Friends are great. I have a few of them. I’m not one of those people that sees their friends every day. I have too many kids for that. And my own family live on my doorstep, so I spend a fair amount of time with them. But the friends are always there and I am very grateful to have them.
Thinking about my friends, I realised they fall into three categories – old friends, mum friends and colleagues. I was going to write about all of them together, but I realised that would end up overly long and unwieldy – or it wouldn’t do justice to my friends. So I’m breaking it down. And this is all about my colleagues.
My colleagues are probably the people who know me best. They know the ‘me’ that you know through this blog, the ‘me’ that is kept hidden or partly suppressed from other groups of friends who might not really get me. Because my colleagues are similar to the real me – and then some.
They are the only people who know me now – as a grown up and mum – and also, because we’ve worked together so long, know the ‘back story’ – what my family was like growing up, what I studied, where I met my husband. The mum friends know the mum side, the old friends know the old side, but my colleagues and I know each other inside out. And despite that, we still like each other!
My fabulous colleagues are the funniest, brightest, brashest, noisiest bunch of women you could wish to find. And I love them for it. They don’t call a spade a spade. They call it a ‘f***ing spade’. And at least one of them would probably add a penis to it.
We know each other inside out because nothing is off limits in our office. Every bodily function is shared in the greatest detail. Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, weeing, pooing, vomiting, sex and periods. It’s just an ordinary day in the life of our office.
Male colleagues come and go (there’s never more than one at a time). They have to learn to like it or lump it. Some join in, some shut themselves off and some just walk out when it all gets too detailed.
We’ve supported each other through pregnancies and recovery from operations. And then winced and laughed our way through the birth stories.
Every life experience and every problem is discussed, dissected and resolved. Had an argument with your husband? Struggling with your son’s behaviour? The ladies in the office can sort it. Or at the very least help you to see the funny side of it. My colleagues are supportive and caring. If we’re not in the office together, we know we can always get in touch with each other by facebook or text at whatever time of the day or night.
And I’m proud to say that we carry on this relationship whilst holding down a full-on, demanding job. The phones don’t stop ringing and sometimes we struggle with our workload. But we always get the job done. Some very senior people are very impressed with the work we do most of the time. They know we have a laugh, but they don’t mind because they know we do a good job.
At the end of the working day, we walk out of the office with a smile on our faces. We’ve averted a minor work crisis and we’ve had a giggle about a drunken night out or a leaky nappy.