The Women Who Made Me
As many of you probably know, today is International Women's Day! I have always loved this day, not only because it's cause to celebrate wonderful women and all the great things they're doing, but also because it never fails to make me stop and think about how lucky I am to have so many fantastic women in my life. I love being a woman. Sure, my gender makes parts of life more difficult than they would be if I was male, but thanks to the female role models I've grown up with, I've never believed that being a woman would hold me back from achieving my dreams.
And so today, I wanted to celebrate the women who made me. The ones who shaped my beliefs and aspirations, the ones who taught me what I was capable of, and the ones who are always there on the sidelines cheering me on.
The Women Who Made Me
I couldn't start this list with anybody but my Mum. I'm exceptionally lucky that my Mum happens to be the kindest, most generous and thoughtful person I know, while also being my biggest career inspiration. We work in very different industries, but my Mum's work ethic, professionalism and can do attitude has definitely inspired my own career aspirations and helped to shape the person I am at work. She has always encouraged me to apply for the job and to stand up for myself, and the confidence I have now wouldn't have existed without her unwavering support and belief in me.
But the thing I find most inspiring about my Mum is that despite having always been the breadwinner in our house, she has always managed to put our family first. She never missed a dance show or a parent's evening, and always made sure my sister and I felt thoroughly loved and listened to, a feat that I can now understand must have been incredibly difficult while she was forging her career. I hope that one day when I decide to start my own family I can achieve a similar balance.
It's safe to say that my sister and I weren't the best of friends when we were little - we'd get on every now and then (usually when were on holiday and didn't have anybody else to play with...), but most often we could be found bickering, stealing each other's clothes and screaming at each other across the landing. It must have been lovely for my Mum and Dad! However, as soon as I moved out for uni and we were no longer living in each other's pockets, we started to realise that we actually quite liked each other, and these days, along with my Mum, she's the person I turn to whenever I'm having a meltdown or need another point of view.
My sister is probably the person I trust most vehemently in the whole world. She'll pull me up when I'm being a cow and tell me when my ego is getting out of control, and she always challenges me to see things from another perspective. I'm in constant awe of the work she does as a primary school teacher, and the patience and care she has for other people reminds me to be a nicer human. Plus, she is hands down the funniest person I know!
I've been incredibly blessed to have two wonderful Nans in my life, and while my maternal grandmother is sadly no longer with us, both have had a huge impact in shaping me into the woman I am today. I was lucky enough to grow up living in the same town as both of my Nans, meaning that I've always been close to them, and some of the best advice that I still rely on today has come from them. They have both been true matriarchs in their big, sprawling families, the glue that has held us all together, and they raised us all to know that family always comes first.
Between the two of them, my grandmothers have weathered some incredibly difficult times, from losing children and loved ones, battling depression and generally dealing with the crap that came with being a woman fighting for independence in the 60s and 70s. And yet, both will forever remain two of the strongest, most loving and grateful people I will ever know. Their experiences reminds me that I can weather whatever crap life decides to throw at me, because I come from strong stock.
Coming from two big families means that I have a whole gaggle of aunties, all of whom have been part of life in some way over the years. However, there's probably 3 of them who have had a big impact on who I am today. First up, there's my mum's sister, my Auntie Sue. Without a doubt she is my biggest business inspiration - from starting a market stall with three very young children in tow, to running super successful floristry and property businesses, she's living proof that you make your own luck.
Next, there's my Auntie Louise, who has definitely inspired my travel bug! She's a huge fan of city breaks too, and I love catching up about our most recent trips over a cup of tea and plotting where to go next. I definitely blame her for my insatiable (and expensive!) obsession with New York...
And last but by certainly no means least, my Auntie Jackie, who is hands down the most creative person I know - there isn't a dress that she can't make or a piece of furniture she can't reupholster. I definitely get my love of fashion from her!
And finally, there's my wonderful friends! I'm seriously lucky to have the most loyal, thoughtful and inspiring group of friends ever, and they've all played a really important role in shaping me into the woman I am today. The women who I call my best friends are all brilliant in completely different ways, and I find that so inspiring. They remind me that here's no one size fits all approach to success, and that has really shaped my own ambitions.
All of the important formative experiences in my life - going to college, settling in at uni, getting a job, and even starting this blog - have been shared with my friends, and I'm absolutely certain that they're the reason I look back at what could have been tricky and difficult times with nothing but happy memories. Plus, they're all bloody good fun too.
Writing this post has made me realise how incredibly lucky I am to spend my life surrounded by such ace women. I really do believe in the whole "it takes a village" sentiment, and I can honestly say I've had the boldest, kindest, most inspiring village cheering me on from the side lines. It's little wonder I love being a woman when my role models look like this, is it?