Thursday, September 17, 2009

thoughts on school, or, a full 75% of my neuroses in one simple post. you're welcome.

(A disclaimer first: my crazies are non-transferable. Which is to say, I expect completely different things from myself than I do from other people. Almost every single parent I know uses some form of consistent childcare, and in every single circumstance, I have agreed that their family functions better because of their decision. So please don't read this and think I am in some way referring to what YOU have done for your kids and childcare. YOU have done a good and noble thing for your family. I, on the other hand, am ca-razy. Just so we're clear.)

Tomorrow we're going to look at a Mother's Morning Out program for Asher.

Let the crazies begin.

My neighbor and I talk a good bit about homeschooling. I see legitimate benefits to homeschooling in early grades, and I really think I could hack it. I think teaching my kids - formally - is something I would enjoy doing. So looking at Mother's Morning Out - watching my child's energy and frustration level peak, and admitting that I'm not capable of engaging him sufficiently every day all the time - feels like some sort of defeat.

In response, one side of my brain says -
Do you hear how crazy that is? Do you hear yourself saying how I would enjoy homeschooling, how I should be able to do this or do that so that he wouldn't need a mother's morning out program .... do you hear how making decisions about what Asher needs is revolving in your crazy little brain not around what is actually best for him, but around your own perceptions and personal goals? Stop your crazy talk.

And the other side of my brain says -
But what if I need to just push through it? What if we looked at mommy-and-me groups instead? What if I'm giving up too soon?

I. am. crazy.

Because the reality is, Asher wants to play with other children. He wants to sit in circle time. He wants to eat juice and crackers, then go throw his little napkin away all by himself. He wants to stand in line and go on the playground. We can pull out the paint and play in the backyard, but I can't completely synthesize the social experience of school for him. NOR SHOULD I.

At what point did I start to believe that it was my job as his mother to be everything to him all the time? And supposing I could even attain such a ca-razy goal, what would it really accomplish? Why would I want him to learn to rely that completely on me? Isn't it my job instead to guide him as he learns to interact with the larger world? And when he is climbing the couches and - quite literally - the walls because he is so b-o-r-e-d and it turns out my life doesn't completely revolve around entertaining him, when he asks if it's Sunday yet because he's ready to go to Sunday school and see his teacher, when he just LOOKS for reasons to don his tiny backpack and march out of our front door and into the wide world, isn't it my job to read those cues and look for social outlets for him? When did I begin to believe that hanging onto my leg was preferable to marching headlong into whatever is next? Why have I done this to myself?

Because I am a mother in an achievement based society. And I'm still trying to get an A in life. Because I am - say it with me - CRAZY.

So I'm not going to be the mom whose child is perfectly engaged and content with life at home. Plenty of children are, but in this moment, mine is not. Instead I'm going to be the mom who follows her child's cues, who swallows her own pride (but what was I even going to be proud of? I really don't know) and goes tomorrow to visit his new class. Because if he's ready to march headlong into the wide wide world, well, that's what we'll do.


Michelle said...

I'm proud of you and good luck on visiting the school. I bet he will have a wonderful time.

The Review Lady said...

great post - seriously you should submit that to a local, regional, national magazine.

ljkgates said...

YEA for Asher but boo hoo for us. Our baby boy is not a baby anymore. Where did the time go. Even though my heart hurts I'm proud of our little man.

wheelsonthebus said...

i think that is best, kids need a social life of their own.