I was driving to a play date with the two-year old twins in the car, having just dropped off my four year old at kindy, when Ka-klunk!
Something was wrong with the back, passenger side wheel. I knew it was looking dodgy beforehand, so suspected it had gone flat. But, wasn’t really sure.
After a quick, illogical thought process, my decision was to slow down my pace and carefully drive 2km to my local service station which has a tyre shop attached to it. Within 15 minutes and $120 later, I was back on the road with a new tyre, with settled twins who’d been able to have a little run around in the adjoining park. We were all safe, only slightly inconvenienced and not over-charged for the convenience of help coming to via roadside assistance.
However, the men at the tyre shop disagreed with my decision. They strongly encouraged me to, if faced with the same situation again, stop, check what’s happened and call roadside assistance. Their opinion may have been stronger than normal given that my tyre wasn’t just flat, but had completely dislodged from the rim, leaving a trail of black rubber behind me and a potentially damaged rim. It had been dangerous for me, my children and other drivers on the road to continue to drive.
We’re often faced with choices that we handle differently because we have children.
When my children are with me, I often find decision making so much harder. My mind is often muddled, already over-stimulated by the constant thoughts of their safety, health, need for food and sleep, their warmth or their mood. I’m over-aware of what their reactions “could” be to each decision I make. In public, this muddled mess of a mind is exacerbated by the over-awareness of every act of my children and the thoughts of what others could be thinking.
Four years into parenthood and I can honestly say that I’ve not mastered the art of consistent, clear decision making when my kids are around.
But, this tyre experience gave me a good reminder of some basics I need to remember. I need to slow down the process. I need to think in terms of responding not reacting. I need to remember to ask myself what I’m trying to achieve long-term, not just in the moment. Most importantly, I need to ensure that it’s always safety first, children’s reactions later.
I can’t help but thank God for keeping us safe this time. Surely, at some point, He’s going to expect me to take that responsibility on.