Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Last week, I wrote a blog entitled “There Are No Job Postings for Cowgirls and Ballerinas.”  In it, I pondered what it will be like to return to the world of work after being a stay at home mom.  I wrote:

“Now, instead of being just boring, I imagine it being unbearable- to go from taking part in this life altering process to crafting reports that no one reads.  My desk job used to just be tedious.  Would it now just feel like a complete waste of time and skill?”

A few hours later, my friend, Laura (not her real name) called me basically to say “what the fuck?” (although her wording was much nicer.)  I had started the blog that morning, and of course my writing was interrupted by mommy duties.  During that break, I spoke with Laura on the phone, and asked her about her new job.  She said it was pretty boring at the moment, not a lot going on, but that she was muddling through it until things were expected to pick up in a few weeks.  We chit chatted a bit.  A couple of hours later, I returned to writing my blog without really putting it in context of our conversation- just anxious to finish it up in the little free time I had.

When she called me out, her issue was that just a mere two hours prior she had been telling me how boring her job was, and then I posted a blog about boring office work and how it can’t compare to the joys of motherhood.  Ouch.  I could see her point.  I had not thought about her feelings, or those of other office workers, including working mothers.

Her point stuck with me for a number of reasons.  First, I have had to work jobs I hated merely to pay the bills, and there is respect in that.  In fact, that is pretty much the story of my life.  I have always taken part in projects I was passionate about, but I have never been paid to do them.  I worked to support my artistic life; my artistic life has never supported me financially.  I have always taken pride in the fact that I found ways to do what I loved, even if I didn’t get paid for them.  My blog did a disservice to all the people just like me out there, working to support their dreams.

Even if you are not working to support some grand artistic vision, there is nothing wrong with simply working to get a paycheck.  We all have to eat and pay the bills.  If you are making an honest living, I have no right to judge.  I should have taken a step back and thought this through before spouting off, but alas, that’s not how I really work.  I’m a spout-first-think-later kind of gal

If anything, my blog is a daydream.  Hoping that maybe I can figure out a way to meld my worlds, find a way to make a living and feel like I’m doing something I love.  Will it happen?  I have no idea.  Of course, that’s my wish, but if it doesn’t, I will deal with it- just like millions of other people out there.

However, Laura talking to me got me thinking.  It is important for moms to hear the other side- the friend who doesn’t have kids.  And vice versa.  Listening to Laura talk about my blog, I realized I hadn’t even thought about the points she had made.  I simply wrote.  And granted, that is what a blog is for.  To vent your own brand of nonsense.  But I know I gained something from hearing her out and I bet a lot of moms would too.

I offered Laura a guest spot on my blog to discuss this issue of trying to maintain friendships after one party has had children and the other has not.  She accepted.  I asked her to write about the things she misses, the problems she faces, and what she needs from her friend who is now a mom.

I wish this story had some happy ending, but it doesn’t.  I found the exercise cathartic.  Laura did not.  I found it helpful to hear both sides.  She thought it highlighted how different we are now.  I do not want to say more than that, out of respect for her.

I was not sure what to do with the pieces.  Delete, post, wait?  I had such high hopes for them being an example of how communication can save a friendship.  That’s not what happened at all.  But I still feel like it can be beneficial to know what the other side is thinking.   With Laura’s permission, I decided to post them, even if it just serves as a cautionary tale.




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