Cloth vs. disposable. Pacifier vs. thumb. Bottle vs. breast. Tummy vs. back vs. side. Store-bought vs. homemade. Stay-at-home vs. work-outside-the-home vs. work-from-home. No preschool vs. two-day preschool vs. three-day preschool. Private vs. public.

And that’s just the first few years. As moms, we are inundated with daily decisions that can be utterly overwhelming. We feel the weight of the world on our shoulders and view each choice through the lens of what is best for our child and our family.

But what do you do when we’re stumped? When we honestly cannot decide which path to take?

Here are eight mommy-friendly steps to get our wheels unstuck and make up our hormone-clouded and sleep-deprived minds once and for all.

Pray. Begin with asking for wisdom and trust that we will receive it.

Gather information. Research each option and come up with a list of pros and cons.

Gather opinions. Ask for a variety of opinions, not just from people we think will line up with our thinking on the matter.

Consult Scripture. Some situations lend themselves to wisdom from Scripture more easily than others. We won’t find any verses on when to drop that second nap, but we’ll find guidelines on how to treat our spouse as we discuss it together.

Narrow down. If, for instance, we’re trying to choose a stroller, and there are one hundred options, narrow the list down to three and pretend the other ninety-seven don’t even exist, otherwise we’ll just stay overwhelmed.

Take the long view. We need to remind ourselves that, for the most part, the decision we make will influence our child’s life for the immediate future, but whether we buy our baby food or steam and mash it up ourselves will more than likely not affect his life when he’s thirty. It feels big now, but in the grand scheme of life, it’s not as monumental as it we might think.

Try them on. Once our choices are narrowed down, we need to sit with them. Say each decision outloud, as in, “I’m sending Henry to the Learning Tree Preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” or “I will volunteer in Rebecca’s class once a week for this school year.” Once we’ve said it, we pretend that we’ve made the decision. How do we feel? Does it feel right, or are we cringing and sick to our stomach at the thought? Never minimize the power of a mother’s gut instinct. Try on each decision and record the knee-jerk reactions.

Sleep on it…for a few days. Assuming we don’t have to make the decision this very minute, we set aside all of the research and opinions and take a break from it all. Once we go back to it, we’ll have a fresher perspective.

After all of this, it’s time to make the actual decision. We should remind ourselves of a couple important things:

We are capable adults. We made plenty of decisions before baby came along, and we can make good decisions now.

Few decisions are irreversible. We just signed Johnny up for eight play dates in the next two weeks? We no longer feel it was a good call to take that class that’s a two-hour drive away? We have the right to change our minds. It’s going to be okay.

When we really, really don’t know what to do… Don’t do anything. We can put off the decision until a time when we’re in a better frame of mind.

Decision-making when it comes to our children can leave us confounded but with a few simple steps, we can make solid decisions that will benefit our children and we can be proud of.

(c) Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2013

Elisabeth is mom to Sara (16-1/2) and Jack (15). She loves spending time with her kids, her friends, reading and writing. She is the author of At the Corner of Broken & Love; One Girl, Third World; He Is Just That Into You; In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother’s Heart; and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom’s Weary Soul. All these books can be purchased on Amazon.com. Her upcoming book, Unraveling, is releasing with Abingdon Press in October 2013.

Visit her website and her blog.

If you are in a difficult marriage or find yourself going through a difficult divorce, I have created two private groups on Facebook that I would like to invite you to. Simply email me at elisabethkcorcoran@gmail.com for more information.

Elisabeth is a proud Member of Redbud Writer's Guild.

Publication date: August 9, 2013