Respect the differences

I met few old friends and colleagues last week and they got me thinking. When I was in my 20s, particularly when I was in grad school, everyone had similar in life situation and were all going to the same direction. Then we graduated and we started our “career”. Because we are all in Econ, our career path was not too different (academic vs. policymaking). Fast forward 10 years to the present, we could call ourselves mid-career, married, with kids, early 40s. Our prospects are still similar objectively. Yet, I find our thinking started to differ. I can’t understand some of their choices, even harder is to understand how they arrived to those choices.

If I was 10 years younger, I might either argue with them, give unsolicited advise, or cut them off my life as we think differently. Instead, I respect them as I know some of my choices are hard to understand too.

Few things I learned that surprised me:

  • Save every penny to buy a house that is double her current house value to get to a better school district. The child hasn’t even started kindergarten and stayed at home during the pandemic, thus doesn’t even speak like a normal child.
  • Be very discontent with the work environment but does nothing to change the situation. Just count the day until retirement, which is at least 5-10 years away.
  • Paying private school tuition of 50k a year and expect to learn nothing. The only value of the private school is the status.

I am sure I do things that are odd in others eyes, so I don’t judge . Yet, I found them interesting, in a way that I haven’t realized before. I think life is full of choices, some big some small, but as we choose, we craft a path for us.

Saturday we met with a family friend for lunch and play time. It was a really hot day to be outdoor but they had fun.

Sunday we visited my best friend here again, girls had fun playing with their girls while I chatted with the couple. I was given a lesson about american school system. Not a very encouraging picture. It seems that it requires a full time mom to take care all the academics and extracurricular activities. Not sure I can be qualified to be a mom here.

One thought on “Respect the differences

  1. Well, I’m sure you are 100% qualified to be a mom here. you’re probably over-qualified!! Haha. I wouldn’t worry too much about the experience of one particular family…I think you’d find that American parenting styles vary immensely from household to household. A majority of my friends also work, and honestly most people I know (at least here in the midwest) do NOT have full time nannies, live in help, or anything of the sort- and their kids still do school + extracurriculars. So, apparently a fulltime mom or helper is not needed. 🙂 Most people I know personally use some type of daycare center/ after school program or part-time babysitters, etc. or the parents have staggered work schedules to have one parent with the kids much of the time. That being said, I think suburban DC is known to be a kind of intense, high achieving area- so it might not surprise me if parenting is really “amped up” there. I can’t speak from experience, though, as I’ve never even really been there except for a short trip in high school! I’ve also heard in some of the bigger/metro areas like NYC that whole private school thing is just crazy…my boys’ private school is nothing like those…it’s just a K-8 Catholic school and a very family environment…not at all one of those “elite” city institutions like you’d see on the show Gossip Girl. lol!!! I certainly can’t imagine paying that much for school just for the “status” of it!! omg. They’d better be learning a LOT for that price tag.


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