making decisions

This is the time of year when parents agonize over decisions. April, May and occasionally in June, I will sit down at my desk with a cup of coffee and at 8am, put on my headphones, and take 15 and 30 min. calls all day until 6:30. There are some days in April when I feel like I am an air traffic controller with planes stacked up over O'Hare. Parents circling, looking for a safe landing...

Many people call hoping that I will tell them what to do. I am afraid that I never will. You get pros and cons, the big picture perspective and occasionally opinionated parenting advice from me, but only you know your child and your family and what feels right in the end. I am not always right, just mostly. The problem is usually that there are two lovely options; the beautiful stand alone preschool and the third choice independent school, the perfect schedule far from home or the inconvenient schedule next door, ordering the public prek choices between the school you love that you won't get into and the one that you aren't sure of that you may get into, the dual language program or the sought after unzoned school? Next month it will be, to G&T or not to G&T.

Sometimes I bring to light some comparative data, clearly set out the two or three paths that these choices might provide or fill in a long term advantage or disadvantage. Mostly families want to make sure that they have done their due diligence, get a second opinion or talk to the devil's advocate. I am happy to oblige.

In the end I will always tell you to "go with your gut". I know that is easier said than done when you have two promising options. But heh! you have two options! Lets stop a moment and give thanks. Not everyone is so lucky. Remember if you have a delightful yet agonizing choice - you are going to make someone else very happy, because in most cases (although not necessarily at middle school) giving up a seat will release it to someone who is anxiously waiting for their own good news. Think of your decisive action as a gift to your neighbors.

Once you have made your gut decision, trust it. I recommend Edith Piaf:
But no tears will be shed

There'll be no one to blame

Let it always be said

We attempted what came

No, no regrets
No, we will have no regrets


If you keep thinking about the other choice after you have given it up, you will drive yourself mad. Make your decision and don't look back! If you have really chosen with your gut you will never be sorry, because what you did for love (that is another song) you will embrace. If you pick the choice that you "should" or that other people like or that you just aren't totally feeling, you will be sorry and dislike it at the first bump in the road. The one that "just feels right" will always get a little pass when things get tough. You won't mind rolling up your sleeves or giving them a second chance.

Remember, I am always here to say, "what's done is done. Where do go from here?!"

Infographic: How to make decisions