On Wednesday at the Brentwood Kitchen I was lucky enough to celebrate International Women’s Day in the company of lots of inspiring women brought together by The Mother Hub Mingle. Everyone at the event brought with them their own business goals, childcare struggles, emotional baggage and career paths. Yet we all shared one common thing, we are all women juggling our own plates. Discussing said plates and how to make “work work for you”, whilst juggling a fancy glass of Proscecco made a lovely change.
This year, this significant day and this event felt even more poignant for the fact that now I’m the CEO of my own company, albeit with a workforce of one! I’ve made some momentous decisions in the last year for myself, my family and my sanity. My HR department is hell bent on maintaining it’s mission statement of “Do what you love, love what you do and always be grateful for your reason for doing it”. However, at times the overtime can be a killer, maybe we need a board meeting to discuss this. Funny how flexible working doesn’t apply in quite the same way when working for yourself, you often love your business which is an extension of yourself a little too much.
But in all seriousness, I’m still adjusting to the (at times) overwhelming work load of being my own boss. And the biggee for me which wasn’t totally unexpected, is how lonely it can be working for yourself. However, on International Women’s day it’s important to remember the entrenched slavery, sexism and restriction many women in our world are still imprisoned by. So the liberation and gratitude I feel by being a Chelmsford photographer driving to work 20 minutes away (rather than a 3 hour round commute), to photograph and digest real women talking real grown up issues is immense. Being bought up by a single, working mother, I’ve always been driven by Feminism and a female agenda. I wrote a dissertation about misogyny, and we even named our daughter after Mrs Pankhurst. So this event was going to big on my social calendar.
The panel was made up of 4 working women, all inspiring with totally unique stories and recipes for their own personal success. Plus,The Mother Hub founders Natasha Sawkins and Juliet Thomas, are both multi talented women with much to share. Both from a corporate world now making their way as networking trailblazers, IAmAnEssexGirl campaigners and brilliant event organisers.
Natalie Reynolds founded luxury childrenswear brand Fred & Noah. Hannah Wylie is Director of Legal & Business and Affairs at Universal Pictures. Jessica Clarke is Bloomberg LP’s Talent Development Specialist. And Amy Newland is the Education Manager at Kip McGrath and Director at Vivid Theatre.
Some of the topics on the agenda were: the age old question of having it all, splitting roles at home, childcare, career portfolios and the demon guilt.
Ultimately, the delicate alchemy of getting all the right ingredients for your family to function in it’s own unique way, will evolve and be subject to constant change. Annoyingly, like in any good recipe once you get the right quantity of childcare, you then realise your cooking time is up the swanny. And, then throw in a good dollop of potty training, and the whole plan could go to s**t! Yes this is an actual euphemism! I reckon we should pretend we are all Greek and throw the plates up again and again until you get used to the new tune you are spinning to. When all is said and done, we are women for a very good reason…you wouldn’t find men constantly adjusting to the new crockery, the food balancing upon them, the spinning and a well timed poo in the pants would you?! (BTW I should mention that’s your child’s pants not your own, although…)
No wonder we have an International Women’s Day to celebrate our wonderfulness. Just a shame it’s not every day really.