How's that for a provocative, link-bait style title? Because of course I don't believe that mothers who are home with their kids full-time and mothers who go to an office or another job can't be friends in any absolute sense. And more importantly, I think that they should be friends. I'll admit, though, that I've found it difficult, as a practical matter, to maintain friendships with my mom friends who work outside the home.
When I was pregnant, a good friend of mine from the Hill was due exactly one day later than I was. During our pregnancies, we'd get together to go for walks, or we'd attend prenatal yoga classes together. During her maternity leave, too, we were able to hang out at home and chat, nursing our babies and watching movies.
And then she went back to work and, understandably, got considerably busier. I got considerably lonelier, and needed to seek out other mom friends who were home during those interminable weekday hours when David was at work. Although we certainly are still friends, our social interactions these days are basically limited to our kids' birthday parties or other large-group weekend events.
I quickly found that I needed friends who were available for lunch or playdates on weekdays, and that I felt very protective in keeping our limited evening and weekend time with David as family time. For moms who work outside the home, I imagine the need to protect their time is even more acute: Not only do they have less time with their kids, but they also have errands and everything it takes to keep a household running to fit into their out-of-the-office hours.
It's only natural, then, that my closest friends these days are the ones I can see on a random Tuesday afternoon when our kids are making us crazy. And if I still worked in an office, I'd expect to have closer relationships with women who could duck out for lunch with me or sneak in a manicure on a slow Friday afternoon.
My closest friend these days who works outside the home is also my goddaughter's mother, and both she and her husband are good friends of ours. So when we get together it's most often with our whole families. And that's great! I love seeing all of them. But I feel like it's not enough, really. I think that female friendships are important--and that it's important to get the chance to really talk without chasing after the kids or having our husbands around. I also think it's important for moms in different circumstances to gain perspective from one another.
I don't know what to do about it, as a practical matter. There are only so many hours in the day and only so much free time for any family in the week, and it's a simple fact that we're going to spend the most time with the friends who are more accessible for us. But just because it's easiest for me to be friends with other moms who are at home full-time (or most of the time; one of my best friends is a NICU nurse who works limited, irregular hours) doesn't mean that I shouldn't find a way to nurture my friendships with my delightful friends who have full-time jobs.
So really my question is, how can stay-at-home mothers and mothers with outside jobs best find time to spend together? If you're a mom who works outside the home, what would you like your SAHM friends to know about how to hang out with you more? What do you do to enrich your friendships with women whose schedules are very different from your own?