It’s Time to Eat My Words: My Son is Going to Preschool

Yes, the mom who got her fifteen minutes of fame one year ago from an article she wrote entitled “Benign Neglect: A Case Against Preschool” is now sending her son to preschool.

Yes, I changed my mind.

I don’t often change my mind about anything. But it’s time to eat my words… a little bit. Time to shove that blog post partially in my mouth and partially chew it.

I wrote that blog post in August of 2013. It was selected by wordpress.com to be featured on their home page as a “freshly pressed” blog post. Suddenly, I had hundreds of likes and followers. Suddenly, a whole lot of people were listening to me – when I was simply trying to document my crazy parenting for my three small sons.

I stand by what I wrote. I still believe that parents and teachers should not push children too quickly. I still believe that play is serious and important work for toddlers and preschoolers. I still believe that memorization is not learning. I still believe in the necessity of free time for children. I still believe in ending the competition and the Mommy Wars. (I even started a Facebook group for like-minded mommas.) I have nothing to prove, and neither do my children.

However, I have decided to send my son to (a play-based and non-pushy) preschool for several mornings per week this year. Why? I said I didn’t quit my teaching career so that someone else could teach my son, and I meant it. But I also said that the only thing that would convince me to change my mind would be the twins coming up behind him.

three on fenceThe twins prevent us from having a normal life. It has become clear to me that my son needs something of his own. He needs time away from the babies. He has plenty of socialization with kids his age – playgroups, walking groups, swim lessons – but he needs time away from the world of the babies. He needs time away from the baby gates that hamper his independence. He needs time away from the twin fights.

I can’t give him everything that he needs right now. So much of our day-to-day life is consumed with surviving: meals, clean-up, poops, repeat. I am not finding time to teach him the things that I wanted to teach him. I am just not able to live up to the dreams I had in my head. I am a professional: I am trained specifically for his four-to-six year old age bracket… and yet, my teaching skills seem to be on a shelf that is just too high for me to reach right now. It breaks my heart.

I know this is the right thing for him. I still practice “benign neglect”, but now I have a case in favor of preschool. I’ll have to be “okayest” with that.

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6 thoughts on “It’s Time to Eat My Words: My Son is Going to Preschool

  1. It’s so easy, sometimes, to take a stand based on a personal theory. And of course some personal theories are good ones. In a perfect world, it would be great if you could do all the important stuff yourself – but that requires having someone else there to help with the urgent stuff (poops and cleanup). I just want to commend you for recognizing and accepting that your world isn’t that kind of perfect, and for not subjecting ALL of you to the stress and frustration that would ensue if you weren’t able to set aside your theory, at least in part. You’ll see – good things will grow out of this, and before very long you’ll find that you are, indeed, doing all the truly important stuff.

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  2. Yep. It’s true that they need to have their own experiences. When it’s time, I wonder if that will be even more important for the twins to form their self identity. I commend you for telling your life experiences with infertility and motherhood. I too had infertility and reading your blog brought a lot of memories back. Memories that at the time I thought I would never forget. Funny how time (much, much time) lessens the painful memories. I have two boys 11, 12. I remember standing at the kitchen sink at 800am after my husband left for work and feeling like I had a mountain to climb everyday and I got to the point that I felt I could not do it anymore. I did see a Dr. for antidepressants and that did help me. I remember feeling angry at myself because I became the cliché of the mother who could not cope without a pill. Like that Rolling Stones song “Mother’s Little Helper.” But, it’s reality, it’s hard and each mother’s experience is different. Oh, and btw, the cliché that it they grow so fast is hauntingly true. No really, in 4 years my 12 year old will be driving a car. Yesterday, he was in diapers and just learning to walk. Frickin scary!

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    • Oh, wow, you totally read my mind about the Stones song! I have thought that myself! You made me giggle. But, seriously, I totally get the mountain-to-climb feeling. I’m glad you can relate to my story. Thanks for reading!

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