A couple weeks ago I read John Tierney’s much-talked-about piece on decision fatigue and immediately made a self-diagnoses.
Yes, I too suffer from chronic decision fatigue.
I excitedly called Dave.
“I can’t make any more decisions! I have decision fatigue. It’s a REAL THING.”
For days, Dave and I joked about how decision fatigue is a REAL THING, but the truth is, the piece resonated with me. I do feel constantly bogged down in all the decisions I have to make: for the wedding (red tablecloths or blue), for work (font one or font two), at home (do I cancel my Netflix or my Quickster or both and what am I having for dinner?), and with friends (where do we want to meet and what movie are we seeing?)
The collective weight of all those decisions exhausts me. And while, I’m glad to have the choices, I suppose, sometimes I just wish there weren’t quite so many options.
Which brings me to uh … feminism.
You see, the other day I was reading this post by a woman talking about her issues with the label “husband” and the connotations associated with the word and as I was skimming the comments, one leaped out at me, about how nice it was that we have options.
Because that is what feminism is about now: options! Now women can CHOOSE to work or stay at home. Or to change their name or not. To wear bras or not.
And the truth is, I do, I do appreciate the options. I understand that for years, women had no options and the fact that now we have them is decidedly a GOOD THING.
But sometimes it makes me wonder if all these options are weighing us down.
Because we have to make decision after decision after decision and then we feel we have to defend said decisions — to our parents, to our partners, to our friends, to ourselves. And as we defend our decisions, we relitigate them in our minds. Yes, it was the right decision to stay at home. Yes, it was the right decision to keep my name. Yes, it was the right decision to have only one child.
It’s strange because, actually, traditional definitions explain feminism as a movement to achieve equal rights and opportunities for women. But typically, men don’t actually have all these choices, or they don’t think they do, at any rate. Most men don’t decide whether or not to change their names; they don’t think about it all. Most men assume they will not stay at home with their children. And men never have to decide between a skirt or pants! Instead of having equal opportunities, it sometimes seems like women have more opportunities than men. And also more decisions. And more decision fatigue.
Would we be happier if we had fewer decisions? I don’t think so. To me, the decision fatigue is worth it.
But by recognizing the decision fatigue, I feel more inclined to cut myself and the other wonderful women I know some slack.