I’ve always loved TV series which had friends as the leading characters. That’s the reason, on any bad day I end up watching re-runs of Friends or Big Bang theory or Sex & the City (SATC). It’s just comforting to see, how these people have someone not bound to them by blood understand each other so well.
I love SATC for its awesome writing but more importantly for having 4 girlfriends as the leads. I had always thought (growing up watching it) that I’m going to have such evenings often with my girl gang to remain ‘sane’. But soon I was faced with Sophie’s choice! As the responsibilities increased & the demands on time increased, the first activity to be reduced or to be postponed until further notice was the time with my girls. It happened to my mom, to me, my friends & to my cousins who just got married!
Hanging out felt like an uphill task when a coordinated phone call became very difficult. I remember, I really wanted to speak to a dear friend & around 10 calls later (calls missed because of feeding, cooking, meetings etc. spread over 1 week), we managed to speak. By then, the context was not relevant & it became ‘oh! that thing had happened’ call than a heart-2-heart. Then there are other times, when as a group we overcame all odds & agreed on a day/date/time to meet, only to have last minute drop outs or someone rush home sooner! It has happened consistently & I can’t shirk away the responsibility of being that one person playing spoiled sport at times! And to add to this complexity, there comes a third dimension! Recently, I did manage to go on a backpacking trip (read here) with a girlfriend. Everyone who heard about it said, “A trip with only you girls?”, “Why aren’t you taking your son/husband”, “How will you survive so many days without missing your son?” “How will he survive without you?” “You won’t like it being alone etc.”
I had my apprehensions & all these discussions almost made me cancel. But boy did I have fun! I felt guilty of having a great time away from home 🙂 But when I returned, I realized that I didn’t have to. My son was well pampered, my husband got his ME time, grandparents got time with grandson without the ‘helicopter mom’ around! A win-win for all… But when I casually mentioned, making this an annual thing, the stares I got were frozen!
So, I began to wonder – does this similar thing happen to all-boys plans too? Evidence seemed otherwise. Viraj planned to meet his school friends a couple of times & all of them drove in from far away places & had a blast (no time/location constraints). Another friend manages to have an annual boys trip with his wing mates (spread across continents) & has been doing for 3 years now with ease!
Then why is girl gang time so difficult? Is it our self assessed need of being irreplaceable? Is it our compulsive need to be around to do things or getting things done in our way? How can all-boys trips, family trips, trips with friends & their families become a reality much faster/easier than an all-girls trip? Initially, it seemed like a very Indian family phenomenon but then it isn’t exactly universal? Then I thought may be it’s just “my generation” but then girl trips aren’t exactly a pandemic!
I’m pretty sure that in most families, husbands now-a-days are more hands-on fathers than our father’s ever were! They are even more empathetic! Then what is stopping us from taking that ME time? Women always wait for everything to be perfect so they feel less paranoid about leaving their people behind. But this perfection you’re waiting for ladies, is a myth! Having recently gone on this trip, I’ll strongly recommend it! Yes, things can go unplanned back at home while you are away, but you’ll never know until you try! So, as Samantha puts it in SATC,
“We made a deal ages ago… men, babies, it doesn’t matter. We’re soulmates.”
Just go & find time for yours!