Yesterday, I may have had a little rant. My rant was not about how easy or hard my life is, my life is pretty bloody good. I know that. But, my very first rant (on the blog) as one of the comments said "hit a nerve".
My rant was about a joke. A joke that gets told by men. A joke that I don't find funny because it's not really a joke. I mean it's not like "Did you hear about the expat wife who went to a seafood disco last week and pulled a mussel?" or "How do crazy expat wives find their way out of the jungle - they take the physco path".
The blog went nuts yesterday, it went two types of nuts. Expat women who perhaps felt a little validated, women who have all heard the joke before and laughed politely. Women who have heard the joke told by their partners or their colleagues and while smiling have wanted to punch them in the face. Women who are doctors, dentists and physiotherapists whose qualifications mean nothing in their newly adopted countries. New mothers, grandmothers, single career, dual career. All different types of women, because expat women come in many different packages.
The other type of nuts were the women who wanted to let me know how good the expat life is. There was the woman on twitter who told me about how frustrated she was with seeing women idly pushing strollers in malls. Not just any women, expat women. There was a lot of discussion in 140 characters or less. Who got what, when and why. Who should be able to cope on their own. Who was the biggest hero, the hardest worker, the most deserving. Medals were pinned, trophies were awarded. Winning!
It was then that I realized I was back there. Back in the land of breast feed or bottle, disposable or cloth, controlled crying or co-sleeping, back in the land of stay at home or head to back to work. Back in that world where women begin to judge other women on their choices. The old "I could never do that" which really means "can you believe she's doing that?" When we join in on a conversation that leaves us feeling a bit dirty. When we forget how lucky we are to even have choices. First. World. Problems.
I'm reading Tina Fey's 'Bossypants' at the moment. There are so many things that I like about this book, but some of it just makes me shift uncomfortably in my seat. Her reference to "girl on girl sabotage" unfortunately is all too familiar.
"Don't be fooled. You're not in competition with other women. You're in competition with everyone"
I'm passing that one on to my girls. Along with a little advice from me. If you see a woman with a stroller hanging around in a mall for hours, it's highly possible she's either lonely, bored or exhausted trying to get her child to sleep. None of these options are fun. Please do not judge. Just hope that she will find a group of women, women she can talk to about hemorrhoids and facial hair. Women who work full time, women who stay at home, women who have had children and women who haven't. Women she can celebrate with - whether it's the fact that she's just painted the house, developed a software program or learnt how to ski.
We chicks need to stick together.