The Gender Dilemma of “Y’know?”

Working Mom and I have this weird pattern: She’ll finish a sentence with “Y’know?” and I’ll stay silent.

The usual setup is when WM is looking for support for a choice she’s made. That’s all well and good, but sometimes the choice she presents is just sooooo trivial that I don’t — I can’t — have any opinion about it, none whatsoever.

WM: “I’m going to put her in a t-shirt instead of her pajamas tonight because it’s so hot. … Y’know?”


WM: “Or maybe I should put her in a onesie and stretch pants. Might be more comfortable … Y’know?”

More silence.

Why don’t I just answer her? “Yep, it’s hot,” something like that? There’s nothing wrong with being a supportive husband. On the other hand, a huge parenting skill is the “art of the impromptu decision.” I get lots of practice at that because I’m on my own all the time. (I was a teacher before, too, and I think there’s a similar principle at work with a class of kids: sometimes you just gotta punt.)

So behind the “What should the baby sleep in?” question are tons of “What-ifs”:

“Well, you could put her in either outfit, or even in her pajamas, but we’re not going to know which would work out the best until we see what happens with the temperature overnight, this being San Francisco and all, we might find that it stays hot all night, or the fog could roll in and it might get pretty cold, but in that case, Boobaby will wake up and tell us all about it, so we can pretty much do whatever feels right now and fix any problems that come up…”

You get the picture. I’ve got so much to say that if I said it, it would come out sounding like I have a strong opinion. Which I don’t.

WM seems to want me to approve of her choices. That sounds great — we parents need all the support we can get in our parenting decisions. But when we’re considering the really small decisions, there’s just no telling what’s right and what’s wrong.

The only wrong decision is to put off making a decision.

_Say, by the way, I just set up an account at Minti — <a href=“"target="blank”> — a parenting advice site. Does anyone out here use it?