My sweet husband is a teacher and coach at a private school. He loves his job and I believe he is exceptional at it. Our three children attend this school and for this reason, I feel like I am daily walking a precarious line. Am I wife, mother or consumer? When is it okay for me to open my rather large mouth, and when do I have to bite my bloody tongue?
Lately this has become a more complex issue for me as I have sincerely begun to grasp adult female friendships and pursue them. This means that I am getting to know my kids' classmates' parents (so possessive I'm sure it's wrong). But I always have at the back of my mind the nagging worry that I will say something I shouldn't, tell someone the wrong bit of info, complain about the wrong homework assignment.
I joined a book club of women whose children are in my husband's class, and while they assure me that they love him and their kids love him, I am not naive enough to think everyone thinks his personality shines like the full moon. In fact, I'm sure that some parents think he's too tough on homework, too serious about uniforms and may not be playing their kid enough in the game.
And then there's the identity issue. I am happy to be affiliated with my husband. But I am not defined by his job, the respect or lack thereof people may have for him. I also am not living and dying by all things child related. So it's great they like him, great that we can get to know each other. But I would like to be known as me.
Finally there is a financial dichotomy. It is a private school; my kids are on financial aid, and I'm fine with that. I am happy, most of the time, with the decisions we have made, and it has been a sacrifice. There are times when I pull into the pick up line and marvel at the brand new latest model sports car or SUV, the designer clothes, the trips to the four corners over long weekends, the private jets. Most of the time, I don't notice, so I suppose there are days and times when I feel particularly susceptible to the financial madness.
I guess it boils down to the notion of belonging. Do I belong at this place where I parse my words and guard my friendships and pray like crazy for my kids? Who is to say I'm the only mommy with belonging issues? My feeling is that we all have the same struggles at home, the same worries and problems. Some of them just look better while they endure.
The one thing that really gets me is I don't feel I have the creative freedom to write about some of the people at the school. Like being the pastor's wife, there are times when you just shut your mouth and move on.