A weekend away with the mamas - March 14, 2004—
I just returned from a fabulous weekend retreat with my mama friends. The eight of us have been meeting weekly for "book club" since September of last year. We have come to the point where we rely on each other on an almost daily basis to support one another and provide that community that mamas so desperately need. We all have children younger than five; several of us have two, and as of this weekend, three of the group have #3 on the way! Most of us have left great communities elsewhere (San Francisco, New York, the midwest) to live in Portland.
We skipped the cliche of facials and manicures and shopping (well, a tid bit of shopping occurred) and stuck to cooking, drinking, hiking and boating. We all left our babies at home with their daddies. And it was great.
It was great for a number of reasons; first, it affirmed that safe spot that we feel when we are together, and we had more of a chance to bring out the less vocal members of our group. Second, it made us recognize how great our husbands are, spending a weekend being single parents so we could just relax and enjoy ourselves. Third, it was nice to realize that it WAS possible to leave our babies without seriously injuring their psyche (but it was really nice to come home to them, too!). Fourth, it gave us that chance to reflect on a lot of things that usually get lost in the rush of feeding and naptime and diapers and baths and husbands and work. Finally, the food was really good!
One thing that all of us heterosexual women recognize is that working together with women (at least those who care about one another) is way easier than working with men. No, none of us are going to hang up our husbands for a lesbian partner, and even though we are all women we have VERY different roles in our relationships with our husbands, but all in all women working together are a lot more collaborative and efficient than in mixed groups. It definitely was not "The Apprentice"; no bitching or competitiveness or talking behind one anothers' backs. It was really cool how we all embraced our roles (the chefs, the cleaners, the detail people, the athletes, the organizers, the comic relief ;) and pulled together to make everyone's weekend more fun.
I think mamas (ok, let's narrow that to somewhat emotionally stable mamas) have a much better perspective when it comes to collaboration and teamwork than anyone, even other women. I have been theorizing that a well-organized group of mamas could be much more effective in certain tasks than your typical 80-hour-per-week manager. I think it's only a matter of time and the right call-to-action before mamas rule the world. I'll discuss this more over time, let me know what you think.