You know me. I’m the one unloading her kids from the car at the park just as you are pulling away to go home for dinner. I’m the one whose daughter swings alone on an empty playground while I help my baby down the slide in my work slacks and flats, sweating in a button-down shirt. The one who has no other mom to talk to while my children play in the mulch because it is 6:15 and everyone has already gone home.
Being a working mom feels so lonely sometimes. When I stayed home, I used to feel like I had so much more of a mommy network, because, say, at 10 a.m. my daughter and I would see friends while we were on a walk, or at the park, or on a trip to Publix. And they’d say, hey come over this afternoon, or meet us at the pool, or whatever… Now I do nothing social without it being calendared, sometimes weeks in advance, because if I don’t schedule it, if I don’t make the effort to get playdates for my daughter on my calendar, they won’t happen. There is just no time between work and the evening routines unless I make time.
I don’t often get texts at 5 p.m. that say “come over for a play/wine date” and there are no what-are-you-doing-its-raining-again-want-to-go-to-story-time? Facebook messages, because the world assumes I am already busy or at work. I am always sad when one of my friend’s posts “We’re going to the Zoo, who wants to join us?” because I’m stuck at work. And yeah the zoo would be fun for my kids, but really it would also be fun for me to hang out with you.
Sometimes other moms say to me, how do you have the energy to do anything after work? And honestly, I don’t. Sometimes the last thing I want to do is have a playdate for my daughter or go to the park or the pool. Some nights all I want to do after work is park my kids in front of the TV and fix cereal for dinner. But if I don’t make the effort to schedule a playdate, or drag eight bags of junk to the pool, or sweat in work clothes at the park, we would never do anything. And my entire social life for weeks on end would just be Instagram. I am so glad I have my son’s little monthly playgroup, and it’s not because my son needs the interaction with more one-year-olds. He spends all his time with one-year-olds at daycare. His playgroup is for me.
Sure I work in an office and see adults often. We have adult conversations. We often talk about things other than work. I can get lunch with other mom friends who work or women whom I know from volunteering. I even exercise with people after work some days. But as nice as everyone is, I can’t really be a mom, with kids in tow, or as the main topic of conversation, around people at work. I feel like I always have to be conscious of how my motherhood impacts other’s perceptions of my professionalism.
So, when you see my daughter is being picked up from ballet by the babysitter, ask her for a playdate. Maybe you and I can chat about mama things when I get her at your house. When you see she’s always the first to camp drop off, and the last one picked up because I’m rushing to and from work to get her, offer to help. I will always return the favor, especially if your child can come over to play for an hour or two. When your kids are driving you insane at 5 p.m., and there’s four more hours of daylight left and a picnic dinner at the pool sounds like a great idea, text me. I’ll probably already be there. And I’d really love it if you came too!
Are you a stay at home mom and lonely? Be sure to read Kathy’s post…