I'm at such a lonely place right now, feeling isolated at home with the babe and not really finding other moms that I click with out there. The truth is, I have never really had good female friends.
Until I met my DH, I always had great friendships with guys. But these relationships gradually petered out (pardon the pun?) as DH and I got more serious, and as most of my male friends found their own SOs. Now I have no friends and realize that all the men have mysteriously vanished from my life. In a few cases, they're still there, but now it seems like I'm expected to be friends with their wives instead of them. Is this what happens as we get older? We have to gender-segregate to respect everyone's marriages?
I actually go out of my way NOT to talk to SAHDs too much for fear of being inappropriate. Like, if I wanted to schedule a play date or get coffee together with the kids, how would their wives feel?
My own mother was in incorrigible flirt and it bothered me tremendously when I was a kid. I am very aware of the dangers of turning into my mom, and I'm trying really hard to avoid that (in a lot of areas, not just this one). And my dad didn't give me enough affection, so it is possible that I may have "daddy issues".
But I also just have an irreverent and often dark/sick sense of humor that men seem to appreciate more than women. I don't like to talk about babies very much. I like to have absurd conversations that meander along as each person riffs on what the other one has said and it's just for the fun of that moment. I like when there's chemistry there and the conversations flow.
Is there a way to have male friends as a SAHM? Or is that phase of my life just over?
Reading through this again now, I can see that I'm making some sweeping generalizations and assumptions and such, but I am still interested in starting a conversation about being a SAHP and having friends of the opposite sex. Anyone willing to weigh in?
I've had many male friends over the years and my life would be threadbare without them. They give me a male perspective, never care what I'm wearing and some of them are great dads. Not to mention they can lift heavy items..... okay, kidding a little there.
Before having kids, I never had many female friends either. I always wished that I could, but I felt intimidated by the women who I wanted to get to know better. So it was pretty much all men. Now, 7 years and 3 kiddos after the fact, I still have male friends, mostly SAHDs. I've never worried about being alone with them in the house. I mean, there is very little that could possibly happen when we're watching and playing with at least 4 kids. Not that I would go there anyway. If there was some sort of sexual tension with a SAHD though, I'd be more careful, and be very open with my partner about it.
But also, as you said, being a mom it IS a lot easier to come by female friends. So now I have mom friends too. I've found that friendships with women are wonderful too. Not all women are put off by a black sense of humor (although I've definitely shocked some people by saying the wrong thing.) Look around a little. Talk to a variety of parents and find out who you click with.
Okay, so I'm going to chime in on the other end. Before having kids, I was a nuclear machinist's mate in the Navy. I was one of the first females allowed to join the nuclear program (literally the first female from Idaho). I was one of 10 women among hundreds of male coworkers. I know all about hanging with the guys.
However, when DH and I got married, we both agreed to never be at home alone with someone of the opposite sex unless it was absolutely necessary (like company from out of town). And I don't pursue close friendships with men. In my opinion it's a wise boundary to have if you care about your marriage.
Do we not trust eachother? No, that's not it at all. But there are going to be times in any marriage where you may be at odds with your spouse and it could be a little tempting to get too cozy with "someone who understands." Let's face it - Americans don't have a great track record anymore of long term, lasting marriages.
One final, and probably most important point I don't think anyone has mentioned is this: how does your DH feel about it? He's the one you care about so it does matter. How would you feel if he became close friends with and made a point to hang out with his female coworkers when you're not around? Just some food for thought. Also, don't rule out women as being close friends. It may be that it'll become more natural as you work at it. Take care!
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I don't personally think it's a good idea. I understand your place- I tended to have guy friends pre-marriage, but I think it is not a good idea to put oneself into that situation. People do not go out looking for affairs (99% of the time), they happen when someone feels lonely and then feels supported in a way by the other person...
ETA: Missed an important word that totally changed the meaning of what I was saying before when I typed it - oops!
This is very interesting! I've found myself really pondering with each new response, because I feel the pull of both sides. Human nature and our biological reality, and practicality, and the statistics, on one hand... and on the other, a wish to be the exception, a resentment of rules, and knowledge of everything great about being friends with guys that I hate missing out on. Our culture doesn't have a very clear norm about this, so we're all just trying to do what feels right to us. And not offend others, who might have a different sense of what's appropriate. It's tricky!
One final, and probably most important point I don't think anyone has mentioned is this: how does your DH feel about it? He's the one you care about so it does matter. How would you feel if he became close friends with and made a point to hang out with his female coworkers when you're not around? Just some food for thought.
Well it's funny you should mention that... There is a definite double standard in our relationship. He's a very secure person, not prone to jealousy, and would not care if I hung out with guy friends. Me, on the other hand... I secretly wish he didn't HAVE any female coworkers, you know? The only way I would be okay with him hanging out with another woman without me is if that woman was some combination of older/uglier/fatter/dumber/smellier/more obnoxious than me, and preferably all of the above. Isn't that messed up? Before he leaves for a business conference, I'll tell him, "Remember, all the women there will have gonorrhea!"
I know I have issues. In fact, I think they are very related to why I don't tend to have female friends. I can consciously understand how society pits girls in competition against each other, and over-emphasizes outward appearance, and blah blah blah, but I have the hardest time actually OVERCOMING that shit. I think that should be my assignment for this decade (my 30's): "I will not be afraid of women". (That's from a Dar Williams song, if you don't know. Restraining myself from saying something derogatory about her music right this very moment!)
If my DH were a SAHD, I'd probably have to be a lot more accepting of him having female friends, huh? But I think I would be more at ease knowing that he was hanging out with moms. Out in the world, there are women who haven't had their bodies distorted by pregnancy and childbirth, who get a lot more sleep, more time to primp, more money to spend on their hair and clothing, and who don't have as many responsibilities weighing on their minds all the time. Other moms don't seem to have much of an advantage. Plus, they most likely have marriages of their own that they value and kids that they want to set an example for. So yeah, I think if he were a SAHD I'd be cool with him having SAHM friends.
I know a couple of SAHDs, and I feel fine about doing stuff with them. I know their wives, too, and the wives seem to be fine with it. How are SAHD's ever supposed to arrange playdates or activities for their kids if most of the other parents they meet avoid them? Are they just supposed to tell their kids they can only be friends with the kids of other SAHDs? I guess I see it as no different from work relationships. If you were working in an office, you'd be friendly to the men as well as the women, wouldn't you? If you had to work on a project or drive somewhere with a male co-worker, it wouldn't feel inappropriate, would it? It seems even less likely that anything inappropriate would happen (or that you would even find yourself thinking about it) if your kids were there.
ive never felt comfortable being by myself with a male friend. i feel like absolutely anybody could interpret it wrong and my dh is very jealous. i used to have this very close male friend, way before my dh, and once they met its like its guy code to only talk to each other, and i would left with my guy friends girlfriend or even by myself sometimes. it just got annoying, and were actually not even friends anymore.
now, i also would be incredibly jealous and not want my dh to have any female friends to just hang out with either.
eh, i guess im not any help. i get along much better with men as well. women can be sooooooo complicated lol. i guess that stage of my life is long gone.
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I think this attitude creates an ugly gender divide and discourages men and women from reaching across gender boundaries.
Stay at home or not, I will be friends with whomever I choose and I will set an example for my children that men and women can and do have healthy friendships. I like to think my partner and I are adult enough to deal honestly with any sexual tension that may arise between ANY friends. Now, some people can't or won't play by these rules, but this is the basis of how I move through the world. I too had many male friends before I had children. Some drifted away and then I made more. I now have friends of both genders as well as transgenders. I have friends who are gay, straight and bisexual. Where do you draw those boundaries here when the gender line is fuzzy?
So I know I can be extreme, but I think maybe you owe your relationship more credit than you're giving it. Do you really distrust your partner that much? Do you distrust yourself that much? My partner happens to work in a field that seems to be entirely men, but he has female friends that don't bother me one bit (and they're sexy biker chicks). Most of them are super friendly to me. If I had any reason to not trust him, I'd ask myself what was wrong and how could we fix it.
What about sexual tension between friends of the same gender? It happens. Stay-at-home or not.
I currently live on 100 acres where the other family here has a stay-at-home dad. His wife works in town and my partner works in town. His daughter goes to high school in town. So it's just me and him and we're good friends. Sometimes we get silly together and sometimes there is sexual tension (and sometimes we get bitterly angry with each other). But my kids are right here all the time AND we are adult enough to talk about weird feelings and go on with our life and our friendship. He talks to his wife pretty openly and I talk to my partner very openly. There's no problem. Every couple can achieve this sort of ease if they want to. That's what I believe, anyways.
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My dh is a SAHD and he has 2 very good, close female SAHM friends. I am grateful for these women for befriending him, because at first he was basically shunned by female at-home parents. He would take our children to preschool and the moms who were dropping off their kids wouldn't even say hello to him or anything, and it was hurtful for him. He seems to have a very rewarding relationship with these women and our kids all play together and I think it's great!
Having said that, I have at times felt a little jealous. I think that's just part of married life, though, and I try not to let it get to me. My dh and his female friends make sure to schedule times when I can socialize with all of them as well, and that helps a lot.
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