It’s complicated: Accountability and risk assessment

So as a single person, you’re not that accountable. No lunch? No worries. Home and 3am and back to work at 9? No biggie some hot chips and a powerade can’t fix. Run out of time for vacuuming? Whatever.

As a married person, I have to say it wasn’t much different. Marginally more checking in with each other. More risk of the vacuuming not getting done as you have someone else to blame.

Having a lazy week and want to eat pizza, drink beer, and sneak chocolate? Yeah whatevs. Get back on the wagon next week.

Screaming the chorus of the Angels “am I ever gonna see your face again ? way, get f…d, f…off” in your car? No biggie. Enjoy.

Oh wow, as a mum.

Running late, skip breaky?
He can’t. And it takes A…g….e…s.

No lunch packed? Ah, get something when you get home.
Cue meltdown in public, premature nap that won’t last, mama guilt and a lot of banana /vegemite sandwich / sultana consumption.

Vacuuming not done? He finds a bobby pin, a five cent coin, a Panadol and several pieces of old food embedded in the pile. In ten minutes. And tries to eat them. All.

Letting your own diet slip? Nothing like the horror of seeing your 15 month old reach for a chip or biscuit or wine to pull you up short and get you back on the apples.

I can only imagine how cruddy I will feel when we enter the answer back phase.
” no Jman! You can’t eat THAT.”
” but mum, you’re eating it”.

Yep. I might do it to myself, but I can’t condone setting up another human being for a world of shit with food. Not going to happen. Which is why I was the strictest person on the planet when I had gestational diabetes…and why I’ll be the mum with the chopped up fruit for dessert. Says the woman who let him try baklava today…..

Then there’s risk management. Geez, you could get a job in risk assessment after being a mum. Your whole life is a risk assessment, balancing up costs and benefits. There are thousands of risk calculations a day. Thousands. If I pee now, and he comes in, he might reach over into the bath and fall and hit is head. But I really need to pee. And here he comes.

I need a quick shower, and he’s sitting very quietly in front of Sesame Street in his high chair. With toast.

He’s climbing the stairs to the slippery dip and he has no fear, no ideas about heights, and he’s fast and strong. And there’s an eight foot drop off on one side. But he also needs to stretch and test physical boundaries.

He’s running, on concrete.
He’s running, down a hill.
He’s running, and there’s a road / driveway / body of water / dog off the leash / bike rider /giant puddle 100 metres away.

He’s eating spaghetti in a white top.
He’s eating a whole apple.
He’s drinking milk out of a normal cup over the carpet in our rental apartment.
He’s eating avocado, and now he wants a hug.
He’s breastfeeding, a bit cranky, and growing more molars. Ouch.
He needs his teeth cleaned but he’s going to lose his shit when I try.
He is going to playgroup so we must cut his scratchy pinchy nails. But he’s going to try and move. A lot.

The risk assessments trade off his well being with my well being and others’ .
They trade off present shit for future benefit, and present pleasant for future shit.
They trade off the need to extend expand push and practice, with staying alive and in one piece.

It is the mental game that sometimes tires you out. The anticipation… of danger, of falls, of meltdowns, of naps….

You lose your shit, and you’re accountable to yourself and the mummy guilts, to him, to dada.
You eat crap, he learns crap eating is ok.
You swear, he swears back.
You yell or smack, he yells, and smacks.

And the risks. We assess risk all day every day. For ourselves. But it is sooooooo different when we are assessing risk on behalf of another human being who hasn’t got the good sense to keep themselves alive and fully functional. We are caretakers for their welfare, until they can take it on their own behalf.

And that’s complicated.


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