I had no idea what going off the usual path would look like, I prepared for the possibility and stayed open to it.

:: Do you take the road less traveled in your life? What choices did you make that were out of the norm? What traditional choices work best for you? 


11 Responses to “Life talk: Always see Option C”

  1. Crystal says:

    I’m fully self-employed when I always thought I’d work for a big company for 30 years and retire with a nice 401k. But we took the “traditional” route on home ownership in this area – started with a solid 3 bedroom and advanced into our McMansion, both in the suburbs. But self-employment with a McMansion in the suburbs is exactly what we like, so it works. I always suggest that people write down their actual priorities and wants and then make everything else fit around that or work towards that.

  2. I’ve recently changed career paths and while I was on a career trajectory that would have set me up for some nice management positions and raises. I was pretty miserable with the work. I took a chance to jump to something outside my comfort zone and so far I am loving it. Hopefully it will turn out well and if not, I’m still glad that I took a chance.
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…The Upside of MovingMy Profile

  3. My life IS the road less traveled.

    Some out-of-the-norm choices were made for me when I was a child. My parents took me, at the age of almost three, to Saudi Arabia, where we lived in a remote outpost for about ten years.

    Socially, I was always an outlier. But that was OK: I came to like it that way. When I finished the doctorate, I chose not to pursue an academic career (several years of teaching freshman comp as a TA were several years too many), so I drifted into journalism. Who knew? You could do that without the high-powered degree.

    After 25 years of marriage, I exited stage left, abandoning a lifestyle that we might describe as “upscale” to return to my working-class roots. After a few years of freelance penury, I stumbled back into academe, the farthest thing from my mind or from the minds of anyone who knew me.

    Took the proceeds from a ghost-writing contract and paid off the mortgage, over my financial adviser’s dead body. That turned out to be one of the smartest things I ever did.

    Life is a series of shifts and changes punctuated with the occasional rogue idea. If it weren’t, it would sure be boring…
    Funny about Money recently posted…Death’s Door: Still Locked…My Profile

  4. I know many parents who would be frustrated by their toddler’s refusal to choose from the carefully selected options provided, but you find a life lesson in your child’s “option c” tendencies. That says a lot about you as a mom! By getting right out of debt, my husband and I are traveling that road less traveled – and it’s certainly a road that is different from the one we were traveling for many, many years before. I believe that this particular road less traveled will lead to others. I’m looking forward to traveling them too.
    Fruclassity (Ruth) recently posted…Contentment vs Complacent in the World of Personal FinanceMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I’d be frustrated if it wasn’t a trait I’d want zir to have as an adult. I want to nurture that streak of independence-mindedness, I hope it’ll serve zir well in the future.

      What’s important is that ze learns to be a good human, more than doing what I want zir to do. 🙂

  5. I’m pretty much on the standard path, but hoping to make some big changes over the next six months. I’ll be giving up a dream job with a dream income (for most people) in order to get more flexibility & stability in our lives. I’m super excited. Of course, I’m incredibly conservative, so I need to have a significant more money than most people to feel comfortable with the risk. Hence my slow pace. 😉
    Hawaii Planner recently posted…As soccer draws to a close + a meal planMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I’m excited for you!

      Like you, I’m incredibly conservative too, so we’ll have to figure out the changes that work within that risk-aversity and still give us the freedom we need.

  6. […] love the whole post of seeing Option C through the eyes of a child, and by the way, her updates on Juggerbaby are very insightful and frighteningly […]

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