I think I am a pretty normal mom. I raise my kids with the same lessons I learned when I was growing up. Treat others with kindness and respect, do your best at everything you do and try to clean your room at least once a year so I don’t lose my cool and yell at you until I no longer have a voice. I am active in my kid’s lives, definitely have an opinion about raising kids, hence ADayinMotherhood.com, and spend a lot of time with amazing moms who think like I do. However, I also spend time with a lot of moms, many who are dear friends, who do not think like I do. Our opinions vary vastly and some would even say that their parenting style is extreme. In fact, some conversations can be hard to have if we are in complete disagreement. But at no time have I ever thought of not being friends with these women. Why? Because I am not so arrogant to think that my parenting style is perfect and because the only way we are all going to get through this motherhood thing is by supporting one another!
The Super ‘Green’ Mom
This is the amazing mom that takes ample time to get educated about what goes into our foods, environment and everything that enters our kids lives. They read article after article, know all there is to know about gluten-free, food dyes, vaccines and even clothing. They are an amazing resource for information and conversation. But if they are passionate about the cause, you may be the recipient of comments that go against how you choose to parent your kids. Like if you willingly hand them M&M’s and don’t think twice about it in front of these moms, and their kids, you might get a snide comment about sugar and dyes. The value in this friendship may be hard to see if you don’t have a child that is in need of this kind of intense education on foods and products. But the benefit of this friendship is invaluable. My ‘green’ mom friends are passionate and easy to talk to. They are loving and dedicated. They are invaluable in gaining information that can lead you to your own research on things. They bring that same love and devotion to their friendships and that just makes your connection to them richer!
The Super Strict Mom
I consider myself a fairly conservative mom. I have a set routine that I try to keep with the kids, early bedtimes that are my savior, am unwavering on when they will get their ears pierced or start dating and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But there is an extreme to conservatism in parenting that can be defined as super-strict that I don’t always agree with. The kids who are never rewarded for good behavior or stellar grades because ‘they are expected’. The kids who not allowed to play with kids of the opposite sex at all. The kids that are closeted in their home for fear that outside influences might damage the teaching their parents are instilling. While I could be called a helicopter parent in some respects, I also think that exposure to people, experiences and life in general can only help in teaching my children how to act and decipher good decision making skills on their own. I have some friends who are very strict with their kids and I do have a hard time not speaking my mind. But I also value their friendship and respect them as parents because they are unwavering to the pressures of modern society. In addition, they make me think as well. Sometimes, the super strict mom can bring up sides of things you never considered in making decisions on what may or may not be safe for my kids. These moms are strong, well-meaning and staunch protectors of what they love. They bring all of those qualities to friendship as well!
The Late Mom
This is the mom that sets a time to meet for lunch and shows up 30 minutes late looking disheveled and harried. I have been her more than once. Well, I am rarely late, but the disheveled and harried I have down pat. The difference is that this mom does it so often that you start to show up late knowing you will still beat her. She is the one with last minute cancellations, the house that you can’t ever go to because it is never quite put together and the scatterbrained conversation topics that never quite have an ending. I absolutely LOVE this mom! She is real. She is generally non-apologetic for it and she has a heart of gold that is hard to top. She is the one that is trying to get it all done and failing by other’s account but finding the silver lining in every little accomplishment. Her kids don’t have a bedtime, dinner is sandwiches and she texts late at night for the school project notes that are due tomorrow. Friendships with this mom are unpredictable, sometimes frustrating and the most fun ever. She reminds you that life can be overwhelming, motherhood chaotic and that it is OK to be who you are. This is also the mom who will drop anything to be there for you. Schedules are nothing when it comes to needing a friend!
The Perfect Mom
We all know one. The kids are never messy, her house is immaculate, she always has on make up, posts photos of 5 course meals for Wednesday dinner and is the perfect friend who never forgets your birthday. The perfect mom I am not. But I have friends that I value very much that are! They, literally, have this motherhood and family management thing down to a science. Nothing seems hard, nothing seems urgent and yet it all gets done. The dishes, the laundry, the vacuuming, the dusting, the bento box lunches, the gourmet dinners… it is all done. While some may see having this mom as a friend as somewhat discouraging, I look up to her. While I don’t ever want to be one, ’cause it really looks like a lot of work, I aspire to do better in areas I want to improve on because of her. She is also the mom that thinks before giving you advice, wants to help you improve in any area you want and is a great listener. She is a valued friend because she is all together. And the fact that she loves you so means you are pretty awesome too!
No matter the parenting style, the person beneath is always has value to any of us. In building a community that supports women, despite how they choose to run their household or parent their children, can only make us all better women and mothers. While I could never be a friend to a mom who neglects and abuses her child, there are moms everywhere that I disagree with that are doing everything they can to love, cherish and raise amazing humans. We can never fault anything anyone does when they are always trying to bring better into this world! Love other mothers as you want to be loved and we will all come out of this motherhood thing feeling like we did change the world for the better! No matter how we chose to do it!