As a mom with a demanding job and little time to socialize on weekends, I'm finding it difficult to have a social life these days.
The women friends I'd made prior to motherhood have been drifting away from me, and most of the moms in our neighborhood stay at home with their children and don't seem that interested in cultivating a friendship with a working mother like myself.
I recently decided to find like-minded mommies by joining a group for working mothers, but eventually became discouraged after a few months, due to the low attendance and high cancellation rate of the events. It seemed that every time someone scheduled a lunch, 9 times out of 10 it would fall through or get pushed back to a later date because someone had a work obligation they couldn't get out of. Or, it would be scheduled too far away from my workplace or home, meaning I'd never get there in time.
Andrea Ballard, a life coach in Seattle, www.expectingchange.com, says she understands how difficult it is for working moms to attain a good work/life balance. “So many working moms struggle with the guilt of taking time for themselves and their needs, and learning how to give themselves that gift of time and attention can be truly life-changing,” she says.
Ballard and other moms and experts offered some advice on how to achieve this balance:
Arrange weekend dinners with other couples. Ballard says to choose couples with children who are similar in age to your own children. “Set a date with one or more couples on a Saturday that starts around 3pm, followed by dinner at 5pm, with everyone heading home around 8pm to get ready for bedtime. This takes place at home, not a restaurant, and is usually potluck, with the hosting family
taking care of the entree and the other families taking care of side dishes, appetizers and/or dessert. When it works well, the kids play with each other and the parents have time to talk and catch up,” she advises.
Start your own local group. Lanesha Gipson, a working mom in Allen, Texas, started a mom's group specifically for working mothers and their families. “Because working mothers work all day during the week, the weekends, often times are reserved for their families. But that doesn't mean that moms don't want to hang out with other working moms as well.” The events she plans can be attended by the whole family. “But we do try to have Mom's Nights Out at least once a month,” she adds.
Do What You Love. Karla Wheaton, who lives near Portland, Maine, decided to expand her social life by joining a book club. “It is a group of young women and very low pressure (some months some of us don't even read the book), but I enjoy reading so it's nice to be able to combine it with something social,” says Wheaton, who found out about the club at work. Barbara Singer, a mom who resides in New York City, produces and performs in an all-mom stand up comedy show called the Full Metal Mamas. “It's a great way for me to see my other mom comic friends,” she says.
There's always the PTA. Birthday parties and daycare are both good places to develop friendships with other working mothers, Wheaton says. And once your children are older, “the modern PTA is a great way to find new moms to be social with.” My son is entering kindergarten this year, so I'm hoping this will be a new outlet for my husband and me.
In the meantime, I've decided to follow Wheaton's lead and start a book club in my neighborhood. Perhaps those stay-at-home moms will want to join, as well as the working moms. And, I've always wanted to try an Appalachian clogging class. Provided it's offered after working hours, of course.