Last month I read a post from fellow Yeah Write blogger Outlaw Mama called Overheard in the Carpool Line. Her post was about the things moms say to each other about other moms. I commented because the stuff she talked about, happened to me. I was the mom they were talking about.
I’m a working mom. I was back at my desk 2 weeks after I got home from the hospital. Even though I was married, I needed to work to help us pay our bills. But since I worked from home, I also got to do stay-at-home mom (SAHM) stuff like to go to playdates and join in on the weekly Mommy-and-Me classes. I straddled the line every week with my roles as a mom.
I never heard anyone say anything directly to my face but I suspect I was a topic of discussion as I frequently had conversations like this:
SAHM: My daughter takes karate lessons on Tuesday and Gymboree every Thursday. Where does Jake go?
ME: He goes to daycare on those days.
ME: I have work to do and its easier when he’s not there.
SAHM: Are you working on something in your house like adding a new playroom?
ME: No, um, I have to do some work for a client. (which I said like an unsure teenager with my voice going up at the end like every sentence is a question)
And these conversations with working moms:
Working Mom: When can you get this over to me?
ME: I can get to it during naptime. If you need something else, I can throw in a couple of Blue’s Clues episode and get myself an extra hour.
Working Mom: OH
There was that word again – OH. Just a one syllable sound would come out of their mouths.
I never said anything either but I was thinking, “Just say what you really want to say. You SAHM, I know you want to ask me how I can put my kid in daycare and miss all those first moments. And you, Working Mom, I’m sure you want me to explain to you why I can’t meet my deadline so I can go to a playdate.”
The first three years of Jake’s life, I was a mom living in both worlds. I felt lonely and kept to myself at the playdates. I felt those playdates were important for Jake so he could be with other kids and get some fresh air instead of sitting in front of the TV waiting for mommy to finish her next project.
The Working Moms didn’t get me either. They took their kids into daycare everyday and they wanted uninterrupted work time with me. They didn’t want to hear me telling Jake put that down or don’t eat that. Their kids were in daycare, why did I have to bring my son to our meetings?
By the time I got my divorce, the SAHM’s stopped calling and inviting me over. Maybe I took one too many work-related phone calls when I was at their house. Or maybe they got busy with their music classes and teaching their kids Mandarin. I don’t really know what happened. I just know that until Jake hit kindergarten, I felt like an outsider.
Maybe it’s more like that Woody Allen quote from Annie Hall: … it’s usually attributed to Groucho Marx and it goes “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.”
Photo credit: Sky Symphony