A more official-sounding term for the No-Win Pickle is The Failure Paradox. My 4th son was born in the early morning hours on the day of my oldest son’s kindergarten graduation. But that wasn’t a problem. I slept a few hours, got up and showered and put on makeup and shoes ready to go. Danny’s school was a few blocks from the hospital and I figured the kind nurses wouldn’t mind keeping an eye on baby Jack while I dashed out for an hour to catch the graduation and return in time for Jack’s next feeding. Obviously, my postpartum mind wasn’t considering that hospitals have policies about new mothers leaving (child abandonment) and returning (germ exposure). I was simply trying to multitask and fit everything onto my calendar.
When the nurse raised her eyebrows at me, I realized that I would be missing Danny’s big event. And he only graduates from kindergarten once in his whole life! Because of taking care of one child, I was neglecting the other. I should have timed Danny’s birth better. I felt like a total failure as a mother.
This was my first big experience with the No-Win Pickle, which I’ve encountered dozens of times since. Basically, the No-Win Pickle is when, no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to succeed at everything. I hate that it is impossible for me to succeed at everything in mothering. I hate that I have to make impossible decisions which sometimes require choosing one child over another, or choosing myself over my children, or choosing none of us. To be a “good mother” equally for all. To never choose one over the other.
The Failure Paradox
Paradox: a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.
The Failure Paradox: In our failure, we rise to higher levels.