Can I Phone A Friend? The agony of making parenting decisions

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty decisive person; headstrong, a ‘do-er’, not one to mess around. But when it comes to my kids and making decisions about them, it seems I’ve become a bit of a wet lettuce.

Recently, we had to make yet another choice when it comes to childcare. Despite having gone through four nurseries between our two daughters, and me not requiring childcare due to working flexibly, the time had come to decide whether to move the mouse from her current setting (a five mornings a week nursery) on to a more structured, new, environment at her sisters primary school Nursery.

Despite deep down knowing that the move was for the best, it still took me weeks of procrastination, agonising over every single angle, discussing with every person who I could bore to tears over it, and having sleepless nights questioning what is the right thing to do.

And I’ve been here before – primary school choices, moving gym clubs, choosing a childminder, moving from previous nurseries; they all brought me into a similar state of mental chaos.

Such black and white decisions, so small fry in the grand scheme of things, and yet so monumental in their making.

Free stock photo of people, pen, internet, writing

Last week when pushed with a request for a monetary retainer for Septembers nursery space, I bit the bullet and made a decision. We thanked the nursery for all their hard work and care for our daughter and let them know she would be moving on in July, ready to start nursery  at school alongside her sister in September. And yet, despite my A4 page of explanation, apologies and grateful gushing, now I’m already wondering why I got in such a state about  it all anyway? The physical process of cementing that decision has suddenly eliminated all the worry, and I feel sure it’s the right thing to do, for many reasons I won’t bore you with.

I suppose when it comes to our kids, and their welfare, as parents we put huge pressure on ourselves to do what’s best for them. And sometimes, that isn’t always clear. With a wealth of choices and options laid out before us, sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees, and we get wrapped up in the emotional sides of a decision. Will they be happier here or there, will it cause them distress, will they do better where they are, what if the new chapter pans out badly? Will we offend anyone, and will that come back to bite us? It started right at the very beginning with every trip to the baby clinic, looking for answers and directions but being given a push to make my own decisions for my baby, who I knew best. The message was clear from those very early days, no one can make decisions about your children for you. (Although sometimes, wouldn’t it be nice if they could?!)

What I have learnt, is that life with children is always a moving target. Nothing stays stationary for long and there is always another decision, change or milestone around the corner ready to knock your current quandary right out of the ball park.

Only time will tell if we have made the right decision, but past experience tells me it’s more than likely we’ll never even stop to question it, we’ll be far too busy worrying about something else.


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26 thoughts on “Can I Phone A Friend? The agony of making parenting decisions

  1. Sons Over the Yardarm Reply

    It’s so easy to go around in circles with these decisions, isn’t it? And most of the time, you know what you’re going to do but somehow feel the need to justify it to everyone, even though no one is even questioning it! We’ve been lucky with childcare, but I find myself wondering about whether we should be *doing* more with them – more clubs, more sports, more “quality” time, instead of just bumbling along. Am I ruining their futures by not taking them to drama or bloody trombone classes?! I’m going to assume not and hope for the best! #coolmumclub

  2. mini human resources Reply

    I always worry about things like this. Decisions involving kids are the HARDEST! I’ve been procrastinating for ages about whether to increase my working days from 3 to 4. I’ve decided to go for it from September (when my middle daughter starts school) as we could REALLY do with the money but its been such a hard decision and one that I’m hoping I wont regret. #coolmumclub

  3. Sandra Reply

    Mine are all grown now but I still remember making those decisions which because we gave them careful thought as you did gave peace of mind.

  4. mumneverknows Reply

    Oh I have all the feels for this! I seem to get so worked up over the smallest decision, convinced that I am going to scar them forever! #coolmumclub

  5. viewfromthebeachchair Reply

    You are spot on iwth regards to a moving target. That is the best statement I have heard in a long time. #coolmumclub

  6. Five Little Doves Reply

    Yes! Making decisions is so hard and yet sometimes we just have to bite the bullet. I am a naturally indecisive person and yet even more so when it comes to the kids!! Im sure you did the right thing! #coolmumclub

  7. Talya (@motherhoodreal) Reply

    I know what you mean hun…I think we put way too much pressure on ourselves as parents these days when making decisions but I also blame that on the fact that life has become so much more complicated with so many different possible options. But I’m betting the fact that you are thinking so much about everything rather than making knee jerk or blind decisions means you’ll have done a great job at the end of it all. May the #coolmumclub force be with you lovely xoxo

  8. Sleepingthroughyet Reply

    Just when you think you have got one thing sorted, another something happens to worry about with children. Always moving. #coolmumclub

  9. lukeosaurusandme Reply

    Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and go with your gut. It’s so hard to make choices when your kid’s well being is at stake.

  10. Reply

    I am so glad it’s not just me! I wrote my son’s nursery team little poems when he left. *cringe* 😉

  11. Kat Reply

    Ah gosh yes I struggled with this choice. I actually ended up taking my daughter out of her day nursery a few months early because they were still trying to get her to nap and she was nearly five. She wasn’t stimulated enough and it just wasn’t worth it for us. I’m sure you’ve made the right choice! #coolmumclub

  12. Life Love and Dirty Dishes Reply

    I used to turn up at baby clinic with a list of questions!!! I agonise over things too. Little starts school in September. He has come on so well with his speech delay, he has been discharged from both the speech therapist and the child development consultant. The Pre-school have records which they will pass to his new teacher, yet I still feel the need to arrange a meeting and discuss his history. I have no idea why or what I want to achieve. I just need to do it! I can’t even say it’s precious first born syndrome! #coolmumclub

  13. Sophie Reply

    I’m the same and it has definately got worse as I’ve got older. I think, like,you say, it’s because it’s our kids and we just want what’s best for them. The nursery choice sounds a sensible one and I’m sure she love it, #coolmumclub

  14. mummyhereandthere Reply

    It is never ending worry, constantly new things you have to learn a safe paint that sadlt there was no manual that can tell you how to so it. X #coolmumclub

  15. kirsty Reply

    I totally get this. I am always second guessing myself and have been since that very first decision in hospital about should the baby have the vitamin k injection! I am quite sure I would have enough time for a hobby if I spent less time worrying and agonising over it all 😉 #coolmumclub

  16. Jo - Mother of Teenagers Reply

    Sarah if it makes you feel any better I am still doing that whole thing and my youngest is 15 and my eldest is at Uni – like you I think I am a very decisive person but they prove me wrong every time even now. Glad you bit the bullet though! #coolmumclub

  17. chickenruby Reply

    we had 4 of our boys in 4 primary schools and they went through 8 secondary schools, as we moved around. i dread to think how many different nurseries they all attended

  18. thesingleswan Reply

    OMG, I know what you mean. Parenting is never simple or clear cut is it. I find that parenting is like a series of phases and just when you think you’ve got your head around the phase that your child is going through, he/she comes out of it and enters the next one and you are left floundering and wondering what the hell is going on. Pen x #coolmumclub

  19. Emma T Reply

    Sounds about tright. Once the change is decided and in place we’re all moving onto the next things every time.

  20. nightwisprav3n Reply

    Every decision I have made as a parent was an agonizing one. It’s so weird sometimes how we put this pressure on ourselves but we do for them. I had to decide to change elementary schools for my youngest and it was a decision I had a really hard time making because the school he was going to was the same school my oldest had gone to. My oldest thrived there but my youngest was struggling. In hindsight it was a no brainer but for me at the time it was gut wrenching to switch schools and have to get to know new teachers and new principal and new staff all over again. It felt like all my hard work of communicating and getting to know the school went down the drain but now I look back and changing schools for my youngest was the best thing I could have done for him. He changed in the second grade and within a few weeks, he was thriving. It was a total 180 for him. Now he’s finishing up the 5th grade and he’s doing awesome. It is amazing how we know the right thing to do yet we hesitate because we doubt our decisions. #CoolMumClub

  21. Charlotte Stein Reply

    I totally understand this, as I also agonise over decisions like this every few years when we move. The amount of after school activities I have changed!! You will have ti update us in Autumn, as to how she’s got on #coolmumclub

    1. MMT Reply

      Ah thanks Charlotte, I’m sure I will xx

  22. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... Reply

    I think parents over think every decision in relation to their children! Mum guilt and self doubt play a huge part #coolmumclub

  23. The Queen of Collage Reply

    The worries we have over educating our kids is so understandable. I’ve been thinking a lot about choices too but have yet to write about them. #coolmumclub

  24. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS) Reply

    You are so right, after the fact we are too busy worrying over the next thing. I hope she settles well into her new environment. btw I loved your ‘wet lettuce’ expression – never heard that one before 😀 #coolmumclub

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