I want to send my kids to school.
But I am afraid for them to go to school during a pandemic. Since March 16th or 23rd, my children have been home. Life as we knew it as a family had shifted. At first, things seemed a bit stable as we entered into the spring break for our school district. The first week home seemed a bit normal. Even the second week was going well.
Thankfully, I own my business and am able to set my own schedule. When things started shutting down, our firm had hit its usual slow month, which allowed me to be a bit more present with the kids at home.
I attempted to maintain some normalcy with the older girls and tried to pick up where their teachers had left off. I quickly learned that my patience wasn’t designed to teach people under the age of 18! Syd would ask to write her name while I cooked breakfast. But in reality, I would find that she spent that time doodling over her paper. Savvy marches to her own beat and does what she wants and how she wants. She would draw on her sister’s papers, draw on her own papers, and sometimes find random markings on my floors and walls (thank God for washable markers/crayons). My youngest cub, Baby J, isn’t fully aware of everything (thank goodness). Since his first birthday, however, he has become even more demanding of my attention. Go figure!
You could tell that we were all getting a bit restless. The girls were beginning to ask when they were going to see their friends and attend church. I was terrified to let them go out of the house. If we went anywhere, I always had my mother or husband with me so that one of us could go to the store. I used the car rides as a way to get them “out” the house. One day we were supposed to go for a walk at the park and honestly, I didn’t want to get out of the car. Instead, my sister and I drove the kids around the town. I think we grabbed them some McDonalds and headed back home. When we got home, Syd told my mother that we had went for a walk in the car! Someone get this baby to a park, ASAP!
I feel that during these last few months, I feel as if I have gone through the seven stages of grief. I’m not at the final stage of acceptance and hope. Instead, I am at the point of reconstruction and working through this pandemic and other life events such as racism. But I am now faced with my most significant decision to date as a parent: Do I send my children back to school and daycare in the next few weeks? If you had asked me this question two weeks ago, the answer was a resounding no.
But then I began to think about how much I wanted the kids to see their friends and get a sense of normalcy. Oh, who am I kidding?! I need a break, y’all! Pure and simple. If my kids could fully articulate their feelings, they would tell me the same thing. We all need a break. So, then the question becomes, do I send them back to school with the knowledge that the COVID numbers are rising instead of going backwards?
I want to send them back to school. I want a break. I want a moment where the house is quiet, and I can get actual work done while the sun is out. I know that I am not alone with how I feel. This is one of the hardest decisions I will have made to date as a parent.
There really is no right answer in this situation because the reality is keeping my kids at home is a privilege. By no means is my family wealthy (yet), but we are in a position to keep them home. Quite honestly, it would bode well for us financially to keep them home because we would be able to continue to save money without a daycare bill.
But there are families where the parents have to go into work to keep a roof over their family’s heads and food on the table. Some children won’t eat if they can’t get to school, because school is the only place they can get a meal. This pandemic has shown us that we have no clue what to do when a real crisis happens.
So, what do we do? How do we navigate? I wish I knew. I don’t think my kids will be entering a schoolhouse until August 2021. Despite my wanting to send them back to school and having a few extra hours to myself, the risk is too scary for me to feel comfortable. The risk is higher than the perceived reward for me. However, I’m hopeful that we will get a handle on this thing.
Whatever you decide to do this fall as it concerns your children and their education, know that I am rooting for you! I know that whatever you choose won’t be easy, but it will be best for you and your family.
Until next time,