Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another.
If you look at my personal Facebook profile, you would hopefully gather that I am a very positive, welcoming person. I have friends of every nationality, sexual orientation, economic background, and a multitude of spiritual beliefs. I like that about myself. I like that I have enough of an open mind that I don't feel threatened because someone is doing something different than me. One of my bestest friends in the whole world is literally the polar opposite of me, and I friggin adore her. (Anna, that's you, btw)
But my "Mom Friends" are different. They are almost all practicing much of the same parenting styles as I am. Not all of them, obviously. There are differences here and there, but I've learned through experience that I have to have friends that at least think in the same lineage. Otherwise, parenting seems even more isolative than it already is.
Iron sharpens iron. People will challenge you. But I noticed with this: If you tried to sharpen a iron rod, with, say a copper pipe... it would be a disaster. There's nothing wrong with either metal; both have their uses, but to each other, the other is useless. If I try to bounce ideas of marriage off of some people, even friends of mine that have a different philosophy, we will both leave frustrated. One for feeling hurt and misunderstood, the other for feeling unheard and unappreciated. Both of us may be really great people, but the conversation went absolutely nowhere.
My mom friends understand. Most of them are across the state and nation, and we support each other online. Most of the ladies that I've become friends with here in my current city are older and don't understand why I must do things differently than they. Most are of the mindset that they did things a certain way and there kids, "turned out just fine." When, in reality, I'm doing exactly what God wants me to do with my children.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Mommitment. A movement that is dedicated to stopping this ridiculous Mommy War by not judging other moms. I love that. I love that I can do things differently, and someone doesn't think I'm a terrible parent. But Moms, you have to have friends that can strengthen the way that you parent. You have to have people that can reinforce your own beliefs and when you're struggling or at a crossroads or have a new decision to make, they can give you creative ways to problem-solve that don't go against your belief system. You need Mom Friends. Just like we need people that share our religious beliefs, social beliefs, or political stances, you have to have friends that parent the same way. It's not hypocritical to want to be around people that can lift you up, remind you of who you are, and strengthen your spirit.
I'm not saying that you put yourself in a bubble. It's naïve to think that everyone in the world is going to agree with you. Those that don't challenge us in different ways. They can make us question why we do things the way we do them, and actually strengthen our own values in the process. They can give us perspectives we hadn't thought of yet, and that's priceless. But, a neurosurgeon doesn't go to a chiropractor for advice: he goes to another neurosurgeon. Don't they both work with spinal issues? Of course. But would you want the other outside of their area of expertise? Absolutely not.
Mommas, it's ok to keep those that are judgmental at a safe distance. It's ok to surround yourself with people that can be encouraging and positive. It's ok to self-protect! We need all the help that we can get to raise our children the way we feel led to do it. That's positive parenting at its finest. Go get a cup of coffee, and give yourself a warm hug from me.