The Silent Tension Between Working Women And Those Who Stay At Home
Look, I don’t judge women who don’t have to work because their husbands support them. If they truly love their husbands (aka it isn’t just a gold digger setup), then I consider them very lucky women—they happened to fall in love with someone who could relieve them of their financial burdens. But the reality is that the experience of a working woman and one who stays home is very different. I’m not talking about a stay-at-home mom because lord knows they work their butts off in their own way. I’m talking about childless women who don’t have to work. The more years that pass that they don’t work, the less they are in touch with the entire mindset and pace of life of a full-time working individual. You can’t blame them—it just happens. But it can cause some tension in their friendships. Here is the silent tension between the working woman and the stay-at-home (SAH) wife.
Scheduling conflicts vs “conflicts”
When I’m trying to schedule a time to hang out with my SAH friend, I’m working around my work schedule, which is pretty non-negotiable. She’s working around her boxing class and her coffee date with her mother-in-law. And I am supposed to treat those appointments as written-in-stone as my work schedule, and work around them.
But, we should respect each other’s time
The truth is, it’s not my business how she spends her time. I shouldn’t be judging whose scheduling conflict should take priority. But low-key, it is hard for me to accept that I may need to move a meeting because she “can’t” reschedule her session with her personal trainer.
The mid-day lunch requests
Many of my SAH friends seem to forget that I can’t just spontaneously hang out at 1pm on a Thursday. I’m at work. “What about your lunch break?” they ask. Well, okay, but I don’t take a full one-hour lunch break even. I usually eat at my desk, so I can get more work done. So when I take the full hour to meet them, I will be working later that evening to make up for it.
At least meet me near my work
When my SAH friends suggest we meet for somewhere on my lunch break that is a 20-minute drive from my work, I have to remind myself not to lose my patience. They just didn’t really think of the logistics of my situation. But I do have to tell them, “So, that would mean I spent 40 minutes of my one-hour lunch break driving to and from this lunch. Is there any chance you could just meet me near my work?”
When you’re too tired for a social thing
Sometimes, after a long day of work, I just don’t have it in me to go to my friend’s daughter’s play or something like that. I only get a couple precious hours of free time a night. I need them to refuel.
The other SAH wives get more credit
Of course, I hear the little comments—about how the other friends were there. Of course, the other women who regularly show up for these social events are also SAH wives so…
But the working woman moved mountains
Meanwhile, on the rare occasion I can make it to that Wednesday night, 7pm birthday party, it’s because I moved mountains to do so. But I don’t get credit for that. The focus is on how many events I’m not at.
Gift exchange resentment
The truth is that I’m on a budget, so sometimes, the gifts exchanges aren’t exactly fair. My SAH friend may give me a $100 birthday gift, while I can only afford to give her a $40 one.
I spend my hard-earned money
I do get a little frustrated on the gift-exchange thing because I’m thinking, “While, yes, you spent more on me, you didn’t spend more on me—your husband did. You didn’t feel the pain of that money leaving your bank account. I worked several hours to make the $40 I spent on you.”
Career input from the SAH wife
I know it comes from a good place, but sometimes my SAH friends try to give me advice on how to advance my career. “You should write a book” or “You should start making YouTube videos” or something like that. But they say it so flippantly, like it’s the easiest thing in the world—forgetting that I already work eight hours a day. For them it could be easy to “Just” write a book.
Career pity from the SAH wife
There’s also the career pity. “You seem so tired all of the time” or “Your job seems to really stress you out.” Uh…yeah. What’s the point in mentioning that? I don’t have a choice. I have to work…unlike them.
Double date dilemmas
My partner and I both work meaning that it’s very hard to find a night when we can both do something social. So my SAH friend will send her and her husband’s avails and they have like, ten this month. Of course. She doesn’t work. But I have to respond and tell her the next time my partner and I would both be available is in…seven weeks.
But my man is just as invested
My SAH friends make comments about how my partner seems very busy and how do we even get time together? They sort of suggest that my partner doesn’t seem very invested in our relationship, since getting a double date going is so difficult. Ugh. It’s difficult because we both work.
When one needs a hand
Honestly, when my SAH friend asks if I can help her move on a Thursday evening I’m thinking, “Why would you do this to me? You know I work all day, and now you want me to spend my night moving boxes.” Meanwhile, I must admit that, when I ask her to help me with something and she says she’s all booked up I’m thinking, “With what?”
And the appreciation is lacking
When I have managed to help my SAH friend with a big project, I moved mountains to do so. I worked late the following day, to leave work early the day before to help her. I perhaps even took a small pay cut to do so. And she just…doesn’t get it. She doesn’t really grasp the sacrifices I made to help her. She says thank you, of course. But I can tell she doesn’t fully understand what I had to do to make it work.