Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.
Every week I do some mental mathematical aerobics. What can I cut out this week so I can continue to send my daughter to her voice lessons? Her weekly lessons cost just as much as our weekly grocery bill and are just as expensive as our monthly electricity bills, and as much as a pair of good winter boots for me that would probably last a decade. At $300 a pop, I not only lie to my husband about how much her lessons cost, but I actually hide them from him too.
A friend of mine, who showed me a video of her daughter singing on her iPhone, introduced me to this singing instructor. She was unbelievable. My daughter wants to be an actress, singer, and dancer like so many other little girls. So I asked for this instructor's contact number.
“He’s a little expensive,” my friend told me. When she told me this instructor cost per hour, my jaw dropped. “But…how…who…” I stuttered. “Who can afford this?”
It turns out a lot of people can and do, including my friend who has three children, doesn’t work, and her husband, too, is known to be cheap. I wondered how she got away with these $300 a week lessons for her daughter.
“I don’t know if he’ll have any space for you,” my friend continued. “He’s constantly booked.”
Well, it turns out that he did have space for my daughter (And who wouldn’t, I figure, find the space for $300 an hour?) The time wasn’t great, as it was over dinner hour, but I would make it work.
I sat in for the first hour as this instructor taught my daughter how to sing from her stomach and open her mouth while belting out notes. I was completely impressed by the end of the hour when my daughter could sing a song from the musical Annie, and she actually sounded more than half decent. She sounded amazing. And so I was hooked. Each week, she got better and better, as my bank account dwindled and dwindled.
“That’s insane,” my husband said. “That’s absolutely absurd!”
Even the video of our daughter singing like she belonged on stage didn’t convince him that she needed these lessons or that it was well worth the money. We didn’t bicker about it because I agree that the cost is outrageous. So do the numerous other parents I see coming in and out of this instructor’s studio, who I’ve met over the last few months. And yet they continue to write out checks, or whip out a pile of bills, and beam at their singing children.
My husband and I agreed she could have five more lessons. Since I am in charge of my daughter’s schedule and her activities, and those five lessons have long come and go, now I simply don’t tell my husband where we’re going. Or that I’m using my savings for these lessons.
I remind her, at the start of each session, that these lessons are a lot of money, so she has to get the most out of them.
I know women, who keep secret bank accounts from their husbands, or who will sneak in new jeans or outfits because they know their husband will ask, “But you already have 25 pairs of jeans. Did you really need another pair?” It’s simpler to just hide their purchases in the trunk of their car until they can sneak it in the house than it is to argue about it.
I’m not walking in with any new outfits this year. All my free money is going towards my daughter’s secret $300 an hour singing lessons.
I joked to my friend, the one who introduced me to this instructor, that I may not be able to buy groceries this week thanks to these lessons, and she said she completely understood. I asked how her husband felt about the cost and she looked at me like I was crazy.
“He doesn’t know how much they cost! He would kill me if he found out!”
And, so, I’m not alone. I’m just one of many in the chorus line of mothers using their secret lines of credits so that their children can have the best.
Send your own Anonymous Mom submission of 600-800 words to editor(AT)mommyish(dot)com.
(photo: wavebreakmedia/ Shutterstock)