Not feeling good enough for husband's family

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understairs
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Not feeling good enough for husband's family

Postby understairs » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:47 pm

I’m a regular user of this site but for obvious reasons have changed my name for this post.
 I am a happily married women with 2 children under 4. We’re both in our early forties and very happy. However my husband comes from a very different background to me. Mine is relatively humble, his is filled with professional people who went to great schools, good universities and have travelled extensively.
 His family are lovely, but this last Xmas I found myself feeling increasingly inadequate, particularly because I know how much value they put on education. They are very wealthy and rather naively (I think) beIieved that we would be educating our children independently. As things stand that isn’t within our gift but I have noticed that recently it seems to be becoming a bit of a ‘thing’ for my husband. There’s a similar situation with another family member although the ‘incoming’ is the male not the female and the ‘shame they can’t afford it’ view is evident. I think that we do extremely well by the national average but independent schooling is a different level altogether.  I don't want to feel not good enough for his family but I can see it is becoming the elephant in the room between my husband and I. We are due to see his family over Easter and I am already dreading what it will bring.
Has anyone else found themselves is a similar situation? Some advice would be really appreciated as it's starting to become a 'thing' for me too.

 
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Moonlightdawn
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Re: Not feeling good enough for husband's family

Postby Moonlightdawn » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:32 pm

I’m not sure if this helps but nothing is ever what it seems.

Just because his family give off this air of superiority over private schooling, it doesn’t mean that their life is any better or nicer than yours. They might very well be envious or jealous of your contentedness and happiness.

My young children are in private schools. My sister, who has children of similar ages , can’t afford it. Sometimes I wonder why my husband and I are investing so much in private education. Before anyone jumps down my throat, yes we feel fortunate and grateful to be able to do so.

I am **NOT HERE*** to launch a debate about the pros and cons of private versus state. What I wanted to say is that her children are thriving at their state school. Yes it’s an outstanding state school and I realise that not everyone is in that position.

Private is not always better. I worry endlessly about my children feeling entitled and living in a bubble. The global, modern workplace dictates that graduates can adapt and be at ease in all sorts of environments and cultures.

Have faith in your plan and your convictions. It sounds like you are doing a great job as parents and husband and wife.

A final thought. Might it be worth clearing the air and explaining how you feel to his family? Sometimes the best thing is addressing the elephant in the room as you say.
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Scientist
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Re: Not feeling good enough for husband's family

Postby Scientist » Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:34 am

I would discuss it calmly with your husband and maybe suggest airing it with your in-laws, when a mutually relaxed opportunity to chat together presents itself. You can sell the benefits of a state education and dangle the carrot that you are considering saving for an independent school at secondary stage (I don't know if this is realistic, but you can tell a white lie for now). If your husband's family are so wealthy and care so much about it, why don't your children's grandparents volunteer to pay the independent school fees ? This was very common in my day, I would say 20% of my friends owe their expensive education to their grandparents. 

By way of background, my family were all privately educated. My brother started his own family at private schools, but then had to abort due to a financial setback. He was petrified of state at first, largely I think due to the implied crash in his own socio-economic status. His children, however, were fine - but admittedly had managed to get into one of the 'Holy Grail' state primaries in Wandsworth. Many of his privately educated friends declared that they would have loved to send their children to that school. Moreover, as a previous commentator says, having a state education can confer brownie points when it comes to selective university entry, given the positive discrimination towards the less advantaged. Good luck. 
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SWMummy2014
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Re: Not feeling good enough for husband's family

Postby SWMummy2014 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:52 am

Putting the state/private school issue aside, I think this is more a matter of managing differences between the families we create and our families of origin, and where loyalties may ultimately lie.

Your husband should discuss this issue with you and come to a resolution with you. What his parents or siblings may think it’s not relevant. It’s not a matter for them where your children go to school. Obviously his views will be informed by his upbringing and everything that seemed normal to him in his family of origin. However, I would talk to him about the importance of creating new “norms” in the family you have both created that work for both of you.
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chorister
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Re: Not feeling good enough for husband's family

Postby chorister » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:43 pm

I think this is the saddest comment I have ever read on this site.

If you love each other and love your children then nothing else really matters.  Talk to each other about it, and if it seems sensible to do so then (together) talk to your in laws about it.  You may even find that you have imagined their attitude.

This is not really about private versus public education, but I went to a very expensive boys only public school and graduated from Oxbridge in science.  My brother dropped out of public school after two terms (cigarettes and girls in the local village).  He then went to the local grammer school and never made it to university.  I wager that if you met us today you wouldn't be able to tell which was which.  It just doesn't matter.

I really hope that it works out OK for someone so patently decent and sensitive as you.
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Denwand
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Re: Not feeling good enough for husband's family

Postby Denwand » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:57 am

Don't want to get into a state vs private argument.

Just wanted to suggest - if your in-laws are so keen on private, can you mention to them that it's terribly expensive and you simply can't afford it....

...but you would be delighted if they offered to pay for it!

This should put them in a "Put up or shut up" situation stopping any sniping for evermore!

In my situation with my 1st born - my mother offered to pay for private for secondary education, I had been privately educated and was ambivalent - my husband had been to a good state school  and was more than happy to go for state in my sons case - but was not against private (apart from the fees!)  :-)

 
My 2nd son passed the Wandsworth Test and was accepted for Graveney so we were more than happy for him to go state there.

Now they are both at University I have to say that my younger son had as good, if not better education than my privately educated 1st son... and of course it saved the approximately £140k in fees that my mother had paid!
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mum_1980
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Re: Not feeling good enough for husband's family

Postby mum_1980 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:21 pm

First of all. Remember, we are living in a bubble. Nappy Valley is a gorgeous place to live, but there's this immense pressure to go to private school, have a side return and a nice big car... You are living in that and then on top of that, you have your in laws who are well off. Maybe, just maybe, you are getting yourself all wound up for all the wrong reasons. You said it yourself, you do extremely well by the national average and it sounds like your family has a good life. First thing, is you are normal, most people in their mid-to-late 30s - who don't have the disposable income they had pre kids- start to feel the pinch and unless you are in an extremely highly paid corporate job, then living in this part of London is expensive and we can't help but compare ourselves especially when we have family who seem to be judging us. If I was you, I wouldn't bother explaining yourself to them. You don't need to. It's your life. The person you need to work on is your husband - let him know that you are happy and the kids are happy. You don't have to justify yourself to anyone else. I went to private schools my whole life (but they weren't as ludicrously expensive as they are now!), my husband went to state schools. We started sending our eldest to a private school and now he's in a state school as is his younger sibling. The point is life changes, expectations change - you have to work hard enough as it is so why worry about your parents in law and their views. In fact, in my case, it was my in laws who were aghast at first when we went down the private school option! For your own peace of mind, let it go. Wandsworth/South West London has amazing schools, parks, and our kids have a fantastic lifestyle. Continue doing what you are doing and don't waste time fretting about private school and what your in-laws think because guaranteed if your kids were at private school, there would be something else that you'd be judged on or worry about and life is way too short for that! You are not inadequate - sounds like you are a mum doing the best for her family. That is far from inadequate! 
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