I have always had pretty bad anxiety, and it has often caused me numerous problems throughout life. But since becoming a mother my anxiety has gone through the roof.
This is not uncommon of course, and I am not unique or special in this. I know plenty of moms who experience the same thing. Even women who didn’t suffer from anxiety before having children sometimes become mothers and then suddenly the existence of this other person (or multiple other persons!) makes us aware of just How. Many. Scary. Things. are out there.
Many of us find ways to manage this, whatever that might look like. It might be medication, or various other coping mechanisms. But generally speaking, it doesn’t go away. Managed doesn’t mean Gone, and so for most of us the anxiety is something we just deal with, and which often affects many aspects of our daily lives and the choices we make.
My anxiety makes me want to home school.
To be completely clear, this is something I’ve always thought about ever since I first became a mother. Way before Covid. We’re talking before my daughter – who is now 13 – even started kindergarten, I wanted to home school.
There were so many reasons why I wanted to home school, the most obvious one of course being that the idea of sending my child off somewhere where I couldn’t be there to personally ensure her safety made me feel physically ill. Keeping her home with me? That sounded amazing. Entrusting complete strangers to protect the one thing that is most precious to me? No thank you.
But for as many reasons as I had for wanting to home school, I had just as many reasons not to. Ultimately, I did not end up home schooling, and now, even though my anxiety regarding the issue is still as bad as ever (maybe worse some days) I am thankful that I didn’t.
I know, I know, home school mamas will hate me for saying that because they will interpret this as me talking shit about something they’re passionate about. To be clear: I’m not! But people (PARENTS) tend to be sensitive when it comes to their choices so I know it will likely still offend someone. This is by no means meant to demean or insult home schooling families out there. I really believe we all just need to do our best to make the best possible choices for our kids based on all the variables in our own lives.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with home schooling. But I also don’t think it’s the right fit for every kid.
And more importantly, I think it’s essential that as a mother I go out of my way to make sure my daughter’s experiences in life aren’t limited by what is within my own comfort zone. I try so hard to not project my hang ups and issues onto her. She’ll develop her own, I’m sure. She doesn’t need to carry around mine as well.
Obviously, there are exceptions. There are still so many things I cannot bring myself to let her do because it terrifies me. But when it comes to school I try my best to just suck it up and send her on her way, then keep myself distracted enough throughout the day until she’s back home with me so I don’t absolutely lose my mind with fear.
The recent Covid-Schooling experience we all went through for most of 2020 (and which many parents are still going through if they are continuing to do school from home) really highlighted that when it comes to my kid, I made the right choice. Without the structure of traditional schooling, she was pretty lost. She was logging on to classroom Zoom calls that were optional just because she wanted to interact with her classmates and her teachers. I was getting emails from her teachers that she was behind on her school work, and motivating her to get it done was a nightmare. For a kid who hates school, she really seemed to miss being at school, despite her reluctance to go back when the new school year started.
So if you are a parent – at any stage of parenting – who struggles with the idea of sending your kids to school because of your anxiety, just know that you are not alone. I hope you are able to make the choice that feels the most right for your family, whatever that looks like.