Reconnect- Release The Forgotten You!
Recently, I experienced something which left me elated, confident and most importantly happy and satisfied.
We all know the feeling of going someplace where we know no one and meeting people for the first time.
As women, we know for sure the hesitant apprehension of entering a room for a women’s get-together (most of us dread it) – as a first timer each one scanning the other – hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, jewelry, handbag and the list goes on making you feel either insecure or in a rare case a tad bit more confident about yourself (yea! I’ve felt both!).
As mothers or parents, we know the anxiety of wanting to know the parents of other kids and understanding that once you’re a parent the best thing to do is to make friends with your children’s friends’ parents. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably hoped that someday your kids will boast about their 10-12-year-old connection with school friends and will still have the same friends in college and thereafter; unlike the chances most of us have had thanks to which having friends just to hang out with becomes a challenging on-going hiatus as we grow older. And as time passes kids start hanging out more and more with their friends but parent meet-ups get restricted to orientations, open houses at school or if your child gets invited to a birthday party (where you secretly wish parents had been invited too) but you’re pretty much reduced to a chauffeur style pick-and-drop service while wondering what the hell are u going to do to fill the time that remains in between.
It’s a sad yet nagging truth that blatantly stares us in the eye – ultimately, everyone is looking to connect with someone. Sometimes more desperately than anyone of us can imagine. It may sound silly but maybe if only there was a school or a way for adults as well – someplace that they could go to and just meet peers regularly because if we are all facing the same issue isn’t that what connects us together or reconnect to ourselves?
Yesterday, I experienced an opening to facing all of these hurdles combined and a possible solution. A couple of ladies from school took the initiative and invited the entire 4th standard foyer moms of our school to come and spend an afternoon together, comprising of lunch followed by tea at a local club. It was amazing to see everyone’s enthusiasm as the day the message was posted on the Whatsapp group, half of the 180 moms readily agreed; 90% of whom turned up yesterday for the meetup! Everyone was excited and anxious for maybe this could be their only chance to get out of the house albeit for an afternoon spent with strangers who could become familiar in some way!
As we entered the room, with of course inhibitions looming over our heads and probably on most of our faces, some of us knew some of us. Read that as almost every mom knew about 2-3 faces she’d bumped into at school or the rare case again of some moms actually KNOWING each other.
The same notions came like one wave after the other…as you enter all eyes on you or so you feel, looking out for a familiar face, shifting your weight from leg to the other, occasionally glancing at your phone which has become the never-leaving-your-side companion at an unfamiliar social gathering, sipping your welcome drink and wondering why the hell you agreed to come because eventually, you start noticing that almost everyone is confused and a little aloof.
However, slowly, there is some kind of grouping happening. Some are huddling in one corner chattering as though they are besties…the other lets-go-berserk-taking-selfies group and a few more such.
Nonetheless, I managed the occasional smile and mustered up the courage to open my mouth and speak without wondering what was the point of this and letting go of my introvert nature. Soon it dawned on me that there WAS a connect after all. Even though our kids went to the same school, more importantly, we ALL were here because we wanted to connect beyond just that!!
(Doesn’t it sound so obvious…but how difficult it becomes because we make it!)
So started with introductions (all the while hoping that the conversation does not steer towards kids, studies, teachers etc) and fortunately, can you believe it, nobody brought up the age-old conversation killers! Gradually, over a couple of hours, we got to talk to each other and what was dead silence when people were entering turned to a disc-like atmosphere where we had to talk loudly to be heard or lean in to hear; where most of us let loose and were just ourselves.
By the end of it, I don’t think there was any person standing without someone they had bonded with. There were actual conversations about them, about me – no kids, husband, house, etc. Thanks to the amazing mums who organised the event, there was good food, good music and they also had an MC host us – oldest trick in the book but the best way to break the ice, I’d say!
Almost everyone, it turns out, wanted to get out, wanted to meet but didn’t know how! Everyone was looking for someone to talk to. Such a simple human thing, yet we fail at it so miserably. I was so happy half hour into it that I started wondering why haven’t these meet-ups happened more often. Why don’t people hang around more with people they might know and take a chance at building friendships which seem like such an effort now? I was no longer reluctant to be at an unknown social gathering.
To sum up, I was happy after a long time that being a mom isn’t the only identity I need. I needed this to find myself again, to reconnect with myself, the forgotten me. Others may not know it but having kids and responsibilities doesn’t mean we don’t wish for friends. Hell! We want them more than you can imagine. I can’t wait to meet these mums again :).
This post is contributed by Sanjana Chandni who is a mom of 3 (husband included).