Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Motherhood Math: It's Complicated

(apologies in advanced to any mathematicians in my readership.)

When you get married you start multiplying everything by two...a nice even number. Easy third grade math.  

But then you inexplicably also divide the amount of time you spend together by two. You assumed your time together would be doubled, but life, school and work get in the way, and instead it’s halved. 

Later you realize that when you're unified, 1 x 1 = 1. Two people multiplied is greater than two people just added together.  The first of many paradoxes: One is greater than 2. 

Things get a little more complex when you add a baby. You think you could just start multiplying everything by three. But the baby equals 2.75 adult humans (diapers for one month = 2 adult t-shirts that will each last five years.) Cost of breastfeeding for first year: 0. Cost of motorized breast pump: Astronomical.  Baby also demands 6 times more attention than your husband. Divide time together by another third.

Double and triple recipes as more children are added to family. Double and triple laughter and love at same rate of recipes and grocery bills. 

Write down a number for your ideal hours of sleep per night. Multiply that number by 2/3. Try to escape sleep debt using debt-reduction formula from financial planning class. Fail.

Story problem: 

If a mother has one child to shuttle to elementary school, one to drop off at preschool, and one crawling on floor at rate of 1mph, how fast does the mother need to run to keep up with them all?

Average number of times per day you quietly move dirty dishes from sink to dishwasher: 5 

Hire a babysitter for weekly date night with spouse. Multiply mother’s hourly rate by 10. Oh, wait…that’s still zero. Scratch that. No comparison to mother’s investment. Budget x dollars a week, then double it. Multiply previous total by 5 for longer outings. Joy at finally having a 12-year-old = short-lived.

Add a teenage boy with a speeding ticket and a fender bender to your family auto insurance and multiply previous insurance premiums by four. 

Teenage boy also stays out past curfew. Reduce sleep time by another 1/3. Sleep now dangerously close to zero. Sleep debt approaches bankruptcy.

Sending first child to college = scholarship + tuition + books + housing - grandparents’ 529 plan + 2500/semester - tax credit. Repeat annually with variables. Subtract cost of feeding teenage boy at home. Multiply by four. Seeing that child in a cap and gown: worth every penny. Value of that education: priceless. 

Marry off a daughter and the price of the wedding is triple the amount of the tax credit you lose that year. Total financial loss, including incidentals: cannot add that high. Value of a stellar son-in-law: inestimable, far outweighing any financial losses.  Cost of temple sealing: 0. Value of eternal union: infinite. There is no earthly equation to equal that kind of blessing.

Youngest son leaves to serve a mission. Joy = Given. Cost zeroed out by car insurance reduced (total annual estimate for three drivers, now divided by four) plus cell phone line removed, plus packaged food and gallons of milk no longer consumed. Dirty dishes in sink now equals zero. Shoes by back door still equals 2--because I can't bear to move them. Complex emotions surface. For every missionary letter: Multiply both sides by joy raised to the power of sacrifice and faith.

Oldest son moves to New York. Multiply faith and prayers by 10. Double that number for daily and weekly miracles pouring in. Scratch head. Look at lifetime of tithing receipts. Does not come close to equalling the value of the blessings and miracles. Wipe away tears.

Delight when we hear from each of our children: Enormous. Hours we want to spend with them: infinite. 

Number of people in household now: 2. Number of empty bedrooms: 3
Divide all recipes by 4. (Except the ones you divide into 2/3 when married kids come over for dinner). 

Multiply time together with spouse by 2.5. Raise total to the exponent of fun, now multiplied by 30 years of depth and life experience. This is what you call rich.


Luisa Perkins said...

I love this! IT'S ALL TRUE.

Annette said...

LOVE! 😍😍😍