Mom Shame?

I got to go out on Monday night with my 2 best girlfriends! I haven’t been out with them in about 2 years and I was looking forward to it.  I met up with one of my friends and we travelled together and had a great conversation and then we met up with our other friend.

We grabbed some coffee and as we were waiting in line my friend tells us all about her day and her job and her meetings.  This lasted about 20 minutes, but I didn’t care I wanted to know about her day and what was going on with her.  Even if I didn’t understand all the different people she was talking about.

When she was done, she asked me how my day was and before I could answer she said, “I don’t know how you do it, I run away from my house in the morning hopefully before my kids get up.”

I didn’t know what to say and the conversation died.  But, it has led me to thinking over the past few days, why did she say that? She is a good mom, she works hard as the sole “bread winner” of the family.  I know that she spends whatever free time she can with her kids, so why the comment.

The first part is easy, I get that all the time. As a stay at home mom (SAHM) people say it all the time. I’m not really sure why, but I don’t even respond anymore.  It is the second part that gets me.  It is almost said in a shameful way.  Why?

I don’t think any less of her because she goes to work everyday and doesn’t stay home so why should she? Is it because of society.  Is it because no matter what you do as a woman, it isn’t enough.  If you choose to stay home with your kids then you are labeled as doing nothing all day.  If you go to work then you are labeled as being spread to thin and never really anywhere.  We really can’t win.

I am just so shocked that my best friend of over 20 years has the need to feel shameful around me.  This comment made me feel like she isn’t the least bit interested in what I actually do every day.  Granted it isn’t as exciting as meetings, conference calls and lunches, but I listened to her.  Why blow me off?

I have been a SAHM for 5 years and I have adapted to people not knowing what to say to me.  Most people talk about work.  I really can’t contribute to that conversation.  So, most of the time people just don’t talk to me.  I think other SAHM have similar things happen to them because when we get together all we do is talk.

Society has made it so hard for women that when we get together in groups we are constantly on guard even around our very best friends.  It is such a shame because it really does take a village.  Personally I found it so much harder to work full time and have kids in daycare and trying to juggle all the home responsibilities.  That’s why I stay home.  It was too much for me. I don’t begrudge women who work, I think that it is great and I even harbor some jealousy for them.  I would never shame them for not being home though.

Maybe if everyone gave themselves and each other a break sometimes it would be nicer to get together.  Stop holding everyone to these ridiculously high standards that no one has a chance of meeting.

I would love to talk about my day.  If it makes you feel bad about yourself, maybe you need to think about what you are doing that could be different.

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