Archive for July 2011

Women need a wife

July 9, 2011

It’s finally set. Our moving date, that is. After nearly five months of being displaced, we will be moving into our new house next week.

I have much to say about the house hunt, the house choice, and the efforts thus far to work towards settling into the house (including bashing down walls, tearing out flowered wallpaper, and repairing a door after being broken into). But first, bear with me, because I’m gonna go all chicken soup for the soul for a moment.

Great vistas are like true friendships; they inspire me to be a better person.

As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve had quite the friend drought since moving from Manitoba to Newfoundland. But the tides are changing and I’ve started to meet new people. Most importantly, other moms. One in particular who went out on a limb and reached out to me, after discovering my blog. Boy oh boy am I ever glad she did! I can’t promise where the friendship will go (onwards and upwards, I hope!), but for now, having someone here I can call on is truly magical.

I’ve learned a lot about friendship in the last several years. It’s a different beast now compared with what it was in childhood. Back then, backstabbing was as much a part of socializing as was playing (remember those hurtful days of being excluded from a game or a birthday party?). As an adult, as mentioned here by my new friend, courting new friendships is like dating. I know myself better now than I did before, which is the first step in reaching out to others, and it doesn’t take long to realize what (or who) will work, and what (or who) won’t in a friendship.

I don’t like to think of myself as discriminatory, but I’ll admit, there is one thing in particular I look for in a friend these days; motherhood status.

I have a man in my life, and while I have other male acquaintances who are great, I must admit that between my husband and my two sons, I have all the testosterone I need. What I need besides, is a wife.

I bestowed this title on a good friend of mine in Thompson before I left. It was like being torn away from my wife, having to move away from her. She (and it wasn’t only one close friend there, but a network of great girls I wish I could have enjoyed daily life with longer) and I could trade off kids at a moment’s notice, whip up dinners to enjoy together or for each other (okay, it was her making dinner for me, adamant I wasn’t allowed to say thank you or it wasn’t a gift), enjoy coffees, walks, wine, sick and sleepless night stories, and laugh it all off as shared experience.

Another way to put it: something I read, can’t remember where, that stated how there’s no monetary value you can put on stay at home mothers (or fathers, for that matter), but that they (we) are the ones creating communities. Forming playgroups to get our kids socializing. Soliciting governments for parks, sidewalks, community centres, libraries. Volunteering when possible, taxiing children to school, sports and arts events. Filling in the gaps left by the rest of the world immersed in the workforce.

Men need wives for support, companionship, for partnership through life’s journey. I declare that women need wives, too, not in an erotic way, but in a partnership way. Call it stalling feminism if you like, but I find that our roles as men and women are still quite defined. I’m okay with that – my husband wields the hammer, I wield the calendar of family events. My husband needs his boys (best friends) to let loose with once in a while, and I need my girls to do the same. Each in our own way. It all works if we don’t fight it. Admittedly, the lines are often blurry, and I love that about modern families – sometimes not one mom and one dad, or sometimes it’s the man who is chatty, the woman who fixes things around the house. That’s life in all it’s varied, glorious colours and combinations.

True friendship, for me, is more to the point now than it was in childhood. I choose friends, now, not based on what they wear, or whether or not I’ll be invited to their birthday party. I choose people who make me feel good about myself.

And here’s the most important guideline I follow in choosing a friend, mother or not: I choose friends who make me want to be a better person. Friends who inspire me to work harder, learn more, take better care of myself, so that I’ll be there longer for all the people I love and care about.

There’s also something mysterious about girlfriends at this point in my existence. I don’t know if she brushes her teeth right after dinner, or before she goes to bed. If she wears socks under the covers. If she kisses her children in the same order each night. These are secrets no longer sacred in my married life. I know everything and then some about my husband. There’s a great comfort in that (and in the fact that some of those habits do change with time, and we’ll grow and learn to adapt to them together). But the mystery about a new friend, a mom with whom I start several conversations yet finish none, constantly interrupted as we inevitably are by children needing a tissue, or acknowledgment of a somersault completed, or a boo boo kissed; that mystery remains. It hangs in the air between us, waiting for the next playdate. It keeps me smiling into the night, wondering if I’ll ever know the tangible answers to the questions about a person I somehow already and innately trust completely.