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Preserving Sisterhood When You Parent Differently | by Kendra Broekhuis

Photo courtesy of Bradley Productions

I was slightly taken aback by how quickly my new friend intervened. I hadn’t known her for very long, and yet within moments of my three-year-old’s meltdown, she led away my daughter by the hand to calm her so that I could get back to nursing my baby.

My friend was just as swift to explain, “I don’t really know you, so I’m not sure how much you want me to step in. Within my close friends, I am quick to intervene with their children if they need help.”

Though I was more than grateful for the extra set of hands, I wondered if her action meant she thought I wasn’t doing a good enough job. But what might have first appeared as sabotage was just my new friend expressing her parenting personality.

As we have become closer friends, I have noticed a variety of ways that she differs from my own parenting personality, which is somewhere close to “Stuck in the 90’s.”

I, for example, often feed my family macaroni and cheese whose only scratch ingredients come from a box with the name Kraft on it, while my friend is an amazing chef of all things Paleo. In my mind, “play date” means telling the kids ages three and up to get lost so us moms can chitchat for an hour, while my friend has the nurturing patience of an archangel and sits on the floor with them to moderate the group’s behavior.

And don’t even get us started on sleep training.

Why different parenting personalities need not sabotage the sisterhood. @kendrabroekhuis #theopendoorsisterhood Click To Tweet

One might think our styles differ too much for us to be friends. From the way we care for our children’s physical needs, to the way we discipline our children, to the way we intervene when our child has a conflict — these are all potential points of either commonality or friction between two people who are also trying to be friends.

So, does this mean I should seek friendships with only those who parent exactly as I do? My life would not be the same without my intervening friend, so I would say a firm no. But as I made the rounds asking women about their relationships with other moms, these were a few characteristics of those friendships that lasted despite differing parenting personalities:

  1. They talk honestly about how they parent differently, how they interact with their own kids, and their friends’ kids.
  2. Each assumes her friend is doing her best to care for the unique needs of her unique children.
  3. They find common ground in their faith.

In a beautiful sermon about spiritual friendship, our pastor encouraged us that when we kneel before God, our differences go away. We have the most important thing in common, and that is Christ.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. {Colossians 3:12-15, ESV}

While friendship is hard work, it is worth the work. And while it might seem that the scariest thing about parenting is other parents, when we find common ground in Christ, one of the best things about parenting is the support we find from others in the trenches with us.

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Kendra Broekhuis is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor. For her day job, she stays home with two of her kids, Jocelyn and Levi. She and her family live and work in the city of Milwaukee, still attempting to learn what Love Your Neighbor is supposed to look like. Read and find out more at www.kendrabroekhuis.com.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Christina June 15, 2017, 10:39 pm

    Where is the LOVE button?!?! This is GREAT!!! Thank you!!!! 😍😍😍

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