Daily Press (Sunday)

At-home mom feels insulted


Adapted from an online discussion.

I need guidance on how to recover from a perceived insult. I have a friend whom I met teaching years ago. We had kids around the same time, and she decided to stay home while I returned to teaching. We still hang out quite a bit, and I love our friendship.

I enrolled my kids in camp this summer and got a taste of her stay-athome life. When we were hanging out the other day, I said I could never stay at home because I would get tired of drinking coffee and hanging out at home all day. She said, “I don’t sit at home all day. I do more than that.” She abruptly got up and walked away.

When I contacted her, she texted back saying her feelings were hurt and she’s feeling like her husband doesn’t appreciate what she contribute­s at home. She also said she needs time to recover. What should I do? Should I continue this friendship? I do think she has it easier, because she has one kid and she has all that time when her daughter is at school to get things done. — Insulted a Friend

Dear Carolyn:

Dear Insulted a Friend:

That wasn’t a “perceived” insult — that was a massive, quacking, wing-flapping, deck-befouling duck of an insult. My goodness.

You just told your friend her life was an empty caffeinate­d waste of time that was utterly beneath you. Your apology needs to be even bigger than the giant bird you just gave her, and absolutely abject. Like: “I don’t know what I was thinking. I can’t believe I insulted your life choices like that. Please forgive me.”

I’m curious. You say you’re a teacher. You haven’t noticed that the most productive learning partnershi­p in schools tends to be between the teachers and the parents who have time to provide extra support — volunteeri­ng, fundraisin­g, school board lobbying, snack wrangling, chaperonin­g, plus the usual reading aloud, homework lassoing and pretty much everything outside the classroom that is seen as essential? The bulk of it done by at-home parents, largely still moms?


Umm. What if someone said to you that as a teacher, you get all those summers off and are done at 3 p.m., so you don’t really work as hard as others? It is insulting and massively rude and just wrong.

Too bad she didn’t say, “I could never be a stayat-home mom, as I have just proved to myself that I would fall victim to my own inertia by drinking coffee and hanging out at home. I don’t know how you have the willpower and strength to do all you do.”

So now you know absolutely everything about every aspect of her life? I don’t think you need to decide “whether to continue this friendship” because I don’t think your stay-at-home mom friend will ever speak to you again. I know I wouldn’t.

The friend acted like a genuine friend: named the insult, named its source (the husband, thus relieving “Insulted” of some of the burden of guilt) and asked for time to recover.

Friend put on a goodfriend clinic. “Insulted” — not so much.

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