Lunch Break

Three friends came over for lunch today. They are all working women, so they took a long lunch break on a working day and took a long drive from their respective offices (home-office, in two instances) to come and meet me and the kids. These are friends I made in the workplace. Two of them I first met back in 2001 or so; the third I met even earlier than that, at another organisation. So I’ve known them a long time, but I’ve been in touch with them only sporadically. One of them I have met every so many months, or so, but the other two I was meeting after several years – certainly more than two years, because I hadn’t met them after the twins came home. So I was quite excited about meeting all of them for lunch. I even washed my hair and put on one of my more decent (new) T-shirts. Isn’t that a little pathetic? Well, such is life as a career-woman-turned-stay-at-home-mom.

Initially, lunch at a nearby restaurant had been proposed, but I suggested lunch at home because the kids would be happier, and then someone suggested potluck, so that’s what we did finally. It was great. I brought the kids home from school, got them bathed and dressed, and laid the table and just as I got the salad dressed, my friends turned up. They’d even managed to synchronise it so that they all arrived together. They were all a little short on time, so we started lunch quite soon. The kids ate with us, though Mrini grabbed the opportunity to play with her food and eat almost nothing at all without coming under serious fire from me. I was, of course, hopping around serving the kids their lunch while grabbing bites of fish and chicken from my plate in-between servings, but that’s something I’m used to by now. Desert, which I’d made (chocolate puddle pudding), was a hit, of course. The best part was that I parceled out whatever little was left of the desert, while they left behind the leftovers of the fish and chicken they’d brought.

So everything was just perfect.

Only… while the three of them chatted about bosses, appraisals, raises (or the lack of) and other work-related matters, I sat silent and felt out of place. It isn’t that long ago that that was my world too, but now it’s all so far away… and I wish it weren’t.

On the other hand, though… two of them are married and have two kids each. The third is still unmarried, though – now – she wishes she weren’t.

I suppose there are no easy answers.

4 Responses to Lunch Break

  1. Supriya says:

    One of the most drastic changes in life once you become a SAHM – Drying up of common conversation points with pre-kids friends and relatives. I have it from other SAHM friends and I feel it every day. I sometimes consciously try to make interesting non kid-related conversation just so that I can claim to have varied interests. Very pathetic.

  2. doug H / Mrwhatzit says:

    When I was growing up in the 50’s (1950’s), most moms were of the stay-at-home variety. My Mother had plenty of company; there was no shortage of other SAHM’s with which to intermingle.

    Today things have changed. In most families, except for the very wealthy, both parents work.

    I rather liked the old ways better. It was the way my parent’s parent’s had done it, and so on, back into the generational past.

    My Mom always seemed to have plenty to do, what with cleaning the house and doing the wash and making lunch or supper, talking on the phone, and disciplining me.
    But thinking back on it, I wonder if she didn’t miss the social interation and responsibility that comes with having a job.

  3. doug H / Mrwhatzit says:

    I’m not fully awake yet, please pardon the spelling errors.

  4. poupee97 says:

    Doug: My take on it is that, back then, women may not have missed having a job because, as you say, not having a job was the norm, and there was plenty of social interaction between women even without having a job. The difference now is that – especially for those of us who have worked at some point – doing the housework is just not very fulfilling any more. Keeping the house clean and running smoothly just feels like a waste of my intelligence and my abilities. I know I can do it… but I can do so much more, why should I have to do this? I don’t even enjoy it.

    Way back when (and here it was a mere 30-odd years ago), the realisation that you, as a woman, *can* do so much more was not so acute. And when everyone else around you was also spending all their energy making beds and doing laundry, it was easy not to aspire to anything more.

    There’s the argument that SAHMs are good for the kids. Perhaps it’s true… but I also feel that a frustrated SAHM who is feeling wasted at home and yearning to get back to work can’t be doing the kids much good. So SAHMs are good for the kids as long as the SAHMs are generally happy and fulfilled being at home. I was… for a long time. But now it’s time to get out again. And I hope the kids will be ok with it.

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