Trust Your Mom Gut to Make the Best Schooling Decision for Your Family
Education is a hot topic these days as we face a new school year during a global pandemic. As moms, we have carried our families through all of the regular parental responsibilities in addition to the added emotional labor that has come with the difficult decisions regarding our family’s health and safety on a daily basis. We have navigated questions of how our families can safely spend their time, what to do about childcare, how to address health crises, and more during this time of COVID-19. Now, we are facing one of the most challenging decisions of all as we consider options for the model of schooling that best fits the needs of both our children and our overall family structure.
For many moms, choosing an educational model for their children is a new decision. Most children attend their local public schools. Of course, there have always been private schools to consider and homeschooling as options, but these decisions most likely did not carry the weight of the decision that parents are facing this fall.
As moms navigate the educational decisions of this unprecedented time, there is one thing that we can and should follow to make the best decision for our families, and that is our mom gut. This is a time when the opinions of experts are all we have to go on. We take into consideration the words of our public health leaders and scientific studies. We listen to our local educational leaders as they share the information specific to the schools our children attend. When it comes to parenting though, we as moms are the experts when it comes to our own children’s needs. There is no one that knows our own family’s situation better than we do.
Don’t Let the Opinions of Friends Sway You
It is hard not to let the opinions of friends sway you as you wrestle with these decisions. The reason it feels especially difficult is because there truly is no one right answer and there is no one size fits all solution. You are the expert on your own family, and your friends are the experts on their families. Maybe your children are similar in their learning styles, but is everything else exactly the same when you consider what your friends are choosing? There are the underlying health conditions of everyone in your family and extended family that you regularly come into contact with to consider. There are childcare needs and the flexibility of work schedules to think about. There are transportation challenges, your children’s ages, the very specific situation of the health metrics in your area and in your school to reflect on.
You have to make choices based on your own family’s situation regardless of how similar your family feels to a friend’s family. It is also worth reminding yourself that true friends will not judge you based on this extremely challenging decision. A true friend should acknowledge that no matter what you decide, the decision was difficult, and that they are proud of you for considering all of the factors and making the decision that is right for your family. We should all be doing the same for our friends in the same boat. The more we can support each other without judgment, the better off we will all be.
Read Articles That Convey Multiple Perspectives, But Draw Your Own Conclusions
We live in an age of information overload and overwhelm. It is possible to find a plethora of articles supporting every single decision that you might consider related to school this year. It is also possible to feel thoroughly convinced about a single perspective after reading each article and then to change your mind with the next article you read. It is more important than ever to consider the source of our information. We want to consider the bias and lens through which each article is written, and we want to be sure to consider information from multiple perspectives. When we know that we have done the legwork to feel as informed as possible, it becomes easier to trust our mom guts. Information can help to bring clarity.
Remember That You Have Options
Although you may feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders as you face these educational decisions for your family, please remind yourself that there will always be opportunities for change if your decision doesn’t play out in the way you hoped for your family. You are not alone in this boat. Every family will need to be flexible and to keep an open mind throughout this school year.
There will be changes that occur this year that are far beyond our control due to changing health and safety metrics of the pandemic and due to the fluidity that will be necessary for all educational models to carry throughout the year. You will still always have choices, and it is helpful to let that be a source of comfort for yourself as you make decisions. Whether you decide to switch your child’s educational model or decide to supplement it in various ways throughout the year, there will be ways to tweak the experience.
Create Your Village
We all need villages of support this year, regardless of which educational model we choose for our families. Though we will always want to be aware of the necessary safety protocols of living in a pandemic which include physical distance, we are fortunate that there are many other ways to find support. Whether it’s a standing Zoom call with your friends each week to commiserate over a glass of wine or trading online expertise in various subjects with friends to help your children in areas of need, there are so many creative ways to find the support that you need.
It is important for all of us to remember that we are not in this alone. It is our mom guts that should ultimately make the decision for how the school year will begin, but there are resources and support to take advantage of once we are in it. It is also essential to remind ourselves that we are not in a race. Our children will learn and develop and grow this year, and if you fear that they will fall behind, remind yourself that every family in the country is facing challenges this year. It’s all relative, and it’s okay if this year feels like a different pace than you expected.
As a mom, you will always be one of the primary influencers on your children. Remember that you have the opportunity to model how you would like your children to face challenges in life. By following your instincts, staying informed, and keeping an open mind, you are already teaching your children some of the most valuable life lessons that they can ever receive.
Check out our Coronavirus Resource Center for more helpful information regarding COVID-19 and your family.