Monday, 31 March 2008

A working mum's dilemma

Last week we received the letter from our local authority offering daughter a place at our local primary school. Why is this a dilemma?

Well, I had assumed that daughter would go to into reception class at said school (where she already attends afternoon nursery), continue to go to fabulous chilminder (FC) who would drop daughter at school and collect her giving her continuity of care.

Silly, silly me for assuming. Circumstances change. FC now says that she can't take daughter to school as the other boy she cares for only arrives at 9.00am. Also, she wishes to go part-time soon with a view to retiring, so she wouldn't be providing continuous care for daughter during her primary years anyway.

So, sending daughter to local primary school would necessitate a change of childcare or abandon daughter in before and after school clubs (I know, I exaggerate, my neice loves hers). My working mum guilt is now in overdrive. My sister-in-law did say that being a working mum is easy until they go to school. She warned me!

However, there is another option. Daughter could attend my school. It is an independent (private) school for pupils aged 3 - 18. Daughter could come to school with me. I could be a proper mum dropping her off and picking her up. I'm on site should she be injured or ill. I can even pop over for Nativity Play and Sports Day (providing I can find someone to cover my lesson for half an hour). What is the problem, I hear you say?

Well, all her classmates would be scattered across the far reaches of Cheshire and not around the corner. Oh, and it would also be 14 years of school fees!

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Sometimes I wish I was a proper (stay at home) mum and not bothering with this silly 'have it all' notion!

What to do, what to do?

Well, I interrogated all the members of staff I could about where their children went to school and why. The ones with children in local primaries were the part-time teachers who worked few enough hours to manage it and hence couldn't afford the fees anyway. The ones with children at my school had very positive comments and were undoubtedly happy with their choice.

Finally one colleague clinched it. She said,
  1. Our school had been the making of her children. They had been nurtured and encouraged and their teachers had brought out the best in them.
  2. It's hard enough being a working mum, why make it harder for yourself?
So, the letter is going to the authority to say thanks, but no thanks. Daughter has been for assessment at my school, been offered a place and we've accepted (oh, and filled out the direct debit form that means we'll be broke for the next 14 years).

I guess I should be grateful that I'm lucky to have this option. Other working mums have much more difficult situations than mine. But I still worry that we've made the right decision. Only time will tell. I suppose that is the lot of the working mum!


the mother of this lot said...

I was just about to say 'no contest', but you'd already decided!

Amanda said...

School is a tough decision no matter where your work is. We would like to be able to put our kids in a private school, but with 4 you can see how that is not really an option. I think you made the perfect choice.

echoeve said...

It is a really hard choice as to where to send your children.

Which path do I choose. Which way to turn.

Don't be so hard on yourself. If you choose a path that you don't agree with later you can always change your mind right?

Sass E-mum said...

Gulp. Makes Ellie's shoes look like a bargain.

Of course you could always send your daughter to a grammar or bog standard comp a little later on. He he. But you won't will you?

jakelliesmom said...

Being an at home mom has its drawbacks as well. I am in your shoes with private school tuition. I try not to think about it, and focus instead on the wonderful education my children receive, and not on all the vacations we won't take or the home we won't remodel.