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to be so very jealous of my neighbours

(83 Posts)
abbyfandabby Fri 01-Apr-16 09:58:20

Ok not jealous.. their a lovely family. But so envious!! We became friendly when I had DD7 and she had her DS the same month, we went to the same NCT group etc. 20 months later we then went on to have our second babies around the same time too. She has been a great friend to know, without her I don't think I would have breastfeed my DC for as long as I did. Things changed when it was time for our eldest children to start school, I always presumed they would go to the village school together but they announced they were going to home educate their children. I was supervised and (selfishly) a bit disappointed for myself and DD as had been looking forward to sharing another experience with them. But I was happy and supportive for her, she used to be a teacher and her husband still is and I knew they'd be wonderful homeschoolers. However a few years on and I just feel sad and envious. She and her DC have made heaps of new friends whereas I haven't really clicked with any of the school mums. She has gone on to have two more DC (twins), I would have loved have more DC but DH & I decided we would stick to two as made more sense financially. I'm working in a part time job I hate and she is having the time of her life, she mentioned she had a blog recently and so of course I couldn't resist a snoop and when I saw all the wonderful photos of their adventures and all the fantastic things they do, booming social life etc I felt devastated. I doth have the time to take my children on all the amazing experiences hers are having as school and homework and jobs take over our lives!! Then I feel like a crappy jealous friend when of course I an happy for her. I just feel I've made the wrong choices in life by worrying what people think and doing the done thing and sticking to the road well trodden. My DC seem happy (ish) enough at school but they are already under so much pressure and life just seems such a drag and plodding along compared to my neighbours. They are talking about renting their house and going travelling around the world in a year or so. They live frugally and don't have nice cars or foreign holidays like we do but I can't help thinking I don't care about that stuff and they've got their priorities right! I know this probably makes me come across like a bitter moo but I promise I'm not really (maybe only a little)

abbyfandabby Fri 01-Apr-16 10:00:13

Surprised not supervised blush

MrsMainwaring Fri 01-Apr-16 10:04:19

Nah , I wouldn't beat yourself up . I suppose we all know someone we are slightly jealous of but remember things are rarely as rosy as people want you to think

Pollyputhtekettleon Fri 01-Apr-16 10:05:36

Stop looking at them and start making your life work better for you. Decide what your priorities are. Realistically homeschooling probably isn't for you? It maybe works well for her as an ex teacher. Make your holidays the kids of travel experiences you currently envy. Find some new friends with kids that don't necessarily have anything to do with the school. Revel in the hours your children are being educated and socialised without you lifting a finger. Sorry about the more kids thing. Is it too late to change your mind? Sounds like you are just stuck in a rut but do have the resources to change things.

msrisotto Fri 01-Apr-16 10:08:39

I know what you mean OP. I hate, absolutely hate feeling jealous of other people but it does happen. Everyone makes different choices in life and I suppose if you don't like yours, then it's time to change it. But if you wouldn't change it, you need to stop looking at other's.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Spandexpants007 Fri 01-Apr-16 10:11:45

You can do all those things if you really wanted to. Or you could just reevaluate your own priorities so that you all feel more fulfilled and happier. What changes can you make? What do you need to change in your own life?

The friends aspect boils down to meeting like minded people. What can you do to do this?

Jealousy is the thief of joy mind.

Fedup21 Fri 01-Apr-16 10:12:39

If you're not bothered by the nice cars and foreign holidays, could you give them up, give up work and home educate?

I know things aren't always that simple, but try to pinpoint exactly what is it about their lives that you are jealous of-is it the home educating? Is she more social than you?

pictish Fri 01-Apr-16 10:21:25

Ugh...sometimes I think blogs have a lot to bloody answer for.

HSMMaCM Fri 01-Apr-16 10:23:00

Try and remember that she won't be blogging about anything that's rubbish in her life.

pictish Fri 01-Apr-16 10:25:33

The blog, otherwise known as the edited highlights of people who want to be told they're marvelous.

RhombusRiley Fri 01-Apr-16 10:26:08

But I think in some ways her DC may not benefit from constantly having a whale of a time and getting constant attention (if they are - parenting blogs can be very rose-tinted!). I don't mean to sound cynical but you do have to learn to kind of plod along most of the time – that's life, and it's what most adults have to do if they're going to hold down a job. I also think it's good for kids to learn what they enjoy, how to amuse themselves and to understand that adults do often have other priorities. It's important to me that both my DS and my DD see that I work, and that their dad shares in the housework and childcare as well as working, so that they don't get a model of gender roles being different.

Also are you sure you would really want to homeschool? I know I would get very stressed. My DC would bicker and they are better off having their own circles at school IMO.

Spandexpants007 Fri 01-Apr-16 10:29:10

Looking at my sisters life you'd think they had a dream life. The reality is more normal with bits she would certainly want to keep off FB

Msqueen33 Fri 01-Apr-16 10:34:00

You'd hardly put on your blog about a shit day would you?! I get where you are coming from. It's hard when from the outside things look amazing and life isn't what you want from it. I've got two out of three kids with autism and sometimes I look at other people and feel so envious. Facebook shows an amazing showreel of life. Maybe plan more things for a weekend. Look to adjust your work. Hugs.

2016namechangecomingalong Fri 01-Apr-16 10:36:56

Remember that a blog is very much like Facebook.

People put in it what they want you to see, the nice days out, the successes, the triumphs etc. They don't put the row about the toothpaste, the fact child X is struggling with work, that child a actually hates child c and tries to pinch them if left alone in the room, the fact that they had to have pasta as they couldn't afford salmon etc etc (I hate salmon btw but you get the gist).

As a pp said, think about little things you can do to improve your life and hopefully that may help. But mainly realise a blog is not usually complete reality.

2016namechangecomingalong Fri 01-Apr-16 10:39:03

msrisotto - Comparison is the thief of joy - I had never thought about it like that but how very true.

septembersunshine Fri 01-Apr-16 10:41:37

Honestly? I wouldn't feel that jealous. Sometimes people project the image of this idyllic life but the reality is that you can't see behind the curtain. It just looks like that. I had a lovely, very pretty American friend and similar to you we were very close, had two children at the same time, lived close by. We were in touch every day. Suddenly our friendship froze because she got into blogging and up-cycling furniture. She became successful and she no longer had time for our friendship. She had all these new, cool friends. She is now in magazines. She writes. She bought the most beautiful house when we were struggling on, renting some rubbish, dated place we hated with our landlord lording over us next door (hateful situation). I was defiantly jealous. Now, not to so much. In the few emails we had since she changed her life she said her DS was having problems at school, she had issues with this, with that, her husband is tired and has a long commute to work to support them financially while she grows her business. From the blog you would think she had the most perfect life. Not the case. Maybe the life you see your friend living is perfect but I am telling you, there are dark things in everyone's life - she's just not telling. Maybe she's so hard making things so rosy she is not that happy. She could be acting her perfect little socks for all you know. One day in a few years time she might turn to you with the saddest face you could imagine and say 'You know what......' Don't waste your own life being jealous of hers.

Going forward for you, I think it's just highlighted that you need to make some changes to your life. Maybe just small things like making more plans for cool stuff to do. Not expensive. Just fun weekends/daytrips away or start saving for a holiday you have always wanted to go on - something to look forward to. As for the school, maybe try to get more involved. Find just one mum who you can relate to and that will make all the difference. Just remember that you can also do anything you want to - have that third DC? Move abroad? write that book? re-train? find a new job? start a business? It's all there for you. Nothing preventing you changing your lot in life.

abbyfandabby Fri 01-Apr-16 10:48:47

Thank you for the lovely comments. Cringing at the spelling mistakes in my OP, everyone is probably thinking oh dear she wants to home educate and she can't even spell! Agree a blog can be a very glossy version of reality but they are just next door and I often feel like every time I go to let the dog out or draw the curtains they are doing something brilliant like putting watching frogspawn turn into tadpoles, toasting marshmallows or lying on their trampoline watching the stars (now cringing at sounding like a curtain twitching stalker). Whereas I'm trying to persuade DD to do her ridiculous amount of homework and try not to think about how her love of reading and learning seems to be fading before eyes. DS6 struggles to sit still and concentrate at school, I feel guilty that he isn't spending his days running about at a national trust property or going to forest school group like the neighbours children. I was talking to her about how my children had/were struggling with phobics and she just breezily replied she wouldn't know much about it her children rarely have their heads out of books and had picked up reading 'by osmosis' shock I'm making her sound smug but she really isn't, she's always doing lovely thoughtful things for us which is why I am a massive twit for even voicing these thoughts! Thanks for the suggestions, you are all right of course.. no good will come of comparing us to them I need to take steps to make changes in our own lives. Good to hear others have similar thoughts to me sometimes, I do generally feel positive and grateful for the life I have but it's not so easy when you live next door to Mary Poppins/Maria Von Trappsmile

lljkk Fri 01-Apr-16 11:03:56

Home-Ed is fine, but it's not a picnic.

She gets precious few breaks from her children.

She has minimal identity outside of being parent & her own children's educator. When her husband betrayed my HEing aunt, was a helluva shock to get back to working world herself.

Any prejudices or anxieties the parents have, the kids get exposed to in spades: they don't get a wide variety of influences and learn to reject ideas by trying them for a while, including ideas their parents reject (Home-edders think this is wonderful, to shut out bad influences on their children's lives... never mind that their children can become huge bigots about 'other').

When the children ask for expensive toy/experience/foreign holiday/nicer car they get told "We can't afford it." One day the kids figure out that their parents lifestyle (home-edding, travelling, etc) is why they didn't have much money. Having little money was a lifestyle choice the parents made & the kids had to live.

Their kids will grow up to struggle to connect to the materialistic world around them, or the shallow values of some peers. This impacts their other life choices. Why would you go to university if you don't care about money, living a rad social life or getting a prestigious job?

DisappointedOne Fri 01-Apr-16 11:08:39

One of the children from our NCT group is home educated. No blogs or anything like that but I do find myself preferring the home ed ethos over school. (We're it not for wanting DD to be bilingual I'd have considered it more, I think.) We still meet up and while they love home ed it's clear that it's exceptionally hard work.
I've decided to go for a balance: DD goes to school but we spend a good proportion of our free time outdoors (where possible) and developing DD's interests rather than academics.

DisappointedOne Fri 01-Apr-16 11:09:58

Why would you go to university if you don't care about money, living a rad social life or getting a prestigious job?

Plenty of home educated people go to university just as plenty of school educated people don't.

ExitPursuedByABear Fri 01-Apr-16 11:16:46

I know exactly what you mean and how you feel, but in all honesty you need to give yourself a good shake, be grateful for what you have and get on and enjoy it. Make small changes if you can, but there is no point in regretting things you can't change.

I could make a long list of all the wrong decisions I have taken in life, but then I look at what I have compared to others and thank whatever god there is that I am not lots of other people's shoes.

BluePancakes Fri 01-Apr-16 11:18:22

Seriously, lljkk have any more sweeping generalisations to throw into the mix? hmm

When the children ask for expensive toy/experience/foreign holiday/nicer car they get told "We can't afford it." One day the kids figure out that their parents lifestyle (home-edding, travelling, etc) is why they didn't have much money. Having little money was a lifestyle choice the parents made & the kids had to live.
Growing up I was told this ALL the time - because my parents chose to put me and my sister through private school. It's not just limited to HE kids...

abbyfandabby I HE my kids and honestly, I love it, but it isn't always a bed of roses. I totally agree with the PP who said that comparison steals joy. It does. But, if you did want more info about HE just to see whether it was viable for you or not, feel free to PM me. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to see an OP on MN about HE that wasn't all derogatory and snidey. smile
Oh and YANBU to be envious - we all have people who we envy at least in parts.

MadSprocker Fri 01-Apr-16 11:20:24

You are acknowledging and recognising your feelings, which is a good step. The majority of us parents can only do those things when we are on holiday or at weekends. My children are currently moaning that they are having to tidy their rooms because we have visitors grin. When we have the visitors are here is when we are going to do the fun stuff. I can see the benefits of homeschooling, but I wouldn't do it, and I'm a teaching assistant! That's because I need to work IYSWIM? Are you a National Trust member? That could be a good start for holiday and weekend stuff. Perhaps look on websites for local parks and see if there are any activities going on.

BarbaraofSeville Fri 01-Apr-16 11:21:12

Things like watching frogspawn turn into tadpoles, toasting marshmallows, visiting National Trust forests or lying on their trampoline watching the stars, aren't very expensive or time consuming, so there's nothing to stop you doing those things yourself. Like Disappointed says, try to spend more time outdoors. Maybe get a NT pass and make a point of going to one or two new places or more each month?

Home Educating must be incredibly difficult and time consuming to keep up with, plus general household running and parenting, unless perhaps you are an ex teacher.

And there are lots of reasons about how they can afford it, so there's no point speculating. I used to know someone who was mortgage free in his 20s, which was a source of envy amongst many, until you found out that it was because his DWs first husband was killed in an accident at work and she had received a relatively large payout. She also found herself a widow with 2 young DCs in her mid 20s.

Maybe there are lots of things that your neighbour doesn't have, that you consider essential? Look into 'living simply' - it is easy to see so many of the trappings of modern living as 'essential' when they are really optional and you can save hundreds a month if you don't have them (things like food and drink out of the house, lots of new clothes, expensive phone and TV contracts, lots of home decoration etc).

coffeeisnectar Fri 01-Apr-16 11:21:18

If you and your DH both have a free day at the weekend why not make that day your 'home ed day'?

You can join the local wildlife trust (I got a letter from ours yesterday saying they are doing free guided walks for new members) and they do loads of free or very cheap events.

We got frogspawn from freecycle last year (someone had mountains of the stuff - must have very amorous frogs in their garden) and we put it in shallow containers in the garden and the kids checked it every night and watched them changing from spawn to tads to little frogs. DD2 was in charge of making sure the water level didn't drop too much. It's something you can still do at home.

There is a lot you can do at weekends and if you gave up the foreign holiday then you could do even more each week. We don't go abroad but we do go camping for a week and it means we have a bit extra for day trips out and a lot of what we do is free.

I couldn't home educate in a month of sundays. Yes, I'm enjoying having my DC home for the two weeks holidays but by a week on monday I'll be desperate to get them back to school so I can tidy the house properly and have a bit of peace and quiet!

We've been away for a couple of days and got back late last night. We only went to Ipswich for teens university interview but we had fun, saw a new place, went swimming, ate out and then dropped in to see family on the way home. We are knackered today but if we were doing things like that all the time, I'm not sure it would be special. As it is, we will remember this because it was out of the ordinary.

If your DC were at home doing all these things every day, it would be normal. It wouldn't be something special they remember. We went den building once on Brownsea Island and my DC still talk about it, the fun they had, the peacocks which tried to nick our food and the way the boat took ages getting back because the tide was low. I think they would become very bored very quickly if this was an every day occurrence!

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