I’m in kind of a weird place right now and I think it’s a place all moms find themselves at some point. A huge majority of the women that I know and are friends with are stay-at-home moms (especially those with young children). But since I work outside of the home, I’m surrounded by many working moms and these women are more work-friends than anything. At times, it feels like two different worlds.
So, outside of the office, when I meet another working mom, I start to feel an immediate kinship with her. There’s a momentary thought that pops into my head that says “Here’s another mom just like me!”
But all moms are not created equal. After all, you can’t classify women into two groups: those who work and those who stay-at-home. That’s way too simplistic. Because, to be honest, many moms _want _to work. And many stay-at-home moms like being stay-at-home moms. Some working moms would rather be stay-at-home moms, and some stay-at-home moms would rather be working moms. There aren’t just two types of moms anymore.
Some moms work outside the home because of desire to work, some work strictly because of financial considerations like salary or medical insurance, and some work because of obligations to a family run business. Some moms are stay-at-home moms because of choice; they simply want to. Some stay-at-home due to family situations (maybe an ill child or a military lifestyle). Some moms stay at home to avoid the cost of daycare.
The danger in pre-judging a woman on her occupational status is two-fold. First, you could write off a friend simply because they have a different working situation than you. What a shame that would be! Stay-at-home moms and working moms can be great friends! Working Wanda and Stay-At-Home Sally can forge a wonderful friendship even if both are content in their situations. And even if Wanda would rather stay-at-home and Sally would rather work.
Secondly, the needs of a family change and you might not always be in the situation you’re in. A woman who works today might not work outside the home tomorrow. Likewise a stay-at-home mom might enter the work force in the future. Having friends who have been there, done that before can be a great asset as your life changes.
I’ll admit though, there is a part of me that has a little spark of hope when I meet another working mom. (Maybe that has more to do with the fact that I personally don’t know too many.) I just have to keep in mind that it might be that the only thing that I have in common with her is our working status. In the whole grand scheme of things, that probably isn’t enough to build a friendship on. Likewise, when I meet a stay-at-home mom, we might be a great friendship fit. I try to keep an open mind! I like having friends from different backgrounds; career is just one of them.
What’s the easiest way for you to find friends?