In this weekly feature I answer your personal finance questions.
Dear Emma, WTF?!
I’m a single mom. Most of my mommy friends are married — and most of those either stay home with their kids or work parttime. Meanwhile, I’m really into my career as an architect and wish I had someone to talk to about balancing a big job with parenthood — not to mention single parenthood! It seems that I cannot get together with these women without having to hear about all the money they’re spending — money their husbands make. How they’re going on this crazy vacation, or adding an addition on their homes or sending their kids to sleep-away camp. I feel very proud of where I am professionally and financially, but they are clearly richer than me — mainly because they’re married. They don’t seem to notice that while they’re going on and on about all this crap, I don’t say a word.
–Huffy in Houston
Let’s look at this from your friends’ point of view: What could they possibly contribute to a conversation in which you were to go on and on about building your amazing career while brilliantly raising gorgeous, clever children all by yourself? Well, they could tell you about the tiles they picked out for the new master bath. Or how sub-par the breakfast buffet was at the resort in Tampa. Or how financially dependent they are on their husbands and your fulfilling, liberated existence makes them take a harsh, harsh look at their own.
It seems you are bored by their lives, but they may be intimidated by yours.
Another way of looking at it: You’re in different places in life, and maybe you need new friends. Not that you describe any reason to cut these women out. Just scale back. Go to Meetup.org and find a single parent group. Ask around, see if anyone can connect you with other professional single moms you might like.
A third idea: Expect less from these friendships. Keep hanging out, but focus on just one thing you have in common: Kids! One of the most meaningful parts of becoming a mom for me has been bonding with women from all over the world, all different backgrounds and existences over perhaps the most profound human experience: Motherhood. These chicks don’t have to be your everything. Just your right now.
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