Mommy Wars – When You Go Back to Work After Staying Home

mommy wars

I went back to work while my kids are in school and my stay-at-home mom friends don’t understand that I don’t have a lot of time for the things I used to. When we do go out for lunch I try to talk about work and the conversation goes silent. I am not sure what to do here as these are great friends but it seems we don’t have as much in common anymore? Any advice for me dealing with the mommy wars? Charlotte, Miami, FL

You probably still have the same things in common that you used to, but now you have another thing to juggle in your daily life. Maybe save your work chat or venting for friends who are in your same situation and try to reconnect with your SAH mom friends by keeping the conversation about kids, activities and other commonalities. It could be that your SAH friends may feel a bit envious of your job outside the home, which may be all the reason to limit too much talk about work life when socializing with them. Marjorie – 30 Something

I wouldn’t take their lukewarm response to your new work experience personally, or as a reason to end the friendships. You are simply in a new situation that your friends can’t relate to since they are not experiencing the same transition. A very wise mentor once told me that we have friends in batches, meaning different friendships meet different needs in our lives. Some girlfriends are great for Girls Night Out while others are wonderful for sharing personal struggles. As women we naturally want to share all things with all friends, but that’s not always possible. You may not have as much time as before, but when you do get together, focus on the things you still have in common with these great friends: kids, family, relationships. You still need a support system for that part of your life. That doesn’t mean you should never mention work (a big part of your life now!), but just realize that not every girlfriend will “get” every part of your life and that’s okay! You will soon develop relationships at work with other women who do understand the challenges of balancing home and career. Maria – 40 Something

It sounds like your friends are important to you and you care enough to make an effort to keep those relationships strong even though some of the circumstances have changed. Would you be able to talk to them about this? You may even share with them that even though you are working, you still want to maintain the ties and ask them to brainstorm solutions with you. They may be feeling like you don’t have time for them anymore. If you let them know how important the friendships are, you will find you begin to rebuild any bonds that have been weakened. Jamee – 40 Something

Your friends may not know what to say when you speak about work. Certainly, they all remember what it was like to work full-time outside of the house-but perhaps it feels like the distant past. And I would guess that they all feel funny about not working anymore. We usually go into our own space when people talk about themselves-and stop listening. My guess is they are thinking: Hmm-should I go back to work too? Or I’m so glad I don’t have to work like she does! Or any other intimate thoughts about their own feelings of work. Another may be-Why isn’t the work I’m doing now enough! I am pooped out being a stay at home mom!

So-perhaps you need to just talk about the kids and mom stuff-and save your work conversations to a one on one with your besties. In addition to working outside of the home-you are still a mom and so deal with all of the things these mom’s deal with-but now they are in addition to your other responsibilities. You may not find that they can talk about day-care or nannies but they can still talk with you about being overwhelmed, the best dinners to make and movies (not seen). Don’t give up on these good friends. Just pick up a few friends at work too-that you can talk about work with. And time will change everything. As your children grow older-you may find that lots of these women go back to work also. Ann – 50 Something

Yeah, I have some advice, thinks change, people change, situations change. Get over it. Since your Mom friends don’t seem to be interested in your “work life”, don’t talk about it. They obviously aren’t interested in you, since you have tried to bring up the subject of your work outside the home and they didn’t seem interested. I have “work friends”, “old friends”, “girl friends” and tournament blackjack playing friends. My interaction with each group is different and doesn’t overlap. I need all my friends collectively inorder to feel complete, so I don’t talk about blackjack with my work friends because they aren’t going to be interested. Sometimes the members of the groups change and move from just work to girlfriends but it takes time. Helene – 60 Something

The conversation goes silent because your friends don’t have much to say about an experience they are not sharing with you. And vice-versa. You might not have as much to say about their lives any more because your time and commitment no longer revolve solely around your home and family. If they have been good friends and you want to continue the relationships, stick to discussing things you have in common, just like you did before. If you want to discuss your job, go out to lunch with your co-workers. It’s all about knowing your audience and communicating in a group, rather than focusing on individual interests. However, if you perceive an undercurrent of jealousy among your friends regarding your new opportunity, be careful they don’t make you gossip material. If they do, move on. It’s all just a part of accepting the consequences of the decisions you make about your life. Marge – 70 Something