I was ill prepared for the overwhelming sense of responsibility I would feel bringing two daughters into the world. Luckily I’ve always had an amazing role model in my capable, inspiring and intelligent mum.
Always there when I can home from school to chat about my day and cook my tea before slipping out quietly when Dad got in from work to run speech and drama classes. She also taught classes at private schools driving all round North London to sometimes five in a day and had a Saturday job in the local library!
Being a mum myself has made me think differently about my own mum, a constant present always there for my brother and I offering support, love and home cooked meals. It’s now that I’m doing it I know how hard that actually is. None of my friend’s Mums worked. Mine had a job, ran her own business and our home. I don’t think she realised how capable she was and always acted as if Dad was looking after her but in fact they looked after each other. They had separate roles at home it suited them and made sense. Dad never cooked or cleaned but Mum never fixed anything or decorated. They parented together. There was no talk of gender inequality.
Mum wasn’t hugely ambitious she did what she needed to do and didn’t let motherhood define her. She was a woman first.
I soaked it all up and I have honestly never felt I couldn’t do something because I’m female. On reflection I think there have been times it has hindered me but it has never stopped me giving anything I’ve wanted a go and reinventing myself to suit my circumstances.
Self belief is gifted by others and my parents were always there to listen if I needed to discuss ideas, plans and mad cap business ventures. Their response, without pressure or judgment has always been the same “If that’s what you want to do, go do it. ”
I think my girls journey into adulthood will be trickier to navigate. I didn’t have social media to contend with. Nothing is sacred now if you mess up it’s captured and documented for anyone to ridicule and critique but I will be there for them, will always have their backs and prepare them to be bold for change the very best I can.
You get to choose your narrative in life and you can define yourself by your past, your gender or you can let it all go and just be who you are, like my mum.
For International Women’s Day 2017, #BeBoldForChange
Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world
– a more inclusive, gender equal world