Saturday, June 13, 2009

Domestic Goddess meets The Others

Domestic Goddess meets the Others

Every Domestic Goddess needs to have peers. Equals. Other Domestic Goddesses. Ladies (or gents for that matter) outside of the family. To meet with, have coffee with, and discuss the ways of the world. Politics, religion, world hunger and what happened last night in Domestic Housewives.

It is an essential part of being a Domestic Goddess you see – you need to be well-rounded, and basically Have a Life, other than the life you have within your home. For as noble as it is to be a full-time housewife, living an isolated life can pretty much make you a one-dimensional person. And true Domestic Goddesses are multi-dimensional.

Now, because I knew absolutely no-one in Abu Dhabi, this was going to be tricky. So I figured a good starting point would be to find Other Mothers. Because most Other Mothers are also striving to be Domestic Goddesses.

The first group of Other Mothers I met was at a playgroup held at our local church. It was not a churchy thing, just the only appropriate venue. The idea is simple – put the kids in the vicinity of a whole bunch of toys, and the mothers (and occasionally fathers) in the vicinity of the coffee pot, and voila, a playgroup happens!

An extremely simple idea, but one that works very well indeed. It is very informal, no educating required, just pure socialization for both mums and tots.

Little One and I tootled off one morning while Big One was at school. I was looking forward to a morning out, and the opportunity for discourse.

While Little One got stuck into the toys, I got stuck into the coffee, and within a couple of minutes, some friendly Other Mums introduced themselves. Yay! Real Conversation With Real People – no kid-level conversation for at least a half an hour! I eagerly clutched my cup of coffee while the ladies did the introductions – name, nationality, length of stay in Abu Dhabi and number of kids. I couldn’t wait. What would these ladies be interested in? The problems in Iraq? Sudan? The latest bestseller?

And so it unfolded. The conversation I had dreamed about after spending 3 long months holed up in a one-bedroomed flat with not even a radio for company.

On how badly our various children teethed. The fevers. The poos. The swollen gums. The broken nights.

Exactly what I had never imagined. But dammit man, it was actually riveting. And quite funny too – some of the mums had us giggling ourselves stupid at the odd things they tried to help their poor teething babies.

While certainly not what I expected, it was actually quite nice. I figured that perhaps because these mums where all mums of toddlers that the conversation had not turned to more “worldly” issues.

No problem for this Domestic Goddess. I tried again, and organised a coffee morning with the Other Mums from Big One’s class. Perhaps, having older children would be the trigger for more intellectual discussions.

We all arrived at the designated coffee shop, and the minute our cappuccinos and muffins were ordered, the conversation turned to labour. Not as in work, but as in the saga that is the birthing of children. Everyone had a different story – about how long it took (or how quick); how painful (or not); how early (or late) and every conceivable (pun intended) variation on the theme.

And again, to my surprise, I actually found it fun. I had spent most of my working life avoiding pregnancy, birth and children stories, because it was not “proper” and because it was unseemly to focus on anything but work while at work. Even though, in truth, I was probably thinking about my kids anyway.

Of course, it wasn’t the only conversation we had. I’ve learnt that among those of us who choose Domestic Goddessness as a lifestyle, sharing kid stories is the great equalizer.

No matter where you are from in the world, or what your religion is, if you are a mother you will probably worry about the same things that other mothers the world over worry about.

Once that’s been established, the other types of conversations (and friendships) grow. And that’s part of being a Domestic Goddess – while realizing that your children are not your whole life, they are very definitely a core part of your life. And denying them by omission (like I did when working) makes you less whole.

So while non-Mothers may think the inane conversations about the contents of baby’s nappy is completely dreary, it’s not. It is merely a stepping stone to other things.

I know this for a fact. Because my next coffee morning is also going to be with Other Mothers. But with a difference – I am meeting with a group of Pakistani ladies who are going to share some of their culture and traditions with me. And I can’t wait!

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