A Decade of Lessons in Parenting
When her oldest child turns 10, one mother reflects on what she's learned
Lesson #8: Cut Other Moms Some Slack
When Zander was an infant, I spent a lot of time reading about the most fascinating subject in the universe: babies, and how to raise them. By the time he and I ventured out into the real world, I had developed what one could charitably term a "parenting philosophy." Like any zealot, I was insufferable. And I found it impossible to relate to anyone who wasn't as far left of center as I was (hey, we lived in Berkeley, CA) about breastfeeding, co-sleeping, diapering, circumcision, and the like.
Looking back, I could kick myself--not only for having been so annoying and self-righteous but also for failing to realize that the type of diaper someone uses on her baby's nether regions (circumcised or not) is of minimal importance when it comes to making friends with another mom. Okay, when Zander was brand-new, and I desperately needed to talk for three hours about infant sleeping patterns, my New Best Friend had to be someone with a baby exactly Zander's age, and weight, and gender, and temperament, and so forth. But as time wore on, and our babies grew up, I realized my New Best Friend was--how to put it?--a bit boring. We had only motherhood in common, and as I met other mothers, I realized I craved something more.
Eventually, what I needed in a friend was someone who'd crack open the wine with me on a dreary afternoon while the babies crawled around mouthing each other's toys at our feet. Someone who made me laugh until my face hurt even if I'd had three hours of sleep in two days, who brought me soup and Gatorade when we were slammed by a family-wide stomach bug, and who didn't hold it against me when Zander mistook her kid for meat (see above).