A few tips for a peaceful relationship with your mommy friends.
1. BE SLOW TO JUDGE or better yet, don’t
I have done it myself. When I watched this lady get stern at her 3 year old who was persistently coaxing her to pick him up, I wanted to give her a lecture on attachment and psychology and what not. What I didn’t know was that she was dealing with the one-hundredth tantrum of the day. What I didn’t know was that in an hour she had to pick her daughter from ballet classes. What I didn’t know was that she couldn’t finish any chores because she had been picking him up all day. She had laundry do and dinner to prepare. What I didn’t know was the reason the lady came to the park was to distract her son from asking her to hold him. It’s easy to judge someone when we believe that their behaviour isn’t right. Often it is because we think in the given circumstance we would act differently. The problem however, is that we don’t know the others circumstance fully enough to make that assumption. So next time when you judge a mother to be old fashioned or insensitive make sure to check how her day was.
2. AVOID COMPARISON COMPLETLY
I know you have heard it. Its written everywhere. But I want to repeat it for your sake. For the sake of your child and for the sake of everyone around you. Be it milestones or parenting styles do not compare. I know when your 16-month-old gets on the slide by himself as a 17-month-old struggles, you swell with a little pride. I know when another 16 month old can say 15 words while yours can only 5 you get a little tensed. It’s only human. The more the people the more difference. Appreciate the strengths and work on the weaker skills of your child. Don’t oh please don’t brag. It’s not a competition. There is no trophy to be won.
3. BE DIPLOMATIC among yourselves and with the kids. Instead of telling your child “stop whining, do you see anyone else whining, look at her she is playing all by herself and not troubling her mommy, you should learn from her blah blah..” try ” stop whining, look at her she is playing all by herself why don’t you join her?”
4. TALK, LISTEN BUT DO NOT ADVISE UNLESS ASKED FOR: Don’t be one of those mothers who can only talk about their child and themselves. When a person delivers a monologue of experiences from the labour room to potty training, somewhere in between it becomes boring. Yes, we are all interested in each others journey of motherhood, so don’t be just about yourself and show some genuine interest in others.
Discuss. Accept that there are other ways of doing things. When a fellow mommy was suggesting the brand of milk to give my toddler I had enough. She must have made that suggestion meaning well but all I wanted to scream was that I am capable choosing a milk brand for gods sake. Yes we want to share our expertise. I know you have done your research. Let others do theirs.
5. MEET GREET SHARE AND CARE
Meet often. Set up play dates. Teach your children to get along and share. Help each other. When there is a toy sale spread the word. If you have an unused toy hand it over to the younger sibling of your child’s play pal. Be friends and do as friends do. Be each others confidants. Be each others strength. After all, we all need each other.