I've always been in a girl gang - or at least I always used to be. Now it feels like the closest thing I have to a girl gang, is Carrie & Co. But what happened to my gang - and can I make a new one?
I don't know what happened to me. I used to have friends. I used to be a girls-girl, with a gang so wide, that it seemed to encompass the length and breadth of the country. My gang started in primary school, continued into high school, adapted at university then expanded into working life; the one place it seemed to stop entirely, was motherhood. Don't get me wrong. I've got some great friends who are mothers. But bar two of them, they were all my friends before, they became mothers. This so called mother 'hood' I keep hearing about, has completely eluded me. Is it me, or is it them? Either way, all of my friends seem to have their school yard gangs - people they holiday with, celebrate birthdays with, sneak away on girly trips to the pub with - in my playground (well technically, it's Big's playground, Small's soon to be playground), I try to retain utter invisibility. Because unless I am willing to sacrifice my life to the PTA, or I'm at the school gates every day of the week, then I am basically non-existent anyway.
"This so called mother 'hood' I keep hearing about, has completely eluded me. Is it me, or is it them?"
Organised Fun, Is Not Fun
I'm not trying to complain here - well, not too much. But my husband and I are always asking ourselves why we don't appear to have the schoolyard allies our friends seem to. And it's not that I haven't tried. In the beginning, I did all the right things. Made all the right noises. Joined the PTA, worked all of the events. But I still wasn't in the gang. Putting all of the effort in and getting no result? Well, that’s just a mugs game. So my strategy this year, was to say 'FUCK IT'. If I'm not going to be in it, then I am going to be as far as possible out of it. And so far, whilst I've heard the odd birthday drinks being discussed, to which my invite was clearly lost in the post - I am not regretting this decision.
"Its horrible to know you look confident, when inside you are nothing more than a jello shot at one of those cheap American bars; funny coloured, wobbly, and laced with alcohol."
Jello Girl Don't Want No Jello Boy
I'm the mum in the playground (when I get the chance to do pick-up), that seems utterly confident. Maybe even a bit arrogant. Dressed in clothes that don't seem appropriate for looking after children. Full face of make-up. I've walked up the hill to the school, checking my emails and hoping I'll get a work related call that allows me to avoid speaking to any of the other parents. It’s horrible to know you look confident, when inside you are nothing more than a jello shot at one of those cheap American bars; funny coloured, wobbly, and laced with alcohol. Because you know you are not giving anyone a reason to speak to you, but when you've tried, over and over, to be part of something that seems to reject you - like any failed relationship, the walls go up and the doors go on lock down. The truth is, I am mostly the jello woman in real life. The person who seems ok, but is actually forever questioning herself, and wondering why anyone want would to be around me when there are other options to choose from. And it isn't good. I do not want to teach my children to be jello men lacking in confidence, not able to see the good and the worthy in themselves, to be able to say - 'hey I'm me, and I'm ok'. Or even better 'I'm bloody great'. So I have to get better at the confidence thing - if only to make them better at it. And whilst I fear it’s too late to start a school yard girl-gang, I can definitely resurrect one from yonder year. Because I do have friends the length and breadth of the country - and actually, even the world. And they love me (mostly) and think I'm better than ok. So maybe its best I stop focusing on the gang I don't have - and start focusing on the one that I do. Because the wind may have blown us all to the four corners of the earth, but we're still connected. And maybe if I join that biker gang I've clearly been dressing for, I can even go visit them there.
Because a real gang, a really good one, never dies.