So what is this sisterhood malarkey I speak of?
We all find things hard. Without exception, I don’t know one woman that has found marriage and relationships to be a breeze, or has popped out a baby and happily carried on without a care in the world, or has dealt with loss or illness and not allowed herself for just a moment to think that life isn’t fair. And yet women are awesome – many of us carry the daily grind of our household, many manage to juggle work and home, we care about looking presentable (some of the time – forgive us the occasional hoodie and jogger combo) – and all the while remembering to support friends and family with texts, gifts, cards and general thoughtfulness. AND then we give ourselves a hard time for not being thoughtful enough, available enough, in touch enough. Or for not always having perspective when someone else around us is having a ‘harder’ time than us. Men don’t beat themselves up in the way we do. They’re simple creatures really…
This also isn’t about man-bashing by the way. There are a LOT of stupid men out there and I reckon we should definitely get some laughs out of some of the ‘silly’ things they do. But actually, the last few years have led me to the conclusion that it’s not as simple as all men are dickheads. Some, but not all. Men and women are very different and that leads to conflict, especially when you throw the exhaustion and anxiety that having babies brings in to the mix.
I’m not going to solely focus on pregnancy and children – it will definitely feature as it’s been a big part of my life for the last four years – but I do want to look at how we feel as women who have had children, not just in a role as mums. I’m not a parenting expert or domestic goddess – I can’t make art out of the kids’ fingerprints and my pastry suffers with the dreaded soggy bottom (to be fair, I’ve only made it once but I got cramp in my fingers rubbing the flour and butter together, so I realise I’m no Mary Berry). I once put fairy liquid in the dishwasher when we ran out of tablets.
Frankly there is SO much advice out there already that I don’t feel the need to throw my hat in to the ring. What do I know anyway? I’m just muddling along like the rest of us, doing my best and worrying that I’m getting it all wrong.
One of my concerns about starting a blog was that people would think I fancied myself as some sort of life expert. Ha! Here’s what I do know: I have found the last few years tough.
I’ve basically hit an age where I have to grow up and be responsible – having kids and a mortgage, juggling a career, dealing with my husband’s cancer diagnosis, having less time to do the things that make you feel good about yourself, like seeing friends, going shopping (I realise that not going shopping and dealing with cancer are not comparable, by the way), and generally lolling about with nothing to think about. And as hard and lonely as it has been at times, I’ve slowly realised there’s nothing unique about my experience. It only takes a few random conversations with not only your friends but someone at the park or the check-out lady where you’re honest and open (oh god, I’m THAT person in Tesco) and you quickly find that most of us feel the same. The irony of this life-stage is that whilst it can feel like no one understands and you’re on your own, the majority of the female population have felt or will feel that solitude at some point. Every one of my friends has faced challenges in the last couple of years, whether with relationships, their career, motherhood or watching someone they love deal with something horrible that they can’t protect them against. And yet many of us feel guilty – guilty because actually we’re very lucky, there are people far worse off, so we should be bright and perky and stop feeling sorry for ourselves. And then we feel even worse. When you look at it like this, women are pretty bloody complex.
So I’m proposing that I will write this blog and hopefully someone will read it, and it will be about the shared experiences we have and using that common ground to make us all feel a little bit better about ourselves. We are in this together and being able to talk to each other and be really honest – not all stiff-upper-lip and stoic – actually can not only make us feel better, but it’s usually bloody funny too. I think it’s about honesty. About sharing stories of triumph and woes, love and heartache, how our partners drive us fucking nuts, and realising that we’re all in this together and none of us really knows what we’re doing. So, I’d like to dedicate this blog to honesty, being able to laugh at the ridiculous-ness that life throws at us, and (of course) to the sisterhood.
And as you’ve read to the bottom I would love your comments, and thoughts on potential future topics…
Top photo: Newtown Ladies Bowling Team 1939, from LIGC-NLW