Mothering Forum banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,521 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My dd is 4 and we recently became friends with a very mainstream mom and her 4-yo dd. On MDC I feel kind of middle-of-the-road granola, whereas this mom is just ultra-mainstream (no judgment implied here, it's just what she is). Every time we meet this mom brings up schooling. I've had other people do this before, and have never been met with "weirdness," for lack of a better term. I usually smile, give a simple answer ("different things work best for different families," etc.), and pass the bean dip. If they are interested, I'll talk more but usually we just move along. With this mom, though, it's like she cannot get her mind around it. Homeschooling has come up several times (I've only known her for 2 months, so this is kind of a high percentage here). She keeps bringing up the fact that we supposedly live in a great school district. I don't want to alienate her with the real reasons we homeschool (family time, freedom from schedules, travel, belief that we can facilitate our child's learning better than any institution, dislike of artificial learning environments, more time to volunteer as a family, religious reasons, etc.). She's recently divorced and works long hours so I even feel guilty saying something generic like, "We really want a lot of family time together." I'm kind of at a loss as to what to say around her. I know she probably hasn't been exposed to homeschooling much, and that I must have just blind-sided her. I was empathetic the first time this came up, and now, I just want to say, "Let it go, lady!" but that wouldn't help me out much either.

I'm really at a loss as to a diplomatic response, when she says something like, "You're really going to homeschool? Why??? You live in such a great school district!" Anyone have any ideas?

Also, while I'm at it, she also keeps trying to push me into getting my dd into the same classes her dd takes (like gymnastics, ballet, etc.), but dh and I fully believe that dd is not ready for this. This mom also cannot comprehend this when I tell her that dd is really uncomfortable being away from me and we would prefer her to wait until she's older (we are also Waldorf, so the idea of a gym class just doesn't jive with our personal philosophy, but I won't bring that up with her, just adding that in here for extra info.). Is there a good response in this situation when she says, "Oh, you MUST get your dd into xyz gym class. She'd love it!". I appreciate her enthusiasm, I do, I just don't want to do it. Help!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,618 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
I'm really at a loss as to a diplomatic response, when she says something like, "You're really going to homeschool? Why??? You live in such a great school district!" Anyone have any ideas?

"Actually our decision doesn't have anything to do with the particular district we live in."

Then I would reframe the conversation and ask them what they like about the district, how their children are doing with it, etc. and show genuine interest. People are often distracted by a chance to talk about themselves or their own children.

If she still pushes it, I would discuss your reasons that don't have to do with family time since that may be hurtful to her.

As far as the lessons go...I'm no help there. I was really into dance growing up and into adulthood, so everyone assumes I'll put DD in dance classes as soon as I'm able to. I have no intention of doing so, especially if she doesn't show interest and it's hard to explain my reasons to people.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
260 Posts
we have found that when we tell people the REAL reasons that we homeschool (basically the same reasons that you listed above), they somehow get offended for one reason or another (especially if they have kids that are the same age as mine and they go to public school)......so, dh and i have just decided to tell people "oh, we could name many reasons why we homeschool, but basically we just feel that it's the right choice for our family".

as for the classes, i would also be vague....oh, maybe someday....or we are considering some other options and we'll have to see where we end up....or i'll have to discuss it with dh.....or my daughter isnt quite ready for that yet......or it's not really in the budget right now.....or (and this would be my most likely answer) we've decided to opt for zoo and museum passes this year instead (or other passes...i just know that there ARE zoo and museum passes in pittsburgh because i'm really getting them this year lol)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
34,292 Posts
At that point, I would probably either
(a) come up with a pat answer and repeat it every. single. time. and hope she got the point. "Oh, thanks for letting me know."
(b) start answering her questions with questions-- "Why do you want to know?" or "Why does it matter so much to you?" (It's a tactic that has worked with people when they insisted on pushing me about weaning/breastfeeding.
(c) get blunt. "Look. I'm not going to change your mind and you're not going to change my mind, and I am finding this topic of discussion really frustrating. I don't think we should talk about it anymore."

Generally I'm all about the bean dip, but it doesn't seem to be working for you. I'm sorry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,604 Posts
My answer would be along the lines of 'we are homeschooling because it is what works best for our family' and if she pushes it I'd just have to finally say that our reasons for hs'ing weren't really up for discussion. I think you have been more than patient if she's brought it up several times in only a couple of months! Your choices and reasons aren't her business honestly, and friend/acquaintence or otherwise... she doesn't have the right to continue to be pushy about it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,262 Posts
it's none of her biz. she's not even a close friend, so her pushiness is rather rude honestly. if she persists, i would simply tell her your decision is made and it's only something you and your husband need to agree upon. sorry you're having to deal with that. hugs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,813 Posts
Ugh, that has happened to us and eventually we decided to stop attending. It sucks, but I just don't know how many times/ways to respectfully tell someone that I'm not interested in sending my son to school. It wasn't worth the weekly engagement because she would literally hound me...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,403 Posts
Just wanted to add that I agree it needs to stop but I'm also wondering what this woman's angle is. She may think it will benefit herself in some way if she can get the OP to send her DD to school. Sometimes it just helps to know what kind of person you're dealing with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,969 Posts
I had a similar situation with a neighbor. Her son is about a year older than our DS1. When her son was in K she started a campaign to get me to put DS1 in preschool and to plan on K the next year. She just kept bringing up all different reasons why I should do this. Toward the end of it she was almost yelling hysterically whenever she talked to me about it, and just kept saying "Why ? Why would you do this ?? " For some reason I cannot figure out it seemed like she had a very big mental stake in convincing me to send him to school. It seemed to drive her crazy that she could not "get through to me".

She had previously had a similar reaction to another family in the neighborhood who pulled their kids out of public school, tried a private church-based school, and then pulled them out of that to homeschool.

She is an extremely pushy person. Early on I adopted this response with her: "E is doing really well at home and I am enjoying it too. We have found a lot of support in the homeschool community. This is working well for us and this is what we are doing for now." I repeat this every single time it comes up.

This year would have been grade 1 for him and it seems like she's given up, at least for now. We haven't had any contact since the end of the summer. If it comes up again I will stick to my line.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,752 Posts
With that type, I think I'd just go for point blank. The basic "here's what works for us & how we honestly decided to do this route VS the mainstream" and truly be up front about it. Be very honest about the reasons why you chose that route.

And I'd not be shy at the end of our conversation, about how weird she's made you feel. She should know that. B'c its not ok to downplay someone else's choices, ever. Its so very often that threads about how a more naturally minded mama is trying to soothe a mainstream mama's judgement of them, or give then info to avoid judgment. This is your choice and she's undermining it without knowing why you made that choice. I'd fill her in, really, with her words, it sounds like she wants to know more.

If you know she is not looking for education and is just trying to disagree with you, annoy or persuade you, I'd probably stop hanging with her, yk? Sucky answer, but you need to look after your own mental freedom first.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,835 Posts
You know, it could be some personal guilt at play...you say she is divorced, working long hours, etc. Maybe somewhere inside her, she actually yearns fo rthe type of family you have, and so subconsciously, she talks about it a lot...like, she's convinceing HERSELF that her choices are right, moreso than you, you know? I've actually run into this a lot with the birthing topic....every once in a while, a mom who has been the biggest negative commenter, etc on my homebirth will finally open up and tell me about how she really hated her C/S or high-intervention hospital birth, etc. I think it's sort of human nature.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,521 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, everyone, for your replies and support. I love MDC!


I really liked the response about, "Well, dd is doing great at home now and we're both enjoying it." That's rather generic and true, and it sort of nullifies any guilt by implying that her choice of school doesn't meet my standards or something.

The more I've read the responses, the more I think that this mom is dealing with a lot of insecurity issues. She also desperately wants her dd (age 4) to have a friend, and I do think it's quite sweet that she likes my dd, although a bit odd because at 4, neither of our girls seem to really care about "playing together" so much. I think this mom wants to provide every "service" she can for her dd because she works so much, which includes not only memberships to every museum and zoo around, gym and ballet classes, but also the perfect "friend." I think in her ideal world she wants her dd to have a buddy to start Kindy with and go through school with, kind of like a lovey blanket. I understand that, and deeply empathize with that. It's hard knowing that you're sending your child into the world at such a tender age, and you want them to be happy and secure. My heart really goes out to her even if she is a bit insensitive and pushy.

Thanks again to everyone for giving advice and helping me gain perspective on this. You have all been so understanding. I really appreciate it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,288 Posts
Sounds like you've gotten a lot of great advice so far!

Your friend sounds a lot like a neighbor I used to have. She was just a very Type A type who really liked to organize things, from parties to other people's lives, lol! She was a SAHM who's kids were a year older than my respective kids so she told me "the" gyms, preschools, and whatnot that were the best and would often check to see if I had followed up on her advice. It was very offputting to me at the time because I'm very introverted and not that interested it what other people do, but I came to realize that it was just her nature. She wasn't trying to be obnoxious, and probably thought she was helping me out.

I hope her questioning tapers off soon!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,834 Posts
I agree with you that she's probably dealing with some major insecurities. We had a neighbor up the block with 2 kids--one a little older than mine and one the exact same age. After 5 years, her insecurities got the better of her and she just couldn't deal with us anymore. We haven't seen them in easily a year.

I was always polite. I was always diplomatic. And after 5 years, when she continued to fret about why she couldn't send her 2 boys to the same very expensive fru-fru preschool my son went to (that we could only afford 3 days/week but addressed my son's special needs), I asked her point blank: "Aren't you happy with the school your boys are in?" She said "Well, yes.." (as if she were ashamed to be happy with the less expensive school) and I said "Then why would you even be thinking about sending them to (my son's school)?" I then moved on before she could really answer.

I think some people's issues are never going to be satisfied. Her case was rather severe (she literally stalked me in almost every way to try to really "get into my head" and understand why we were different--it was borderline scary and even her dh had had enough). And really, I'm not in any position to be satisfying them most of the time--ya know? I have my own baggage to carry!!
At first I was a little bummed becasue after 5 years, they had a placeholder in our lives; but I adjusted and am finding that I'm much happier and much more at ease!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,472 Posts
I've been in your shoes and it's a difficult situation to say the least. I would just be honest and frank and probably say something like, "because it's really fits our lifestyle and it's important to me/us." And if she kept it up I would be a bit more frank but pleasant and let her know that this is a new journey for you and you're taking it one step at a time. That will kind of stonewall her. If she still continues, I would just tell her, "better than asking, to simply watch and her questions will be answered over time.

I belonged to a mothers group for three years with some nice moms. I was the only one out of 12 that decided to homeschool. The Excitement surrounding that first day of kindergarden was understandably in the air. Many were chill about my decision but a few wouldn't let it go and downright put pressure on me to go the public school route. I finally wrote a nice note to all and bowed out of the group altogether. It was a hard time and convincing my child wasn't and easy task as she got to feel the kids excitment as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,262 Posts
honestly, what i find most annoying in these kind of conversations is that i somehow feel obligated to be thoughtful of the person questioning me (trying to ease their mind and not make them uncomfortable), when often they are being anything but respectful of my choice (especially when they become a broken record about it). i realize some people can't wrap their brain around homeschooling, but they would be offended if i honestly told them that i cannot wrap my brain around public school. my children have never been to school of any kind, and the thought of them attending one is totally and completely foreign to my family.

i find myself simpy not telling people that we homeschool unless asked at point-blank, as the conversation can simply become awkward sometimes. when i tell others that we homeschool, i too often get bombarded with opinions, advice, thoughts, or questions that seem unnecessary and make things uncomfortable. i'm totally open to talking about it with people who are genuinely interested. but i don't like when people try & indirectly influence a decision that has already been made, and they question me or make comments as if our decision wasn't thoroughly thought out by my husband and i. i find that insulting, ykwim?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,157 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
I think in her ideal world she wants her dd to have a buddy to start Kindy with and go through school with, kind of like a lovey blanket. I understand that, and deeply empathize with that. It's hard knowing that you're sending your child into the world at such a tender age, and you want them to be happy and secure. My heart really goes out to her even if she is a bit insensitive and pushy.
That's exactly what I was thinking & someone else voiced it earlier. Do you know any other children in your area who might potentially be starting K at the same time? If so, maybe you could make an effort to introduce them -- "you have to meet Janey down the street. She'll be at the same school as your dd and they seem like they'd really get along well." Maybe she'd transfer her energy toward this other family then.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,134 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
Is there a good response in this situation when she says, "Oh, you MUST get your dd into xyz gym class. She'd love it!". I appreciate her enthusiasm, I do, I just don't want to do it. Help!
"Wow, I think it is great that you found such a wonderful class for your dd!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,604 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by elizawill View Post
honestly, what i find most annoying in these kind of conversations is that i somehow feel obligated to be thoughtful of the person questioning me (trying to ease their mind and not make them uncomfortable), when often they are being anything but respectful of my choice (especially when they become a broken record about it).
THIS! It infuriates me that societal rules make us think we have to be polite to people who are being anything but polite to us
Makes me wonder how they are ever going to get the idea that they are being RUDE, if everyone keeps trying to placate them and guard THEIR feelings?
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top