COLUMN: Learning to trust the maternal instinct

Second-guessing every single parenting choice isn't productive.

It seems like just yesterday that we carried our firstborn into the school board office to decide on her fate.

Little Miss Molly was just three months old and we were your typical first-time parents – nervous about making any wrong decisions.

Would our pint-size Picasso grow up to be an artist? With that in mind we eagerly checked  the box signing her up for the Fine Arts School.

“What about French Immersion?” I suggested to my husband Jason.

“Oui,” he replied, ticking off that box too.

There was also the fundamental school and Montessori program on the list. Check and check.

Neither of us knew anything about the latter two schools, but figured there was no point in limiting our bambina’s educational potential.

Fast forward five years later – five of the fastest years of our lives – and there we were trying to decide which school to send our future kindergartner to. Since we registered her for school practically straight out of the womb, there were no shortage of options.

Despite deciding on one of the “choice schools” from that list five years prior, I was second-guessing myself.

Had I made the right decision registering her for a school across town? Going there would mean committing to driving Molly and eventually her little sister, Zoe, to and from school for the next 12 years.

Play dates would become complicated – would we still hear little knocks at the door from school mates spontaneously popping by to play?

And yet, even with all this in mind, I felt paralyzed with crippling “choice”’ anxiety.

Maybe I was just being lazy? Or was I selfish? Perhaps a combo of both?

When it doubt, I did what many daughters do in turmoil. I called my mom.

Growing up in a low-income single-parent family, we moved. A lot. For myself, it  meant being the new kid eight times, which wasn’t always easy.

“You went to regular schools and look how you turned out,” said my mother during a phone call. “Life is hard enough, why make it more complicated? I really think you’re over-thinking this.”

It wasn’t until dropping Molly off for her first day at her neighbourhood school, just a hop, skip and puddle jump away, that I realized mom was right – and I’m not just talking about my own mother.

“Mommy, all my friends from preschool are here and they have a library and water fountains too!” said our little cherubic scholar, who was grinning from dimple-to-dimple when I picked her up from her first day of kindergarten.

On the way home she skipped through puddles and waved to new friends who we discovered live in our same complex.

Perhaps it is time I started trusting my own maternal instinct rather than second-guessing every single choice.

Well, at least until it’s time to start filling out post-secondary education applications…

Kristyl Clark is the founder of the family ‘blogazine’ She’s also a host of the online show Fraser Valley 5. Follow her on Twitter at @shesavalleymom


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