What an absolute thrill it is to have Rebecca Walsh guest posting for us today! Rebecca is a crazy hiking Mom who hauls her two young children up and down mountains almost daily. She owns Just Trails, with her husband and writes trail guides in Southeastern Wyoming and Northern Colorado. Rebecca also runs the popular blog, Hike Like A Woman and is getting ready to launch two more projects, Moms Who Hike and The Great Adventures Podcast this fall.
If your Facebook feed has been anything like mine lately it’s been full of adorable preschoolers standing on the front porch of their perfectly manicured homes holding signs proving that they are indeed heading off to their first day of Pre-K.
For the second year in a row I’ve chosen to keep my 4 year old out of preschool.
I’m sure the socialization would do him some good, and I know that it’d be great if a professionally trained teacher were to help him learn to write his name. But he’s my little buddy, my friend. I love hanging out with him. I have one more year to have adventures with him before he’ll grab his pint sized backpack full of new school supplies and head off into the classroom.
As I was sorting through my feelings regarding preschool I was conflicted.
• Am I wrong to keep my child out of preschool?
• Is he really going to be ready for kindergarten?
• What have I become? Since when do I really care about these things anyway?
So I did what I usually do when I have a lot on my mind. I took my kids and headed to the mountains for a morning on the trails. We had a fantastic time, splashing in two different high alpine lakes and then hiking to a beautiful waterfall.
But it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t get over my mixed feelings about preschool.
When I got home I plastered a photo of my child standing in a beautiful canyon on Instagram and wrote out exactly what I was feeling.
“Sometimes I wonder if I should put my 4-year-old in preschool. Am I selfish for wanting to keep him out of the classroom and in the mountains with me instead? Is he learning about plants and animals, the weather, our natural world and environmental stewardship when we hike together? Or should he be learning how to read, write and share toys with others instead?”
A good friend from high school chimed in with exactly what I needed to hear.
“Tell Mom guilt to beat it,” she wrote.
There is so much truth in these six words.
Why do we, as mothers, feel guilty for the decisions that we make for our children? Aren’t we all just trying to do the very best that we can do for our families in the first place?
Why do we compare ourselves to others? Why on earth was I caring so much about preschool?
It’s time to put our phones down and step away from the Facebook feed and the staged Instagram photos. We need to look into the eyes of our children, give them a smile and a hug and release the Mom guilt.
I don’t have a photo of my child standing on by the front door ready to start preschool. But I do have a photo of my child standing in the canyon of a mountain. That’s just what’s best for my family, right now.
It’s hard to let go of the Mom guilt, the feeling that we’ll never be good enough or make the right decisions for our children. But deep down we know what’s best for each and every one of them, because we made them.
Rebecca Walsh is a crazy hiking Mom who hauls her two young children up and down mountains almost daily. She owns Just Trails, with her husband and writes trail guides in Southeastern Wyoming and Northern Colorado. Rebecca also runs the popular blog, Hike Like A Woman and is getting ready to launch two more projects, Moms Who Hike and The Great Adventures Podcast this fall.