Generally, I work full time. I may be self-employed, and may get to make my own hours, but I tend to put in nearly 40 of them during a work week. Or more.
My kids attend school in a rather affluent neighborhood, and sometimes I feel like one of the only working moms at the school. All the other mommies seem to have time to volunteer for field trips, drive their kids to activities right after school, and personal time, for stuff like manicures and boot camp workouts. I barely even get to the class, since I often drop the kids at before care and always pick them up at aftercare. I know I sound petty and jealous, but well, I guess I am.
Don’t get me wrong — I couldn’t be a stay-at-home mom. I know my own limitations. I love my kids, but if I couldn’t go to work, or at least have the intellectual escape of work, I’d go nuts. I don’t have the stamina or patience to be a stay-at-home mom. Many’s a day I wish I did, but I don’t.
Still, I partly envy the other mommies at my school. They have time, now that our kids are in school, to do stuff by themselves during the school day. They can shop alone, they can workout, and most of all, they have time for other mommies, time to make and nurture friendships. I don’t, and I often feel quite left out when all the other mommies gather and giggle, and I don’t get the jokes.
Anyhow, last week, I mentioned this in passing to a mom from my son’s class, and she was very understanding. In fact, she suggested that perhaps I could join her and a couple other moms for a weekly exercise class. Normally I would have had to say no, but this one actually fit into my schedule. At least it did last week. So I came. And I feel like I entered another world, a world of suburban moms which I had only ever glimpsed or seen on tv before.
This class, a 75 minute boot camp (not as hard as it sounds!), is taught by a mom in her converted garage. It’s a great workout studio space, packed with balls and bars and weights and stuff. And a dozen moms turned up for this class. They were all fit and trim. During the class, we paired up, and every pair chatted away as they did the circuit. I eavesdropped a lot, and heard about soccer, girl guides, school fundraisers, canning, and other mom talk.
It was a fun class, and I enjoyed spending time with the mommies I knew and meeting the ones I didn’t. But it all seemed kind of surreal, like I was allowed temporary entree into another world, a world we working moms don’t get to live in. Yes, I take my kids to soccer and lessons, and I even cook and can food sometimes. But I don’t normally get a lot of time to discuss any of it with other mommies. Because I’m too busy working. And to prove my point, about 45 minutes into the class I took a water break and glanced at my blackberry, only to find an urgent message from a client. So I had to step out of class for five minutes to call the client, call a reporter, and deal with a work matter. Then I reentered the other world and finished the workout.
I think I’ll go back to the class next week, because I like the workout and I enjoyed the chance to step outside myself. Maybe if I do it often enough I might find a way to feel a part of the suburban mom life, instead of just feeling like an interloper.