I have a bit of a confession to make – I’m not good at keeping girlfriends. In fact post high school (“college” as I would prefer to say) and the petulance of young women in their early 20s I kind of gave up on female friendships sustaining me through life. I did have male friends though, and could have even been called a “fag hag” (a term I dislike) at a lot of stages in my life (think mixed bridal party) but by in large I think I was just grateful for more masculine aspects of friendship when snags arose. We got angsty with each other of course, moaned about each other’s foibles but we could always get back together and have a few laughs. The angst never lasted.
Coupledom changes things up a bit as well but being a relatively social individual I was satisfied with the assortment of good friends to share fun times with but there are few in this world I could ever call a confidante. Sometimes I would think this was a bad thing and I should want to “hang with my girls” every Friday night and have a few whines over a wine but the idea never really grabbed me and I couldn’t really conjure up the supposed “hole” I had in my life.
But…and there is one or this wouldn’t really be a post. I have changed my view on this somewhat and added a little extra dimension to it. They refer to the three stages women experience in life as maiden, mother and crone. I guess I was a “maiden” for so long I hadn’t transitioned any earlier to the next stage until quite recently. And this is when I truly can say experienced the fortitude of the “sisterhood”. Everyone knows there is no shortage of criticism around for new parents, all parents in fact but I am typing away here now quite humbled and impacted by the positive energy and support women can and do provide each other. When I announced and then became a Mum, out of the woodwork long lost friends and new ones arrived (virtually and across the Tasman). Their baskets were filled with words of encouragement, advice and even beautifully thoughtful gifts for my sweet girl. They have regaled me with funny stories and even the most basic of pointers as I fumble along with strange “baby things” whether they are fandangled contraptions or “WTH” developmental moments.
On the back of all this, it was brought home to me how much I value this support this week. We had our first developmental hiccup you see. In hindsight not a major one, or a set back that won’t resolve itself but one that left me so forlorn as a mum that I couldn’t really stop the tears one day. So I reached out…online. And my sisters came. Even those I had never met before. I don’t need to explain to other Mums how we beat ourselves up, even about things beyond our control. Good Mums only want what’s best for their children and work so very hard at making it happen. Despite getting no criticism from Mr T or the medical profession, I had been emotionally high jacked and began to fear I had harmed my sweet baby. Nothing could have been further from the truth but it did take a sensible “talking to” from several sources to help me get it all straight again. I was given many words of wisdom, and lots of gentle reminders that I was doing a good job at this lark.
This made me wonder, do women make better friends, better confidantes, or wiser counsel with age? Or do life changes make this occur?I know I always enjoyed the company of older women but never really questioned whether it was their age or their experiences that set them apart from my own peer group. I only hope I can offer the same support to those that need it when the time comes and recognise that I am truly grateful for the love that has been given to me. What has been your experience or have you always had a band of girlfriends (and hey I am open to male correspondents on this one too!)?