Originally Posted by Ellien C
I could be spending MORE money to send my kid to private school, but overall, I value saving for my retirement. My public school, while not the best money can buy is adequate. I could be sending my baby to the Montessori day care with a ratio of 2:1 and a cost of $20,000 but overall, the small religious center within walking distance to my house is fine. My school-age child in not enrolled in all of those extra curricular activities either. We could be doing that. I think every mother gets to draw the line at what care, involvement etc she think is appropriate for her child, short of what the law defines as abuse. And I think every mother deserves to do that free of judgement from other people.
Trust me (sorry I know it's not fair to provide insufficient info in a post like this, I just don't know how to provide details without feeling like I am violating my friend's privacy or, worse yet, leaving her vulnerable to identification by other friends who may read this) this situation does not involve decisions like the ones you've described. As I noted in a previous post, I have a huge circle of parent friends who all take different approaches to their decisions and I wouldn't even blink at any of them - this one goes way beyond the usual spectrum of parenting styles and raises a lot of red flags. I've thought about some of the things I've witenessed long and hard - I feel that it's not a case of abuse or neglect but some things are still very troubling. And like I said, my friend has litterally expressed that she doesn't think her kids are worth as much because they came to her as damaged goods. She's said this in different ways on more than one occasion. This is not merely a case of my interpretation of things, though that is part of it.
I am concerned about my own perspective here or I wouldn't have posted the question but overall I don't think this is a matter of me being a horribly judgemental person. Curious and moderately nosy just like most other human beings, yes. I agree entirely that every parent deserves the right to make decisions without the judgement of others but in reality, that's not how our brains work. We are parents, we think about parenting A LOT, perhaps constantly especially when we're new at it. If we're to be entirely honest here, it's not really something we can turn off. I have no doubt that my friends wonder about some of my actions and maybe even chit chat about them from time to time. As long as its relatively respectful, to me it's human nature. We look to others to learn from them and to evaluate ourselves in comparison. I think there is a big difference between punishing someone in response to a decision they've made that they were fully entitled to make (by ostrasizing them socially or bringing sanctions against them in some way) and thinking a bit about why they made the decision they made.
Back to the case at hand,
I am feeling disappointed and frustrated with my friend on a variety of levels and that is what this thread has been wonderful for - to sort out my friendship issues (where I have been too harsh I think) from my concern for the wellbeing of the children, which remains genuine and, the more I think about it, I beleive well-founded.
What to do about these feelings and concerns remains an unknown - probably I'll do absolutely nothing other than to accept the situation, as long as it doesn't deteriorate. At the very least, reading the range of responses here has really helped me to clear my head about this and for that I am deeply appreciative.