In the last two weeks, I had a playdate at the museum and at the botanical garden, was a chaperone on two field trips and I’ve been to the playground more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve spent more time with other parents than normal and I’ve learned a lot! Before I tell you what I’ve learned, let me preface it with my personal expectations.
From the beginning, I reveled in my pregnancy. I reveled in the fact that I was joining the pantheon of women who have had the honor of carrying human life in their bodies. It was such a big deal to me for many many reasons; namely, I thought I was joining some sort of sorority of mothers across the world.
Soon after finding out I was pregnant, I sought out new “mom friends” because I was “the pregnant friend” amongst my peers which, at times, felt isolating. In my search for mom friends, I thought that having the title “mom” in common would be a solid foundation for a meaningful friendship. So green was I.
Now, in my mere two years of mommying, I’ve encountered the infamous Tiger mom, the Crunchy mom, the Barely-Has-it-Together mom, The “Perfect” mom, the Fit mom, the Free Range mom, the Helicopter mom and the Attachment mom. Unfortunately, it’s an unspoken understanding amongst mothers that the type of mom you are can make or break friendships. These past two weeks have taught me that that doesn’t have to be the case.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Admittedly, my search for mom friends was really a search for a reflection of myself in other mothers.[/perfectpullquote]
It’s a pretty narrow-minded approach that has since expanded. We can have different parenting styles and get along just fine. I’m happy to learn this lesson not from my proactive search for mom friends, but from organic experiences and an open heart. It’s so easy to cut people off, often for minor differences in views – especially in the beginning of a friendship.
I’ve realized that I don’t have to share the exact same views as other people to create a meaningful relationship. This isn’t groundbreaking news, but it is for me because I was actively seeking like-minded, “like-lifestyled” people to make friends with. It’s not completely a horrible idea, but I was too quick to quit on people without exploring the rest of them. My “mom criteria” were subconsciously loaded and stringent. I can hang with the Tiger, the Crunchy and the Helicopter mom without judgement and learn from them. Maybe the Helicopter mom has figured out how to work out every morning and I need that motivation. Or the Crunchy mom owns a business and I aspire to do the same.
There’s too much that we cut off (from ourselves, mostly) when we cut people off just because we find one thing we don’t agree with. Don’t get me wrong, a parenting style can tell a lot about a person, but it doesn’t reflect the whole person. Because, you know, we are more than parents.
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