To all those women out there juggling a career (or business) and motherhood – you are winners! As a part of that cohort, I can tell you that the relationship between motherhood and work is a lot like walking backwards in high heels, and for someone that rarely wears high heels, it is no easy feat to master each and every day, and is something that should be celebrated.
Through our challenges, negotiations and plain old ‘hard days’ there are silver linings. Moments where our hard work and effort is rewarded. And in those moments, we are often ironically reminded of the juggle – just like my story…
Not Your Average Awards Ceremony
Recently, I won the 2020 AusMumpreneur Award for Service Based Business in NSW / ACT. This of course is a wonderful achievement, and I am so proud of what I and my team have accomplished. But like many things this year, the news was received in a somewhat unusual, but also very ‘real’ way.
I was sitting at my dining table, watching the Awards ceremony on my laptop. As I was listening to the names and watching the pictures of the amazing women I was up against grace my screen, my daughter popped her head around the corner (she should have been in bed), decided that she wanted to see what was happening on the screen and to tell me something, and I realised they just said my name – I was the winner! With my daughter’s interruption and the announcement being earlier than expected, I was not prepared. My lighting was not right, the angle of my camera unflattering, but here I was giving my acceptance speech that was broadcast to many other living rooms around the state.
In this moment, particularly now as I look back, I can really see what the relationship of motherhood and work looks like. It is never easy, it is never predictable, but we can be winners (with an Award in our hand or just in our daily lives). And I feel that this image of me with my AusMumpreneur Award really sums up this idea, and honestly, 2020 in general. My team called me to let me know that my trophy had arrived. I had just done the mad school drop-off dash (coupled with a husband drop-off thanks to only having one car), and I rushed into the clinic to capture this ‘special moment’, looking tired and not necessarily embracing the moment as I should have. But here’s the thing – it was a special moment because despite the chaos, despite how dishevelled I think I look, I made it. I showed up and embraced the moment. And I want other women to feel this kind of accomplishment in their daily life too.
Helping Women Win at Work
I have been fortunate enough to build a business that helps me negotiate what work and motherhood looks like for me. As my business grows I am afforded flexible hours that help me to be there for those ‘kid’ moments – you know, when COVID wasn’t around and we could go to the school for the book week parade, awards ceremonies etc. But also, just for pick ups and time at home with the family. It isn’t perfect, but it does allow me to get my brain in gear (most of the time) and remember to get something out for dinner. But it is not just about me. As a business owner, I have an opportunity to give this sense of flexibility to the other women I work with.
Speech Pathology is a female dominated industry, and of course we want all women to feel like they can grow their career while managing their home life. This, of course, looks different for everyone. A Growing Understanding is eager to understand the needs of each team member and are currently restructuring our service delivery to ensure all members of our ‘purple family’ feel like they can grow a career while still being the women they want to be at home – whether that is a mother, partner, wife, daughter, carer, student and so much more.
I hope my Award (and the story that goes with it) inspires other women to strive for and embrace their version of ‘success’. I want all women to feel as though they can take a chance on their dreams without sacrificing other components of their life. If you take anything away from my story, I hope that it is knowing moments (big or small) don’t have to be (or look) perfect to be celebrated. It is the imperfection, and how you manage it that makes it special.