A few weeks ago, a long time friend of mine posted this video on her Facebook wall:
While I chuckled at the extreme nature of the characters, my heart broke for my dear friend. I recall feeling very isolated after my first child was born. It was difficult to find and make friends. It’s a balance to share your parenting beliefs without appearing judgmental. Each baby, parent, family and lifestyle is different.
As moms, it’s a careful dance when we meet new friends. With my journalistic background and training, I approach a potential new friend with an appreciation that every person has a story. I know that to some people my probing questions seem nosy. I’ve learned to make light of it, explain it as a symptom of my professional training. I also make sure moms know I’m just trying to get to know them.
My goal in asking questions is to find each mom’s story and also to find the common ground. I think it’s important if we want to nurture relationships with other moms to find the safe topics. We can still discuss the touchy subjects. I just think it’s important to have the safe common ground to return to when it’s obvious that feelings are going to be hurt.
How do you make friends? How do you carefully share your story without condemning other moms? How do you avoid making another mom feel condemned for her choices?