Have differing parenting philosophies affected your friendships? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 05-09-2003, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm talking long time, really close friends here. Several people I've been friends with since our middle school/high school years had their first children about a year before me. So, naturally, they want to help me, give me advice about how they did things, what worked for them,etc. The problem is I disagree with about everything they say. And I have a hard time spending time with them b/c of their parenting styles. For example: Friend A leaves the t.v. on ALL DAY for her 19 month old. This child sits in front of the cartoon network probably 8 hours/day!! I have never said anything to her about it because I believe the way she chooses to parent is none of my business (unless a child is in danger, of course). BUT yesterday she told me in a condescending "I'm more experienced and therfore know better than you" tone, that I HAVE to stop holding DD so much and letting her sleep with us b/c I'm spoiling her. And then she went on a rant about how babies need to learn independence, and how she did it right b/c "look how independent my DD is." I'm thinking, she's just in a mezmerized stupor from that stupid television you stick her in front of all day long. I didn't say that, but I just said that I don't believe babies need to be forced into independence at this age and if she turns out to be spoiled from too much love and affection, then so be it.
Friend B has a real problem with our cosleeping. Every time we see eachother, she reminds me that someday I will just have to let DD CIO. I always tell her that I think it's cruel and it is not something I am willing to do. Then she gives me that big sigh and look of pity. It just kills me to go visit her b/c every time I'm there her 6 month old is screaming unattended in her crib with her bedroom door closed. And she just goes about her business as if she can't even hear the cries. When I mention that the baby is crying she says that it's her naptime and she always cries for a while before she falls asleep. She swears by CIO since it "worked" for her 20 month old who now goes to bed so easily.
It just makes me so sad that these friendships seem to be fading. I find myself not wanting to spend time with them b/c of the way they parent and the way they feel the need to "advise" me in my parenting. I feel I have been respectful of their choices even though I totally disagree with them, but they're not respectful of mine.
Have you all had experiences like this and if so, did it get better as your children grew older or worse?
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#2 of 41 Old 05-09-2003, 09:42 PM
 
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nak
ahhh, yes it is so tough to maintain friendships with people when you disagree with how they parent. i have found myself drifting away from people now that we are parents. it is so tough, you dont want to tell them why you do things your way for fear of sounding judgmental, condescending, or holier than thou yet they have no problem blatantly telling you how to parent. the friendship with one of my cio, use tv as a babysitter, spanking, yelling friends was already beginning to deteriorate when I was pregnant, and then one day she went on and on about how i am going to regret cosleeping ( i dont and cant imagine ever regretting it) so i snapped and told her that she is cruel and a horrible parent. not the best way to go about ending the toxic friendship, but it felt GREAT! thats awful, i know, but everything i had been tiptoeing around came spilling out. i fellt vindicated. now, i am not suggesting you do this, but you do need to somehow let your friends know that you are not going to take their advice, you like your system, and you want to stay friends but are having difficulty doing so as they are always giving you unsolicited advice. i hope you can work this out, and i feel for you. i think we mdc mamas have all been through similar situatuons. maybe youcan meet some more ap friends whose beleifs jive with your own. i was able to do that through LLL, and my cio etc. friends and i have become more casual aquaintances as we just do not have as much in common as during the prekid days. good luck.

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#3 of 41 Old 05-09-2003, 10:27 PM
 
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This can be really hard. I have it on both extremes. I have a close friend who we actually considered making our parent's godmother....luckily we didn't because our friendship has waned now that we've had our baby. She has older kids, ironically she APed them (or at least did so with the help of a live in au pair) but now that they are spoiled and have a crappy relationship she thinks its because of AP. ITS NOT! They totally spoiled these kids on other levels with material things and NO discipline. ANYWAY, now she freaks out on me all the time telling me not to do this & that. She thinks my son is going to turn out like hers if I give him too much attention & love. She makes annoying comments such as, "Well he's got your number all right.." as if he's a master mind manipulating us like puppets. We've stopped seeing her as much because it hurts my feelings too much when she says this stuff.

I have another friend who is a Montessori teacher but doesn't have a baby and she is AP to the nth degree. You know all those crazy ideals you had before you became a parent? Well she's got them, and they aren't applied to any kind of reality. She is seriously upset with me because we use a binky when Lucas has trouble sleeping. I actually stress out & hide them when she comes over. We use cloth diapers only about 50% of the time & she totally judges me for this too. She quizzes me about the way I do things and when she finds that it is in line with whatever she's read, she says, "oh, well you've done your reading so you know...." Needless to say, this friendship has also become strained.

Its really upsetting when you're a new mother to have friends do this to you. I always try to support new mothers even when I disagree with their parenting... Its hard enough as it is without people judging you. I try to keep this in mind when I disagree with other mothers. Its actually good to have the experience of being judged because it makes you aware that it isn't fair to do it to other women either...

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#4 of 41 Old 05-11-2003, 05:08 PM
 
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do as u see fit they can give u advice but u learn by trialn error i believe thats what makes u good parent to each there own.
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#5 of 41 Old 05-11-2003, 05:50 PM
 
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I'm going to move this to a broader audience.
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#6 of 41 Old 05-11-2003, 06:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by mama2annabelle
It just kills me to go visit her b/c every time I'm there her 6 month old is screaming unattended in her crib with her bedroom door closed.
This just breaks my heart. I can't believe it goes on. How incredibly sad.
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#7 of 41 Old 05-11-2003, 06:29 PM
 
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Yeah, it's the looks of pity from mainstream parents that really chaps my hide. And if I can bite my tongue about what they do you'd think they could return the favor. I mean, do they get a free toaster for every 10 people they convert to CIO?:
I can't say this has ruined any friendships but with most of my mainstream parenting friends, we just agree to disagree.
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#8 of 41 Old 05-11-2003, 06:35 PM
 
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I have an old friend who does the CIO thing--and I tell her straightforwardly that I could simply never do it the way she and her dh do. That said, her CIO stories make we want to cry myself. Whenever anyone says anything about little babies' needing to be independent, I laugh out loud to their face.

But, I am not in their shoes, I don't hold the same things as priorities, and I don't ever expect them to be convinced of the merits of my parenting style.
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#9 of 41 Old 05-11-2003, 07:19 PM
 
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Oh, DEFINITELY.

I had a friend once tell me, "You didn't turn out to be the kind of parent I thought you would be," meaning that I didn't make all the same choices as SHE did, and that somehow it made her feel uncomfortable. She didn't say she thought I was doing things wrong or anything, but she really came right out and said that she was having a hard time being close with me because of those choices. My understanding of that was that she felt guilty about not breastfeeding, about putting both kids in daycare, etc., even though I thought she was doing a great job and had great kids (I never said there was only one way to raise great kids!), and having to hang out with me just made her feel worse. Can anyone say, "Not my problem"?????? She doesn't talk to me anymore. Oh well. :

Also, I've had people accuse me of being judgmental just because I answer them when they ask me why I do things the way I do. I started a thread about that:

http://216.92.20.151/discussions/sho...threadid=57832
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#10 of 41 Old 05-11-2003, 07:21 PM
 
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Yes. I had a close friend who followed "Babywise" as if it was the bible. I find that we are still "friendly" but not at all close. I also don't think that I could be friends with anyone who spanks consistently (luckily, none of my friends spank at all).
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#11 of 41 Old 05-11-2003, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies. I'm glad to see its not just me. I'm really hoping that our different views will not ruin our friendships. As I said, these are long-time friends that I've been close to for many many years. I'm thinking I should just bring up the subject of agreeing to disagree and not trying to change the way the others do things.
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#12 of 41 Old 05-11-2003, 10:41 PM
 
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I agree with Lovebeads regarding friends who parent differently; we are "friendly" , but not close. there doesn't seem to be that much to share and we seem so different in our most fundamental ways of thinking. I think it actually comes down to different world views and values; like babies being inherently 'bad' (if you can believe that!) and needing to be 'made to fit a mold' of sorts seems to be what I find people on the othe side thinking. very weird, sad and scary.
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#13 of 41 Old 05-11-2003, 10:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by southerncomfort
I mean, do they get a free toaster for every 10 people they convert to CIO?:
.
No. They get a new pair of ear plugs.
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#14 of 41 Old 05-12-2003, 12:03 AM
 
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Originally posted by momto l&a
No. They get a new pair of ear plugs.
I just laughed so loud that I almost woke the baby. Like Homer Simpson said, "It's funny because it's true." And it's painfully sad because it's true too.
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#15 of 41 Old 05-12-2003, 02:24 AM
 
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I think that if you have been friends with these women for so long, you owe it to your friendship to speak openly and honestly with them about this. You have nothing to lose, but everything to save. I'm sure they think they are "helping" you by giving you this advice. I'm sure their hearts are in the right place. Tell them how you feel, in a "let's agree to disagree" tone and see what happens.

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#16 of 41 Old 05-12-2003, 08:22 AM
 
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i have a friend who had her son just 5 months after i had shoshanna. she's told me several times how we do everything "opposite" and once called me "an extreme liberal type."
anyway, we live 1500 miles apart, so it's not too big an issue. i bought her a subscription (2 years) to mothering, and she reads it and sometimes we talk about the articles.
if she tells me something that bothers me, like when she started CIO with her 5 month old who was teething, , i told her i didn't think that was a good idea and sent her some online articles talking about the negative effects of CIO.
we actually have said we would agree to disagree, and i asked her not to tell me about stuff like that because it upset me so much.
so that's that. we just talk about other stuff, and don't touch the thorny issues. she doesn't criticize me for being a weirdo who uses cloth diapers and nurses a 19 month old and sleeps on a mattress on the floor, and i don't criticize her for weaning at 8 months and spending so much time away from her son and feeding him junk. we're both trying to do the best for our kids, and we're just on different roads. in this particular case, the friendship was worth more than "being right" and evangelizing AP. i have however cut someone out of my life completely after seeing how he treated his almost step-children.
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#17 of 41 Old 05-12-2003, 11:04 AM
 
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A weirdo who nurses a 19-month-old?!

Wow...It really IS amazing how different parents can be...
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#18 of 41 Old 05-12-2003, 11:25 AM
 
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yeah, i like not being the weird one around here! i just blend right in, right?
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#19 of 41 Old 05-12-2003, 12:56 PM
 
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One of my close friends had her son 9 mo. before my dd was born, and was constantly dispensing the CIO advice. It didn't have a major effect on me (I simply ignored her) until after dd was born, then her parenting style really began to bother me. We still managed to remain friendly, but became much more distant. I never said much, because I didn't want to come across as sounding judgemental, and she wasn't abusive toward her son by legal standards. Our friendship will never be the same, although we are polite to one another.
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#20 of 41 Old 05-12-2003, 01:06 PM
 
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Oh yeah, on both "sides"

I have a friend who is totally AP and she was upset because I was less devoted to BF'ing than her because I supplemented with a bottle and had told her I planned to do this. She was pg at the same time as me and really into the IDEA of BF'ing and kept sending me stuff about "nipple confusion". Well the fates had the last laugh because I bf (except for my one per day bottle) for 18 mos and used child led weaning with each DD and she couldn't even make it 6 mos.

She was also really upset about me letting my kids CIO which I am sure some of you are too. But when my DD's were 4 mos old we used this (each cried about 5 to 10 min for about a week) and then were done, they slept thru the night thereafter. She was always telling me, "I can't believe you let them cry." I tried to tell her it was right for us but she was so contemptuous (and BTY no one I know who uses CIO does it to make the kid independant, they did it because they wanted their child to learn to fall asleep on their own which is a little different.)

ON the other side, my neigbor was aghast I was BF'ing a 14 mos old and can't believe I don't punish my kids and don't make them eat their dinner in order to get a treat.
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#21 of 41 Old 05-13-2003, 01:08 AM
 
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My best friend and I have been friends for 22 years and we are having some problems because our parenting styles are different. Our second babies are just 10 days apart. It was so neat to share our pregnancies together.

The problems that we have had have more so been on my end. I can't deal with her letting her baby cio. She will tell me that shes not going to pick him up because he doesn't need anything. He just wants to be held. I haven't gotten nasty with her. I just tell her she should try to sling him. She tells me that is cool that's what I do, but if she does it then he will want to be in the sling all the time. I explained to her that the more you sling the more you want to, but she won't try. She tells me that cio is not going to harm her child and that she has to teach him to go to sleep. She does not agree with the family bed, because that is her and her husbands bed. She also stopped breastfeeding at 6 weeks because "she couldn't get anything done and he seemed to want to eat all the time"

She tells me that she thinks all my AP practices are cool but she won't try, and although I get really angry and sad, I hold my toungue unless she asks my oppinion. Unfortunatly, this has affected our friendship in a negative way.

Thanks for starting this thread. You are not alone. I'm glad that I'm not either.
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#22 of 41 Old 05-13-2003, 02:08 AM
 
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Oh yeah.

It came between me and one friend. Her life was chaotic and she was making choices with her kid I couldn't respect. I said something and it caused a rift. When that blew over I decided to just accept a different kind of friendship. We aren't as close now, but it's more respectful when we do make contact.

Sometimes when you care for someone deeply, it is just too painful to stay involved emotionally when you have different priorities. I still care for her deeply, but it takes more than that to remain close, involved friends with another parent. I think there has to be some common ground to avoid burnout.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#23 of 41 Old 05-13-2003, 03:31 AM
 
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AP parenting has worked for my family and I am proud of all the choices I have made so far. My dd just turned 2. However, I have taken unbelievable amounts of crap from friends and relatives about my choices. Never let it bug me too much. I have tried so hard not feel judgemental of the formula feeders and spankers and CIOuters and tv-heads among my friends but have definitely felt myself drift away from them. Probably the more intolerent they were of my choices, the more I felt like it might be better to stay at arm's length. Why breastfeed in front of people who hate it? WHy be in that situation?

I had a friend who was making such bad and dangerous choices as a parent that I just could not stand to watch. I have some guilt about ending that friendship because her dd was in some potential danger. I guess I had to trust that my now ex-friend's family would rescue the girl. They were close to her. This was a sad thing for me.

At the moment I have a new friend. A neighbor that I have become friendly with. Her parenting style is not unlike my ex-friend's. She's a hitter, she's sometimes quite emotionally cruel to her 5 year old. Does not read to her, never takes her anywhere but shopping. She wants to hang out with dd and me but I feel like I can't. I can't watch someone pinch their child and be cruel to them and be friends with that person. I actually worked up the courage to say this to her the other day. Man. That was hard. She listened though and she's now seeing a therapist I recommended. I hope it helps her. So sometimes I guess it's good to stick up for what you believe in.

If you read my recent post then you know I blew my relationship with my SIL away by saying I felt formula feeding was not as good as BFing. Broke her heart, she says. SO sometimes one should just be quiet. It's so hard to for me to know when to do what. Parenting is such a passionate endeavor for me.

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#24 of 41 Old 05-14-2003, 03:46 AM
 
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I haven't lost any close friends due to differences in parenting. But a girl I grew up with and have been very close to since 5th grade lives about 2 miles from me. The more I am around her and her almost 2 y/o the more I don't want to be. I have realized after having children of my onwnshe has an 8 y/o dd too) that she really isn't a good mom. She loves her kids but that's about it. Always yelling at them, spanking all the time etc. She's just a really crappy mom, and it makes me sad for her kids(she has 2 and her dh has 3 from previous marriages, although only her 2 live with them) She definitely favors her firstborn over their baby, and has always said that if she ever had to choose b/t leaving with her daughter and leaving the baby with him or staying having her oldest go live at her dad's that she'd leave. I couldn't imagine leaving my baby!!! But her oldest is still her "baby" she had her when she was 17 and has struggled to raise her alone until she got married 2 years ago, so she's totally devoted to her. I can understand the devotion, but not the willingness to leave her other child if it came down to it. She never ceases to amaze me with her "stupidity". The more I think about it the madder I get, she's just a really crappy mom.
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#25 of 41 Old 05-14-2003, 10:36 AM
 
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She will tell me that shes not going to pick him up because he doesn't need anything.
Sigh...I know this is not new or profound, but every time someone says this, don't you want to sat to them, "If your DH or SO came home and found you sitting on the couch crying, how would you feel if he offered you food, asked you if you needed to use the bathroom, and then when you responded no to both, said, 'okay, then, I'm just going to go watch tv since all you want is to be held.' "

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#26 of 41 Old 05-14-2003, 11:40 AM
 
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My thought is that not all friendships are meant to last forever. Perhaps these 'problems' that you are feeling/experiencing is the signal to just let it go--- let it go for awhile or maybe forever? Who knows. I think about how much different events, cycles etc. have changed me during my life, and how very - VERY different I am now. Some friendships have changed with me or adjusted to (or with?) my changes--- others have not and vice versa, I am sure that some friendships have waned becuz I was doing things my friend didn't get.

Just a thought.
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#27 of 41 Old 05-14-2003, 01:34 PM
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#28 of 41 Old 05-14-2003, 07:26 PM
 
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I have a sd who is 25, and has a son 10 weeks younger than ours and a new one.
its not like we have one difference with her, its everything. i mean we could shut up about little things ie giving your kids too much juice, pop junk foods ect. but its all of it !!! she dumps her first off with who ever will watch him so she can party, they keep guns in the house, her mom gave her babywise so she hits for everything, she ff, she sahm so she can be with him but doesnt do anthing with him, ect ect ect.its not just one thing or even a few, its all of it. it upsets both dh and i so much.
her son had alot of ei so she blamed it on the fathers side how they are inhertied ect. meanwhile she smokes in front of her kids....... um maybe that is why?
its very hard to be around her at all....... and we feel so bad for the kids...
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#29 of 41 Old 05-14-2003, 09:38 PM
 
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i wish i had the time right now to read all of the posts, but at this moment i have only to respond to your orignal question...with a resounding "YES!"

my friendships have absolutely been affected by differing parenting styles in a way i could have never imagined prior to my "promotion" in life to being a mom.

it's hard to explain...but the way i parent is such a fundamental part of me and my existence that i find it hard if not impossible to maintain or develop a truly deep friendship with others who do not agree. it sounds so shallow to say that, but i can't deny the way my heart feels.
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#30 of 41 Old 05-14-2003, 10:15 PM
 
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I am so glad you posted this!!

My neighbor and I had our boys 6 months apart. She and I are friends and we have some things in common but our parenting is SOOO different.

She brags how he son is so "independent" because she "taught" him to play all alone.

She told me one day that she and her dh let their son CIO since he wakes up too much and told me that one night he cried hysterically for an hour and when he quieted down, her dh went in to check on him and he was "hyperventilating" (but asleep she was happy to report) She told me she closes the door to his room and closes her door to the master bedroom so she can't hear him that well

She also feeds him peanut butter cookies for breakfast and wonders why he doesn't eat well ( he just turned one)

She told her son to "shut up" when we were out for a walk because he wanted to be held.

She brags that they "slap his hand" when he touches something he shouldn't and he already knows what to touch and not to since if she comes towards him while he is touching something off limits he runs away from her (HELLO, he doesn't WANT TO GET HIT!!)

Anyway, I am glad I could get this out... I cannot be true friends with this person however she is my next door neighbor so I try to get along as best I can.

I am not the most AP in the world, but I try to do what I feel is right for my baby, which does not include any of the things she does!!

You aren't alone however I am where I live since i think I am the only person who doesn't CIO!!! Even my own mom told me tonight my son is spoiled since I don't let him cry whatever!!
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