Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hyper Parenting vs. Satisficing

Over the past couple of weeks, Mr. Bee and I have decided to enroll the BusyBee in a new preschool/daycare beginning in June. The decision was very difficult for me, for too many reasons to list here. In the weeks leading up to this decision, there were many 2 a.m. feedings that I spent obsessing over the contents of mass emails, and many stomach aches that I'm sure were stress-induced.

Her new school is not that much different than the old one. It's actually across the street, has the same schedule and similar philosophies of teaching. After all, how many different ways are there to teach the days of the week? And yet, I agonized about it. I felt so much pressure over this one decision, one of many that I've already made and will continue to make on the behalf of my children.

For a long time now, I've been reading about the hyper parenting phenomenon. It's like we can never do enough for these kids, and not just in the "they won't get into a good college" ways. I threw a tremendous birthday party for 18 of the BusyBee's nearest and dearest a few months ago, and we'll be going to 4 similar affairs over the next 5 weekends. Seriously - I just used the word "affair" to describe 4-year-old birthday parties.

When we made the decision to send BusyBee to her current school, in June 2006, I was taking a class on decision-making. I spent my entire midterm exam analyzing that real-time decision, specifically on the concept of satisficing. At some point in every decision, you must finally choose, and very often you pick the thing that best satisfies your needs. This often means settling for less than perfection, but the time invested in searching for that elusive perfection would "cost" more than the additional benefit obtained.

I felt we had satisficed in June 2006, and I feel like we're satisficing again now. Some factors have changed at her current school that make the new one seem more desirable, but I honestly have no idea if she'll have any better experience for making the move. I don't see the new school as perfection. But I do know that my stomach doesn't hurt anymore, and that's got to be worth something.