I’m most certainly a working mom (well, aren’t we all really?), and I likely work too much (hello, other business owners!) but that’s not what we’re talking about today. I want to know why it’s so hard for me, as a working mom, to maintain my friendships with my stay-at-home mom friends.
My son’s day care workers (and anyone else who might interface with me during the day) naturally assume I don’t work, since I’m often home during the day and I’m able to take my son to the occasional daytime appointment. Yet, stay-at-home moms know I work, because my son isn’t home (he’s at daycare) and I don’t have time for mid-day park meet ups, kids' activity classes, or play dates.
Yet, even though I’m working from home — I find myself in the same daily grind many women who work outside the home do: wake up, ideally early so I can squeeze a mini yoga session in before my son gets up; get everyone out the door in one piece; tackle all the work fires; maybe eat lunch; run errands and tackle more work fires; pick my son up from daycare; do dinner, bath, bedtime; and then it's either more emails, client visits, or attending a work event, or hopefully I get to spend a couple hours with my husband, then bed and repeat.
Stay-at-home moms have their own intensive schedule, as well, because they’re keeping the day of the household moving forward, yet with the accomplishment of having little ones in tow. Between meals and nap times, there isn’t a lot of flexibility throughout the day. The thing is, even if I had some time in my schedule to meet a stay-at-home mom friend for coffee or lunch — they likely don’t have the same time free. Heck, even trying to have a phone call to catch up can be tough. I’ve been playing phone tag with one friend who stays at home with her toddler twins for over a month.
The real reason why my friendships have strayed with my stay-at-home mom friends — and, to be honest, with many of my friends in general — is because having children keeps us so busy, and frankly it keeps us pretty tired as well. With early wakeups seven days a week, there’s no way I want to stay out late socializing. This mama needs to sleep. And even though I don’t consciously think I prioritize sleep over catching up with friends after my son is in bed, I’m pretty sure I do. In the end, it seems that life circumstances are just pulling me and the stay-at-home set in separate directions — and it's nobody's fault.
Are you a working mom? We have resources for you. Check out Working Mom Guilt Is Real — 16 Moms Weigh In On How They Deal and 10 Working Mom Secrets to Keeping the Chaos at Bay for advice from women in the same boat.
Stay-at-home mom? Read If Stay-at-Home Mom Was a Profession, This is How Much it Would Pay. And if you're looking for a flexible, part-time gig, 10 Part-Time Work Options That Moms Will Actually Love has you answer.
Jennifer Mayer supports parents through pregnancy, birth, new parenthood and the transition back to work. Shes the founder of Baby Caravan, a birth & postpartum doula agency and Baby Caravan at Work, a corporate consulting practice based in New York City. Jennifer lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.