In a few short weeks, if we are allowed, I will be sending my 5 year old back to school.
I never thought a sentence like that would be so controversial or make me feel so judged by other parents (… not an uncommon feeling as a mummy, I’m sad to say).
But, if I’m perfectly honest (and I pride myself on being so), when BJ announced that Reception would be one of the years returning to school, I pretty much jumped for joy. But for some reason, that I just can’t fathom, I feel like I am being judged for even saying that – and here’s why.
I’m not sending my son back to school because I find it hard having both children at home all the bloody time. Although I do. I’m not sending my son back to school because I desperately need a break. Although I do. And I’m definitely not sending my son back to school because I don’t care about people getting sick and dying. Because I definitely do (I’m not a monster, after all).
I’m sending him back because it’s the right thing to do for him. Because he has only just started school and he loves it. Because every teacher tells me how vital a transition into school life reception is. And because he is now telling me he doesn’t want to go back, which has never happened before, and he is starting to forget school life. Being at home is the new normal for him now.
I’m sending him back because, for him, the benefits of returning to school massively outweigh the dangers.
I’m also sending him back because, as much as I don’t particular like our Government or the bubbling PM leading it, I do trust them. I have to.
I trust them, and the experts they are working with, a thousand times more than I trust Sandra from down the road who says it is too dangerous to return our kids to school because her dads cousins daughter is a teacher and she said so. (Sandra isn’t a real person btw, but we all know a Sandra, don’t we).
I also trust my son’s school. I trust his teachers to take care of him now, as I trusted them to take care of him before this all happened. I trust them not to scare him. I trust them to be sensible. To be safe. To be caring. I trust them with my son.
And I trust myself. I trust myself to be sensible. I trust myself to follow the rules. I trust myself to keep social distancing at all other times. I trust myself to judge the situation week by week. I trust myself to stay away from vulnerable people and to self isolate if any member of my family shows even the slightest of symptoms.
But as I said before, I do feel judged for this decision. Like most mummies, I’m part of a million and one WhatsApp groups. And I’m gobsmacked at how many people feel it is too dangerous to send our children back to school.
Obviously, it is absolutely, completely and only up to each family to do what’s right for them. And I am definitely not judging anyone who doesn’t want to send their child back. But I really don’t think anybody would be recommending this if it put our children in danger, would they? (They aren’t monsters, after all).
I know the concern is that children may be carriers, but as a low risk family, that is a risk we are prepared to take.
But please don’t judge me, or anyone else, for this. Please stop telling everyone there children are being used as ‘guinea pigs’ or that the experts don’t know what they are talking about. They definitely know more than Sandra down the road.
Please, just do what is right for your family and let me do what is right for mine. No judgement.