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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: Not a Fair Mom

Welcome to Pour Your Heart Out- if you need more info on how to participate, check out THIS post. But it's personal- it's what YOU think is pouring your heart out. Please grab the PYHO button or link back in your post if you are participating.

Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)


I know that all I can do as a mom is to make what I think is the best decisions when it comes to each of my children.

Those decisions might look different for each of them. And they might change from year to year... or even day to day.

My boys are all so very different. Even if they tend to look so much alike that they sometimes confuse people.

So, the choices that I make(we make, Hubs included) are with each specific child in mind. We try to do what is right for each.

That doesn't always mean that things are "fair."

Not if your definition of fair means exactly the same.  Someone once commented on a post that I wrote something like "Fair does not mean the same. It means giving each child what they need."

I can't remember who wrote it or even what post it was on- but a huge thank you to whoever said this as your words have stuck with me.

We have made very different decisions for our oldest two. Our oldest headed off to kindergarten last year.  He started the year already meeting all of the objectives that students need to meet by the end of the year.  He was confident and ready to go. We didn't even consider not sending him to the local public school.

It's a good public school. Possibly the best of the 20 in our district. And he did really well there. He can't wait to see who of his friends would be in his first grade class. He loves his school and he wouldn't want to switch.

But our Bear is 5 and we agonized over school for him.  Where should he go? Which school is right? Which program is right?

One thing I knew and these words actually came out of my mouth was that I would send him to public school over my dead body.

This was not about me having anything against public schools. In fact, I once thought before I had kids that I'd never choose a private school over a public school.

This was about knowing that it was not the right decision for our Bear. Once we thought we had a school that might be a good fit for him, I met with the Principal to discuss specific concerns. She helped decide which program to enroll him in and which teacher would be the best fit for him. I also met with that teacher before school started.

We're almost a week into Kindergarten and while I can't say anything for sure at this point, I can say that the choice feels right. That he loves going to school. "Thank you for taking me to Kindergarten, Mom!" he says. And that his teacher saying goodbye to him yesterday by saying "Okay, Handsome! I love you!" made me feel really good about this choice. He needs that warm and fuzzy.

So, he's happy and our First Grader is excited about starting his school tomorrow. Neither asked a thing about why they weren't in the same school. After all, they weren't in the same school last year either.

But, is our choice "fair?"

At orientation night for the private school, I ran into the mom of one of my first grader's friends.  Her son had been in kindergarten with my oldest but she was switching him to the private school for this year. We chatted but then she noticed that I only had one of my boys with me and it was not the one she expected.

I told her that oh no, only my kindergartener would be coming here and my oldest was staying at the public school.

Eyes that went WAY wide and then narrowed, a head tilt, a grimace, lips that parted as if about to speak and then a mouth that slammed shut: that was her reaction. I knew she wanted to ask why. But, I just smiled and excused myself as the line I was in moved forward.

Then, yesterday afternoon, we were at First Grade Open House. Oldest was introducing his brothers to his TA(who was his TA last year and very well knows who they are) and he pointed and said "He's in Kindergarten. But NOT here with me!" Cue same reaction as above.

Then his teacher was asking about my other boys, what grades, etc. When I said Kindergarten, she asked who his teacher is. I had to say oh no, he goes to insert name of private school here

Met with the very same reaction.

I know it's a choice that not everyone will understand. I know that it could be seen as not being fair.

But, I don't owe an explanation to others about the choices that I make in the best interest of each of my children.

And as for fair, I'm going to focus on that meaning that each child is getting what he needs.

Link up your Pour Your Heart Out post and then visit at least the linker before and after you.

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Blogger Meredith said...


Seriously... well done.

I am sending my oldest to Kindergarten one week from today, at the school that I teach at, and I am preparing myself to become the PARENT as opposed to a COLLEAGUE... and frankly, there are aspects of that that terrify me.

Thank you for this post, the timing of it....
It comes at the perfect time.

And one more time, just so you heart it again, GOOD JOB, Momma.

August 24, 2011 at 7:19 AM  
Anonymous Angie said...

As someone who hasn't had to face the decision of choosing a school yet, all I can say is good for you. Sounds like you're absolutely more in tune with your children than anything else. I'm sure there are other parents that may feel the same way about their children, but opt to send them to the same school for the convenience of it. I'm sure there will be so many more challenges to having them in separate schools and I think you should be applauded for putting their best interests first, rather than your own. Hope you all have a terrific school year :)

August 24, 2011 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger Maggie S. said...

Right. We homeschool, and know families who have private and public school students within the same family. I appreciate your discernment.

August 24, 2011 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger The Blonde Duck said...

I think that's fabulous. I should have been sent to private and my sister to public...but my dad wouldn't tolerate private education!

August 24, 2011 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger Victoria KP said...

Good for you. My boys, while wonderfully compatible are very different from one another. I definitely treat them differently--it's only fair :-).

August 24, 2011 at 7:43 AM  
Blogger Big D and Me said...

I struggled with the very same thing with my second. I was worried for years. When he was 5 I sent him to a hugely expensive Montessori instead of our local school where my oldest had gone. It was mainly my friends who kept questioning me on my decisions. It always amazed me since I never questioned any of their parenting (and believe me I could have). This year I decided to send my second to our local school to repeat kinder. I have my fingers crossed hoping we chose to do the right thing. I feel your pain, but you should be proud at doing what's best for your son.

August 24, 2011 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger JDaniel4's Mom said...

You know in your heart and mind that this was the right choice. I know you weighed all the pro and cons to come to this choice.

August 24, 2011 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

This is one of those things that you will just have to live with the looks and reactions, like you said. Because you don't have to justify your decisions for your kids to someone else. It also wouldn't be fair to Bear to explain the complex situation to everyone. Let them think what they want. You know you are doing best for your family. Since the boys are so close in age, it might be nice that they are in different schools. Give them some space, you know?

August 24, 2011 at 8:06 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

You don't owe anyone an explanation as to the choices you make for your children!

I couldn't agree more that fair is doing what is best for each child not making each child fit into a mold where they don't belong.

Bravo for doing taking each child's needs into consideration!

August 24, 2011 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

As a mom it is so hard to seperate giving each child "the same" from fair, but so necessary. I think we are actually doing our children a disservice if we lump them all into the same "fair" category.

This is something I preach every day to the teachers in our Early childhood programs at work. Fair is meeting the needs of each child.

Your children are so lucky that you are able to do this for them and guess what your boys couldn't be happier with the decisions you made. It doesn't sound like they feel they are being treated unfairly!

August 24, 2011 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger Oka said...

I agree that fair does not mean the same.

I have make these decisions all the time and am questioned by family. Even worse than being questioned by an acquaintance. At least you understand the acquaintance doesn't know the story, often family has a clue.

August 24, 2011 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

It sounds like your boys are very lucky to have parents who parent to their individual needs, strenghts and weaknesses as opposed to parenting the kids as if they were all the same!

August 24, 2011 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I completely agree with you that fair is not always the same. I think that the best thing you can do for your children is to honor who they are and meet their needs in the way that is best for each of them and you are doing just that. Your kids will grow up knowing that their mom really knew them and took their needs into account, even if that meant juggling different schools for everyone. You are doing what it takes for each of them to succeed and not worrying about what anyone else thinks. The best thing you can do.

August 24, 2011 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger The Random Blogette said...

"Fair does not mean the same. It means giving each child what they need." I so need that quote. We hadve to do some things differently with our kids as well, especially with my oldest and his emotional/behavioral issues and he always gets upset and yells how it is not fair. Sometimes we feel like what we are doing is not fair too but when you have a child with certain issues you need to make sure that they are getting what they need. Bravo Shell! You are doing just want you need to do and no one should ever judge you for that.

August 24, 2011 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Shell, you are such a good Mom. Kudos to you for doing what is right for your kids as opposed to what is popular or convenient. And as for the women who apparently have their judgey pants on? I would hope that they would realize, without asking, that obviously there is a valid reason for your choice and respect it.

August 24, 2011 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger tessica said...

What a good point, fair does not mean same!
And to be honest I can't even really fathom that reaction...every kid is different...why would they not have different needs! In my head they should have been commending you for recognizing those needs and providing for them instead of just hoping it would work out...

August 24, 2011 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

That quote is perfect. You are doing what you feel is the best choice for each child. You shouldn't have to explain your choices to others.

That look - I hate it! It sounds like the same one I got when I told people I wasn't sending my youngest to formal pre-school.

August 24, 2011 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Cindi said...

"But, I don't owe an explanation to others about the choices that I make in the best interest of each of my children".

Well said!

Just because two people buy the same dress doesn't mean they'll fit the same way!

August 24, 2011 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Katina said...

YEa for you on sending your child where he does best! I love that comment too, fair does not mean the same it means doing what is best for your child.

August 24, 2011 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

You definitely don't owe anyone an explanation. You do what is best for your kids...and the other people can get over it. Why would they care anyways? I'm glad you are doing what's right for each of your kids and like you said it might not be same for each one.

August 24, 2011 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger John and Allie Fields said...

I would have smacked the grimace off that woman's face. No, you don't owe anyone an explanation. Your family, your choices!

August 24, 2011 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger angela said...

Before I even opened it and just saw the title, I thought: "She's being hard on herself. Fair and identical are not the same thing."

But I see you know that :)

You know the best thing for your children. It's not like you flipped a coin to see who would go to which school; you made a decision based on their individual needs, which is good parenting and the most fair parenting I can imagine.

August 24, 2011 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Aunt Crazy said...

Several things crossed my mind when I read this.

As parents, we have lots of decisions to make and the odds are against us most of the time. When faced with a decision, I consider myself lucky to have only 2 choices because then my chances of making the "right" choice for my family is 50/50, when having multiple choices, ya know like 3 or 7, we just can't win Shell, we can't.

To those other moms, I want to be able to walk up to them and say, don't judge, SUPPORT, other moms, we need each other, and no one, and I mean NO ONE, knows every intricacy of someone else's life.

To you, I'm so glad you didn't feel the need to defend or even explain the decision you made for your family. It's right for YOU and YOUR FAMILY, and that's all that matters, and ya know what else...if y'all decide it's not right, you'll make another decision.

I get so saddened by all the judging we face and that we dole out. I'm guilty, I have my own opinions about most everything, but I'm learning every day how to keep those opinions to myowndamnself and to say to people GOOD FOR YOU!!! Instead of WTF because sometimes, I do want to say that but then I think to myself, it's not your business, you don't know all the details, so just be supportive, period, be supportive!!!

August 24, 2011 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Tara R. said...

I applaud your decision. My kids' school experiences could not have been more different. You're right, you have to make choices based on what's best, not necessarily what looks fair.

August 24, 2011 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I love that you know what is right and what each of your boy needs! As you well know, each child learns so differently and needs different focused attention.
My sister and I went to two different schools and I am so thankful for my mom doing it because I was able to get what I needed and so was my sister.
It sounds like both of your boys will thrive in their schools.

August 24, 2011 at 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

It is true that you know what is right for your children and good for you for following that knowledge. It is hard sometimes, I find, to not fall all over myself explaining the decision made. I admire you so much for not doing that :)

August 24, 2011 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

At least she didn't say out loud what she was thinking. That would have been even worse. I completely agree with what you are doing. Some kids just need a different type of learning environment. Send each where he will thrive. I think that makes you a good mom, not an unfair one.

PS Thanks for linking me up.

August 24, 2011 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Every kids has different needs. Don't let their funny looks and inability to understand concern you. It's not up to them to make the best decisions for your boys.

Go glad Bear is digging his new school! I've been praying for a smooth transition for him!

August 24, 2011 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger The Mommyologist said...

Doing what is right for your kids IS fair in my eyes! Every child has different needs, and what is right for one may not be right for another. As long as they are both happy and learning, then they are right where they should be!

My little guy goes to Kindergarten next week and I'm already nervous. I LOVED his preschool and would've kept him there till college if I could!!

August 24, 2011 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Renegades said...

I don't think any parent can be totally fair with their children we all do what is right for each child. It's fair that we look out for their best interest and what will lead them to success.

August 24, 2011 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Jessica {Team Rasler} said...

That quote has always stuck with me as well, first as a teacher and then as a parent. I'm glad you aren't letting other people's reactions throw you, and I hope that someone will have the courage and curiosity at one of these events to just ask why without judgment and let you say whatever piece of this you care to share. Because I would wonder why, would wonder if it was rude to ask, but only might ask anyway. Maybe if someone does, you can quell the looks within that circle at least. Or you can just smile inwardly knowing that your kids are happy and you are doing your job. Bravo!

August 24, 2011 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger The Jammie Girl said...

Good for you! That was a lesson we had to learn the hard way. We sent our oldest all the way through eighth grade at a parochial school, only switching to public school because we couldn't afford a high school that costs as much as most colleges. We fully intended to do the same with our youngest, but it just wasn't a good fit for him. I fought to try to make it work - fought for YEARS. Finally, when he was in fourth grade, I gave up and switched him to public school. He blossomed. Different kids need different environments, and what we try to label "fair" isn't always "best" for our kids.

August 24, 2011 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Kmama said...

I know it was a very hard decision for you guys to make.

I don't see the issue here as being about "fairness." I see it as doing what is right for the child. Who's to say that public is better than private, or vice versa?? The people giving you judgement obviously have a bias as to what is better, but that's their bias.

I'm glad to hear that he's liking it!!

August 24, 2011 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

That is a fantastic quote and so true. And good for you -- I would have turned into super mom bitch at those women.

August 24, 2011 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Eh, who cares about those weird faced people? All that matters is how your boys feel. And, naturally, if David Hyde Pierce would approve.

(We must all face his judgment.)

August 24, 2011 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Just remember that the people who give you crazy looks and react poorly have no idea what the back story is. You are a great mom to be doing what is best for your boys. Instead of what is expected.

August 24, 2011 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger RoryBore said...

you're so much nicer than me Shell...I'd be dying to ask, "was that a look of disapproval, or did you just fart?" seriously, why some people think its any of their darned business anyway. I find it odd that people with such young children, have such strong opinions. I mean, you're job as a parent is far from over yet -- they could still turn out way wrong -- so how do you Know in Your Knower, that you are doing the right things?

But you Shell, I think you Know in your Knower.....

August 24, 2011 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Working Mommy said...

That is such an excellent quote...fair doesn't always mean the same...it is so true. You did what was right for each of your kids - to heck with what anyone else has to say about it!


August 24, 2011 at 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent quote from whomever said it - fair does differ for everyone :)

August 24, 2011 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Elaine A. said...

Honestly, I might wonder why you have them in different schools too but I would just ask, if I knew you well enough, you know? And even if not I wouldn't judge you for it.

You're an awesome Mom for even knowing that this is the right thing to do for both of your boys.


August 24, 2011 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

You did what is best for your boy. Good for you! I'm glad he is having fun at his school.

August 24, 2011 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Kir said...

this is the 3rd time I am trying to comment.

You are a mom I admire very much, because you are doing what it BEST for each of your children, not treating them the same just because and I really respect that.

I have told you that I am adamant about the boys going to a Catholic school, but I am also very sure that we will pick one that is GOOD for BOTH of them and their strengths, this post made it easier for me to make those decisions with a clear heart.

I am so glad you wrote this, your sons are so lucky to have you.

August 24, 2011 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger finallyMom@blogspot.com said...

i hope to remember that Fair comment; it's definitely a good one. so glad to hear that Bear is liking Kindergarten! :)

August 24, 2011 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Dwija {House Unseen} said...

Oh Shell, we are so much alike! I don't like the word 'fair' at all. It implies that we are all the same. Have the same needs and wants. That the exact same activities will produce the same results in all people. It's so very limiting and sad when people base their choices and decisions on 'fair' because it leaves no room for 'love'. Kudos, mama.

August 24, 2011 at 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Denise said...

That definition of "fair" is spot on. Our kids have some trouble understanding that but we also tell them that is things were "fair" (meaning "the same"), they would have a lot less than they do and things would be a lot harder for them. You definitely don't have to defend yourself and I think you are awesome for putting your kids in the places that are right for them. Naysayers can just keep their comments (and looks) to themselves.

August 24, 2011 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger An Imperfect Momma said...

You are so right on. Each child is different, therefore each one needs to be approached differently. While my kids are not old enough for us to go through that, I witnessed many parents who tried to treat their kids the same - each situation with VERY bad results

August 24, 2011 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger jen@its all about me said...

You don't owe anyone an explanation for the educational choices. Parents always know best what is the right choice for their children.

Your children aren't one size fits all, right? Different kids different needs. I wouldn't be to concerned about the looks, you did good.

August 24, 2011 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Alison@Mama Wants This said...

They're YOUR boys and you know what's best for each of them. No one has a right to judge or question your decision. Kudos to you for handling things so well.

August 24, 2011 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger MrsJenB said...

Good for you.

You do what's right for your children. Everyone else can do what's right for theirs. Only you know what your kids need.

I have this naive yet glimmering hope that by the time my kids come along and start going to school, people will have learned to mind their own damn business. I'm such an optimist.

August 24, 2011 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Jessica @ My Simply Complicated said...


It's my opinion that a mom who plays it "fair" is probably not doing the absolute best for their children!

Each child is completely different (just like you mentioned) and to not acknowledge their uniqueness would be an absolute SHAME. I'm not saying that everything should be completely unfair and different for each child, but I think it's important to do what you're doing, realize that there are differences which sometimes means "unfair".

Good for you, Shell!

August 24, 2011 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Di said...

Yay for you for realizing that your children are not the same and have different needs. You don't need to explain that - you are just being a parent. I get the same look when I tell everyone I won't be keeping JB in gymnastics when he gets older unless HE wants to do it. Everyone assumes that just because I did it I want him to do it too. No - I want my child to do what makes him happy - not me.

August 24, 2011 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Minivan Mama said...

First I think I would have melted hearing "Thank you for taking me to Kindergarten" So sweet! I happen to think that is what just might separate the good parents from the bad...making decisions based on each of your children's needs and the Jones' will think!

August 24, 2011 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the comment about fairness, I hope to always remember that as well.

I can imagine that it would be constantly hard to be met with those inquiring glances and questions about why they would be at different schools, but you're absolutely right. What matters is that their each at the best school FOR THEM and that is not always the SAME school.

Good for you for staying true to what's best for them.

August 24, 2011 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger diane rene said...

so true - no one needs an explanation on why you have chosen to do what you do, and I love that saying about fairness.
we have a charter school in the area that, at one point, my middle daughter was interested in going to. we talked about it, talked to friends who go there about it, and when asked if I'd send my youngest there, I said, "not in this life time".
their needs are different. while one would take the challenge and run, the other would become discouraged, frustrated and suffer. to me?? THAT is what isn't fair.
it's not fair to treat our children as if they are all the same and require the same sort of direction and praise.

August 24, 2011 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

"But, I don't owe an explanation to others about the choices that I make in the best interest of each of my children." This is exactly how I have been feeling with a different situation with my daughter. Two different friends of mine questioned me about her after school activities. At first I felt like I had to defend my decisions, but then realized that I don't. She is MY child and I know what is good for her. They are only seeing it from their perspective, as an outsider.

Very well written post Shell. I am very happy for you and Bear, that you have found a good fit for him. And as I have read before, no one can know our situations or reasons, unless they walk in our shoes.

August 24, 2011 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger Mom of 12 said...

Seriously, is this anybody's business but yours? You don't have to explain your parenting techniques to others. They don't know your situation. People shouldn't be so judgmental all the time. It sounds like you know what is best for your kids and you are acting accordingly. Good job, Mama!

August 24, 2011 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger MiMi said...

You do what is healthy and right for your children! I hate that you might have to explain "why" to others, but I know that comes up. You can tell as much or as little as you want because it's not their beeswax. :)

August 24, 2011 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

No matter what you do people will judge. You just have to do what is right for your family.

August 24, 2011 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Just Jennifer said...

This was a really good thing for me to read because I think my hubby and I get too caught up in being fair. But our kids are 5 1/2 years apart so definitely what's good for one will often not be good for the other. So thank you, Shell!

August 24, 2011 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger championm2000 said...

As an educator, I can honestly say that we all have to do what's best for each of our children, whether that's public/private and/or a a different school for each child. Equity isn't equal. And fair isn't always equal.

August 24, 2011 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Courtney K. said...

You don't owe anyone any kind of explanation. My sister and I went to different schools, too. Her public, me Private. But that was for a wide variety of reasons. She hated Private School, didn't have friends there, and showed no interest in going to college after high school. I was the opposite and loved it. You are their mother and YOU have to decide what is best for them. And it sounds like you are doing a great job.

August 24, 2011 at 1:59 PM  
Blogger Rebecca Watson said...

I think it's great that you take the time to decide individually whats best for each kid. . . and as the mom, your entitled to do that. who cares what other people think. I think you've done a good job raising kids so far :)

August 24, 2011 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Lourie said...

Good for you! The one who knows best is the parent. Way to go.

August 24, 2011 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Good for you. It doesn't matter what other people think- you know what's best. I do want to say one thing though... growing up (there are 7 kids in my family) quite a few of my siblings had learning disabilities, depression, anxiety, etc. and my parents spent a great deal more time with them than with me. I didn't "have anything wrong" and was often overlooked. I know now that it was not intentional and that they had my siblings' best interests at heart. But, when you are young, you don't understand these things and often wonder why Mommy spends more time with sister than with you. Just be sure to spend equal amounts of time with each of your kiddos and let them all know that they are appreciated and loved. :)

August 24, 2011 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

Wow! We're in the same boat here! Our son has struggled in school since Kindergarten, he's in 7th now. Our daughter does well in school and is in the 2d grade. This year, we made the decision to give online schooling a try for our son, yet keep our daughter in public school. We were met with MANY puzzled looks and insensitive questions from our friends and relatives! It's so frustrating to me, as his parent, to have to respond to these questions. It's not about what's fair or normal or accepted standards...it's about what he needs. He was bullied (broken fingers) and had significant attention problems. His anxiety over going to school each day caused us alot of heartache and caused him multiple panic attacks. This is just a better fit for him...and us! I say, "HOORAY" for you for doing what's best for your kid! We don't judge others for doing what's convenient for them (forcing all of their kids to go to one school), so they shouldn't judge us either!;)

August 24, 2011 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

"Fair does not mean the same. It means giving each child what they need"

I needed that quote so badly.

Good for you. You dont have to answer to anyone when it comes to your children. As a mama, you make the decisions that are best for them. I dont know why other moms are so judgemental. Cant we all just be supportive of eachother?! Thats exactly why I love the blogging world. For the most part, you get the supportive mamas that tell you what your doing is right. And that your doing the best you can. Because YOU are doing whats right for YOU.

Great post! The best post Ive read today.

August 24, 2011 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger Emmy said...

Yes, espeically since they will never be in the same grade to your boys it is just one goes to one school one goes to the other, no big deal, end of story.
The adults need to follow their example

August 24, 2011 at 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Kimberly said...

You are so right.
Fair is not about equal. It's about the individual.
And I have said it a gazillion times before, no one, NO ONE has a right to tell you how to raise your children or judge you on your choices.
It's a choice.

August 24, 2011 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

Dear Shell, I read this earlier today and was struck by that explanation of what is fair. I love it because all too often I hear people say that fair is treating each child the same and I don't think that is true so I appreciated reading this. Also love how you don't feel the need to explain yourself...I have to get there.:)

August 24, 2011 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger adrienzgirl said...

Backseat parenting pisses me off just as much as backseat drivers.

You can't see what I see from the back seat of my car, and you damn sure don't know my children well enough to criticize the choices I make for one or the other.

I have children that are so different there is no comparison. That is hard for some to understand because both of my biological boys have ADHD. That's the only similarity they have. Even within that similarity they are completely different. One is easily distracted, while the other is the one distracting others. One struggles with grasping concepts that come easily to others while the other excels far above the normal children and then distracts others from learning because he is bored.

We make choices for ours based on their individual needs and weigh those with against and with the needs of our family as a whole. It's not financially feasible for us to put two children in private school. Putting one in private school would be a huge burden to the rest of us.

People don't have a right to judge you for the choices you make for your children or your family as a whole. You and only you know what's best for you and your family.

August 24, 2011 at 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Galit Breen said...

Shell, this is such an important post! I'm a firm believer in fair means we all get what we need. And as a teacher I doled out that advice all the time. As a mom? It's humbling to feel like you're defending your best parenting. I love that you keep your kids at the forefront- right where they belong! XO

August 24, 2011 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger Not a Perfect Mom said...

I totally agree with your definition of fair, and I think you're making the right decision for your kids..
But I can totally understand people questioning why one and not the other...being the nosy B I am I would probably just come right out and ask...regardless of how well I knew you or even if I did at all..
But there's being nosy and then there's being judgy...and the mom you know sounds judgy...

August 24, 2011 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

My first reaction to this post was, "It's nobody's business!! How dare they?!? Why are people so nosy?"

Then I realized I could see myself asking the same question (minus the grimace and judgment, of course!) merely out of curiosity - - to find out more and perhaps add to my own knowledge about local schools and what they offer...

But YIKES how intrusive of me!

I swear I wouldn't mean anything by the questions. Certainly not negativity at all. I'm just socially backward sometimes...ugh.

So if it helps you even a little, imagine those grimacing/annoying/ judgmental parents are just clueless and well-intentioned, then move on like you have been doing.

Because you owe no one any explanation at all.

Even dumb-asses like me!

August 24, 2011 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...

I think you are doing an amazing thing for your boys.

Since we (and I mean DH and I) are the parents of same sex children people automatically assume that they have the same personalities and the same needs just because they both have the XY chromosomes. It's ridiculous.

We had our 8 year old in public school and he had a horrible experience. Moved him within the first 2 months of Kindergarten to private school and he LOVES it. Now our 5 year old would do just fine in public school but he would be forced to go to the school his brother had a hard time with. I'm not a fan of the principal there or how she runs things so we've made the decision that all our kids will most likely go to the private school. BUT that could change.

The thing is, each child is different, each child has different needs, and each child deserves to have those individual needs met. Period!

August 24, 2011 at 5:46 PM  
Blogger A Glimpse of Gwendalyn's World said...

My mother, my whole life, always told us "fair is what each individual needs." We now work together and some one in the teacher lounge was talking about how she was telling her child life isn't fair. We just look at each other smiling, knowing exactly what we believe fair means. I now use the same belief with my own kids. We have to do what we believe is right for our children and that is fair!

August 24, 2011 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Love the fair quote!
Getting them what they need is what's important. Its not anyone's business if or why you send them to different schools.

August 24, 2011 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Kristin @ What She Said said...

I can honestly say that it would never occur to me to ask why someone in your position chose to do what they did. It would never occur to me to judge that situation. In fact, it would probably go right on over my head with a mental, "Oh, OK," and a shrug. Probably because I've never understood the debate over private vs. public schools. Just do what you feel is best for your own child and let others do the same thing.

People are so strange with the weird things they choose to hone in on.

August 24, 2011 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

The further I get in my treatment, the less I care what others think or what their reactions to my decisions are. When you do it with careful thought and intentionality, you know you did what was right. Yay you!

August 24, 2011 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Helene said...

I love that definition of fair...it's so true.

I have a friend whom I met at MOPS who has boy/girl twins. Each child has very different needs so they go to 2 different schools. People question her all the time about this, especially because they're twins and people just expect them to be together.

She gets the same reaction you've gotten. I feel badly that some people have no boundaries when it comes to this kind of stuff.

August 24, 2011 at 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Teresa (Embracing the Spectrum) said...

You did what you had to do for your child. What's in his best interest based on his needs. You are ABSOLUTELY right in doing so.

August 24, 2011 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Simoney said...

I love that quote; it is so RIGHT.
There's no way kids need the same things from us, or in life - they are all so different.
But not many people get that.
Hence that reaction you got... and will probably continue to get :(
BUT you know you are doing the right thing for each of your boys.
And in the en, that's all that matter aye??

PS I'm linking up my writers workshop post as it ended up being a bit of a PYHO... hope that's oK :)

August 24, 2011 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Ange said...

You made the right choice, and I am proud of you.

I wish I could say that I have a history of not being a "fair mom".

In 2007 our middle son was graduating kindergarten. He had made all the right grades to graduate, but he was at the bottom end of the passing scores. My husband and I decided that we would send him to a transitional first grade so that he could be better prepared when continuing school.

At that same time our youngest son was graduating pre-k. After the school tested him they suggested that he skip over kindergarten, and go directly to second grade. Since we did not want to cause emotional harm to the middle son we decided to just place Dade in kindergarten, and not follow the schools advice.

BOY DO I REGRET THIS! While we were looking out for Alex, we did not look out for Dade. Dade has now been in classes that he is much to advanced for, even with his independent studies and his gifted and talented classrooms. I really wish I could go back and not be the "fair mom".

August 24, 2011 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Ange said...

You made the right choice, and I am proud of you.

I wish I could say that I have a history of not being a "fair mom".

In 2007 our middle son was graduating kindergarten. He had made all the right grades to graduate, but he was at the bottom end of the passing scores. My husband and I decided that we would send him to a transitional first grade so that he could be better prepared when continuing school.

At that same time our youngest son was graduating pre-k. After the school tested him they suggested that he skip over kindergarten, and go directly to second grade. Since we did not want to cause emotional harm to the middle son we decided to just place Dade in kindergarten, and not follow the schools advice.

BOY DO I REGRET THIS! While we were looking out for Alex, we did not look out for Dade. Dade has now been in classes that he is much to advanced for, even with his independent studies and his gifted and talented classrooms. I really wish I could go back and not be the "fair mom".

August 24, 2011 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Good for you. Keep doing what YOU know is right. I have two kids in two different schools too. I'm fine with it, they're fine with it, it's the way it needs to be. The people at the second school (not the original one) are the ones who tend to look at me with the shocked expression when they hear my youngest is at another place. Like you, I just smile and move on.

We know what our kids need most of the time. Getting rid of the white noise telling us to go against our better judgment is sometimes the hardest part!

August 24, 2011 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Rach (DonutsMama) said...

That's hard. I remember feeling like my parents were so unfair with my brother and me. Now I realize that each child is so different and we have to meet them where they are. You know I only have one child right now, but if we ever have another, I know I'll be doing different things with and for each one. I just hope they understand. But you are right--you don't owe anyone an explanation. You're doing what's best for YOUR family. Judgement from strangers is nothing new--whether you have 1 child or 10.

August 24, 2011 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger mama marchand said...

I whole-heartedly agree with you. YOU make the decision that's best for YOUR family and for YOUR kids, regardless of what others may think. If your boys are learning, thriving, and are happy, that's all that matters. :) Go mama!

August 24, 2011 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Making those decisions can be so hard. You did the right thing for your boys and that's what's important.

August 24, 2011 at 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Robin | Farewell, Stranger said...

Funny that people judge things like that. I went to private school and so did my 3 siblings, but I know other families who had 1 in private and others not, etc. It definitely does depend on the kid. Good for you for doing what's right for them, and also for not feeling the need to defend yourself to other parents.

August 24, 2011 at 10:25 PM  
Anonymous JamieAnne said...

You're doing what is best for you family. It does not have to be right for anyone else but YOUR FAMILY.
I'm glad you already know this, but I also know it's nice to hear it from other Moms. Good for you! Well done! *hugs*

August 24, 2011 at 10:28 PM  
Blogger Deidre said...

I think this is so important to decide what is write for each child based on the child. My parents did this somewhat with my siblings and I which makes so much sense because we're very VERY different people.

August 25, 2011 at 1:48 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I LOVE that: "Fair does not mean the same. It means giving each child what they need." Best statmenet ever! You're right in saying you don't owe anyone an explanation.

August 25, 2011 at 2:06 AM  
Blogger DysFUNctional Mom said...

I had to learn that lesson myself a while back. My daughter & stepson are close in age but have very different needs. I had to put aside the guilt and worry over what others would think, and do what was right for my children.

August 25, 2011 at 2:24 AM  
Blogger The Blonde Duck said...

LOVED your couple story!

August 25, 2011 at 7:13 AM  
Blogger Lady Jennie said...

First of all I'm glad because I remember you didn't have a sure fit for a school just a short while back.

Also, people are so weird. Why not just ask why with an open mind and let people explain themselves? Why judge without trying to understand? Chances are if you ask the question you WILL understand.

You're a great mom.

August 25, 2011 at 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is great that you are the kind of parent who really invests time and energy to consider each child's individual needs when choosing the manner of education that best fits each child. There are a lot of factors that go into that kind of decision making and exceptional parents weigh those choices carefully, which is why the rest of the nosy nellies can mind their own beeswax if you can excuse the mixed metaphor!

August 25, 2011 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

It doesn't matter what anyone else says...you are doing the best for each of your children, and the only thing that matters is that they are happy and well cared for!! You are such a good mama, Shell, for caring the way you do. :)

August 25, 2011 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Heather H said...

I'm so glad to know that you were finally able to make a decision that you are comfortable with. I understand your dilemma and struggle, but only because I read your blog...if I didn't, I would probably react the way your son's friend's mother did. But you're right...you don't owe anyone any explanation. If your family is OK with it, no one else matters.

Good luck to Bear at his new school! I can't wait to hear about his adventures!

August 25, 2011 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger Joanna said...

Good for you! I can't say it enough - everyone and every family is TOTALLY different so you got to go with what works and what brings peace, whatever that is, for your family. There is no one size fits all to this thing called life.

August 25, 2011 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger Varda said...

Well, as you know, my kids both go to different schools, always have, always will. With autism & Special Ed schools you don't get the questions, people get it. But still, it's tough.

E's school is public, J's is not. At the IEP meetings, I clearly point that out, that J's twin goes to public school, and state that if the city actually HAD a program that would work for J, I would gladly send him there. But they SO don't (hence the private Sp Ed school).

I have a friend with 3 kids EACH in a different school (1 public, 2 private) because they each need such different things from a school / learn so differently / have such different personality styles. And 2 have some subtle issues. She gets a lot of fish-eyes when she tells people, but I back her up completely and understand & support her. She is giving her children each what they need. Does it make her life vastly more complicated? Yes. so what. Her job right now is "Mom" so she'd doing a bang-up job in my opinion.

I am so glad you heard those words about fair and took them to heart. They are wonderful and should be stretched as a banner across my doorway, because E complains a lot about "not fair" and it he would just get this idea it would help tremendously.

There's that wonderful quote about what constitutes a fair society - and I would say that this works for the small societies that are our households, too: "From each as they are capable of giving, to each as they need." (Yeah, this makes me a bleeding heart liberal, guilty as charged.)

August 25, 2011 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

AMEN!! Every child is different, and has different needs! I think it's awesome that you've recognized the differences and embraced them! I've often agonized over sending my youngest to public school even though I will never send my oldest back to PS. This year we kept him home, but you never know what the future brings. Great post!

August 25, 2011 at 6:25 PM  
Blogger Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

I definitely agree with you. I'm surprised by the reactions you got. It's too bad some people are that way. My kids are each so different and how I treat them may not seem fair either, but I know that I have their best interest in mind and that's what matters most to me.

August 26, 2011 at 12:35 AM  
Blogger KSK said...

Good for you - for doing what's right for your sons.. and not caring what other people think about it!

August 27, 2011 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Hines-Sight said...

I think this was a great post and shows how each child has different needs. What gets me is the attitude that some people have...that a private school is better in all cases, and they say, "I don't even have high expectations for the public schools." even if their own child is attending public school this year. They chose not to pay for private, but feel private would be a better school. That's probably the reaction the lady at the private school was giving. Did that make sense?


August 27, 2011 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

I don't see why it's such a big deal. In my last year of teaching, we had a set of b/g twins (we had 7 sets of twins in the 8th grade class that year...craziness). The boy was struggling socially, being inappropriate, and really starting to act in a manner that was not consistent with his upbringing. His parents decided in the middle of the year to switch him to a private school while the sister stayed...she was doing fine.

From what I hear, it's the best decision they ever made and he's doing much better. I don't know why people think it's so weird! I'm proud of you too...I'm going to use that quote in an upcoming post...it's awesome (so, if you ever figured out the original author, please pass that along...)!

August 30, 2011 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger Babes Mami said...

I love that comment you got, it's great and I think it will stick with me. You don't have to defend yourself to anyone ever. If they want to say something let them, he's your son and your choice to do what's right with each of them.

September 3, 2011 at 11:16 AM  

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