From the time my son Harrison was in the "three day threes" at Friendship Presbyterian preschool, I've been navigating relationships with other parents.
At the first parent orientation night, I looked over the sea of faces and knew I'd make friends with some parents, and the others, not very well.
At the first holiday party, it became apparent that there were levels of parental involvement.
Some working parents had to drop off snacks to donate to the event. A few stay-at-home parents were party organizers every holiday. The spectrum of participation ranged from zero to one hundred percent.
Along the way, I came to realize that some parents were available to attend parties and field trips, but chose not to. Parents with multiple kids often ran frantically between classes trying to be all things to all people. Some were so overly involved that the children got embarrassed.
Harrison is now 12 and in the seventh grade. I have had friendships with many of his peers parents for nine years. Others, I still hardly know. Some moms of girls in his grade I know even less.
There are a few faces that are familiar to me and yet we have never clicked, while there are moms that I couldn't live with out.
I have decided that the moms I get along with the best prioritize their children in the same way I do. It makes sense because I have more in common with other working moms. Still, I wish sometimes that we all would help each other out a bit more and ignore the differences that keep us apart.
In nature, mother elephants, lions and dolphins all circle together to protect and guide their young as one. We could all stand to mirror this natural instinct and behavior.