If I wore shiny gold leggings and shirts that showed off my bellybutton (hello '80s!) and you wore moo-moo skirts and Birkenstocks, could we still be friends? Perhaps. But it's kind of unlikely since we (all of us) tend to flock to people who are similar to us ... at least similar in some way. I think that's why when a woman becomes a mother, sometimes she drifts away from her non-breeding friends. Maybe the commonality was having cocktails and staying out until 5 in the morning. And I think that's why moms (particularly new moms) with a natural parenting slant often don't mix it up with the moms who have different philosophies. And vice versa.
I am not saying one is right and the other is wrong. But I am saying what is right for one may not be right for another. And I am also saying I find it really hard to make mom friends.
If you are a new mom who does sleep training and cry it out methods and you want to be friends with new moms, would you feel okay being friends with a mom who co-sleeps and never lets her child CIO? I have no problem being friends with a woman who thinks differently than I do when it comes to how we parent -- I'm against crying it out in my house, but a friend of mine does practice the Ferber method.
But I still find it hard to make ANY mom friends -- with my same vision of parenting or not. So when I saw a posting on my local parent listserv from a 30-something new mom who was looking for some mom friends, I replied. Her post caught my eye because she seemed real and down-to-earth, and our kids were just about the same age. In her post she said she isn't the "yuppie" type. Perfect! Me neither (whatever that means)! She also mentioned that she and her family weren't "organic people" ... hmmm okay. I guess I am, but whatever. That shouldn't be a reason not to be friends with someone. I'm certainly not militant about it when it comes to what others do.
So I emailed her back privately and gave her my details. I made a little joke about the "organic" thing telling her I guess I was organic but that shouldn't stop us from hanging out. Wanted to get that out there in case we were ever shopping together and I made a beeline to the organic section. She wrote back saying she was about to leave for the weekend but will write back when she gets back. It seemed promising and exciting. It's been almost two months and I've heard nothing but crickets.
Just the other day she posted an article link about how hard it is to make mom friends so that kind of tells me she (cue the sad trombone) doesn't want to be my friend. Like a rejected schoolgirl, I'm sad I didn't even get a chance. It's almost like the time I called Shawn to ask him to the 8th grade dance. (Silly Sadie Hawkins made me do it.) He said yes and chatted with me for about 20 minutes before he realized he was talking to me, the Michele with one L and not the one with two Ls.
I hung up.
He called me back and went with me anyway. Awwww. And we actually were boyfriend and girlfriend for a little while, too. Oh my nostalgic got me off-track, but you know what I mean? Thinking someone is different than they actually are -- you never know until you actually try to hang out. It could work out famously until his best friend starts to look really cute to you and you decide you want to date him for three days. (I think that's what happened. My memory is shot.) But it's not like I would drop a friend like that -- I've matured a lot since then, I swear.
Granted it can be hard to juggle playdates and meet-ups when your kids have different nap and eating schedules. But when a mom was reaching out for friendship and I willingly reached back, I thought we had at least a chance. I wonder what went wrong. Was it my organic joke? She did write back after that saying she worried how she came off. I assured her it was fine! And let's hang out soon!
We can have differences and still get along. Friends don't have to be segregated by parenting beliefs. At least that's what I think. For the most part.
Are you mostly friends with parents who have same parent philosophy? Do you find it hard to make friends? Why didn't that lady want to be my friend?!?
Image via Hello Turkey Toe/Flickr