This blog is about my thoughts on things both personal and work and really as the profile page says about a 40 plus (Ok I will be 42 this year) mum living in St Boswells running her own marketing business and juggling life just like the rest of us.
So this blog entry is about my life but not just my life what many of us females experience. And it’s not discrimination in the work life or a moan about how despite equality and so forth we still do most of the housework and child care while being expected to look good and have a wonderful career as well. No it’s about how we treat each other and the impact that has on our lives.
I am a mother to a daughter and a son. Now I admit I have limited experience of boys having been brought up with a sister but the experience I have to date shows a whole different way of relating to one another which seems to me far healthier than how girls relate to one another. Yes boys fight I have seen them do so on the football pitch but they also forget it in minutes and life just seems that bit easier they just accept themselves as who they are and 99% of the time are happy playing with one another. Not so my experience with my daughter and I don’t think she is alone in this. Why? Well I too can remember the pain of childhood friendships and I know from friends that it is a very common experience. Plus I have watched my niece two years older go through it and have to move school as a result and have also heard a similar story from a friend on Twitter.
As a parent one of the most painful lessons is realising that you can’t prevent your child from being hurt and that as much as you love them not everyone will love them and see them for the wonderful humans that they are. You bring them into the world and hold them as babies and want nothing to harm them and then as the years go by you come to the painful realisation that you can’t do that. As much as you want to wave a magic wand and be able to.
My children attend the local primary school and as schools go I think it is a great school. It is small and there is a real caring atmosphere from the staff, a great and concerned PTA and I am impressed with the education too. Certainly if I had the wonderful primary 1 teacher I am sure I would not have the issues with grammar and spelling that I have today. However I don’t think there is a school in the country where bullying is not an issue and girls form packs and some are in the club and some are isolated and so it is at our school.
My daughter is the type of wee girl who has been longing since she read about “best friends” to have one and that has meant that she has very high expectations about friends and unfortunately has been let down as her high ideals don’t match reality. In addition girls being girls they form the above packs that I have spoken about and my daughter is one of the ones who suffers at times from the isolation of not being in the in crowd. Now I am her mother and like any mum think she is great but I do know that there are always two sides to any story and I don’t see her at school and I am not there to witness if she gives as good as she gets. However what I do know is that an other wise very happy little girl is made miserable from time to time and that means to me that others within her class will also be miserable and I just wonder why we girls do that to one another? For my daughter her first two years at school passed by incident free but she had a miserable Primary three when I seemed to have tears on a daily basis and was often at the school to ask why? In the main Primary 4 was better but in Primary 5 it started again on day one. The girls decided then who was in and who was out and the pressure was on again for my daughter to fit into that setting.
So on thursday after another night of my wee girl breaking her heart after yet again feeling isolated I passed a comment on Facebook and was heartened by the fact that so many women related to it and yet felt saddened that was the case as I too can relate to it and it makes me wonder why girls do that and act like that?
I went to all girls school to be precise Park School for young ladies in Glasgow now sadly gone and converted into flats. In the main I did benefit from the experience particularly from the one to one attention I got educationally especially from my Latin teacher. I was a slow learner and I did benefit from the education I received.
However I have never since experienced the bitching that went on at the school and now that I think back the bullying that went on. As I was thinking about this blog it reminded me of an incident at school that I have tried to block out of my mind and have told nobody about to this day. When I was in the lower secondary school like many girls the girls in the sixth year seemed to be the ultimate in maturity and sophistication. So when I was asked to go into the sixth year common room I did so feeling I had been picked out as special. Not so – gullible more like. There they blind folded me and made me drink a potion they had made up which I can still taste in my mind to this day as it had cigarette ash in it and was truly vile and how they laughed as I spluttered as I gagged on it. Sadly I suspect that I was not alone in receiving this treatment. Within my class I was in the middle. I was in the middle intelligent wise and I was in the middle friendship wise. I wasn’t in the in crowd but I wasn’t in the non crowd either so probably a safe place to be. That said I still remember the agony of falling out with friends, the things that were said that hurt all parties, the ecstasy of making up and then the agony of falling out all over again. I also remember being made to feel really clumsy at sport as I was not a natural sports person and to this day as my husband can testify if you make me feel clumsy you will get one hell of a back lash and it all relates back to school. Equally my interest in clothes and feeling good about myself relates there too. My school was made up of lots and lots of parents with lots and lots of money. This they showered on their girls and as its Glasgow you showed by your possessions what you had. So own clothes day was a nightmare as was any school trip as no matter what I wore I always felt frumpy and out-of-place. So it was a relief to escape to Uni and to be able to have my own style and so when people then complimented me for it I then wanted to expand my clothes and there you have it a love of clothes and I confess a love of people noticing them as I still often feel like that wee girl who felt the frumpy one.
So my school legacy? Well in the main positive. It gave me a zeal to learn, the understanding that all it takes is one teacher to believe in you and encourage you and also the belief that my parents had given me this legacy and that I had to then make my own way in the world. But it also left me with a life time aversion to all girl clubs. And workwise a preference to working with males and females. So it says a lot for my two colleagues in Bright Light Marketing that I am now running an all girl marketing business with them as I swore when I left school never again!
But my experience is simply what it is my experience and here is another quandary of being a parent. You can’t live your kids life for them and you can’t immediately relate every situation they face as being the same as yours. As they aren’t it is their life not yours and they aren’t you they are themselves unique and individual. I relate to both my children but confess it is with my daughter I have to constantly tell myself the above points. As like me she has struggled at school education wise despite giving 110%. And like me she struggles with sports. And yes like me she is going through the agony of learning that not everyone in the world likes her or wants to be her friend. So I try really hard not to relate her to me. So when she struggles at maths I don’t let her know how much I hated it and couldn’t wait to drop the subject and she is now in the top stream for the subject. And I have biten my tongue and let her go to ballet and more recently netball. Is it easy no but I know I have to do it as my hang ups and insecurities are not hers and she has to make her own way.
Equally when she was crying her eyes out on thursday night I could have said that actually school is a blip in your life all be it a very important blip. That bar Christmas cards I don’t keep up with anyone from school and though I would love to properly re connect with my oldest friend I have made new friends through the years. Some of whom I am still close to, others who I keep in touch with on Facebook, others who are on the Christmas card list and others who I am no longer in touch with. I could tell her that she will make friends all through her life and that she will meet friends who appreciate her for the wonderful girl she is. And I did say that last part. But do you know it doesn’t help. As for her school is her life and will be for many years to come and its all to real for her here and now.
So what can I do? Well as a friend on Facebook said I need to be there for her. Listen to her and cuddle her and be there for the tough times. Just as my mum was there for me even in my 30’s when I was badly hurt when I felt I was let down by a friend who I thought valued our friendship when she didn’t I was really upset and hurt. At the end of the day the one constant that you have is your family who love you always warts and all. The day she came into the world I promised myself that I would love her and be there for her for the rest of my life. And I will be.
But it does leave me with the question why is it the case that girls will be girls? Why do we have to make life so hard for each other and form cliques and clubs and isolate each other? Life is hard enough but I guess at the end of the day that is one important lesson that your true friends are like family the ones that like you warts and all and you need to value them lots as they are worth more than gold! And stand strong and true alongside your family.