We met when we were deep in the trenches of first-time motherhood, brought together by proximity and the shared birth years of our children. In those days, life was an endless cycle of sleepless nights, nursing babies, and toddlers who started the day before sunrise. We’d meet at the playground bleary-eyed at 6:30 in the morning on Saturday. We’d escape for moms’ nights, force our husbands to socialize in hopes that they would become friends (they did), and sustain each other with that one epic, endless group text.
We had everything and nothing in common. Our day-to-day lives as mothers were nearly identical, but our backstories could not have been more different. There’s a decade age gap between our youngest and oldest friend. One of us worked for the Republican Governors Association and another is a lifelong registered Democrat. We are Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and agnostic. We run the career gamut from stay-at-home-mom to work-at-home mom to CFO and surgeon.
The vitriolic “mommy wars” would have you believe that a group of diverse moms could never be friends in real life. Every time I read these arguments, I think about our little group and how we’ve built and sustained these deep friendships despite our fundamental differences. How can these relationships work when we disagree on so much? Below are meaningful ways we have supported, grown, and strengthened our friendships by sharing these standards.
Four Ways we Embrace our Differences to Build Better Friendships
1. We don’t try to change each other’s minds.
It can be hard to listen to people who don’t agree with you, especially in today’s political climate… at some point, we subconsciously decided that we valued our relationships more than we valued being “right.”
2. We love each other’s children.
Parenthood shifts your paradigm about what’s important in life. The people who love your children earn an instant and permanent place in your heart.
3. We embrace each other’s cultures.
They come to my Diwali dinner every year. I go to their Baptisms and Christmas parties. We bring our children and force them to learn (even when they’re bored…!)
4. We respect each other’s choices.
Here is my truth, some of my friends are better at day-to-day motherhood than I am. They are more creative and more patient than me. And that’s okay. Having them in my life taught me that the choices we make reflect our individual strengths.
I’m a better person and a better mother because my village is diverse. My children are better for knowing families who teach them that different is normal. Motherhood may have brought us together, but these friendships will last long after our children are grown.