Saturday, October 03, 2009

Chicks with Sticks

What better way to spend a rainy Saturday than with a few of my former work colleagues, eating, drinking and knitting?

We've been getting together every 6 weeks or so for the last 3 years, taking turns to host and everyone bringing a little something good to eat (I think today I came home with more than I took along in the first place!).
Sometimes we watch an 80s movie and quote our favourite lines, or like today, listen to 80s music and have a bit of a dance. And there's always always lots of chatting and laughing and sometimes if we're lucky, a little bit of knitting too!

A couple of the group are newish mums, and were talking about another member of mother's group who "finds getting together with other women so empowering". It's interesting, because I kind of recoiled when I heard that, and then I asked myself why (internal monologue of course!). It's not that I find being with other women unenjoyable or disempowering, I suppose I don't think of it in those terms because I don't generally feel a lack of power or other imbalance in my life. I have a good relationship with my husband - we enjoy each other's company but are equally happy to do our own thing from time to time. I have a bunch of friends (many of whom I've met through knitting) and I have regular playdates as well as being happy with my own company. I feel comfortable in my own skin.
For all that, I feel very fortunate. Perhaps what I was feeling was a bit of sadness about this other woman because it seemed as if something was missing from her life before her mother's group. I know I would feel very sad if I didn't have my regular knitting circles. But would I feel disempowered? I don't think I would - but I would very much miss the companionship and friendship of a great group of people.
(I couldn't resist snapping a picture of the guest towel - the mother of today's CWS host, Miss E, has recently bought a fancypants sewing machine and has been having fun with it!)


TinkingBell said...

Cool towel!
You're right -while it's always great to be with a group of friends, It's not empowering - just fun!

Bells said...

i don't think being in an empowering situation has to necessarily mean she doesn't feel empowered in other ways (I don't know her so I don't know). I think I get what she means though but I would use the word strengthening.

When I'm feeling supported and encouraged by a group of friends, it means my understanding of myself and my abilities and worth is strengthened by the energy of a group. I come away feeling like there was really good love and energy.

Some groups have a negative energy and leave me questioning myself or feeling sapped of energy. But a group of women where there is positive energy and shared wisdom and all the good that goes with that like laughter and kindness is empowering.

That's how I see it anyway. Power is often a difficult word to use.

Bells said...

also, friends dancing? Hilarious! Can't imagine it!

Gidgetknits said...

80s night! I love it! Lately I've been realising how much I miss being around people precisely my age - there are just some pop culture references those even a couple of years older or younger don't get.

catsmum said...

I'm afraid I pretty much missed the 80s [ being somewhat older than your sweet self is only part of it ... let's just leave it at parenting issues ]but it sounds like great fun was had.
... and I tend to agree with Bells summation.

Linda said...

That sounds nice. I am not that much of a group person although would love that style of meet like you are doing with fellow crafters.
I have never really thought about the empowering side of things.

2paw said...

I am ever so grateful for those who came not that very much before me and paved the way for me feeling that I have choices and options. I think empowerment comes from within, and there's certainly nothing wrong with a bit of group empowerment, or fun!! I like a good traditional get together too!! Thank goodness you didn't start in the Sixties because you wouldn't remember anything!!!

amy said...

We are having our own rainy Saturday here. Buckets, complete with thunder.

I agree with Bells. I think "empowering" is one of those trendy words people throw around without really thinking about it. I also suspect (but don't know) that perhaps the new mum was feeling slightly adrift with the huge identity shift that can come with having a baby, especially (so I've heard) if the mum in question had a career and now doesn't. And perhaps getting together with other women who get that huge shift has helped her in ways she didn't anticipate. Or perhaps her parenting choices go a bit against the grain (this one, I can relate to!) and finding a group who supports her makes her feel more powerful in resisting the criticism of extended family (I REALLY relate to that!!). Just some guesses!

Roxie said...

That happy, satisfied, relaxed and energized feeling that comes when you share a good time with friends is hard to really pin down to one word. Especially since it's never exactly the same feeling twice, and never exactly the same for any two people. But it sure bears repeating, doesn't it?

Em said...

I don't know the new mother at all, but does she work or spend lots of time in a place where there's a vast majority of men? I am still very much in the minority in this new company. There's no pressure to be one of the guys, or to be less feminine, but somehow, the particular traits and strengths that come with being a woman are less recognized. Men simply don't get it. Then, when I spend time with other women, it does feel sort of empowering. Relaxing, too, and often simply 'good'.

MadMad said...

I, too, have some theories on the whole "empowering" line... if she's a new mom, or a mom of young children, she may be finding that she no longer has much control (power) over anything anymore, and it is nice to gather with others and learn they are undergoing some of the same problems... In any case, it sounds like a great time! The tea towel is adorable!

Sarah said...

Sounds like so much fun :) Time with girl friends is a wonderful thing on so many levels and something I make as much time for as possible but like you I'd shy away from the term 'empowering' as it makes it sounds more like a support group - though of course it is!

Gemma said...

I used the word empowering in a post I wrote recently and didn't think of it as having that meaning at all. Even though at the moment I do feel as though parts of my life are distinctly out of my control!

For me it means that I come away from it feeling reinforced in my ideas, with the knowledge that I am on the right track and that I feel supported by others who are in the same boat as me. Much as I love Gareth and he is my best friend there is something about being with a group of women that fills a part of me that other wise feels lacking.

If any of that screed makes any sense at all I will be amazed! :o) And I love that towel!

Lynne said...

I agree with you - I love the company of like-minded people but I am also very happy in my own company.

There's something very special about knitting with others. Even if it's just with one other.

On the occasional weekend when DD visits we sit together and knit and it's different from just sitting and talking. Perhaps its nostalgia for her pre-married days! LOL

Donna Lee said...

I hate the word "empower". I don't know if it's because I don't think people can give you power (you have to take it for your own) or if it's just because I am soooo tired of hearing it. Working in the mental health field, I hear it all the time (we're all about empowering people to take charge of their illness!) and have heard it used to make it seem like changes are being made when it's really all semantics.

And oh god. 80's music makes me laugh. We were just talking about ABBA the other day. It was fun music.

dr k said...

ah yes, how i hate what that word has become! i feel enlived and re-energised when i am around my Chicks with Sticks but its not power that i was missing before. im with you, i would have felt sad if she had said that, because there is something so stereotypical about thinking being with a group of women gives you something you cant get anywhere else, given that women in groups are not always particularly loving or upholding. of course, its great that she obviously feels like your group is good for her. and im a hopeless misanthrope anyway. in the words of the Prince of Denmark, 'man delights me not, no nore women either'. but it does sound like a fun afternoon!

Corrie said...

ohhhhhh I think I have sewing machine envy...that handtowel is gorgeous! you don't know what machine she has do you? definitely fancy pants!

I lost interest in the twins mothers group when one lady said to my face her brain would explode from boredom if she had to stay home...nice one, nice thing to say to a stay at home of 3 years! guess who now wants to leave her job and stay la la and guess who is laughing (me!)

love all the yarn on your recent post, must go and check it out!