While the #babybarangays (in all forms) seem to be breaking the internet, all is not always rosy among mom-friends who seems to have nothing but praise and love for one another on social media. Relationships among women are complicated, because unfortunately, beneath what appears to be a supportive girlfriend who will always reply to your whatssap plea for help with consolation, is also one who could—whether intentionally or not, can bring out your most sensitive insecurities and fan your biggest flames.
1. Give unsolicited advice. While your new mama friend may seem clueless, it doesn’t mean she wants your advice. If you absolutely dying to be helpful, the best thing you can probably do without potentially irritating her is to let her know that she can go to you for any questions or moments of desperation.
2. Criticize/Make comments about your friend’s child. If you don’t say anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. While the Philippines may be of the culture of carino-brutal, it is doubtful that any mom would appreciate comments about her child’s appearance, personality, or intelligence. No matter how close you are, resist the temptation to comment lest you lose one of your nearest and dearest.
3. Criticize your friend’s parenting style. Moms are naturally super defensive about how they choose to parent to their children. One’s parenting style is a reflection of one’s values, identity, and for some, even achievement. Unless you feel morally compelled to speak with your friend about how she is raising her child, keep your criticisms to yourself and realize that even in parenting, there are different strokes for different folks. And if you must say something, say it with a whole lot of tact. Remember, timing is everything.
4. Be a copycat. Nobody likes a clone. If you’re mama peg happens to be your friend, proceed with caution because nobody likes a clone. If you admire her fashion sense, DIY abilities, or even her life choices in general…great! But also know that finding your own identity as a mom (and as a woman) will be so much more empowering.
5. Compete. Parenting is not a contest. Your success of a mother will not be measured by the number of likes your child photo gets on facebook, or if you’ve decided to enroll him in the most expensive school. Every family is different, every woman’s journey as a mother is different…and as soon as you recognize that motherhood is NOT a competition, the sooner you can be a really great friend to your fellow mama.