Rule number one: We need to own the parenting decisions we make. “If I decide I'm going to put tubes in my kids' ears then I need to stop Googling it and talking about it with friends, and trust that my decision is made,” says Bonior. We need to grow thicker skins so we're not so ripe for getting offended and lashing out in return (nearly 70 percent of our poll responders say moms today are too defensive about their parenting choices). If you do encounter naysayers, know this: Those words are often coming from a place of insecurity. “If a parent feels the need to proclaim from the rooftop about how her way is the right way, most likely there's some doubt inside,” says Bonior.
Rule number two: Women who parent differently can absolutely be friends. “It's about being able to take a step back and say ‘Someone else's choices are not a reflection of mine,’” says Bonior. “If you chose something for your child, it doesn't get any less valid because someone else made a different choice.” Parenting.com blogger Taylor Hengen Newman can attest. “My very best friend and I marvel at how well we get along because we are so different,” says the Austin, TX, mom. “I'm into yoga and Buddhism and she's a Mormon. I cook with organic, local ingredients. She ‘cooks’ frozen dinners. My son slept in our family bed until he was two. Her daughter slept through the night thanks to the cry-it-out method. I would never have guessed that we'd get along as well as we do, but had I written her off, I'd be missing out on a beautiful friendship that nourishes me as a person and as a parent.”