Having only just written my first Meme post, I’ve just been sent another, which is very timely, as I’m in the first stages of labour (how long is a piece of string time!), and it has been a useful thing to have a thought gradually cogitating in my head, especially as it is about something very close to my heart ‘Community’. Plus I must say that I was really chuffed to be sent the Meme by Sally Whittle from ‘whose the mummy’, who in our ‘community’ of mummy blogging, is one of the ‘big guns’!
In return I’m tagging these 3 blogs with the meme, Muddling Along Mummy (because I know that she will have an interesting perspective on women in hardcore industry in london, plus mummy blogging), Being a Mummy (because I know she has struggled with the growth of the mummy blogging world, and finds conflict hard to deal with), and Metropolitan Mum (because of her interest in the fashion world, and it’s affects on women). I do know these Mummy bloggers, so it’s probably not a surprise that I’ve tagged them, however, I’m still picking them because feel that they will give interesting insights to the idea of community.
The 3 new blogs that I’m suggesting you guys take a look at are: ‘Single Motherhood Challenges’ who has been blogging for a while, but only just announced herself on BMB, ‘Modern Jedi‘ just incase you fancied something a bit different, and ‘The Business of the story’ just incase you fancy a rather poetic australian mummy’s blog to read (I’ve only been reading her ‘business of my life’ blog up until now, so I didn’t know about this one).
Here are the rules of the meme:
- Everyone: Visit the new blogs I’ve introduced you to. If you like them, subscribe!
- The blogs I tagged: Recommend three new blogs you’ve discovered and loved
- The blogs I tagged: Tag three other bloggers and ask them for three new blog reads on the meme of ‘Your welcome’.
Why I Love Communities
I love creating communities, Sally was absolutely right about that, and recently realised that I’ve therefore tended to make my life really difficult by trying to create them from less willing victims! However much some people say they may like communities, if their behaviour does not encourage their growth, then it’s not really in their value system. Why do some people like them and some people not? It’s really simple, community is close to the top of my values list (what we love to be, do, or have in our lives), and our values come from stuff that we thought or felt was missing at some point. So the other people, have never noticed that community was missing, whereas I obviously did. Getting this meme made me wonder why, so I looked back, and back and back. It’s a pretty core value with me, so it must have come from my childhood, and there I found it. A Mum (see my blogs under the ‘about me category) who used a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy, which meant that there wasn’t much sense of togetherness in our family, added to being a ‘young carer’, which made me a bit different and therefore a bit of an outsider in the school world.
So there it is, the reason why my IT firm had me at the centre of an enterprise to connect people round the world using internet chat products over 15yrs ago; The many hours on internet forums for Reiki; How come I ended up on the council for the type of kinesiology I studied; The driver for creating the first ever email forum for the Demartini Method (my training for the past 7yrs). And finally my recently found love of blogging & tweeting. It’s even sneakily sitting behind the whole purpose to my ‘Mummy Whisperer’ program. Yes, I offer services to Mums to help them in their own small communities, of their families. But to be honest I have BIG plans! My long term aim is to join together with big names in the world of Mums, and create a strategy for empowering Mums to become a force to be reckoned with in the UK. Why? After all there is global warming, wars, viruses, all sorts of more important things. The reason is because of a report I read by Ernst & young a while ago, which coincides with my love of balance. They basically suggested that the companies and countries who will recover quickest from this recession, are those with the greatest diversity and lowest gender gap. (Gender gap is basically the difference between the positions/power/pay/education of the men & women in the society). So therefore by having a BALANCE of power (not all male, not all female), we can ensure that our children are more likely to survive the challenges that life throws at them.
Myths of Community
There are some misconceptions about the reality of a community that I have discovered over the years, which suffocate them.
1) You should put the community first. Big no no! It will always go wrong if you put the community before yourself, because we then get so over tired and drained, that we actually become a weight on the community ourselves.
2) That we should all agree in the community. Because this is an impossibility, as the community grows it becomes more and more difficult. There will always be as many people disagreeing as agreeing with you in life. As the community grows, it is quite likely that you will therefore find both within the community. Without this, the community becomes a weird cult like creature, so it is totally necessary. However, because we tend to focus on who is disagreeing with us and ignore the opposite (who are sometimes silent), we tend to get upset and even leave.
3) Cliques are bad. It is human nature to start creating smaller groups within a big group as it grows. But that does not mean that they are shutting everyone out. It just means that for some people they literally can’t cope with a large number of people in their close group. I’ve seen it happen in my crescent, where all the Mums used to get together with their kids, and then suddenly people started to get ‘left out’ because it got to a stage where a couple of Mums couldn’t cope with the size of the group. I remember not being in the popular clique at school, but I never thought to focus on the fact that I had my own clique of nerds. When we had our 20yr school reunion, the ‘popular’ girls greeted me with real enthusiasm, because they had no concept of the boundaries, they were actually fond of the fact that we all had different ‘roles’. Ironically, a few years ago we moved to a small village where for the first time I was actually part of the ‘trendy’ clique. It gave me a HUGE reality check about the downsides of being in there! So, if you want to be in a clique, my advice is ‘suck it up’, be brave, work out what they like so you can sell yourself to them, and go for it, especially if it is in the school car park! But remember, you are also in a clique, are you so sure that the other one would be ‘better’?
4) Sisterhood. In the UK I don’t see much sisterhood going on in the Mummy world. Men seem perfectly capable of doing the ‘ra ra’ old boys network, at the same time as competing with each other, and have no hard feelings. Whereas women have a tendency to really stick the knife in. The reason is because we feel disempowered at times, and therefore as we see a lack of power, we are unwilling to share it. The shame is that this is based upon a misunderstanding. There is no lack of power, and no one but ourselves is getting in the way of us. This is totally something I am planning on working on over the next couple of years ;o)
So there you go, my thoughts on community, the 3 blogs I’ve tagged to continue the thoughts and the 3 new blogs I’m welcoming. I’m off now to focus more on my own little family community and the arrival of it’s newest member ;o)
9 thoughts on “Meme: ‘Your Welcome’”
Hmm, that’s a very interesting one for me. Nicely written.
Good luck w the labour today or in coming days! It’s my 4 year anniversary in ldn today, good day for travel! 😉
Thanks for this – what a lovely post and some great points about community. I’m actually working with an organisation looking to create a network of empowered women in the Middle East and it’s really inspiring stuff what women can achieve together.
I agree about focusing on people who disagree with you – I found myself in a situation recently where I was focusing on one of two people with very negative viewpoints about something I’d written and I suddenly thought, “Hang on! There are 50 people who have commented saying they thought it was great. What am I getting so worked up about?”
It’s human nature because I think we interpret disagreement as criticism, which of course it isn’t. Different people just have different perspectives.
For me, I think the mark of a successful community is being able to accept that you won’t always agree, but you can still be a community. It’s a shame when people don’t accept that, and start to create fractures and divisions.
Thanks again, and I’ll check out your recommendations.
(ps – good luck with that other project)
Wowser – so impressed you managed this whilst in labour! Good luck x
So much of what you have said resonates with me. I find that I yearn to be in a community but retreat to smaller groups where I feel ‘safe’ from being hurt. I think Sally has hit on a fabulous idea. Now off to check out your new reads and previous posts (as haven’t read your blog before either!)
I do think this is a very intelligent and well-balanced piece. Personally, while I understand why cliques form, and I have nothing at all against big groups of friends communicating with each other online – hey, that’s life! – I don’t feel entirely comfortable with the concepts of ‘members only’ online communities such as google wave and blogerati, because they seem designed to alienate some sections of society and I also don’t like the idea of so-called ‘exclusive’ clubs anyway. Like the Groucho (?) Marx quote says, I wouldn’t belong to any club that would have me as a member.
Great post. For whatever reason, the word “clique” seems to conjure up negative feelings in many women. I wrote a post once about the perception of cliques and the PTA and it was taken the wrong way.
How do you feel about the word “tribe”?
Wow. Great post. I can’t remember the last time I was able to put words together in such an eloquent way. Actually, I think I never did. 🙂
Thanks for the tag!
@Hildi – you’ve been here nearly the same time as Max!
@Sally – thanks so much – really looking forward to hearing more about your middle eastern project in the coming months.
@Kat – interesting viewpoint on smaller groups. Ironically, I now like larger groups, because I feel more secure in the changeable viewpoints of some of our female compatriots ;o)
@Modernmother – ‘tribe’ is definitely a good description of how Mums behave sometimes – even more scary ;o) Would love to see your post about the PTA, you are welcome to mention it here.
@metropolitanmum – wow, thank you so much, I do love to write, but am very aware of the fact that in the ‘mummy blogging’ world there are ‘professional’ writers, which is a little intimidating.
Here’s the PTA post http://www.amodernmother.com/2009/09/pta-politics.html
I didn’t think it was controversial (do you?) — but I think what set people off was the mention of “clique”. That word just seems to get women going…