Dear Mouthy Housewives,
A good friend of mine recently put her daughter in private school. Our kids have gone to public school together since kindergarten, but she suddenly decided that it was no longer good enough for her child. That's fine, but she keeps making what I perceive to be superior comments about their new school. This bothers me because we can't afford $30,000 a year for private school, but I also happen to love our public school. But whenever I say something about how I think it's good, she counters with how her private school does it better. What can I say to let her know she's offending me?
Public School Mom
I can't imagine why your friend implying that your child is receiving an inferior education is offensive to you. But before discussing it with her, it may be a good idea to re-examine where you're coming from as well.
For example, you state that your friend "suddenly decided" that the public school that her daughter had been attending wasn't good enough. From where I'm sitting, there's a fair amount of judgment in that statement. Sure, it may be that your friend was one day resting on her side, with some servants fanning her and peeling grapes when she realized that the extra $30,000 a year didn't just have to accumulate interest at a paltry rate in her bank account, she could in fact spend it. And because so many things you order online take a while to arrive to your doorstep, what better and faster way to spend the money than to enroll her daughter in a private school! So she may be a show-off.
But it's more likely that she made what was neither a sudden nor an easy choice -- weighing the pros and cons of each school and considering her daughter's educational and other needs. Perhaps private school is a better option for her daughter at this time. In a few years, it may not be. For now, however, you need to give her the benefit of the doubt that she's coming from a place of doing what is best for her daughter and not from one of one-mom-manship. (Phrase trademark pending. Refrain from using until further notice.)
And then you need to let her know that just as she made the best decision she could for her daughter's education, you did the same thing for your child. And that if would be great if you could respect each other's choice without tearing it, or the school, down. Because quite honestly, there's no school in the world that couldn't be "better" in some way; no one school offers everything to every child. If your school has a great athletic program, hers may have a fantastic theater department. It's all about the goodness of fit, and there's just no price tag that can guarantee that.
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