“Why do your kids go to a national school? Do their classmates look like them?” asked my friend at work. Suddenly, my mind goes blank and I find myself feeling embarrassed, socially shamed, and pressured.
I’m a 32-year-old working mom. I have three beautiful, academically exceptional, and athletic kids. While my husband and I have quite successful careers, we both fear the day when we will not be able to provide for our children financially.
I have no support whatsoever from my family, neither does my husband and instead of being proud of ourselves for raising successful children, I find myself mentally trapped in a ridiculous social stigma.
I enrolled my children in a national school to avoid potential bankruptcy. The kids were put on a waiting list at Egypt’s top national schools, so we settled for an average one. It sounded like a responsible decision back then; however, everyone in my circle subtly looks down on us. I graduated from an international school; my social circle is what mean girls’ movies would refer to as the elite.
Every single person I know enrolled their kids in top international schools. I’m constantly being cornered about it. Even my kids’ friends are starting to make fun of my children’s school and their English accents. It’s outrageous and I find myself always making excuses instead of being proud of my children who are not stuck in a socially-privileged bubble.
Dear fellow parents, I have realized that exposing your kids to people from different backgrounds does wonder for their personalities. Instead of being privileged, materialistic, entitled, classists, and out-of-tune with the real world, they become passionate, accepting, realists, and prepared for the real world. Instead of looking down at parents who couldn’t afford top-notch schools, look at the life lessons you are teaching your children when you make fun of other students.
Dear parents, we all want the best schools that we can afford for our children, but by no means does expensive mean ideal. No matter how hard I try, I’m always feeling guilty by the social stigma and I hate it because I know they’re vain.
Egyptian Moms Confess is our latest series of articles where Egyptian moms confess their innermost, darkest, and rawest emotions that they experience during motherhood. Always remember that the perfect mom does not exist. We are all trying our best. Each mother is fighting her own demons.