A fellow mother once told me, “I have come to realize that the hard choices we make as parents tend to be the right choices.” We were discussing whether or not I should send my son to school the day of the last honor roll assembly this past week. I was leaning on not, and she advised me to do otherwise (which was what my brain was telling me to do, my mommy heart just wanted to give in). But sometimes we as parents, especially us mothers, need to follow that parental guilt we all have and just give in.
First grade has kicked our booties this year. My son has done nothing but work as hard as his little brain and body would allow him to just simply get through the year. I was told by his teacher that she really wished the school would hold him back, but she knew that they wouldn’t because he wasn’t failing. And as I cried to my chosen sister over the phone seeking advice that day, I decided that I, also, would not be the one to hold him back. You see, my son already doesn’t have the best of self-esteem, at only seven years old, and I shudder to think what me holding him back would do to that already fragile self-esteem.
It has taken this past year for me to learn what my son really needs in order to succeed in school. Sure, we all would love for our children to be mastermind geniuses, but the reality is most are not, and my child is certainly not an exception. But as we have struggled to keep our heads above water this school year and figured out what works for us and what doesn’t, it has really taken its toll on my once confident child. It has been a year full of hard choices.
So on the last day of school, the day most kids look forward to and actually want to go to school, when my son begged me to allow him to skip school, I did, and we went to the pool.
I don’t usually give into these requests, but after a long, hard year, knowing how hard he worked and how hard he has been on himself for not being as great a reader as his friend Carter, and not making the honor roll this term, I let him stay home and we made memories instead. And guess what? Although it wasn’t a hard decision, it was absolutely the right decision this time. He needed that break. We both did, really. As he splashed and played in the pool, he came up from underwater and said, “Mommy, thank you so much! This is the best day I’ve had in a long time!”
I’m not a child expert, I would never claim to be, but kids are no less human than us adults. They need room to breathe every now and then, too. Especially now, more than ever, when the school curriculum seems to be pushing too much down their throats too fast and at such an early age. So, make the easy choice sometimes. Give into the parental guilt, even if it isn’t a choice that we SHOULD make, because I’m willing to bet, at some point, it’s the choice your child needed you to make.