Something has been needling my conscious for the past few weeks. I can’t pinpoint what, exactly, brought it to the surface, but I ‘m glad it came to light, and I need to get it off my chest.
I try hard to support other women. I go to female doctors. I support companies run by women. When a female friend or acquaintance starts a new venture, I go out of my way to support her, because life can be hard and women are, let’s face it, the underappreciated sex.
That brings me to what’s eating me up. When my kids were babies and toddlers, I struggled to keep the daily routine together, forget about finding the time and energy to make friends. Despite my sweatpant-clad, hair-in-a messy-ponytail facade, another mama at pre-school felt compassion and reached out to me; I grabbed on.
She was my lifeline so many times during those crazy, sleepless, joyful, exhausting years. When my son’s preschool teacher told me that he was not like other kids, and that, in her words, he’s, well, so smart, and, you know, gifted kids sometimes have other challenges, my preschool-mama friend was the first person I called. My husband couldn’t understand the anguish those words made me feel. But my preschool-mama friend did.
Over the past few years, I’ve lost touch with her, and I miss her friendship–a lot. I have other mom-friends now, and we get together, drink wine, alternately complain and brag about our kids, and I treasure each of them. But they weren’t in the trenches with me like she was.
Reflecting on why we’re not friends anymore made me realize that I’m not as supportive of the women in my life as I think I am. I judge, even when I try not to, I gossip when I shouldn’t, and I suck at reaching out to other women, letting them know how amazing they are.
If I’m honest with myself, I can see that she was a better friend to me than I was to her. That’s not an easy thing to think. However, I’m convinced it will help me work on being more supportive.
I’m not going to beat myself up–what good does that do? Instead, I’m going to learn something and try to walk the talk when it comes to supporting other mamas.
As I dig deeper, determining which direction to go, one thing really bugs me. I wonder what exactly it means to support other women? Why isn’t it innate for me (and a lot of other women)? Why do we tear each other down? Why aren’t we building the scaffolding to raise each other up, singing each other’s praise as we work?