Like someone said in another thread (don't remember where), becoming a parent makes you find new respect for some of your old friends and also makes you lose respect for others. I thought that comment was totally true (at least in my case).
The following is long, but I had to vent! Thanks, in advance, for listening!
I have 2 girlfriends who both became pregnant around the same time (both were unmarried at the time). One of my girlfriends is such a wonderful mother, and totally AP, even though she probably doesn't know about the whole "AP" philosophy. She bf, co-slept, was always gentle, spent as much time as she could with her son, enjoyed being with him, etc. It came naturally to her. She's a lovely person.
Her path was difficult, as the father of the baby was a complete dead-beat who not only broke up with her (after a serious long term relationship) but had no involvement in the baby's life. Anyway, she moved back home with her parents, went back to school to get another degree and completely devoted the next few years to her education and her son. Every single time she had a spare moment, she would take him on hikes, to the zoo, out for a walk. She pumped in between classes, made his own food and talked to her son with much respect. This little boy (now 5yrs) old, is the brightest, well-mannered and adjusted kid I know. He has always had a fantastic relationship with his mother. I always had sooooo much respect for her for the way she handled everything, including her mothering. Now, that I am a parent, I have even more respect and appreciation for the sacrifices she made. Last year she met a wonderful man, who adores her son, and they were married. Now they are expecting their first baby.
My other friend (if I can even call her that), had her baby around the same time. She was in a very short term relationship when she got pregnant. The father was never involved with the baby. She was the complete opposite of my other friend. I tried for years not to compare them, because they come from different backgrounds, but, I really didn't like a lot of the things she was doing with her dd. I always tried to justify her actions....she's single, she's trying, she needs money, etc.....Now, however, I have to say that I really don't have much respect for her. AFter her dd was born, she was more interested in "getting" the father to come back to her than concentrating on the baby. The only AP thing she did was co-sleep, but that was more because of logistics than anything else....she lived in a small studio. She employed corporal punishment (with a belt) on many occasions, left dd with her mother or other relatives frequently and basically was not that into being a mother. DD was watching t.v from the moment she could sit in front of it. The shows were never censored. This friend also moved at least 8 times in the last 4 years. DD switched daycares, providers, etc about 4-5 times. This little girl totally didn't smile for the 1st year!! I really think much of it was because of the constant upheaval in her life. Meanwhile, my friend was so consumed with finding a "husband." She really wanted the house, picket fence, someone to care for her. She focused so much on material things too.....Hence, her financial troubles.
To make an already-long-story short, because of her choices, friend became pregnant again (still not married). This father IS involved with baby, but wishy-washy about whether he wants a relationship or not. Friend still wants marriage. She and I were pregnant at the same time. For a while, we seemed to come closer, because of the pregnancy. But, after our babies were born, I realized that her parenting philsophies and mine were totally different (on most things). I also realized that I had lost respect for her. It was so disappointing. Until then, I was always supportive of her and encouraging. I never criticized her choices (even though I questioned them to myself) and I justified the parenting choices she had made. I always told myself that it was really hard for her, she doesn't have good family support, she doesn't have many choices, etc. etc. At some point, however, I realized that I just didn't agree with what she as doing with her children and have lost respect for her decisions.
Am I totally bad for feeling this way? I've been struggling with this for about 1 year now. DD is 14 months and her son is 17 months. I have stopped going over ther (even though she lives 2 buildings down from me) and I don't really call her.
When her son was born, she was fired from her job and she decided to SAH, collect unemployement and live off of government aid. She was "tired" of working. She also wanted to devolte more time to her kids. I can totally understand devoting more time to your kids. Her way of doing this, however, consisted of having the kids watch t.v most of the day, running around in their nightgowns and eating t.v. dinners. She was too lazy to take them out...too much work with 2 of them. She didn't look into any of the local playgrous (free) or library. She just recently realized that we have a library 2 blocks from our building. She spent more time calling me from home and watching horror movies (her favorite) than doing anything meaningful with the kids. I think that's when my attitude towards her changed.
A few months ago, she decided she was going to homeschool her kindergarten-age daughter. Now, I am not against hs, but the "reason" this friend was going to do it was because she didn't want to take public transportation to take dd to a public school!!!! She always talked about sending dd to a "latin school" or a "magnet school" or other private school. For a year, she sat around and did NOTHING, to get a scholarship for dd to attend these schools. Literally, on the day that dd was going to enroll in kindergarten at the local school, she decided it was too much trouble to take her and that she would learn more at home! HUH!? This is the woman who keeps her kids in a 1 bedroom apt most of the time because it is too much of a hassle to go anywhere with them! Mind you, we live on the beach, next to at least 5 parks!!
Now, you might be thinking that I am overreacting to her decision to do well by her child and homeschool. However, not surprisingly, her "schedule" for teaching every day from 12-2 lasted only 1 month. Then, it deteriorated to teaching "whenever" she could get it in. She tried to rationalize that children learn ALL the time and that dd did not need a rigid routine. Now, 6 monts after she started this, she has moved 2 times and has just enrolled her dd into a daycare! It's a shame because her dd is so bright.
The point of this endless rant.......I have lost respect for a friend that I have had for many years and I don't think it is going to come back. IT saddens me but we are beyond the point of return.
So, my relationship with one friend has grown by leaps and bounds, because now we have parenting in common as well as all those other things. One relationship has deteriorated to the point where I don't even want to talk to her that much. If we talk once every couple of weeks, that's fine with me. Thanks, again, for listening!!!