To think different parenting styles has killed my friendship?(14 Posts)
I've known A for 10 years, former work colleagues, kindred spirits. Liked partying together, even after she married quite young, loads in common.
We had babies a year apart, her first, 6 years ago.
Weirdly, I was the one with bad PND and anxiety, meds, counselling etc. I'm well recovered now.
From day one with a baby she started talking in cliches "you NEVER stop worrying" "I'd NEVER put my child in a nursery" "I didn't have kids for someone else to rear them" etc, all said as I chatted about returning to work ... Again, weirdly, I was the one who ebf and coslept and all that so-called attachment stuff while she didn't. I was dying to get back to work!
I got past those comments and carried on as normal.
She's since had another and has gone up a notch. I understand some mums are more laid back but I think she's overprotective to the point of damaging. Won't allow her 6 year old go to soft play, or park playgrounds, or summer camp, won't go on holiday in case the plane/car crashes.
Bought a swing set yet scolds him for running or going down the slide too fast.
I feel like the worst mother in the world as I drink tea and eat cake while she's fussing over our 6 and 5 year olds for doing what boisterous boys do.
I'm supposed to be the anxious one with just a PFB and a history of mental illness... Yet I'm so tired of her imagined dramas and catastrophes.
I've found myself limiting contact because play dates with other friends and their kids are, well, much more fun and far more relaxed.
We haven't been out without kids for over a year, she won't leave hers, which is fine and understandable.
Has this friendship run its course? Is it my fault for thinking she's bloody hard work?
If she has a younger one then the worrying has doubled and she is back in the zone of thinking 'all of the time' about safety of a toddler/baby?
I am probably more like your friend but I have an 8 year old and a 4 year old. I am quite anxious about his safety still, whereas a lot of his friends' parents are seemingly 'not'. I find it difficult to be with these parents and relax.
My friendship with my very best friend suffered terribly when we both had our DDs close together. I don't know what to suggest, I've seen it happen with a lot of my friends and their close friends. It's like you have a layer peeled off when you have a child and it makes you much more sensitive to the ways of others and feel defensive maybe about your way. Also motherhood is such a personal "journey" that it can be disconcerting seeing your friend do it so differently to you and vice versa!
She does sound like very hard work
I think it's just a natural drifting apart thing, it can happen over so many issues moving away/lack of time etc and different parenting can definitely cause it
It doesn't stop at babyhood though. I have a friend who found it very difficult when when we were going through the secondary school application process. Because of a legacy left to me by my granddad, I had the money to send my DD to the local, very good, private school. My friend has 3 children so this was never an option for her, as it wouldn't have been for me if I had had 3 either! If DD hadn't been offered a place she would have gone to the local school as well.
It has become the elephant in the room for us and she most pointedly gets her children to show me their reports to show how well they are doing at the local school, but never, ever asks how my DD is getting on. I don't mention it either but do find comments about how well adjusted her children are because they mix with "real" people, a little wearing! I'm dreading the whole GCSE results as her middle DD who is the same age as mine is a really lovely girl but is not academic and mine is.
Is that a parenting style, or is it anxiety? Some of the things she does (not going on holiday etc.) sound very extreme.
It does happen - I've had a friend tell me in great detail how her child is different as they are so clever so normal rules don't apply to them.
Not unnaturally the child is very socially rude and difficult to be around. The friendship died quietly.
Sorry but yes if you dont enjoy time with her there is no reason to spend time with her
TeaPleaseLouise I did try very gently once but was shot down immediately. The thing is, I am more au fait with anxiety and how it clouds your thinking more than the average person, having been through a hard postnatal battle myself. So I do think I could help if she was amenable to help offered.
She'll tell me she's being irrational but then continue to go on about the dangers around every corner. Maybe I was harsh saying she's hard work but getting a cat's bum mouth when I invite her child to a play centre party or suggest a picnic in the park with a playground is wearing on me.
Perhaps the friendship has just run its course. It's a pity because the other mates I have who are also mums now are more or less the same women they were beforehand.
We've all been through a spin cycle in the parenting machine alright but I don't find them in a polar opposite position to me now, regardless of how many kids they have or their ages.
For someone with experience of anxiety you seem very quick to dismiss hers as just a 'parenting style', and also rather unsympathetic.
Your OP makes it sound as though you think that, as the one who has the history of PND etc, you should be the one who is more anxious, and it bothers you that she is. I agree with a PP that calling her excessive levels of concern a parenting style, as though she has chosen to limit her and her children's lives so much through some kind of principle, sounds as though you are ignoring how debilitating this level of anxiety must be for her.
I don't think any parent willingly succumbs to the idea that there is danger lurking around every corner, and you describing her fears as 'imagined dramas and catastrophes' seems to imply that you think she is attention seeking as opposed to genuinely struggling with an unhealthy level of anxiety and a concerning approach to risk assessment which is causing her to sacrifice a significant degree of her freedom to her fears about her children.
She may not want to confide in you because she senses that you are writing off her concerns as having a different parenting approach to you, rather than a symptom of a deeper problem, and I can't say I blame her. If you aren't enjoying her company and don't want to curb your activities in order to accommodate her anxiety, then that's fair enough, but I think that you are understating the problem by putting it down to some kind of parenting technique or assuming that she has any control over her fears.
I think this is one for you to call. Will you miss her, or will you be happier to let it die a natural death?
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