News, Culture & Society

Mother ’embarrassed’ that her own children won’t have the privileges she had growing up

A mother has struck a chord with parents after admitting she’s ’embarrassed’ about being unable to afford the same lifestyle her parents provided for her own children.

Taking to the British parenting forum Mumsnet, the unnamed woman said that she grew up in a big house and that her parents were able to pay for private education as well as family holidays after ‘becoming upper middle class’.

She said despite having a decent career and her husband also being a professional, they are unable to afford the same privileges for their children and it’s not a position they had ever imagined being in.

Other parents admitted they’ve also struggled to give their children the same advantages they had growing up because of the changing economy, while some argued kids can’t miss something they’ve never had and love is more important than materialistic things. 

A mother took the British parenting forum Mumsnet to reveal her ’embarassment’ over not being able to give her chidlren the same lifestyle she enjoyed growing up (stock image)

The mother penned a lengthy post admitting that she feels ‘guilty’ about being unable to afford private school and a big house.

She asked other parents for their experiences, saying: ‘My parents came from humble beginnings but through hard work, intelligence and a bit of luck along the way (buying their first house after the market had just crashed) they ended up becoming upper middle class from being working class, gave my siblings and I a private education, a nice big house, amazing holidays and all the extra curricular activities we wanted. 

‘My mum worked part time so we had plenty of time with her and my dad was very hands on at weekends.

‘I have also worked hard, did well at school, have a decent career and my husband is similar (neither of us are bankers but both work in professions and are doing OK at them). His family has a similar background story to mine and we have a shared vision for the sort of life we want for our children (similar to our own childhood). But for some reason, we just can’t see ourselves being able to afford the same things as our parents did.’

The mother explained that they aren’t struggling for basic necessities and are aware they a luckier than most other families, continuing: ‘I don’t see us ever affording private school and although we can afford an ok house, it will be nothing like the properties our parents managed to have. 

‘We both work full time as well, whereas DH’s mum didn’t work and my mum only worked part time.

The mother admitted she's 'depressed' about being unable to provide better for her children than past generations

The mother admitted she’s ‘depressed’ about being unable to provide better for her children than past generations 

‘I know a lot of this is down to the different economic circumstances we are facing (in particular unlucky time buying a house and private school fees increasing way out of line with wage increases), but I just feel so bad not being able to give my kids the same privileges we had growing up. I’m also embarrassed about it tbh – I never saw myself being in this position, yet here I am!

‘Anyone else faced similar? I feel most generations tend to do better than the last and am just so depressed about doing worse.’

Many responses to the thread admitted they are also struggling to accept that they can’t provide the same privileges for their children that they had growing up.

One person wrote: ‘It’s really depressing how hard work isn’t rewarded like it was for previous generations. We can do everything “right” – like we do well at school, attend university, get a professional job, etc. 

‘At the end of all that, a lot of us are still in extortionate private rented properties with £30,000 of student debt. Can’t afford to buy because of the extortionate rent. Wages aren’t high unless you’re in London and work as a banker or something. It’s so s***. It’s not fair at all. I dread to think what it will be like by the time I eventually reach retirement age which will no doubt keep increasing (assuming I’ll still be alive)’

Another said: ‘I feel exactly the same. I don’t care about having two cars or a big house. But I do care about the education. Private school is not an option and I (sadly) believe it’s more necessary now that it was in my time. 

A stream of responses to the post confessed they've also struggled to provide their children with the same lifestyle they had growing up

A stream of responses to the post confessed they’ve also struggled to provide their children with the same lifestyle they had growing up 

‘Homes are getting so expensive only those with parental help or extremely well paid jobs will afford them. It’s predominately people from private schools that get these. I have a good job but not in the sectors that make the sort of money you need to pay school fees.

‘It’s so sad that this is the way it is. Maybe it’s the Tory government but social mobility seems to be back peddling. My father came from a council estate to become a partner at a well known global surveying company. He was able to do this leaving school at 16 and through apprenticeship not uni. That journey isn’t possible now.

‘My children will be markedly worse off than I was. I feel guilty that I didn’t make better choices in terms of my career. I wish I’d thought more about money and been less frivolous’

Others urged the mother not to compare her childhood to the lifestyle she is able to provide for her own children and attempted to reassure her that materialistic things don’t matter.

One person wrote: ‘You sound like you’re doing really well. There may well also be quite a substantial inheritance in your kids future. Kid’s need love, support, understanding and fun.  

Other responses to the thread argued children don't need materialistic things and the mother could project her unhappiness onto them

Other responses to the thread argued children don’t need materialistic things and the mother could project her unhappiness onto them 

‘They don’t need a private education or a huge house or expensive holidays abroad (and I say that as someone who didn’t go abroad until they were an adult and is now obsessed with travel). Try to stop comparing with your parents and just have fun with your kids, they won’t be worrying about any of the things you are I’m sure.’ 

‘You sound like a snob and very materialistic if you think private school, a big house and foreign holidays make for a happier childhood. If this is how a lot of people think nowadays no wonder so many people suffer from mental health problems,’ another said. 

A third added: ‘The most important thing is that your children are loved. Other than having a roof over our heads and food in the cupboard, wishing for other things is materialistic and your children won’t be any happier for having them. If anything, you will project your unhappiness and negatives onto your children and teach them happiness cannot be gained without money.’