Yesterday was international woman’s day #balanceforbetter, a day to celebrate woman having equal rights and a voice to say, feel and act freely, just like men.
Some may be thinking why should we have a day for this?… but we need to remember that it wasn’t too long ago that woman could not vote, and in some organisations, men still get paid far more than women in the same role. So there is still a little more work to do on getting that balance but we are getting there, and besides, why not have an excuse to praise all the amazing females of the world! Men also have a day (19th of November), so don’t worry, they get their chance to celebrate too!
Keeping with the theme of saying, feeling and acting freely, I often think about the things I would have done differently in life especially as I reflect on certain behaviors of myself and even my children. Pete and I often ask each other what we would have done differently, so I thought I would put it down in some words and share some of mine. So this one is a bit of a self reflection post!
PS I have no regrets, in fact I would not have it any other way. But some of these traits do come back to haunt me in my adult life, whilst being totally aware of each, I do need to work extra hard at each of them.
Share your feelings
Growing up in the 80s was harder in many ways different to today. As a child who was eager to please and always (99% of the time) doing and feeling what I was told. It was implied both at home, socially and at school that by showing feelings other than what I was supposed to or expected to, was wrong and not welcome. While this may have be been my perception of the situation, my internal voice told me that doing otherwise was total disobedience. As a result of this, I rarely revealed my true feelings to anyone other than myself and most of the time I used to bottle them up inside. I was able to speak with my sisters at times, but due to this perceived view I never spoke to my parents about this. As a mother, sharing feelings both to my kids and vice versa, are encouraged at all times. I even cry in front of my kids and explain to them why. Whilst at times I try to over comfort the children by assisting them to overcome their ill feelings especially, I try my hardest to allow them to feel everything, and talk to us about how this particular situation makes them feel. There are some great children’s books about feelings that normalise all feelings, but I think what’s important here is creating that environment that your children are comfortable to talk to you about anything and everything with you, and that you are prepared to listen. I wish I just opened up to my parents, because I am sure they would have been more than receptive and helpful.
Pete was a really great soccer player and I was not so bad myself at tennis. Both of us better than our fellow school mates at the time, and I even got chosen to play for Victoria when I was 12. While this was the case and I trained and played comp most days of the week I was never really 100% committed. My mind was always elsewhere or dreading the next day, coaching session or game. I never ate well to play or did I commit to the training game plan required or certainly what my oppositions were probably doing. My parents never forced me either, although they spent an enormous amount of their time and money carting me around. And that I am sorry for. But it has taught me when I commit to something, I commit 100%. Otherwise I don’t do it at all. Time and money is too precious these days, so there is no reason to throw your energy to something that doesn’t serve you. Pardon the pun. In the end tennis was not for me, and I finally quit. I remember forcing Kristina at the age of 4 to go to ballet, as I dreamed for her to be that gorgeous ballerina that I was not! She cried before EVERY SINGLE lesson. Finally I got over it and listened to her wishes. Sometimes if we are committed, but others are not, we have to accept that too.
Be confident with yourself
For those who know me well may find this one a little surprising. On front I come across confident and strong in nature. Inside I am actually quite introverted and shy. I put this down to being the quieter of twins, with my beautiful twin sister Nic always being the loud, more vibrant one of the two. She made friends way easier than what I did and still does, and she still turns many heads walking into a room, and I shared in this glory walking in right behind her. Growing up, with Nic by my side, I was always protected and had comfort with her being there to answer questions and respond. She spoke for us and she chose for us, and I loved it! But as we started to do things separately, as we got older, I remember struggling with confidence. Whilst I quickly managed to find my feet I remember having to find my individual self and one that people could learn to like, love and enjoy. Being individual is so important in life it helps you learn about you and what’s important about you and for you. You don’t have to be the same as others and sometimes it’s fine to be different. Recogising your differences and being proud of them is key to confidence and is definitely something I will be sharing more with my children. I was so proud when James came home late last year telling me that the boys in his class teased him after school swimming lessons for having hairy legs and a hairy back. He said mummy I told them that this is who I am and that we all have hair, just some more than others! This made me proud. #goshboysaremean
Challenge rather than accept
Being one to sweep things under the carpet is something I have learnt from young. Avoidance of conflict is a major strength of mine! But we all know this does no one favors especially yourself. If you are unsure say no or ask more questions. Failure is to do this can put you and any relationship with your kids and loved ones at risk for too many reasons to document here. I remember as a young girl running into my room and slamming the door shut and staying there for hours thinking and chewing on thoughts and ideas that were so different to what was actually going on. Totally linked to number 3, being confident to voice your beliefs and opinions is the key to a healthy and happy life. Creating an environment for this to occur and teaching my children this one is a difficult one but definitely a work in progress and one I am committed to.
What would you say to your 9 year old self?