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GAIL WHITE Motherhood more important than big plans



Published: Fri, May 10, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



As a young, single, childless woman I had big plans.

I was going to be a big executive with a big firm in a big city and make big, world-changing decisions.

Then I fell in love and became a mother.

Big became the term used to describe momentous baby endeavors. Changing, a reference to diapers.

My decisions became somewhat less worldly than I had planned.

Instead of making critical decisions about world peace and nuclear war, I make decisions prohibiting death between two siblings.

One day after school, I heard our 130 pound, 13-year-old asking our 67 pound 10-year-old to spot for him while lifting weights.

"Whoa!" I yelled as the two went bouncing out of the room toward the weights and certain death.

"There are two criteria for one to qualify as a spotter," I said, using my best boardroom tone. "Rule No. 1: If you are unable to lift the barbell as it is crushing your chest, the spotter must be able to lift it off you."

I pointed to the skinny 10-year-old, then to the hefty 13-year-old. They nodded understanding.

"Rule No. 2," I continued. "The spotter must want to lift it off of you."

It's not the kind of big decisions I had envisioned in my early years, though it carried an air of important, impending danger.

Fine dining

At the big firm in the big city, I would have made many dining decisions -- like which five-star restaurant to eat at. Instead, I make dining decisions of a different caliber.

Sitting around a crowded dinner table, eating no-star cooking (I never planned on cooking!) I make the all-important decision that when you wish to have another serving of a dish, you may not say "pass."

Like all good executives, my decision was based on experiences that had disastrous results.

Of course, this ruling followed a former executive ruling I had made that prohibited reaching across the table and other people's plates to obtain another serving.

Like many business ventures, a good idea can turn sour. The new ruling superseding all other rulings on how to get more food at the dinner table is to say, "May I have the ..."

I have made a note in my executive mini-tape recorder that this ruling is doing well.

Management techniques

An experienced big city, big firm executive knows how to manage.

Micro-managing stifles creativity, yet ungoverned masses cause chaos.

I have my own version of proper managing techniques.

"You may not make under-arm farting noises at the dinner table -- or in church," I command.

After finding a series of stretched neck collars, I add, "You may not put your hand through the shirt collar to reach your pit."

When I say it, I can't believe the words are coming out of my mouth. I was supposed to be negotiating world peace and strategizing how to stop famine!

Instead, I am talking pits.

After pits, of course is the potty.

"Three-year-olds are not allowed to talk or be talked to while going to the bathroom!"

Research has proven that talking distracts the aiming process.

Overflowing research prompted the decision to employ the single digit rule; whereby the number of sheets of toilet paper used must be in the single digits.

I am not creating world peace. I will never eradicate hunger across the globe.

But in my little corner of the world, in my little town, at my little house, I am changing and shaping lives every day.

When I think about all the big things I wanted to do with my life, it all becomes very small and unimportant when I look at my children.

Indeed, motherhood is the biggest job in the world. The pay stinks, but the benefits are great!

To every mom with big dreams -- Happy Mother's Day!

gwhite@vindy.com




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