Work Life Balance
SAHM No More: I Hide That I Have Kids To Fit In With My Childless Co-Workers
SAHM No More explores the the ups-and-downs of navigating a new world of parenting, transitioning from married stay-at-home motherhood to a full-time working, divorced motherhood. And there are a lot of adjustments being madeâ€”a lot of adjustments and not a lot of sleep.
I am a young mother. Well, okay, Iâ€™m not so young anymore. Iâ€™m 31. But I was young when I had my first childâ€”I was only 20â€”and I remain a young mother compared to the parents of both my childrenâ€™s friends. This was never something I felt particularly good or bad about. Donâ€™t get me wrong, at times it felt problematic. I was mistaken for the nanny when my kids were really little. Now, I am sometimes mistaken for the older sister. This is neither flattering nor is it annoying. It just is what it is.
For a while, when I was still under the age of 25, I would lie about my age and say that I was 26, because I thought it would appear more acceptable, I guess, or at least lead to less questions about my life choices. I donâ€™t know! I was young. In retrospect, it seems absurd that I was pretending to be older than I really was, but I do somewhat understand my impetus for it. I just wanted to fit in. I wanted the other mothers to embrace me and understand that I was just like themâ€”a woman who cared immensely about her children and their welfare.
In a worldâ€”meaning New York City, circa nowâ€”where people become parents at later stages in life than they used to, my relative youth was always an anomaly. As time went on and my kids got older and I got older, I stopped thinking about my age and formed real relationships with other parents in our community. It really didnâ€™t matter how old I was, just who I was. Were some of them, perhaps, initially confused about the fact that I was 26 for three years in a row? Probably! But my days of being 26 are now long behind me and, while I might be young for a mom of a child in middle school, I never really think much about my age anymore.
Well, at least I didnâ€™t think much about my age anymore until I started working. I work in a relatively youth-driven industry — where the hours are demanding, not only because of time put in during the day, but because a certain amount of socializing is expected at night. Most of my colleagues who work at the same level as me are about five years younger. And the ones who are my age? They still donâ€™t have kids.