Throughout my 20s, 30s and 40s I was a working mom. Many of my colleagues were also working moms, and we became fast friends, hanging out after work, grabbing a bite to eat and celebrating our various milestones. And this did not preclude men. Some of my male colleagues and I developed lasting friendships that blurred into friendships with my whole family. My family just attended a son's college graduation of one such friend that I have had for over 20 years.
So, making mom friends - what was that all about? I could not even fathom what that was. From the time my three children were infants, I would drop them off at day care or school, then head to work. I barely had time to notice the other moms who seemed to live at the school, doing hours upon hours of volunteer work. Being a working mom was causing me to act like an auto-matron. Yikes.
But when I chose to leave the corporate world to pursue writing and photography, something subtle shifted. My corporate friends soon stopped calling. And it worked both ways. I stopped planning lunches and shopping excursions with them. I was gradually making mom friends. Yes, me, the corporate mom, who didn't have time to talk to the moms at school because I had to go to work, was making mom friends. Who knew that I would find unity and a sense of belonging more than with any other sisterhood I'd ever been part of?
These women were from various walks of life. All had worked at some point in their lives before making the major shift to being a Stay-At-Home-Mom (otherwise known as SAHM). They had made the shift a little earlier than I had. I realized that although I was a working mom, I wasn't truly as involved in my children's day-to-day lives as my mom friends. Some working moms may disagree, but when your full-time job is your family, there's just a different center of gravity. It was something I was beginning to weigh in on.
A few of my mom friends work. Some took time off to concentrate on the kids or their aging parents at some point in their life. Recently several of my mom friends started working again to supplement the finances to ease the costly college-years. Or to boost their retirement funds. But what's different is the friendships that we forged because were are moms are so solid we know for a fact that we are each other's retirement buddies, too.
What's the underlying glue to making mom friends? Somewhere underneath it all, our children are friends as well. That seems to seal the fate of our friendship because the bonds become so cemented they resemble the bonds of sisters. Sisters that we choose to adopt into our lives.
So the next time you scoff or hesitate at making mom friends, think about this: the unity that you develop because of common social ties with children may lead to some of the strongest bonds you will ever make. You become an extension of each other's families and look out for one another the way family does. I know I am lucky to have found a gaggle of moms who flock together like geese.
What friendships have you forged as a working or Stay-At-Home-Mom?
Tina Case is a Yahoo! Shine Parenting Guru. In addition to Yahoo! Shine her writing can be found on her blogs Moms Who Click and Parent Grapevine. She is also an established photographer in the San Francisco-Bay area.