If there is one piece of advice I would give my younger self, it would be to never ever give up, to have the courage to follow my dreams, and to never give up my independence.
I have always been incredibly driven and entrepreneurial, predicated largely by the fact that as a child we didn't have much money. If I needed or wanted something, I needed to find a way to make money to get it. I worked hard, sometimes managing three or more part-time jobs, just so that I could remain in high school. I was never given handouts; it was never expected and I had a deep understanding of value because of this.
As I moved through my life, I was always fiercely proud of being able to look after myself - that was, until I got married. Something changed then, and internally I fought with myself, but somehow I let it happen anyway.
“I became financially dependent on my husband; a kept woman.
It was the worse decision I’ve ever made in my life. Because, by not contributing to my existence by way of working and earning, it opened up a pandora’s box of insecurities, largely based on my value. Society measures our worth by our currency and ability to earn. And then, when I didn’t, I became fully reliant on the efficacy of someone else to do this for me. And then the inevitable happened; I lost a little of myself. In particular, my sense of self-reliance, future prospects, and simply having the ability to have control over my life. Enter resentment and self-doubt, and a huge nose dive in self-esteem. If I wasn't actually working in a job, traveling through traffic to sit an office all day, regardless of whether I was running a home and looking after my children, I was suddenly not valued. Least of all by myself.
There are many reasons I chose to do this. I was raised by my great grandparents, and adamant that when I had my own children that I would be their mother, not someone else. It was important to me that they learned my values and being with them was my priority. I could have been viewed by many as fortunate, as there was no immediate financial pressure to return to work, yet enabling me to stay at home gave way to a corrosion of my self-esteem and confidence.
I knew that I had many valuable skills and abilities. I was smart, innovative and eager to be part of a society that appreciated and embraced this. I had much to contribute and yet the dichotomy of knowing I wasn’t being fulfilled, yet perpetuating this sort of pseudo happy matriarchal existence persisted, and it was killing me and my relationship.
I know I am not alone. Many professional women feel this way. Pre-babies, they are sure they’ll return to work after the birth of their children. And many do, particularly in today's world where, without a combined income, it becomes nigh impossible to own a home, or worse, still make sure basic physiological needs are met. Yet, there are also just as many women that don't, and when you talk to them about how they are feeling, they share the same fears and anxieties over who they are, the direction they are going, and fear over their future opportunities
We’ve recognised this, and see this as a very real and persistent problem that needs our immediate attention. We are working hard toward a solution that will help to see women balance the complexities of family life, while having flexibility around their work, thus allowing us to have a mix of both, without negative impact.
If this resonates with you or someone you know, please get in touch. We’re excited by what we are developing, as there is a real need to keep women current, happy and fulfilled.