Well we made it up to see my friends, brother and parents. Fran was sick this morning – i guess this must be the same bug as Jax and co had – its spookily predictable – adults feel grim, children throw up early in the morning! ROFL. Still no harm done, Fran has been a bit quiet but she is okay really.
Had a lovely time. Girls delighted to see Rich again, all over my parents, had a good run about in a nice big house and enjoyed yesterday with my friend and her boys. This morning wasn’t so good, everyone was tired. Fran sounded out words al lthe way up in the car yesterday, she made “bouquet” out of “book” which was cute but read “one way” on a sign all on her own.
F and i have been friends since we were 11 – our lives couldn’t be more different now; she is divorced with 2 boys and living in Australia and i am, well, me! We had a good chuckle over how suited i was to girls, theoretically at least (“Bring on the cross stitch!”) while she is a diving, back packing, canoe-ing, hiking, travelling dare devil who her boys will no doubt thoroughly adore as a mother when they get a bit bigger. If my girls want that sort of thrill, they are going to have to make alternative parenting arrangements!!!!!
Which led me to think more and more about a topic that has intrigued me for a whole host of reasons for the last few days; why “running like a girl” didn’t offend me when used on UKHE, why i can call my brother a “big girl” without the implication of gender occuring to me at all and a couple of other things. Jax and i certainly discussed it slightly the other day and that made me think even more.
I’ve come to the conclusion that i have either been very lucky or very misguided by a childhood without the discomfort of gender division. Undoubtedly my brother being much younger took away most of those pressures within the family, a girls school with a very superior attitude to its twin boys school probably helped, plus training for a career where if you were a girl it was simply assumed you would NOT be feeble about cables, heights, power tools or heavy objects. Actually i hated ALL of those things but i think there is a simple problem there, i am a feeble girly-girl at heart as well as being female, of the type of emotional stance you could refer to in a brother as being a “big girl” !!! I hate putting up tents or blowing up airmattresses or making flat pack furniture and think they are all an exceptionally good reason for having a husband!!!
In that year at Drama school i met for the first and only time a “boys try first, oh yes and there are girls here too” attitude, i was outraged actually but it never really happened again. I have a mother who is a huge career woman, the main earner and who wore the trousers in the house i grew up in. I suppose she is a feminist but she has never infused life with anything more than a “well i just do it, its irrelevant whether i am a woman or not” attitude, so i guess that is where my lack of thought about it stems from really. I’ve never had the reason to think beyond “I am me and i can do what i can do” – I am so far removed from making any assumptions about gender and power or freedom that it doesn’t even occur to me to notice that the “words” are gender specific half the time. In fact, oddly, i loath most of the words that perhaps the more feminist-aware use – “ladies” particularly as group description is something i find irritatingly patronising!
Its a lack of thought which is perhaps unfortunate but lucky in some ways too. There is a powerful complexity to being a stay-at-home-conventional-mother through choice rather than lack of it and to be a woman who is equally powerful (except over car buying *rolls eyes*) in her home, who runs her own business but who can delegate the flat pack furniture building, strikes me as my perfect existance. But then, when it comes to the expenditure of physical energy, i am the consumate lazy bugger. I like having doors held open (but i hold them open for men and other women and children too.) I don’t like lawn mowing and i don’t want to do it. I hate taking out the bin and i avoid it like the plague – as far as i am concerned its done by the bin fairy! ;~) Obviously if Max left tomorrow however, i could manage those things (once i worked out how to start the lawn mower!!!!) There is of course the less impressive fact that i left home at 19 and have been with Max virtually ever since, so i don’t know how to do the tyre pressure on my car. I was “slightly” humiliated by that discovery!!!!
The conversation that i had with F, which was to do with her being single now and feeling she had lost social standing in her family because of it was fascinating. My chosen friends these days are all such strong women, so fundamentally part of the force that drives their family, that it is odd to hear a person i know to be incredibly strong feeling that way and struggling against it. Sometimes i have to remind myself that i have this privileged lifestyle because my husband, who is also an integral part of it all, does his bit by going out and earning a living so that i can live this way, that he empowers me to bring up our children in a manner we believe in. F is doing amazingly but is feeling very defensive and in need of justifying herself because SHE chose to end a going nowhere marriage, to safeguard her children, has managed to stay overseas, sort out her life, manage a contracting career and two very small kids without any back up but that which she has created by also managing to be a great friend and cheerful socialite. She is an inspiration to me to be honest, not someone who needs pity because things didn’t stick to the original plan.
Anyway, it was an interesting end to the things that have been pondering in my mind for days now and i’d welcome further thoughts really. Its yet another of those bits of my emotional development that i feel is possibly slightly theorectically underfed. I suppose because all the things that are “classically feminine” in an oldy-worldy fashion, suit me just fine, so i haven’t spent a lot of time defining myself beyond that.
I suppose its unlikely to be co-incidence that two people who have been friends for 20 years, with similar parenting and the same education seem to feel a perpetual need to defend their life and thoughts! I’m not doing that on this occasion, just trying to widen my mind a bit!!!!