I’ve always found large groups of women slightly disconcerting. I don’t know why. As a teenager, I was only really happy when the group was well and truly mixed. My best friend in my later teenage years was a guy and since then I’ve always been more comfortable in groups comprised of both genders. It’s not that I don’t like hanging out with other women. I’ve had, and have, some amazing female friends over the years. I just always worked best, both in my personal, and my professional life, in a mixed gender environment.
Since becoming a mother, and particularly a stay at home mother, the opportunities for hanging out with mixed groups has diminished significantly and I realised the other day that I really rather miss it.
I keep reading on social media about the power of the all female group, how we can, and should, always call on our #queens, our mamatribe to support us in this motherhood journey. I read posts extolling the virtue of mummy friends and how important they are and while I can’t deny any of this, I wonder if I’m slightly missing something. Because nearly four years down the road, although I have become more comfortable in all female environments (and believe me if you can’t, motherhood, particularly stay at home motherhood, is NOT for you), I still miss having guy friends.
It’s not even like I have particularly tradiontional ‘male’ interests. I couldn’t give a toss about sports or drinking (gosh that’s terribly sexist isn’t it, sorry guys!). I just don’t seem to care enough about what groups of women seem to want to talk about. Which at my life stage, much of the time, seems to be Babies. And I don’t mean our children. You know I’m happy enough to talk about Oscar, but babies. New babies, wanting babies, trying for babies, feeding babies, missing sleep because of babies. I’m expected to be broody and when I’m not I’m left feeling slightly like I don’t fit in. And this is all before I even start to bring autism into the mix!
Guys enquire that yours is well and when it is, move on to something else. And sometimes that’s all I want. Just to talk about something else. I spend so, so much of my life talking about motherhood, I just sometimes want to change the channel. It’s one of the reasons I get on so well with my good friend Bethany. When we first started hanging out, I remember marvelling to Ben how I could talk to her about things other than our respective children. She got me talking about politics and culture and ethics and history and opinions. And her love of Scotland and gin, preferably together ? And I miss her so much now she’s gone back to work full time.
Because where else will I talk about stuff like that and feel comfortable doing so? It’s not every day you meet anyone, male or female, that you just click with. And the brief, snatched conversations at play dates inevitably come back to the thing you have in common; your children. And that’s fine. Just sometimes I miss the irreverent conversations you can have with a dude who couldn’t give a shit if you want more kids or not.
Unless he’s pissed and tells you can’t possibly have an odd number of children. Over and over again! ? In situations like that you start to wonder what your problem was. Groups of women aren’t so bad and you wish your girls would swoop in and save you !
Your wonderful, understanding mummy friends, that no mother should be without.