She’s been your very best friend. You’ve taken girl trips. Gone running together. Hosted Downton Abbey watch parties.
Amazingly, you become pregnant at the same time. What joy! right?
In your excitement y’all sign up to attend birthing classes together. As the nurse explains labor and delivery, you lean over to your husband and make sure he knows you will be getting an epidural. Little do you know but your best friend just leaned over to her husband and said the exact opposite. There is no way she would subject her new baby to drugs.
So it begins.
Hospital or Birthing Center?
Breastfed or bottle fed?
Cry it out or co-sleep?
No matter how close you and she were before kids, your differing parenting choices begin to take a toil.
I remember sitting in playgroup with fellow first-time moms. Each of us experimenting on that poor oldest child, unsure how the decisions we made would pan out.
baby at the bottom of the pic is my oldest at his first play date. (wearing a “party at my crib” onesie)
Our get-togethers were a combination of debate and note-comparing. A mom would defend her choice to co-sleep and quote a book she read on the topic. Or we’d figure out whether to present vegetables first or skipped straight to fruit choices.
Slowly the decisions changed from what do you feed your child to pretty much everything…
How we handled discipline or potty training.
What do we let them watch on T.V. (do you even own a T.V.).
Will they attend private or public school? Which private school? Which private Christian school? Which private Classical Christian School (there happen to be 4 choices in Dallas…blessed)?
How soon will you sign him up for sports? How many sports will he play in one season? Will he join a league team?
The list is endless.
Sometimes when you make one choice and a dear friend makes a different choice, you may question your decision. It makes you move into defensive mode again. Stating all your research and listing off all your reasoning.
I think it goes back to those early days of mothering. Back when we could compare notes to see if we were doing okay. I mean if she feeds her son two jars of vegetable baby food and two jars of fruit, just like me, then my baby’s gonna be just fine and get chunky, too.
(sidenote: every child from our first playgroup attends a different school. . .and each doing great.)
The thing is we ALL desperately want to be good moms and for our children to become functional adults. We really, really don’t want to fail.
That’s why when she picked that school and you decided on a different one, you felt a little insecure.
How could you both want what’s best and the best choice is different?
So we justify our choice and in doing so can make the other person feel even worse.
Here’s my new thing. . .
I remind myself each family is uniquely crafted just like each person. A dad brings his family history/traditions/opinions and a mom brings hers, then together they create a new family with a new set of values/traditions/needs.
When a friend decides based on her family’s financial situation, home location, child’s learning style, long-term goals, etc to choose a particular school, I don’t feel like I’ve made a bad choice just because it’s different from hers.
If I find myself needing to explain my choice, I keep it simple. And if I’ve sought God in making my decision (which I’d highly suggest, by the way), I’ll share that with my friend. “We’ve prayed and this is the direction God is taking us.”
Because wouldn’t it be boring if we all parented in the exact same way?
Some families aren’t “dance party families” and others aren’t “read-aloud book families”. Some families fight for animal rights and others go hunting. Some families’ priority is dinner together around the table and others find unity cheering on the soccer field sidelines.
And that’s just awesome.
It’s being a God-centered family. . .seeking Him first to choose the places He wants you to be, for His glory. Amen.
Have you ever differed from a good friend in your parenting choices? How did you handle the situation?