This post has been a long time in the making. It has sat in the queue and I kept pushing the publish date back and back. I am finally ready to talk about this issue now. In no way am I intending to offend any person, whether they work at home, stay at home with their kids, or work outside of the home. I am simply writing from my own perspective about challenges that I have faced.
The short answer to the question “can stay at home moms (SAHM) and work outside the home moms (WOHM) be friends” is a resounding YES. I have a lot of friends who are different from me and we still maintain close friendships – friends who are older, friends who have no kids, friends who live far away.
The long answer is much more complex.
I have had the fortune of being a SAHM and a WOHM (for a time, I was even a work at home mom or WAHM).
I was a SAHM for the first 18 months of my daughter’s life and for 12 months (15 if you count that I was part time for three months) of my son’s life. I was a WAHM for a few months prior to the birth of my son due to pregnancy complications. I am currently a WOHM. I feel, to an extent, that I can speak for all three “types” of moms.
I find the term “stay at home mom” funny, because I did not stay at home when I was on maternity leave. I made it a point to go out each and every day even if it was just to chapters or starbucks. With my daughter, I belonged to playgroups, and with my son, I went out regularly with the parents from my daughter’s school. I was BUSY. I also maintained my home and kept up friendships with people who did not have children. One thing that’s great about being a SAHM is that, to an extent, your time is flexible, particularly during the day. As a rule, most of my socializing time was done during business hours. After that, I either needed to pick up my daughter and/or get home to my husband. I was usually guaranteed a few precious minutes to read or relax while my husband took the kids to the park or spent some time with them.
As a work from home mom (disclaimer – I really only did this part time for a short time), my time was still flexible. I was with my daughter when she was at home and I worked when she slept or was in school.
I currently work outside of the home in a career that I love and find fulfilling. I have flexible hours and generally go in an 7AM and am at the school to do a pick up by 3:15. I have a generous vacation package which I use for volunteering in the school or staying home with sick little ones and for some actual vacations! ;) I will take days as needed to take my kids to something special if I can. When I get home from work, I want to spend every waking minute with my kids. I pick them up, prepare snacks, do homework, play with them, carpool to activities, make dinner and lunches, read, do baths, etc.
Now – here’s where my question comes in – when are SAHMs and WOHMs supposed to get together? I ask this question due to something that came up with me. I was really looking forward to attending a tweetup for moms in York Region. It was taking place on a Friday at an indoor playground. I planned to go and was quite excited. Unfortunately, I would not be able to get there until after 11, then after 12, and then not at all. Since the majority of people seemed to be going between 10 and 1:30, this wasn’t going to work for me. I had to take the previous Friday off with a sick kid, and the following week, I had a conference to attend.
I understand where all sides come in – a SAHM doesn’t want to get together for a playdate at 4PM and a WOHM can’t get together for the playdate during the day.
Obviously, compromise can be found – the WOHM can take a day off if possible, and the SAHM can go out later once in a while. Weekends can work, because most people are available, although it may cut into family time.
Additionally, there is the issue of just the moms going out, without the little ones. Personally, when I work all day and am away from my kids, the last thing I want to do is go out with other people when they are awake. Once in a while is fine, but on a regular basis – no. For a SAHM who is home with their kids all day, a few nighttime outings is perhaps not as big a deal because they had all that daytime contact with their kids.
What are your thoughts on this issue?