mom and teenager son, making hard decisions in parentingAs moms, we make so many decisions in a day. In an hour, in a moment. Most times these decisions are quick, without any real repercussions — which snack to pack in their backpacks, what they are going to wear, where you will go to kill time after school, or even what sports to play.

But sometimes, we have to make the hard decisions. The really hard decisions. The ones where we are desperate for the best outcome. The ones we continue to question even after we’ve made the decision.

Recently, my husband and I were faced with one of these situations. It was a decision that would not only affect our child in significant ways, it would alter our entire family’s day-to-day routines and schedules.

During the early months of my son’s third grade year, the daily reports he gave us were not good. His demeanor was changing. He was not thriving. We knew we needed to do something — we knew something needed to change. We knew we had a hard decision to face: We were contemplating pulling him out of the school he’d known for many years and registering him at a new school.

Changing schools would mean we would be separating our two children. We would be creating two dropoffs and two pickups. (We had whittled two down to one in the years prior as our children worked through the daycare and preschool years!) We would need to immerse ourselves into a new community. And this was just as his parents.

How would he feel? A new school in December! Would he be happy? Would he make new friends? Would he be scared going to a much larger school? Would he hate it? This is what kept me up at night. Was this the right decision?

We researched, talked with other families, asked questions, and asked some more. There were tears shed (mostly by me). There were conversations with our son, his teacher, the principal, administrators — basically anyone who would listen. After many sleepless nights, we made what has been one of our hardest decisions as parents — we decided to transfer our son, in the middle of his third grade year, to a new school.

The transition has not been seamless. We now have two school dropoffs at the same time, new teachers, a new community, and a new “second home” for our son. We are still navigating the “new” and will be for a while.

But we know, deep down, this was the right decision for him and for us.  

Whether you are making the “easy” day-to-day decisions, or the harder decisions — like changing schools, or moving to a new town, or getting extra mental health support for your kids, or navigating Early Intervention, or working through sleep or eating issues — we moms are our children’s decision makers. We research, we ask questions, we weigh the pros and cons, we think of everything before the decision is actually made. Sometimes, we get it wrong. And that’s just part of parenting — and of life. But, we can always hold fast to the knowledge that we’re doing our absolute best — and we’ll never stop trying.


Krystal Avila
Krystal is a Massachusetts native who grew up in the 'burbs and is now loving the city life in Roslindale with her husband and 3 boys (9, 6, and 1). She and her husband met downtown working at a restaurant together, and since then their love of restaurants has kept their date nights exciting as they try out the latest places. Learning Spanish has been something Krystal has loved ever since middle school, and that has become her passion as a Spanish teacher, wife to a Salvadoran, and mother raising her children bilingual. Loves: family, friends, playing with her kids, a comfy hoodie on the beach when the sun goes down, nachos, baking, Christmas movies. Not so much: loud music, putting away laundry, terrible threes, and black pepper.