One mom is getting real about how many working parents are dealing with the choice to either send their kids to school at the end of summer or keep them home for another round of at-home learning due to the threat that COVID-19 still carries.
Ashley Leggett is a mom of three. Two of her three children are school-aged children and while her husband works first-shift, she works third.
As Leggett wrote on Facebook, her two children who are old enough to attend school “WANT to go back.” But as every parent who currently has school-aged children at home right now knows, it’s not that easy.
“So let’s say I send them back. Well, now I’m selfish. Okay, so I keep them home. Well, now I’m depriving them of a proper education,” Leggett explains. And the hypotheticals don’t just stop at that.
“Okay, so I’ll send them. But we [have] to skip the family thanksgiving, the family Christmas, the birthday parties because my children AT AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM will come into close proximity with 20 other children per day. But I have two school-aged kids remember? So that’s 40 students. 40 DIFFERENT FAMILIES and we have absolutely no idea what precautions they’ve been taking through all of this. I obviously can’t expose my family members to 40+ other families, so we skip the holidays.”
And while that may be a sacrifice Leggett is willing to come to terms with, her kids may not understand. “They miss [their] family members, they miss the celebrations. So I’ll just keep them home,” the mom continues.
“But, I have a 7-year-old who struggles with her reading and I’m not an educator. I have a 3-year-old at home who doesn’t understand zoom meetings and tight schedules and just wants to play with his siblings. I’m a third shifter who will try her damnedest and sacrifice much-needed sleep to make sure her kids are logged in to the classroom on time. But I’m human. I will fail sometimes.”
“I don’t want to take that mental health risk, so I’ll send them,” Leggett admits. But then what about the teachers who are being put at risk.
“My child has a fever. Maybe COVID, maybe not. Do we have to keep him home for 14 days and quarantine now? Oh, a classmate tested positive? So my whole household has to quarantine? So now my husband and I both have to take off work and lose out on pay? Oh.
Well, I’ll just keep them home. But even though I work, I work nights. My husband is gone all day. All of their education will fall on me. I don’t have the support system to lend a hand. To help them learn. To occupy my 3-year-old so I can focus on the other two. So maybe I’ll just send them.”
“But what if they get sick,” Leggett questions. What if they get their little brother sick? What if she does keep them home and she fails. What if Leggett takes on the role of mom and teacher and her daughter’s reading doesn’t improve? What if she can’t find the time and patience? What if, because of that, her daughter gets held back a year? Will she be judged for the decisions she ultimately makes? Will her children resent those decisions?
As Leggett reveals it’s all of those questions and more that so many parents are struggling with right now. It’s not an easy decision and one that could be a matter of life and death not just for her family but for other families as well.
And because of the decisions that currently loom over so many families right now, Leggett says, “Hug a parent who has school-aged children. We could use a little extra love right now.”
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.
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