Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

It was a quiet hallway, with just a few chairs sitting outside each door. The usual chatter and giggles of preschool children was absent on this day. Instead, an eerie silence enveloped the space. I found myself nervously tapping my foot as I sat outside my daughter’s classroom, waiting for what felt like judgment day. Was my daughter ready for Kindergarten or should we hold her back?

It was just one year ago when I left this very same hallway in tears, realizing my daughter struggled with things that might come easier to other children. It’s with good reason, I reminded myself. My daughter is our lone surviving triplet, born more than 17 weeks premature. Weighing only one pound, her frail lungs and heart made us unsure of whether she would even survive the first night. She not only survived, she has thrived.

A year ago, she was mostly “average” and her speech appeared to be the biggest hurdle. Like many other children, she knew what she wanted to say, but her brain couldn’t communicate quickly with her mouth. For most of her life, my husband and I assumed we would hold our daughter back in school. We never thought our “22 weeker” would catch up to her peers. Most babies born as young as she was face a lifetime of physical and developmental disabilities. Not our child. In the past year, our daughter has gained confidence, matured and surprised us academically.

As my mind wandered to last year’s meeting, my daughter’s preschool teacher called my name. I walked inside the classroom and sat in a seat, in the same place where my daughter loves to learn. We began to pore through her progress over the past few months. Her writing, her comprehension and her communication were all being judged. It was only preschool, yet I felt as if her future was being laid out like a college entrance application.

“Your daughter is testing average, or above average in some areas,” my daughter’s teacher said. “I think your child is ready for Kindergarten.”

The tears welled up as the teacher shared news we never expected to hear. We chatted about my child’s future and I left down the hallway in a haze of happiness. Even though we were ecstatic in that moment, my husband and I now face a dilemma—do we send our daughter to school on time?

The more Kindergarten becomes part of my vocabulary, the more I hear about the “Kindergarten Debate”. Everyone seems to have an opinion about whether my child is ready for school and they seem to come out of the woodwork to share it. Friends, family, even strangers at the grocery store have offered a plethora of unsolicited advice. Yes, my daughter will be 5 years old before the cut-off, yes she has an early summer birthday. Yes, I know that there is nothing wrong with holding her back. The random advice is enough to make my head explode!

Here’s the thing: my husband and I are her parents. We know our child better than anybody else and we will always have her best interest at heart. As I am told what I should and shouldn’t do with my child, it makes me question my parenting. Am I a bad parent if I decide to send my child to Kindergarten on time? Or am I hurting my daughter’s growth if I give her another year of preschool? Would it be the end of the world if she ends up repeating Kindergarten? There are so many unanswered questions, but that’s part of life. Parenting is not easy. It’s full of following your gut and being okay with making mistakes. That’s what makes us better parents, we learn and adjust along the way.

Each child is different. What might work for one kid, may not work for another. My husband and I have some big decisions to make in the coming months. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to the Kindergarten debate and I know most people mean well. But in the end, the opinions that matter the most are my husband’s and my own. Our daughter is achieving more than we ever imagined and we’ll always be proud of her, no matter what her future entails.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Stacey Skrysak

Stacey Skrysak is a local television news anchor in Illinois, but her proudest role is becoming a mom after years of infertility. Stacey is mother to a 22-weeker surviving triplet and two angels. Even though two of her children were only alive for a short time, her triplets have touched thousands of people around the world. Through her blog, Stacey has become a voice for infertility, premature birth and child loss. These days, she sprinkles in the trials and tribulations of raising a daughter, who was once nicknamed “The Diva of the Nicu.”

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

Go Easy On the Parents Who Refuse to Skip Naps

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two little boys and their sister walking down a gravel road, color photo

Greetings from a mom who is done with napping children. It’s great to have the flexibility during the day for longer activities, meeting friends for playdates, or day trips to faraway places. It’s a new life . . . the life without naps. The freedom to make plans and keep them. But not that long ago, I was something very different than the flexible, plan-keeping, up-for-it woman I am today. I used to be the mom who refused to skip my child’s nap. Yep, that one. Here’s the thing, for a lot of parents, It’s so much more than just a...

Keep Reading

My Heart Isn’t Ready for You to Stop Believing in Santa

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing in front of lit christmas tree

“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine. Immediately, my heart sank.  This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.  I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, This Is My Wish for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugs three kids

To my kids, The world you’re stepping into is unlike anything I experienced at your age. It’s fast-paced, interconnected, and sometimes overwhelming. But within this chaos lie countless opportunities for growth and joy. My wish for you is that you find the perfect balance between embracing the modern world and staying true to yourselves. Change is one thing you can always count on. Embrace it because it’s often the motivation for growth. Embracing change doesn’t mean letting go of who you are; rather, it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself. Remember, you don’t need to have all the...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is a Million Little Letting Gos and Fresh Hellos

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with child on her lap by the setting sun and water

I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season. I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Stay Wild

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach, color photo

I can’t really put my finger on it. Or manage to find all the words. But there’s just something about that girl. Maybe it’s the way her hair sits tangled. Curled up at the end. The way she moves. Dances. As if everyone was watching. Or no one at all. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine It could be the way she smiles. With her heart. The way only she can. The way she cares, loves. For everyone. For herself. You see, she is beautiful in the way only wild things are. The way they...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading