DEAR HARRIETTE: All of the moms at my son's school talk about "the help" they have for everything. Many of them have cooks and housekeepers and lawn maintenance people, you name it. I think it's great that they can afford all of these services. We cannot. We pay for tuition, which is hefty. And that's it. My husband works, and I am a homemaker. We figured out this was a cost-effective way to get our son the best education and be able to parent him. He and I do lots of things together at home and in town. Usually I feel good about our choices, but it's hard when these women go on and on about how they spend their wealth. Some of them work, but many do not. I don't think any of them spend as much time with their children as I do with mine. Baby sitters typically fill that void. How can I relax about this? Sometimes they really get under my skin. -- Have Not, Syracuse, New York
DEAR HAVE NOT: Change your perspective. Just as you teach your son not to covet others' things or experiences, you must do the same. In place of that dangerous, envious position, count your blessings. Remember why you and your husband made the choices that are currently guiding your steps. Reflect on specific moments you have shared with your son that are meaningful for you both.
You can also introduce other topics into the conversation with these moms. Talk about your children and how they are growing up. When you discover a great activity in town, share it with the others. Be a catalyst for broadening the conversation.