The aspen leaves are twinkling as they do with the slight breeze that's blowing my hair and the sun shield I'm sitting underneath. The mountain is warm today. I woke up around seven a.m. having pre arranged the coffee to start with the push of a button, making it easier to head straight to the front porch to enjoy my morning sugar and beans. The baby slept in a bit so after my coffee I decided it was late enough in the morning to go out for a run. I try to avoid early mornings and evenings because of the mountain lions and more recently we've had bear activity so I've stayed closer to home. It was a quick run, but it gave me about twenty minutes to think and what I was thinking about was school choice, of all things.
I'm not entirely shy about discussing how difficult this transition to Colorado has been for me. My aim is to be positive with the opportunities we've been given, but I told my husband last week that I just want something easy for once. Easy is the comfort of our Tennessee roots to me. Not only did we grow up there, we've spent the last seven and a half years there. I knew what to expect. I knew who I could call on on dark days. I had therapies and doctors in order there. I had a homeschool community.
It's different here and when I tearily explained to my mom last week, 'I just need some help', she didn't chastise me for homeschooling in the first place OR discourage public schooling. She just listened and said she was supportive in whatever I would choose for our family. That is so incredibly rare to hear. I have a few friends that I can talk to about it and they reiterate that sentiment, too, both public school teachers & parents, private school parents, and fellow homeschooling mamas.
The thing is, we all bring our personal experiences and opinions to the table and some people feel so strongly one way or another that they can't help but spout off what they think. On the flip side, we can hold so strongly to those convictions, we can begin to think the other side is doing it wrong.
I'm just here to say that your school choice is not a moral one.
There are a million different ways to live your life and a million different ways to be a good mother. Your freedom to choose what is best for your child and family is one you should exercise. It's easy for me to look at all the back to school photos posted online today and think that perhaps my children could be missing out on some rite of passage. I'm sure it's equally easy for some of you to see all of our adventures together and your mind will go to all the time you feel you might be missing with having them at school. Let's stop comparing!
I firmly believe that most of us are doing the best we can and operating from that viewpoint, we're choosing the best route for our own children and their education. As for my family, we take it year by year. We ask ourselves, is this still working? What do the kids prefer? What can we eliminate? What can we add?
Bad days are okay. You might want to assess the number of bad days you (or your child) is having, but don't dwell on them if there are more good ones than bad. Take notes. You're allowed to not have it all together all the time.
You're probably a good mom if your kids are being homeschooled. You're probably a good mom if you choose to send them to public school or private school. You are making the best choice for your kids even if it's hard! Give yourself some grace.
Just like you can't bank on your morality with the clothes you choose to wear, the food you prepare, and the cleanliness of your home- you also can't align yourself with one school of choice and believe you are better for it. You're a good mom when you look at the needs of your children and rise to meet them in whatever capacity they might come in.
Happy Back-to-School, Mamas! You've got this.