When Different Parenting Styles Put Friendships on Hold

We recognize that sometimes the things we feel we can’t talk about are the things others also feel unable to discuss – this post has been published anonymously as part of a series to engage our community in those difficult conversations. Click here to read more posts from this series.

Life. It’s that little thing that can sneak up from behind and slap unexpected changes in your face. Celebrations and heartaches. Expected or not. Life happens. 

Our wedding day is one of those planned celebrations that I will never forget. The vow I spoke on my wedding day was one that I promised to be my husband’s better half, through joys and sorrow. If I had to choose one thing I love most about the relationship I have with my husband, it would have to be the decision to parent our children the best way we know how – together. Being able to watch him become a father & interact with our kiddos melts my heart more than anything else I have yet to experience in this world. I love that we are able to share this together, and choose how to tackle parenting obstacles as they come. Above all, we strive to always be active role models of what we hope our children will become. This is not an easy task. In fact, there are days that we feel as if we have failed. Discipline causes tears and is never easy on our hearts. But no matter how tough parenting can seem on certain days, our number one priority is doing what is best for our own children. 

Friendships are also an important part of life. We all have that friend – the one who’s been there from the very beginning. She’s experienced the best with you, and you’ve cried together on your worst days. One that named dolls with you as a child and wore underwear veils for the pretend weddings you performed together in 4th grade. A sorority sister who held your hair back after an all-nighter at the bars. A forever friend who stood by you on your wedding day, and you on hers. BFFL. Best friends for life – the way we always dreamed it would be, right? 

Until we became moms. 

As much as I love this parenting gig, one obstacle that life continues to throw our way is the ability to maintain friendships that we once assumed would be lifelong. I don’t think that I’m the first woman to admit that a friendship has come to an abrupt halt due to differences as we age. In fact, as I contemplated writing this post, I spoke with multiple women who could relate to the fact that somewhere in life, they also had a friendship that had changed over time. It’s part of life, but I guess I just never expected it to happen with some of my closest friends. 

I whole-heartedly believe that everyone can succeed through a variety of beliefs & morals. We all want to do what is best, and in a generation run by social media, there is always someone who knows how to do something better than others. I’m not one. Honestly, I feel as if I know little to none about success as a parent. I’m completely clueless on most days, just flying by the seat of my pants and hoping that my children catch onto the “good” kids at school and learn from them. Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way, right?!

One thing I do know, is that there are hundreds of ways to “parent” our children. Various parenting styles are what make this stage in life so amazing, yet so very difficult. I love that I’ve been able to connect with so many women who share similarities, learn from them, and spark new friendships. I’ve also discovered that this stage in life has caused heartache with some of my dearest friends, due to the fact that our parenting styles are just so drastically different.

It didn’t happen overnight, and I can’t say that we did not attempt to make the friendships work. My husband and I tried multiple times for a solution, but as time went on, we came to the conclusion that our families just needed some time apart. Our kiddos are at an age where we just don’t feel that it is appropriate to spend time together, and those friendships have been put on hold for now. One day (in another stage of life), we can un-pause and resume. I know that it will never be what it once was, nor do I expect that. It’s heartbreaking to know that some of these relationships have changed so drastically over time, but I just have to remind myself that it’s normal to evolve. It’s not the first relationship to change, and it won’t be the last. Above all, my husband reminds me that we are in this together for our family, and if we continue to raise our kids the best we know how, everything else will fall into place. 

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One Response to When Different Parenting Styles Put Friendships on Hold

  1. Kristen Spear February 13, 2018 at 9:41 am #

    I love this article!! Thank you to whoever wrote it!

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