Mother’s intuition is a term I’ve heard about but never really experienced. The stories I’ve heard of or read about are usually related to questioning a diagnosis that doesn’t seem to cure a sick child, or rushing to where your child is and saving him from a disaster. But this experience made me realize, that as mothers we have a connection to our children that is indescribable. Maybe it’s because of the 9 months they lay in our wombs before we brought them into our world that has bonded us together. Nonetheless, as mothers we have an innate ability to put our children before ourselves, protect them from any harm and make sure they are happy. Because when they are happy, we are too.
I’ve been busy the last couple of months trying to look for a school for my incoming 7th grader.
My eldest has been studying in a traditional, private Catholic school and it was only in the last month that I realized something was wrong. Call it mother’s intuition but I had a feeling in my gut that my son was not happy.
He would come home from school sullen and moody. He wouldn’t want to talk to anyone. The only times where I would see a glimpse of the boy I knew was over the weekends where a weight seemed lifted off his shoulders and he was carefree and would laugh and tease his siblings. Then once the school week would start again, my son’s alter ego would once again rear it’s ugly head.
He was reading more than usual, asking me to buy him more books. Three, thick novels a week! I finally asked him,“Where do you find the time to read your books?” He said, “I read in the classroom; then, during lunch I go to the library and read some more.” “Don’t you want to spend time with your classmates during lunchtime?” “Not really, because I’m not interested in what they are talking about.”
I also noticed the number of hours he would spend studying his Filipino and Araling Panlipunan classes. My son has always been diligent in studying; but I would see him study so long and study so hard on these two subjects, sometimes bringing him to tears.
This was happening for many weeks, and I would religiously ask him – “Are you ok? Are you happy? Is school ok?” And his response all the time would be, “Yes, everything’s ok.” I told my husband, “Something’s wrong.” But my husband said “If he says he’s ok, he’s ok.”
But that feeling I would get, it would just not go away. I had an unsettled feeling in my stomach, like a heavy rock was sitting there, unwavering and uncomfortable. My emotions and senses were on high alert but I couldn’t act on anything if my son said everything was ok. Then one day, I asked him.”How you feel today, are you ok to feeling this way for the next 6 years?” (The number of school years he had left before reaching college). That’s when my son’s face dropped and he shook his head, saying “No, I’m not ok to feeling this way for the next 6 years.”
Finally, an honest answer.
“Mama, I want to be noticed. I’ll never be a class officer or be on the honor roll. I’ll just be one of the other 42 students in my class.”
This was true; because in school, you can’t be an honor student or class officer with a grade lower than 85. All his grades were very good, except for the Filipino and Araling Panlipunan classes, which he was only averaging an 83 in.
I was amazed that at 11 he knew what he wanted and could articulate it. He realized that this school was hindering him from developing him to be his true potential and he was drowning in his despair.
I asked my son if he wanted to look for another school that did not focus on Filipino so much. He agreed. And upon discussing this with my husband, who also agreed that another school would be the best option, I sprung into action.
Luckily for his generation, there are many options. We looked at many schools, focusing more on the international schools. We had to work fast because the school year was ending and we needed another school before enrollment for the upcoming school year begins.
I left it up to my son to decide and he found one that he really liked, where he could belong, grow and is excited about learning.
My heart is now at peace as well as my stomach. It’s a new beginning for him, just like being a stay-at-home mom is a new beginning for me.
This once again validates that I am where I need to be because if I was still working, I would not have realized my son was suffering, and would have very easily ignored my gut feeling, and not be the mom that I so want to be.