To women

August 1, 2009

I’ve written elsewhere that women are brilliant company but what I wanted to write about today was an overwhelming sense of women as wonderful support for each other. I feel lucky to be a woman and to therefore qualify as a recipient for this.

You know something about life when you embrace change. Change is a large part of life. Just when you think you’ve got a stage of life worked out, another stage is upon you. There’s nothing to bring this home more than being a parent. When I was a parent of babies, I looked towards them growing up as a time of reduced parental input. I’m not saying that reaching this imagined stage of reduced parental input was something I aspired to or held in trepidation, I’m just saying that it was an assumed given from the perspective of one who attended to the needs of small people.

Attending to small people was a significant adjustment to make. It was recognised as significant because support groups would spring up out of the community to help you cope. Play groups for example. (They are called play groups, but a larger function of these groups is social contact between women all making similar adjustments in their lives). There is a lot to learn as a new parent, and it helps when you don’t have to do it alone. I look back to the women I spent my play group years with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and connection.

Recently I attended a mothers day luncheon put on by my eldest daughter’s secondary school. I wasn’t intending to go. You know the feeling? Too much work on, not enough time, wouldn’t know anyone (Kat’s only been at this school a year). But as it happened, one of my colleagues (the L from this story as a matter of fact) has a daughter who has been at this school all the way through. She always attends the social functions and she convinced me to go.

The luncheon was a success. I met a few new people, but mostly L took me under her wing and  sat me at her table. Most of the women sharing L’s table had one or two children older than my Kat. They had all experienced (and survived) parenting teenagers. They shared stories of their survival and I was in awe.  My teenager is finding the years fraught with adjustment and difficulty. It was after sharing some of my current experiences that one of the women turned to me, placed her hand on my arm with warmth and reassurance and said, “why do we have playgroups when the children are little? Its when they are teenagers that we need the most support!”

Its true! When our children are teenagers, so much else is happening in life. Many of us have gone back to work. Our role as ‘parent’ doesn’t seem to warrant the same support. Its not an immediate topic of conversation. Yet it is a difficult parenting stage.

After the mothers day luncheon I fell bolstered and refreshed. The next social occasion is a cocktail party for the opening of the new library. This time I won’t need L to convince me to go. I’ll be there, I’ve found my new “playgroup”.


2 Responses to “To women”

  1. How great that you have found support in parenting your teen. And I agree that female friends are a vital source of fun and emotional support.

  2. ejenne said

    Hi Charlotte. Yes, it is a relief! Community found me when I didn’t realise it was what I needed 🙂

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