Rosie Pope

By Rosie Pope

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Regardless of a mother's work situation, I bow my head to her and respect what she does for her family. And when it comes to our kids, I feel passionately that mothers—both working moms and stay-at-home-moms—must be considerate of each other and our schedules so as to put our children first. Fall is just around the corner and with it comes a new school year. For many, it will be their first time attending pre-school, kindergarten or perhaps a new school after a move over the summer. Nerves are high, and parents hope their kids will fit in and make friends. As a mom of three young children, I realize that a lot of my children's success with their friends depends on my ability to keep up, arrange, and encourage playdates after school. These opportunities facilitate after-school bonding, and I don't want to be the reason that my children miss out.

However, the problem arises when playdates are arranged in the middle of the day, while I'm still at work. I know that proposing a 6am playdate that I could squeeze in before my morning commute would be asking too much. And I can hardly expect stay-at-home moms to hold off on hosting playdates until moms like me get home from work or save them for an already jam-packed weekend.

I am hyper-sensitive to this issue because of my own experiences. In my children's last preschool, I noticed that my kids received fewer and fewer playdate invitations and weren't included in birthday gatherings or other activities they should have been a part of. It's a miserable feeling to realize that your child has been excluded because you didn't have time in the day to get to know the other children's mothers, and for that reason, your child gets left out.

Must my kids miss out because of this? Or do I choose to only become friendly with other working moms whose children have similar home situations? I hope not. Rather, I want us to come to reach some understanding of each other—our strengths, our needs, and our limitations—so our children don't suffer from what's beyond their control. More importantly, though, I want my children to see variety and learn this message: Some mothers work and others don't, yet both are exceptional role models.

As we head into this new school year full of new faces, let's all try to make and nurture friendships—between our children of course, but between mothers, too. I urge us all to try to find some middle ground, whether it's a working mother getting home early one day to accommodate an afternoon playdate or a stay-at-home-mom being flexible enough to meet in the evenings or during the weekend. If we are respectful of our different schedules, you never know whom you might meet and become friends with.