Anyone have friends who are drastically different from you? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 07-10-2010, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have several women that I have been friends with for a long time (20+ years, high school buddies) and it seems now that we all have kids and are settled down, major differences between us that were never a problem before are starting to bug me.

Some of it is the usual - different politics, priorities, etc... but a lot of it is very little, subtle things that are almost intangibles. Like the way they speak to their/my kids (in that sing-song, super sweet voice), the way they raise their voices or make "threats" as a means of disciplining their kids, even the way they make such a big deal out of thing that I do differently.

I never thought I would have a problem accepting the way other people parent or live their lives - I have always been really open minded and never thought that my way is the "right" way to do things... but when it comes to the AP stuff, well... I guess I kind of do think I am right. I mean, who could argue with breastfeeding being more healthy for children than formula - well, apparently most of my friends and boy do they get mad when I try to explain why I do everything the way I do - cloth diapering, no-vax, baby-wearing, etc... it is exhausting being around them sometimes.

And I always accepted other's views on political things and everything the modern media throws at us, but lately I find myself getting more and more irritated at having to bite my tongue. I really do believe that one of the amazing things about living in America is that we can freely speak our opinions about the government and what-not, but I think I am getting old and set in my ways or something.... I just don't want to engage in that type of conversation anymore.

So I have tried to find an AP group/Meet-up around here but haven't really connected with anyone yet. I am kind of shy and have a very hard time meeting new people so I don't put myself out there much. And really, I like most of my old friends - I just don't like the way they parent. Is it wrong to ditch them because of this?

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#2 of 16 Old 07-10-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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Heh heh, I'm in the western suburbs, and it's worse out here!

I'm struggling with a couple new mamas in the same way you are (and I'm less crunchy: we don't use cloth, and homebirthing wasn't an option for us!) Instead of biting my tongue, I don't spend time with them WITH our kids. I may see them at book club, where we're all adults and issues of parenting don't arise, but otherwise I've pulled back from playdates.

Maybe it's just easy for me because I'm very pregnant, but it seems to be working.

And I think we go through phases: sometimes more tolerant, and sometimes more rigid. Maybe in a couple years, once our kids are a little older and we face different parenting issues, you will reconnect.

Regardless, (((hugs))) to you!

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#3 of 16 Old 07-10-2010, 11:04 PM
 
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Yup, one of my dearest friends in the whole world is 25 years older than I am, totally mainstream when it comes to parenting, food and politics and is a self proclaimed red neck.

I maintain our friendship by reminding myself that she is, at her core, the kindest, funniest and most loving person I know. If I called her in the middle of the night needing help, I guarantee you she would be on the plane in an hour to come help me. If you can say the same about your friends, then your friendship is worth fighting for!
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#4 of 16 Old 07-10-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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I have many friends who are drastically different from me in many ways.
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#5 of 16 Old 07-10-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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Hmmm...lets see. My friends would describe me as an ultra conservative bible thumping traditionalist. My parenting style is not as AP as some on here, but I'm a SAHM, I part time CD, I breastfeed waaay longer than most people around here, and I'm an active part of my child's life and plan to homeschool, etc. I'm also a bit of a "redneck". Love me my country music, UFC fights, beers and bonfires, pick up trucks and good ol boys.

Best Friend #1 is a Buddist Lesbian ultra urban down town living alternative music listening trend setter. We have NOTHING in common. But we challenge each other. And we have an unexplainable bond.

Best Friend #2 is an agnostic single mom of three who thinks homeschoolings crazy because "Who would WANT to spend that much time with their children?!?!". I trust her with my child because she respects my decisions, but I do not agree with her parenting. Some of her choices drive me up a tree. But I tell her, and I move on. Our kids are close, and she's always been there for me when I need her.

I have on girlfriend that shares most of my opinions, values, etc. She lives two hours away, we talk once a week or so.

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#6 of 16 Old 07-10-2010, 11:40 PM
 
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Yep - I seem to attract my opposites in life a lot, I figure it is the universe's way of making me think about my positions, live with empathy and learn to appreciate diversity of opinion.

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#7 of 16 Old 07-11-2010, 12:02 AM
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yes. i always seek common ground and look for the best in people. like, one of our dear friends here is one of the most generous person you could ever meet. just, insanely generous. nearly to afault. i have no idea about any of his parenting choices, political ideas, or anything else. i honestly do not know him (or his family) that well. but i *love* them very much.

my new friends are also very diverse--and i find the common ground with them and enjoy their company. it's been an absolute joy to be with them and have friends. i've learned to literally just let it go. i'm sure that i seem just as kooky to them. but it works out.

but i'm having a seriously hard time being ok with circumcision "choices."
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#8 of 16 Old 07-11-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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From your post it seems the problem is not so much the differences you have, but more that you have to defend them to each other. That would be exhausting for me too.

Mamma to dd1 3/8/07, one 9.5.08, and dd2 9/9/09
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#9 of 16 Old 07-11-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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Absolutely. I grew up in a super diverse community in a super diverse city. My friends span all sorts of beliefs, religions, political views (though they need to expect debate from me *G*) classes, races etc. Believe me, sometimes I'd like to wring their necks, and sometimes I need a break, but as long as there is the respect, love and kindness, I can overlook a lot of differences. I hung out with a bunch of people, who I consider family yesterday, about 50% were vastly conservative in their views of the world, the other bunch was 50% socialist, there was no middle ground. We bickered like cats and dogs, but I know I could go up to any of those conservative folks and ask for the shirts off their back and they wouldn't hesitate. They cuddled my kids, helped me immensely, welcomed my friend and hubby warmly as if they were part of the family, I can't overlook all that good for our differences of opinion.

I do draw the line at people who are racists/homophobes etc. But I also accept that folks don't have to be a carbon copy of my beliefs either, as much as it would make the world a better place.

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#10 of 16 Old 07-11-2010, 06:36 PM
 
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Yes, I have a few friends that are very different. One of them I haven't seen in years though. We occasionally email each other.

The other friends are in my town. We are pretty different. We started hanging out often but now it's dwindled down to almost never.

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#11 of 16 Old 07-11-2010, 06:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KempsMama View Post
Hmmm...lets see. My friends would describe me as an ultra conservative bible thumping traditionalist. My parenting style is not as AP as some on here, but I'm a SAHM, I part time CD, I breastfeed waaay longer than most people around here, and I'm an active part of my child's life and plan to homeschool, etc. I'm also a bit of a "redneck". Love me my country music, UFC fights, beers and bonfires, pick up trucks and good ol boys.

Best Friend #1 is a Buddist Lesbian ultra urban down town living alternative music listening trend setter. We have NOTHING in common. But we challenge each other. And we have an unexplainable bond.

Best Friend #2 is an agnostic single mom of three who thinks homeschoolings crazy because "Who would WANT to spend that much time with their children?!?!". I trust her with my child because she respects my decisions, but I do not agree with her parenting. Some of her choices drive me up a tree. But I tell her, and I move on. Our kids are close, and she's always been there for me when I need her.
That is super cool.

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#12 of 16 Old 07-11-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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its a challenge thats for sure...my B/F and I have been like sisters since adolescents and we dont see eye to eye with parenting stuff at all. she formula feeds, has DD is daycare 50hrs a week (she works 24) and feeds her a lot of crap food. i babywear (which is nuts) BF (also nuts b/c DD is 9 m/o now and i should have stopped at 6 weeks..and b/c i plan to do it until shes 3 or 4 or whenever she chooses) and i am a SAHM which has left us on a super strict budget and i have $0 spending a month and have sacrificed a ton to be at home with her for as long as i can. shes catholic im not. we like the same music and thats about it lol but we love eachother regardless.

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#13 of 16 Old 07-11-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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I do. And it wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't for stupid Facebook. I forget sometimes that those same people read my facebook updates, until they get pissed about something I've said. Frequently it happens when I posted something non-confrontational, but a like-minded friend makes a comment that sets things off. It happened the other day in regard to sleep training and babywise. Oy.

But, I'm a new mom, so I haven't had much opportunity to hang out with those friends in real life since DD has been here. I'm curious to see how things work.

For the most part all of my friends are accepting of how I do things. They're all cool with CDing, breastfeeding, birth center, etc. It's just that they've chosen a different path. I do try to educate them when I think they truly do not have the info they need, but I generally try not to force things on them.

Hell, my sister is one of my best friends and she's religious, conservative (though tends to be more liberal in the ways that matter to me), and is circing her son. But we just agree to disagree.

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#14 of 16 Old 07-11-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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Very few of my friends have the same parenting views as me. They know my view and I know theirs, and that's where we leave it. I enjoy their company and friendship for other things and have decided that our friendships will not revolve around how we parent. We just avoid the hot topics. If they come up we can each give our opinions and agree to disagree.

I don't have to convince everyone else that I'm right. I just have to be confident that I made the right choices for our family and let the rest be.

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#15 of 16 Old 07-11-2010, 10:38 PM
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yeah, but my problem is that i *do* have to convince everyone that i'm right about male (and female) genital mutilation. seriously. i do.

i do laugh at my hubris though.
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#16 of 16 Old 07-11-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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Hmmm.... Yes and no. My parent friends mostly have very similar styles to me, though some may not be as "militant" as I am. But definitely all are very accepting of things we do.
As far as social issues, again, the vast majority are very tolerant.
Religiously, only a handful are in the same boat as me. But they are mostly very tolerant.

I do have some "friends" that are pretty intolerant, and admittedly I don't like them much and try to avoid them when possible.
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