Last week at my son’s preschool I had an interesting run-in with a fellow Mom.
Boy Q, as always, was headed toward the door while I was still unstrapping my toddler from her car seat. Every time we drop Boy Q off at preschool, Girl Q insists on wearing her own backpack and walking him inside. In true little sister fashion, she is already excited for school.
Her backpack looks like this:
I walked across the parking lot with her. At the door to the preschool, another Mom was on her way out. “Everyone have a super good day!” She called out as she sidled through the doorway.
She noticed my daughter’s backpack.
“Oh, how precious!” She exclaimed.
“I know…she has to wear the backpack every time we come. She wants to be like her brother band go to school.”
“Does she go here?!”
“How old is she?”
“Well, she could go to the three year old class!”
“Yeah, it’s a bit much for us.” (This is the point in the conversation I began subtly moving farther away from her…)
“What about just one day? That’s only, what, $150? And look at her! She clearly wants to go! She’s ready.”
“Yeah, I don’t think so…” By this point I’m far enough away from her that she shouted this last tidbit of advice over the din of children…
“Well, if someone has to get out there and wash dishes, someone should!”
At the time, I was in such a public place I didn’t think to respond, I just dismissed the conversation. On the drive home, however, I had ample time to be offended.
Who does she think she is?! She doesn’t know me, my family, or our circumstances. She’s assuming an awful lot of things about us, about me. I get the impression she might take for granted being able to pay for private preschool.
The worst part is that even though I know that she had no right to say that to me, I still let her words instill doubt and anxiety in my heart. I spent the whole rest of the day justifying our family’s choices. Truth be told, we are stretched paying for two measly days of preschool*, but Boy Q loves it and the educational quality is amazing. My parents help out with costs when they can. I’m not going to spend an additional $150 to $400 a month on preschool for my Girl Q when A) she can go next year and B) who has “extra” money? My husband is a diabetic (read–costs lots of money to keep him alive).
I have read countless articles about the Mommy Wars, you know, stay-at-home Moms VS. working Moms. Nearly every article concluded that we Moms should stop being vicious and judgmental. Instead we should support and encourage one another.
To the Judgmental Stranger Mom–I’m not going to hold it against you. Maybe you’ve got some baggage too. But if we end up in a similar convo again, I won’t hesitate to remind you that sometimes different choices are just that-different. Not better or worse.**
*Remember public school cost us $ too! Boy Q needs the external interaction this year and this was the best option.
**Due to ongoing computer malfunction (also fondly called Idiot Husband Syndrome), this entire post was typed on my phone. I formally apologize for any typos!