No, not the kind of salon with hair dryers and nail polish, but the kind with intellectual and creative people discussing topics of interest and sharing knowledge. I just returned home after spending the morning with several interesting women; we were discussing motherhood, work and being a SAHM. I was the alleged discussion leader, but the conversation flowed so naturally, that my little questions weren't needed.
Like any good group discussion there was a kind of magic that brought me out of my own head for a while. I wasn't sitting there thinking about what I was going to say next or how my hair looked; I was honestly engaged and learning from the experiences of the other women. We learned about our differences in situations, needs, desires, work history, etc. But some universals were also laid bare.
We all love our families and are happy to be home with our children, rather than out in a "job" all day. We all view our time caring for our children as real work, but feel that society doesn't view it that way. We all have supportive partners who want us to be home and show some appreciation for our work (this may be unusual for the world at large). We all feel the guilt and conflict about wanting time away from home and offspring. We all have challenges negotiating personal time with our partners. We all see our time at home with our kids as a small block of a long life, so sacrifices of personal ambitions and creative projects are bearable.
I observed that a couple of the mothers didn't desire or want a career, but saw employment as a way to earn income. A few others (like me) are willing to make sacrifices of personal ambitions and career goals to the health and well being of our families. But we definitely want to pursue some career, whether artistic, commercial, or public-sector in the future.
One thing we danced right around or actually probably ignored: financial vulnerability. I brought up the subject, but no one wanted to engage in a discussion about it. We did talk about divorce and child custody, etc., but only in general ways. Just like all the books have said, we SAHMs don't want to talk or think about what our lack of income means to our futures. Poverty is an ugly and scary prospect, who wants to talk about it? I hadn't realized we skipped the topic until just now, or else I might have pushed it a little.
So why am I posting this here? Because I think all mothers should have similar conversations with other mothers, and not just about motherhood, but about marriage, education, politics, relationships, feminism, etc. We so often focus on our kids and forget that we are more than just a mother to our kids. We are thinking and feeling creative and spiritual beings with needs for connection and community, especially connection to other women.
So I'm going to go and check my calendar so I can schedule the next Mommy Salon. I hope this becomes a national trend, maybe if we get Gwenyth and Angelina to join one.
How do you connect to other women?