Don’t Be a Judge-y Parent

Denise and her boys

I spend $240 a month for my sons’ piano lessons—$30 per lesson, per kid, per week. It’s a competitive rate for our area, and I love our teacher’s approach. Translation: Even when the $240 is a strain, it has value—for us.

But recently another mom said “Oh, that’s expensive!” when I told her (on request) what we pay. But she’s got two daughters taking more than one dance class each: lessons, shoes, recital tickets, costumes… it’s got to run way more than $240 a month. (I have nieces. I know.)

So. We’re back to value. When you’re mulling over what other parents spend, it’s easy to get judge-y.

You can drive yourself around the bend wondering things like, “What are they trying to prove with the mega lessons/over-the-top birthday party/designer kid duds?” (Or worse, you can fall into the keeping-up-with-other-parents trap.)

Here’s what I tell myself: First, other parents spend on what they value. They can spend, overspend, or misguidedly spend, and you (or I) don’t have to like it. Or even get it.

Second, you never know: Maybe those parents found buried treasure in the back yard. Or maybe they live on credit and don’t care. Or maybe they think their kid really is the next Adele.

Either way, reaffirming everyone’s mutual financial freedom reminds me to value what I do for my kids, with my money.

Gripe. What drives you crazy about other parents’ spending habits?

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