Since coming back to Lima I knew I had to make new friends. Actually, I knew it well before arriving here. As I have said in previous posts, I was ready for my old friends to be busy, to have different groups of friends, to have lives that do not include me (and that was perfectly fine and reasonable). I also knew that my new life would imply new circles I would land in and that I would also need to create my new circles (circles to fit my needs, like my “foreign language speaking” circle), specially now that I wasn’t going to work or study.
The first obvious and natural place to make friends was my daughter’s new school. I had always said that once my girls started school I would be an active parent and I would participate as much as I could in their school activities. Now that my eldest was starting to go to a “big” school in Lima, my previous plan made even more sense. Also, there is a very practical reason to make friends at my daughter’s school: there are lots of activities involving her school friends, like birthday parties and social family gatherings (here in Peru, at least some schools, give a lot of importance to parents socializing amongst them and becoming as close as possible), so, my thought was: “if I will anyways be spending lot of time with these people, it is on my own benefit to build good relationships with them, and if we become close, even better… If it works out well, both Giulia and I will have a good time when we go to all these events.”
So, with this plan in my head, I attended every event they organized and, lucky me, I found a great group of parents and, specifically, of moms who are also very good at raising these wonderful kids that happened to be close to my daughter at school. And we became friends.
What I like more about our group is that we are all very different from each other. Some more different, some less but -in general- we represent different kind of moms and, as a consequence, different parenting styles. And these is so enriching for all of us.
One of the things I have learned in the last years is that one learns a lot about oneself not only by looking inward but also from observing others, and comparing oneself to other people. I have gained awareness about a lot of my strengths and weaknesses by seeing how other people behave, react or think about certain things or under certain circumstances. Some traits that I thought were very common in people, now I realize they are not and that they are things that make me special and unique.
This is why I love so much spending time with these new friends, because we are very different, and sometimes we tend to became friends with people that are more like us…and by doing so we remain within our comfort zone but we also miss a lot… a lot of learning opportunities and a lot of chances to grow as a person. Each time me and my “mom friends” meet (which is actually and fortunately quite often) I learn a lot from them about them and about myself. We are group that maybe, under different circumstances, wouldn’t have become close, but that having kids in the same classroom and spending some time together has made us know, respect and admire each other for different reasons.
These moms are a constant reminder that for every family there is, there is a parenting style that fits, that there is no one size fits all. Thanks to these moms, I can see different ways to do things and reflect on if and how I would like to make changes to my parenting style and philosophy, they allow me to question my ways in order to adjust or keep going in the same direction.
I am pretty sure that because of these new friends I have made I am better person (and a better mom) and for that I am thankful.