Lately I've been lamenting my lack of girlfriends. I don't deserve any sympathy because this problem is completely of my own making. Even before I had KJ I had trouble making many girls' nights out. With my time-intensive job and long commute, most working women were calling it a night before I was anywhere close to home.
And then I had KJ. Nothing else changed in my life - I still found my friends engaging and interesting and wanted to spend time with them - but every potential outing meant time away from my baby. And time was already precious enough as it was. Between working and commuting and KJ's 8 o'clock bedtime, my only chance to really spend time with KJ - or Husband - was on the weekends. So I tried to make the most of that. But sadly, that meant I saw my friends even less.
When I worked at a large firm, my lack of local girlfriends was easier to ignore. I worked with a lot of intelligent, engaging women. Several had kids right around the same time I did, so our struggles were similar. We had a lot to talk about, and a built-in support group who understood things like the need for emergency back-up care and need to negotiate after-hour events with one's husband. These women understood the need for 9-5 friends, with no outside of work time commitment required. Of course, as we all moved our separate ways we've kept in touch. But without seeing each other every day at work, our contact has (understandably) waned.
Even when I first started at my current firm the lack of women wasn't so bad. I quickly became good friends with the other woman attorney, and found we had a lot in common. She had kids both older and younger than mine, and brought a much needed fresh perspective to my working mom life. I felt so lucky to have her. But then she left. And now, for months, I've been all alone.
It shouldn't be a big deal to be the only woman at my job. The guys treat me well, and they generally are as understanding about family obligations as they can be. But I've found that they just can't take the place of another woman. And the fact that I now have no women friends at work or at home just leaves me feeling sad and lonely.
As I said when I started this post - I know this is my fault. I need to make time to get together with the girls. But weekdays are truly impossible - I often don't get home until close to 8 - and weekends require coordinating around at least two separate families' kid and personal obligations. Even on our best weekends I barely have time to do anything for myself (e.g., I had to cancel a hair appointment this weekend that I've had for ten weeks). The thought of carving out a couple of hours seems almost impossible.
Am I the only working mom that feels that way? That I've given up all of my friends so that I can be a working mom? Am I just a bad friend, or are the other moms out there sympathetic to my position? Do they understand that I do want to know what's happening in their lives and I do want to see them, but that Facebook messages and twice-yearly visits are the best that I can do right now? I'm obviously hoping for the latter, and that my friends are forgiving. Because I do care about them and miss them more than I can express.