Well, we all have lifestyle choices and then there are lifestyle options. Some people have more options than others. C'est la vie!
I have a very close friend that has an unusual life style --her hubby is a cartoonist that works from home, and she does some late night phone work for money on the side. My life is very different from this. My hubby works long hours, travels, etc. My friend used public funds to pay for her last pregnancy, I paid my midwife in cash. I'm 10 years old than this friend; yet, we share many things in common (similiar music, approaches towards unschooling our kids, etc.).......
Lately, though, I've been a bit bothered by something, and what it comes down to is her constant rephrase that it's about "life style choices." Her hubby does the night shift with their baby. My hubby is willing to do one feeding (if we can get baby to take a bottle of my milk), but my hubby needs to be on at work. He has a very stressful job, and is currently interviewing for two different Ex positions within his company. Her hubby works from home, and they can tag team parenting responsibility. I'm alone most of the time, though I do have aging parents (close to 80) willing to take the kids while I grocery shop, etc.
In any case, the other day I was showing this friend my new kitchen organizers. She said, "oh I have those." She seems to have EVERYTHING. And yesterday she mentioned a very expensive two video baby monitor she got from her parents for xmas. Last week she mentioned an expensive vacuum she received, and I know that her mom buys her kids all of their clothes.
I mentioned this to hubby last night and he said, "I could live their life style if someone else supported me financially, but I've been on my own financially for 20 years." This isn't to say my parents aren't generous with us. My mom likes to buy my kids one expensive outfit per season, and she also gives us money towards their college fund, etc. My parents are great, but it took me two years to come up with enough money to put organizers throughout my house!
So, my question is this: is it a real life style choice to have two parents at home all the time if someone else is supporting you financially? This same friend was given her house. There is a small mortgage on it, but still, her hubby's father gave it to them.
What is your take on this?
Well, we all have lifestyle choices and then there are lifestyle options. Some people have more options than others. C'est la vie!
My take is that a year from now, you'll read this and see how jealous you are of them. And how tired and exhausted you are.
Not to say the jealousy isn't justified. We all know someone who can "one up" us on everything, whether they brag or not, and its highly annoying.
I think when people say lifestyle choices they are referring to giving something up to have a parent at home all the time. So I can see it being irritating for them to act like they have made sacrifices when it is everyone else footing the bill or making the sacrifice.
The jealous comments are interesting because I don't see jealousy. I just see irritation over someone acting like they have it so hard when they have pretty much the same as you. I mean sorry, but how could anyone be jealous of someone being lazy? That would mean that given a choice you would want to be lazy and most people that work wouldn't make that choice because they enjoy earning money and supporting themselves but maybe I am projecting.
My take on this is that no good ever comes from comparing ourselves or our situations with others.
Its just different.
Ive come to believe that 90% of life is luck & timing. The other 10% boils down to hard work and inclination.
All get packaged together
Her husband is an artist. That can be feast or famine. It IS 100% lifestyle choice, because he could work 60 hours a week at a design firm. Or not work in art at all. Instead, he's arranged things to be as to work from home. No different than 3 writers... One who publishes novels, another who is a scriptwriter working million hour weeks for network TV, and a 3rd who is a nurse.
Is the novelist better or worse than the script writer or the nurse? Is the script writer? The nurse?
I don't think so, maybe some do.
Are the children of migrant workers, or junkies, or miners who never were given a cent better or worse than the children of middle class families, or wealthy families?
Are parents who share their wealth with their children and grand children better or worse than parents who have to be taken care of by their children or grand children?
There's actually HUNDREDS of choices your husband COULD have made to live the same lifestyle they do, with a little but of luck... ASIDE from
Coming from a family with money. He could have gone into a different field, married into money, chosen to live in a different country, etc.
But instead... He started off where he did, made the choices he made, and is where he's at.
We ALL are.
And are all in fairly different situations, even when we're in similar places.
"There will always be someone with more, and someone with less... So don't compare yourself with others, or risk always feeling less than or superior to."
Its usually a bad idea to judge your insides by anyone else's outsides, and vice versa.
Sorry J., but you sound a little jealous. Does it really matter what she calls it? What do you want from her? To acknowledge that they have the luxury of more flexibility because of the generosity of their parents? If you're happy with your life, why do you care about what she does and how she's able to do it? Would you rather be married to someone who can stand on his own two feet and support his family, or someone who works in an unconventional and creative field, a choice that perhaps comes with financial family support? Neither is better than the other. You have your life, she has hers. Let it go.
I think it's understandable that you feel the way you do, but I also think you should mind your own business. You feel resentful because you have worked hard for everything you have while your friend has it easier than you do for less work, as you perceive it to be. Parenting and keeping up a house, especially one in which people live in full time, is a hard job to do as long as they are taking it seriously. Like your husband said, if someone else provided for him financially, he could do it, but he hasn't had that choice. I think it is a choice if it's not that they CAN'T work, but that they are CHOOSING to stay at home with their kids. If their parents want to help them out financially, that's really none of your business. I think it is a choice. They chose to take help from their parents so that they could be parents to their kids together, rather than shoving them in daycares to be raised by strangers. I think the role of a parent is severely undermined these days. It's the most important job in the world. How a person is raised determines how a person turns out and treats those around them. Either way, it's really not your place to judge them or call them lazy. You have no idea why they are choosing to not spend more time away from home working. If you had someone helping you like that, who offered for you to stay home with your kids and your husband to spend more time with the kids, can you HONESTLY say you would decline? As long as the situation wasn't toxic and there were no strings attached to the help, I'm pretty sure you'd have a hard time declining. You ARE being jealous; and if not jealous, then judgmental, which is just as bad. I really think you should mind your own business and be happy with what you have and not get upset about what other people have. If she's really your friend, then be happy for her.
His parents giving them a house is a wonderful thing, in my opinion. Look at the Amish. They do this as a matter of course. It won't work in the population at large, but it's great that they have this.
Now, if her parents are just giving them money for everything in the world, then that's different. The Bank of Mom and Dad should have ended after they got married. I'll bet that what is really happening is that they are in credit card debt land. That seems a lot more plausible than their parents buying them new vacuum cleaners and organizers, etc.
If parents continue to subsidize their adult kids, then they don't learn to work for what they NEED enough. They also don't learn to stand on their own two feet emotionally.
Now, you consider your friends to be lazy because they don't work enough. But one thing that their children will have, if they continue to stay at home with them, is a set of parents they see all the time. "The Cat's in the Cradle" song aptly describes a LOT of lifestyle "choices" of executives who work long hours and have stressful jobs. That's something you should consider.
In the end, you need to stop thinking about this and worrying about it. You have your life and they have theirs. Jealousy is often something we can't help, and obviously you've come to a forum where you can express your feelings without any repercussions. But unless she is expecting something from YOU, let it go. If you can't, perhaps you should pull back from the relationship.
I don't have a take. Who cares?
Don't be jealous! Jealousy looks good on no one. Live your life, it's the only one you have.
I tend to agree with your husband. It's easy to say it's a 'lifestyle choice' if you have that 'choice'. I would choose to have a lifestyle involving plenty of money and a 65 foot yacht if I could.
well obviously, most of us would probably "choose" that lifestyle too, if we could. (except for the public assistance part) but that sounds like how she was raised.
i think you sound frustrated, hardworking, and tired, and yes, maybe just a wee bit jealous. i'm not saying this judgmentally though. i just think this question doesn't seem as much a question as a vent.
i get it.
it is frustrating to work hard, have good work ethic, be independent, and earn everything you get - and then constantly be faced with people who don't have the same values.
but it's not JUST about choices - as you already know. it's also about life circumstance. some of us just have to work harder than others. (and some of us were raised with the mentality that it's ok not to stand on our own feet...while some of us were raised to be independent.)
(ETA: i think you kinda opened the jealousy can of worms by mentioning all the stuff that is bought for her, and how she seems to "have everything". if you weren't jealous just a little bit, the "stuff" wouldn't even come into it. just saying.)
is she really a close friend? it sounds as if you resent her, and she crows over you a little.
but yes, i would certainly call their lifestyle a choice. i think it's one of the backhanded blessings of the way the world is changing, that people can have unusual and eclectic work situations.
they're both working. i applaud that. i don't care what hours people work. what tweaks my 'nads is when people DON'T work.
as a taxpayer i'm not thrilled when people use public funds and don't need to, but this may well be a case of a working couple without insurance who couldn't foot the bill.
i don't agree that someone else is supporting them. they're WORKING. the fact that they got a great deal on a house and have generous parents isn't a negative.
having two parents at home is great. not everyone has the luxury of being able to make that choice, but i hardly think parents are indolent if they are able to do so and take it.
i'm actually pretty happy for your friend. i wish you could find it in your heart to do so.
I think some of the best advice I've ever gotten is to be aware of when i'm making a choice and when I'm not. Her choice of taking public assistance when she doesn't really need it is deplorable. Fortunately though, she's not on it anymore, right? I get why you're annoyed but to play devil's advocate, maybe she senses some disapproval. You do sound a bit bitter that you have very little help and I guess now you're having another child. Do you ever complain at all? If you do, then she's probably thinking "well, it was your choice to have another child and theorectically, your husband could chose a different type of job to be around to help more." It would mean less money most likely but it's still a choice you guys are making. When I get jealous of SAHM's, I remind myself that I COULD be a SAHM if I wanted. I know that's not the case for everyone unless they go on welfare but it is a choice for me. It would mean a different lifestyle though and lack of security that I"m not willing to trade yet. But it's my choice. It helps me be less jealous. And we all could get annoyed at every single person on financial assistance who doesn't absolutely need it. And I do get mad! But it's still my choice to not live that type of life... I think it's hard to be good friends with someone who has very different values and maybe that's jsut what's going on here.
Sure, lots of people would choose not to work if someone else was paying the bills.
And there are always some people willing to work the system.
I find it makes me happier and healthier not to be around these types of people, I have even had to distance myself from a few family members, including my own mother.
But MOST people are not like this, most of us are honest and hard working, so why waste precious time and energy judging the slackers? Come hard times, sickness and/or retirement they will be the losers, what comes around goes around. Ultimately you reap what you sow. My mother is certainly paying for her foolish youthful "lifestyle choices" now, barely surviving above the poverty line.
ETA: it's too bad you can't appreciate a good girl's night out though. Kids grow up and move out, and men can only be so much, it's your girlfriends that support you and get you through the real sh*t in life, you should cherish them.
She's right (in a way she doesn't comprehend). It's lifestyle choices. She's choosing everything she's doing within what she's able to do. That's what everyone does. The differences lie in people's resources, morals, etc.
OF COURSE having parents who support you isn't a lifestyle choice when you're an orphan. Of COURSE being homeless isn't a lifestyle choice for people who go from a rich family to a rich marriage while never missing a meal. Of course being a CEO isn't a lifestyle choice for an uneducated person born to a single crack-head mom in a ghetto with bad schools... OF COURSE taking state aid isn't a good moral life choice when you could avoid it through honest labor.
This lady is on your nerves and you guys are competing in normal but immature ways.
My husband and I have EACH worked since we were 17 years old (we're now mid 40's), both living completely on our own since age 18. Our jobs have spanned from minimum wage on up the spectrum. After 15 years of working full time (uninsured), I took a break to have kids, no health insurance, paid out of pocket, no state aid, and we BUDGET OUR BUNS OFF to live on one income so I can be home while kids are small. Our choice. Our parents live far away and do not support us AT ALL aside from modest birthday/Christmas gifts for kids. My husband travels 90% of the time and I'm home alone 24/7 with all three kids.
If I compared myself to all the friends who had bigger budgets, money for sitters and day care, helpful families, monetary gifts, husbands who were home every day after work and weekends etc etc etc....I'd have no friends. I don't look at it that way. Was it ever a "lifestyle choice" option for me to be richer? NO, I never actively went gold-digging and my husband doesn't happen to have a job with insurance, a high salary or stability. My own income is average when I work like anyone else. Is it my friend's lifestyle choice to live in a mansion with three nannies and one baby and a husband who dotes on her?....yeah, because that option came her way....
It's a stupid phrase your friend is using. I say accept her annoying ways COMPLETELY, or stop being her friend. They are taking what is offered to them, and within their measly morals on when it's OK to take state aid. Though I will say, It cost an ARM AND A LEG to pay off our kid's births and it took years. Most people would not be able to do it even if they scraped by and saved every penny, so then it comes down to the "should lower middle class people be allowed to have kids if they don't have insurance through their particular jobs?" thing. Health insurance in the country is screwed causing many people to take aid when they have money, but not enough for completely astronomical costs. In other countries people don't have to make that choice, they're just covered for child births no matter what. But that's neither her nor there for your friend I guess. If they could have afforded between $5,000 and $80,000 cash for the birth depending on where they live by working a bit harder, I guess they should have. But sounds like their budget is sort of wimpy aside from gifts, and if the aid was there to "choose" they took it.
I do see it as a lifestyle choice IF she wasn't using public funds... Part of the reason I keep working is I got very very lucky with my job and it's unlikely my kids will be as lucky and I don't want them to really struggle. Work hard yes but ulcer inducing, exhausting struggle - no. So I will help them out financially most likely if they need it. That's a choice and so long as they're grateful and not bragging or don't realize they're lucky, it will be their choice. They could turn it down... But if they do take some money, not sure it's so bad. We've never had much family help at all bc our family lives too far away while lots and lots of people I know have their moms help a lot with the kids. I'll admit I'm a bit jealous but why is physical help from grandparents fine by most standards but financial help frowned on? I'm jealous as I said of that physical help! I can see how your friend bugs you though. But is she really bragging or is she down to earth and grateful etc? If she is not show offy and in a way bragging about her life style choices, it's still irritating but she's really not doing anything wrong and it is her choice - jsut not choice most people have. Taking public funds however is a different story... That I have zero tolerance for and if it continues, friend or no friend, I'd report her. And if she keeps using that expression, why not say "well, not everyone has that choice. DH has to work these hours for us to be able to afford a home like you and I have." And she does have a point that she and her husband aren't workign say the corporate world in order to have MORE luxuries... Sounds like she lives nicely but likely they could live even nicer if she and her husband worked more traditional jobs so maybe that's what she means.
ETA: maybe she thinks your husband doesn't need to interview for exec positions and he could be around more to help out. She likely assumes you're making ends meet now so why does he need to work even more to get promotions? That's your lifestyle choice...
In my view it is not so much life style choices, but I guess I am going to use talent. Could you pull off making those late night phone calls if you wanted to? Perhaps she just has that talent.
I talk on the phone all day at work too. My co-worker tells me I have the gift. My supervisor always asks how I did this or that or what made me think to do that. I usually don't know because I am constantly going, moving from website to website to telephone and to an electronic log. She laughs and says he couldn't do what I do so he should stop asking how I did it.
Anyway, your husband does what he is good at and they do what they are good at. It doesn't mean you made a bad "Life style choice".
Besides, I was waiting to hear that she purchases all that stuff she already has from garage sales, which she might. Ha!
I just hope they have a contingency plan for when the bubble bursts.
Comparison is poison.
They have a lot of free handouts from their parents. Few people I know received homes from Mom & Dad Bank & Loan. Few people receive expensive gifts you mention.
You work for yours, they don't. And then they use the term 'Life Style Choices' as if they planned it this way, and poor you, why didn't you plan better? Why isn't your husband a work out of home guy, eeeking by on other's handouts.
Don't compare yourself to those choices. They are not independent, mature adults like you and your husband. Yes, they both contribute to their financial well being, but not enough to make it on their own. So, what excuse do they have but tossing around an overused, generalized term, like "life style...gag.'
BTW, how did she have a baby on the government? Did she apply ahead of time and go through the entire process of declaring they can't medically afford a baby? So, do you think they lied to the government about what they make?
Your life is normal and her's isn't. Do not envy it. They havent "launched" and will probably have a lot of troubles in their future plus be a burden to their parents.... but I'm blaming the parents here to a certain extent for crippling their kids.
I have a lot of people living in my apartment complex where their parents pay their rent JUST TO GET THEM OUT OF THEIR HOUSE! And they still dont LOOK for work!
You sleep much better at night knowing you worked for what you have.
Why shouldn't she get her medical for *free*. It doesn't sound like she could afford to pay for medical insurance. Tell her she's welcome, since your husband is paying for her baby.
Your posts are very judgmental. It seems like you have a lot of "friends" that you dislike & your brothers girlfriend too. Maybe you need to look within, not sure, just a thought based on prior posts.
you know, this isn't jealousy...this is frustration that you work for what you have &....to some extent, they don't. I applaud that he has a job which allows him the freedom to work from home. I applaud that she tries to work part-time. These are good things. BUT, to allow our tax dollars to pay for her baby + formula....irks me to no end. I see no need for anyone to take our tax $$ if they are capable of providing a better financial life for themselves. Wouldn't we all like to be at home.....sitting back...& reaping the benefits which are available?
Well, Hell, my answer is "NO". I would not want to sit back & allow others to provide for me. & I have proven it again & again thru the past 20 years. When our daughter was born with multiple heart/lung issues, we did not file for assistance....nor did we apply for life insurance. We handled it all on our own. When our son was diagnosed with a degenerative hip disease...just 4 months after our daughter's death...we did not file for disability on him. We almost lost our home....but dang it! We covered our own bills. & it was haaaard.
Soooo, I get what you're saying. You're busting your butt, she's taking Aid...& yet she has more than you. To judge her is not fair, to feel angst over the gifts she receives is wrong on your part.....but please stand proud that you are facing your life with a strong moral compass & not letting the rest of us support your life choices. :)
& one more reference here: when we were going thru the worst of our life, some friends of ours just broke the bank on our friendship. They owned 2!! homes & still applied for whatever aid was available. They were able to get by with this by lying thru their teeth as to their finances. They were on WIC & Medicaid for their kids, they took charity $ for their utitilies, & accepted all donations available. 2 homes, one rented out at a profit...& they still took our tax $$. Still irks me. I don't care if it's available.....what matters to me is honesty & integrity.
I like what LeeLee says about lifestyle choices and lifestyle options! Your friend definitely seems to have the "option" to have a certain lifestyle due to some financial support.
Everyone's got their own story. It sounds like your question is masking the greater sentiment of "but it's not fair!" No it's not. We all learn this pretty young, right?
Take for example myself- we were able to purchase a pretty decent house a few years ago, while some of our friends are still in "saving up" mode and probably going to have to start small. There are a couple reasons we were able to do this- one, because my husband got $20K from a car accident as a teen and used it in his 20's to buy a condo, which he and I paid into for many years before selling it and getting $80K to use as a down payment. Spending $20k on a condo at age 21 was a lifestyle option most people do not have. But it was also a lifestyle choice- my BIL got a hefty inheritance when he turned 18 (both parents were tragically killed in 2 separate incidents by the time he turned 10). He used this money to live the high life and party and go to concerts and fly all his buddies to an epic superbowl vacation. He is still a renter. That was his lifestyle choice to make with the options he was given, and he doesn't regret it.
*Also, worth noting, obviously my BIL would rather have his parents in his life and no childhood trauma than all the money he got, and my husband often says if he could go back and choose to NOT have a scary car accident as a teen but then never get the money, he would choose that option.
Another thing about my house. My hubby and I BOTH work, and can support the mortgage due in no small part to both our moms, who watch our kids for free. If I were paying for childcare, I'd be in a smaller house because I'd need a smaller mortgage. Thats an option I was lucky to have (willing grandmas). Due to layoffs and downsizing where my husband works, he got pushed into the wed-sun shift and now works through weekends. It was not exactly an option, though he can leave look for a new job at any time. He hates working this "off" schedule, but it works for us and limits our moms to 3 days a week childcare only, so he makes the CHOICE to keep it up for now, rather than look for a new job.
My point: We all DO have different options (life is not always fair) and we all make our lifestyle choices based on those options. You could drive yourself crazy comparing. So its best not to judge or stew over it :)
PS What do you mean by using "public funds" to pay for her pregnancy? Meaning they have no healthcare? Their parents are fine with them being on public healthcare while they seem more than well-off enough to help them out in that way? Wouldn't they prefer a more "classy" medical expeerience if they are used to living so high off the hog? I am confused.
I don't see this as jealousy either. What I do see is as is a perfectly normal reaction to a slap in the face. Anyone who could provide for themselves but chooses to take public aid instead is doing just that to you, me, and millions of other hardworking Americans who spend about 15-40% of their work week earning enough just enough money to pay the taxes which fund their 'lifestyles.' And then they want to be compared to us as equals? Like they worked just as hard to get what they have as we do? That is where I take exception.
As far as the mother paying for a lot of their extravagances, well, good for them. You'd think they'd be able to pay their own hospital bill then, hugh? But you can't point that out without being considered insensitive.
I understand you 110%. I once had a college classmate who chose to have 4 children with a complete loser, knowing as soon as the 4th kid was born she was asking for a divorce and he'd be quite happy to skip away. Because she always wanted 4 kids, that's why. Yup. So she divorced him, and then proceeded to get 4 years of free housing, childcare, food, medical care, and a college degree courtesy of the taxpayer. Meanwhile, I as a veteran worked 10 hour overnight shifts 6 days a week in a bakery to pay for my apartment, health care, books, and majority of my tuition that my very piddly GI bill did not cover. And everyone just marveled at how she could get straight A's while taking care of 4 young children. But my A's and B's didn't get a second glance (or the same $4000 per semester cash scholarship hers got) despite my 60 hour work weeks. I finally had to sever my relationship with her because it was just to painful to be reminded of that every single day.
loved suzie Q"s answer!!!!! and by the way your lifestyle choice is the better one just saying
I am glad so many can be so pious and choose not to be jealous! I think that might come from a different place than they think.
Yeah, I try not to make that the focus but goodness!
I have a friend kind of like that. Parents bought them every car they ever had. Take them all on cruises and vacations in Europe every year.
The most I ever got for Christmas from my parents was $50, after I got married. If I dwelt on that I could not be friends.
But I love my friend!
She is kind and generous with what she has and very helpful. I am happy for someone so deserving to be blessed.
The part that gets my goat with this girl, is the public assistance. I bet it gets yours too. This girl who wants for nothing, gets public assistance. What's fair about that? Nothing. Life's not fair. Neither can public assistance make it fair.
I do see it as a lifestyle choice. It happens in my family too. My sister doesn't mind taking government handouts (help with food, housing, childcare) and dealing with being in debt up to her eyeballs ... she works freelance and enjoys spending more time with her 4 kids, even if her job doesn't cover the bills they get by.
DH and I prefer to live with minimal debt, working hard for what we have, though we have certainly been the recipients of his parents generosity on several occasions and we have been the recipients of publicly funded grants to pay for school.
I choose not to be jealous of the life she others choose, even if they get "my tax$$$". I take pride in taking care of our own family and would not want to live like that.
To each their own.
I'm wondering how your friend got into the late night phone work on the side... if it is what I think it is I hear the money can be great! My friend growing ups mom did this because she had cancer and she could do it from home.
Either way, I think this is a case of TWO SIDES and we may not have all the info - just what she says.
I too have friends like this. My husband and I have worked hard for everything we have. We may not have much, but we have a roof over our head, kids are feed, and our house is full of love.
I think that you appreciate things more if you work hard for it. I tend to get a little jealous here and there about my friends, but then I realize that their lives are not perfect behind closed doors.
By the way, my husband works during the day and I work at night. I constantly have my friend telling me I should quit my job. lol It is not a glamorous job, and I have had more challenging positions in the past, however there is always a parent home with my kids. It doesn’t pay much either unfortunately. But being there for my kids is priceless.
It sounds like you are doing everything right.
Don't compare yourself with them because there is no comparison. You should also not keep track of how much things cost that other people have. This is rude and resentful, when you are comparing it to what you have or have not. Why are you keeping track by the way?
Would it matter if she had a cheaper, less expensive vacuum cleaner than yours? That wouldn't make this any better either, because again....someone else is supporting them. These folks have been enabled by the system and who ever is giving them money. Some people are just pros at being takers. They have no real values or strong work ethics. They just exist and wait on the next "gift."
I think its a values thing. They sound completely ok with someone else (taxpayers) paying for them to live. Morally to me, its not right. If you need assistance---by all means, I am the first one to suggest it. But for those who choose to make a "lifestyle" out of it, I think that is wrong.
I would be upset too if someone were doing the things she is doing and comparing you too. As far as your question, no. I think its just an easy, acceptable term to justify their behavior so it doesn't look bad to others.
I do know what you mean, I also have friends that are able to make some pretty nice "choices" because they have somone else footing the bill. And I know it can sometimes be hard to swallow. Really, I think it is actually better to NOT know about these things when possible. All it does is breed jealousy and make us second guess ourselves and each other. You are doing the best you can with your circumstances, and they are doing their best with theirs. You have the benefit of knowing that you have produced for yourselves based on hard work and they have some extras that they haven't had to work as hard for, but hopefully they appreciate it. Every family has different circumstances. I would try to just not think about it a whole lot. Dont let something like this "taint" an otherwise good friendship.
It appears to be their life style choice. Remember, it takes all kinds.
PS- what is "unschooling?"
Good luck to you and yours,
I am not sure that I could be friends with this woman anymore if I were you. Too much annoyance-its not worth it. Just let it taper off and be done with it.