The recent sale of a friend’s parents’ place made me stand still for an instant. For in that brief moment I remembered my old self at 19 and 20 years of age.
This house, the one that just sold, is filled with memories. My friends and I would often, in fact most weekends, end up there in the early hours of a Sunday morning.
After leaving the nightclub/bar which we used to regularly frequent as university students on a Saturday night, armed with a kebab rather than a boy, we would trudge back to this home.
It was a reasonably cheap cab ride away and the doors were always left unlocked for us. The bakery was within walking distance for the next morning’s hangover cure, and after a few hours sleep, us girls, munching on an extraordinary amount of carbohydrates and deep fried food would ‘debrief’ about the night before. About who was with whom, who said what to whom and so it went. We could entertain ourselves for hours playing this game.
I loved a debrief when I was 19 and I still love one at 40. Although we don’t have the luxury of actually debriefing in person like we did 20 years ago, more often than not my friends and I will put in the mandatory phone call after an event or a get together.
The material may have changed, yet the notion of a debrief hasn’t. My husband, so used to my ‘let’s have a debrief’ has even adopted the mantra and more often than not after we have been out with a group of people he will say: ‘Let’s have a debrief’ and we do.
We sit down together, with a drink in hand (usually a cuppa for me and a beer for him) and talk through the function we have just been to.
And as much as I love a debrief, a girls’ weekend (which is really a two day debrief) is just as good.
You see it’s important for women to get together and spend quality time with their friends. Away from their husbands, partners, and kids. Away from the pressures of work and the daily grind.
It's a cathartic experience. It’s good for the soul.
Last year, a group of us went on a girls’ weekend. There were nine of us in total. All good mates. It was not an easy weekend to organise. Between us we have 22 children and husbands and partners who, to facilitate the weekend, had to come onboard, ‘man up’ and take responsibility for the children for the two days we were away.
It was no wonder it was organised some six months earlier. Yet our weekend away re-energised and re-charged all of us. As one of my friends said on the final evening: ‘I didn’t realise how much I needed this break until I got here’.
For many women, getting the opportunity to go away for a few days may not be feasible and that’s ok.
Yet all of us can manage to phone a friend or catch up with a friend for a coffee, a cuppa or a wine and ‘debrief’.
And that ‘debrief’ may come in many forms and be about nothing in particular. You may reason that you don't have time for it; a coffee or a catchup is just something more to add to your long list of chores.
But believe me, as my friend said: ‘You won’t realise how much you needed it until you do it’.
Clare Sultmann is a wife, mother of 3 and the founder of Dear Molly.
As a survivor of a catastrophic accident, former barrister at