Can 'Cry It Out' Moms Be Friends With Those Against It?

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stroller in parkIf 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!

Sigh.

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

time for mom, natural parenting

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ashjo85 ashjo85

I have two best friends from high school who I'm still friends with today. We're all in various stages of the parenting thing. I came first, with my 2.5 year old daughter. My second friend just had her first baby this past August, and the third is now pregnant and due in March. And it's HARD to maintain even those established relationships sometimes, because I parent very differently than either of them are going to. I prefer not to have my child in daycare, I'm very much in favor letting them progress at their own pace, I'm not super strict about the little things (pick your battles, you know?), and I have no intention of piercing any of my child's ears until they are old enough to want them and take care of them. And both my friends are the polar opposite of that. And I feel it already eroding our friendships. Mothers just take every SO personally!

Cafe... Cafe Suzanne

I haven't made mom friends with many moms who share my parenting philosophy and that is hard because sometimes I want to talk about an issue I am having or whatever but I can't because the premise of the issue might be something that they do/don't do with their kid so they might think you're insulting them. It's lonely. Also it gets harder as the kids get older because of drop-off play dates -- when you disagree with the foods/activities/form of discipline that another mom approves of, it's tough to let your kid go there. Basically I guess the moms I've met are more the moms of my daughter's friends -- i hang w/ them so she has playmates, but I don't feel like I've really connected with anyone. And to answer your last question, that lady is a dumb-dumb.


 

ethan... ethans_momma06

<3 You muchly! It is EASIER to be friends with people who fit into a similar mold that you do. After all, you'll def. have something in common. It's easier to get or give the support you need to or from someone who is doing the exact same thing that you do. It's easy to turn to a friend who co-sleeps to, to whine about the little feet in your face, the elbow in your ribs, and get commiseration (which is what you really want) vs the response a non-co-sleeper might give you. Like 'Ugh. That's why I don't DO that.' or 'Why don't you just have them sleep in their OWN beds if it bothers you so much.' Or, the argument the other way around. So, I think it's normal to cling to people who are 'like' you. However, when we stay ONLY in our comfort zone, I really feel like we lose out on some beautiful relationships that we could have. I have other friends who are parents who are vastly different then I- and I love them all the same.

Freela Freela

I did have a hard time making 'mom friends' when my first was a baby.  I simply didn't know anyone else having babies at that time (I had my first in my early 20s and none of my existing friends were having babies then.)  I spent a lot of time trying to join playgroups, chat up moms at organized activities, etc. without ever making a real frienship with anyone.  Then, when my second was born I met up with someone who I used to know from high school, and we made a connection.  As our kids got older, we had less time to spend (we were also geographically not that close) but fortunately when my second child was in swim class I began chatting with the other moms on a weekly basis... we exchanged phone numbers and four years later are still really good friends.  We don't necessarily have the same parenting styles, but it hasn't hindered our friendship.  I found that these issues only came up when I was really 'hunting a friend' in a purposeful method.  If it was a friendship that grew organically, these things weren't big issues because there was already something there that was more important than ticking off similarites on a mental checklist.

Momma... Momma2blessed

Yes it's possible so long as we both don't take things personally and understand everyone parents differently and that's ok. My BFF from college has 2 girls about the same as as mine and we have VERY different parenting styles. She's a CIO, baby in own room from day one, non-organic type and I am the bedsharing, organic food, attachment parenting type. We both are SAHMs and support each other and still ask the other for advice but with the understanding that what works for my family is different than what works for her's and that's ok! We both love our kids and do the best we can and vent to each other about the challenges and laugh it too!

hutch... hutchfam2007

I have friends from high school who are still my friends today. When it comes to parenting, yes, we ABSOLUTELY do things differently! But that is ok. Generally when we hang out we arent trying to talk about CIO or whatever, we are just trying to hang out. I try to just keep the controversy out of the convo!

Molly Uncensored

CIO is a deal breaker for me. It's neglect and people who do that to their children have no place in my life.

nonmember avatar KD

I was the first of my group of friends to have children, my youngest is 8 and my best friend has one who just turned one, but we have been best friends for years (since high school) and she helped raise my kids. We have some different thoughts about parenting but parenting has changed a lot over time. It's not a problem for us. In fact, as we are looking to expand our family through adoption I ask her about the latest baby stuff and she is going to watch my younger two when I go back to work so that she can stay a SAHM:). I trust her with everything in my life. Good friends are good friends no matter what.

vero215 vero215

I follow babywise, it is not neglect.  I love my three children very much.  That is why it is hard to make friends, everyone is quick to judge.  You need to know people's hearts, before you judge.

imlena imlena

I have an eclectic mix of mom friends. Some are attachment/natural, some are free range, some are helicopter and quite a few are middle of the road like myself. I like all of them because I learn from all of them and we don't knock parenting styles. We did have a couple of moms in our playgroup that we no longer associate with because they were sanctimonius and annoying. Funny, I saw one of them at the playground looking miserable as usual and I felt sorry for her (well mostly her daughter because it's not her fault she's an a arrogant know it all) and almost invited her to join us but then I remembered the snide remarks and pompous attitude and decided against it. Usually those type get phased out in playgroups even if they have the same philosophy.

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