Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Being a working mom is lonely

I'm going to come out and say it. Being a working mom is lonely. Now hold on, SAHMs of young kids, I know--you're probably lonely too. If your kid(s) haven't entered school yet, and if you haven't found a play group or a circle of friends with young kids, you're probably lonely too. And before you say "but I'm tired too...I can't take my kid to daycare to get a break..." first of all, going to work is not a "break" it is work. The only "break" there is the coffee break in which you actually drink a cup of coffee while it is still hot. Guess what? Buy a Contigo. Boom. Your coffee can be hot too AND you still get to raise your children. You don't have to drop off your 3 year old while he's screaming MOMMY so loudly you can hear it down the preschool corridor during one of his "difficult drop off periods" that last for weeks. You have memories of your children that I don't have, and you have all day to do what I have only a few hours to do outside of work while trying to give my child the attention he needs and deserves so really, this post is not about the Mommy Wars but sweetheart, you really don't know how good you have it. You know those memes about why moms of little ones can't get anything done? Now imagine that between the hours of 6pm and 9pm plus dinner, bath, and stories. It's physically exhausting and emotionally draining. I cannot fathom who in their right mind thinks this is "having it all".

And I'm not you. I'm me. I'm a candle at both ends, tired, cranky, overworked, and moderately at best appreciated working mom who has to use my sick days (while I'm sick, mind you) for a moment of peace and quiet, the first one in years--and that is IF there are any sick days left for me after taking care of my son when he is sick and can't go to daycare. I feel guilty dropping my son off at preschool, I am sad for the time I miss with him, I get frustrated for the lack of choices in his day to day life and the lack of consistency between home and preschool for potty training.

I don't have many friends, and that's not necessarily by choice but out of necessity. I have acquaintances, some even with kids my son's age. But between working 40 hours a week, taking 6 graduate credits at a time, taking care of my family, and taking care of my 2 nephews and my special needs niece on a somewhat regular basis (and no we do not "trade" sitting services, I just do it)...I don't have the emotional stamina or physical energy to pursue friendship. Would I love it if one of my acquaintances invited me for coffee, or for a play date (at a set time, not a vague "you guys should come for a play date...")? YES. GAWD, YES. But do they? No. Because a) "I just don't know how you DO it all! You must be exhausted!" or b) MOMMY WARS. See, my friends with kids are all SAHMs. Baseball board members, PTO members, soccer moms. And I'm the out-of-place career woman at the baseball field who's telling a tongue in cheek story about the pens I insist on using because that is my world. Preschool (albeit a really nice one thankyouverymuchwedidchoosecarefullyandNOIdon'tpreferworkingitisnotmychoicebutIhavetosoImayaswellsendhimtoagoodschool), office drama, grocery shopping, quick cooking meals, storytime, bedtime snuggles, study, and repeat. Once a week I make conversation with another working mom who doesn't have time to socialize while my son is at swimming. And when my son gets invited to birthday parties (which are quite a thing at his preschool...amazing really) I have a circle of moms I chat with at length.

But I no longer enjoy the close friendships I once had. My best friend from college and I used to live together and we would still call and chat between classes if we didn't meet up at the house. It's been since January since we talked last. JANUARY. She doesn't have kids. That's another category of friendship. The childless friends.

So you see, being a working mom is lonely, because SAHMs don't respect us (or at least refuse to believe we have anything in common), other working moms are just as harried and exhausted as we are, and our childless friends assume we don't have time between everything listed above to socialize. Which isn't far from the truth. But that doesn't mean we don't want to TRY. It doesn't mean we don't want a text or a phone call to say hello--because even though the texts from us are few and far between, we do TRY. Plus, the only women who understand everything we are going through are working moms, who again, don't have time to commiserate with us. So can ya'll reach out to a working mom friend and TRY too? I promise, she will be happy you did.

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