Balance for Better
On Friday 8th March 2019 the Roxby Downs Womens Network invited me to speak at their International Women's Day Cocktail party themed Balance for better.
I have had so many messages of support and amazing women sharing with me their experiences and what parts of the speech resonated with them the most. So for those unable to make it, here ya go:
Hello women of Roxby Downs. Welcome to my very nervous ramblings. The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is Balance for Better.
When I was first asked to speak tonight I didn’t know what to say. The history, statistics and pretty much everything that surrounds and supports gender equality is a bit shit to be honest. It’s grim, it’s anti-male, it’s depressing and sometimes actually quite scary. I was left in tears reading many of the articles searching for inspiration, but actually left feeling sick to my stomach and quite disappointed in the society that we live in.
So as you can imagine my initial thoughts were how the hell am I going to empower and inspire you tonight on such a yuck subject?
But we’re at a cocktail party right? We’re here celebrating International Women’s Day. We’re here celebrating being women, because we’re actually pretty bloody amazing!
Want to know why we’re so amazing. We‘re amazing because women live longer than men. We have a higher pain threshold and women generally have a higher social and emotional intelligence than men. We are less violent and aggressive and women are almost never serial killers or sexual sadists. AND we are much safer drivers. So you go girls!
But let’s get back to the theme for a bit. Balance for Better. Balance for Better is referring to gender equality. In order to achieve balance we need to first recognise what the issue actually is. I feel that the last few years was all about raising awareness on gender equality. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the #metoo campaign, the discussion on tampon tax while condoms and lube were exempt, the huge pay gap between men and women and the many male celebrities that went under the radar for years with their sexual assaults on women. These topics and so many more became discussion points heavily present in the media, hence raising awareness that there is a big problem.
However I believe 2019 is going to be about moving from awareness to action. On 1st January 2019 we saw GST on tampons abolished. It’s about bloody time! This only took 18 years in the making and being a woman that suffers with endometriosis and poly cystic ovary. I for one can tell you that having a period is nooo luxury.
We saw lead Hollywood actors axed from popular TV series no questions asked. And something closer to home. We’ve seen women in our own country town like Lena standing up in front of women and rooms filled with men sharing her personal story of pain and growth and removing the stigma on sensitive topics. This is all progress.
While thinking of ideas of how to inspire you with my speech a friend told me to mention my move to Roxby. How through essentially giving up my life, my career, my friends and family and through SUPPORTING my husband’s career and opportunities we have actually found balance. Something that in 17 years we never found. Chris now gets to see our kids every day, they know who he is and life doesn’t revolve around a FIFO roster. I remember the first time Chris came home in his oranges and Jobe laughs and goes “Daddy what are you wearing??” because in four years he had simply never seen his Dad in his work uniform.
Our move has also opened the door for me to start another business and how this business has really brought me out of my comfort zone and out of my shell. How it actually led me to discover my thirst and passion for helping and supporting not only women in business but in life and I feel like this is where I am meant to be.
But again we’re at a cocktail party and I couldn’t get through my own personal story without becoming a blubbering mess. (If you came to my last event you know what I mean.) But honestly moving to Roxby was hard for me. I flat out hated my first year here to be honest. So I’ll give you the summarized positive version of what my experiences have taught me. Balance isn’t about misandry or a hatred for men. It’s about communication. It’s about establishing within your own family what is important TO YOU. What your collective dreams, goals and aspirations are and finding a way to achieve them together. Now this can be you individually, you and your partner or you and your children. Whoever it is that is in your unit make sure your lines of communication are open and that you are on the same page. Stuff everything else. Screw what other people are doing with their lives and stop giving a dam what others think of your choices. Just do you.
In order to find balance we first need to identify the lack of balance in our lives. When considering acting on balance for better we can start by looking at ourselves. Because balance for better doesn’t mean women vs. men full stop! Balance has absolutely nothing to do with women being man haters. I for one, actually quite like men. Balance to me means educating and empowering women, lifting each other up, supporting one another. Like, genuinely supporting women through your words and through your actions.
Now I am still a far cry from being “all together”. I am a stay at home mum to two children. One of which will probably end up running a gang. I run a business, I run a household, I have a husband who works a lot so sometimes I feel like I’m parenting solo. But we are still working towards more balance. And you can find this balance too. Starting in your homes. In a time where being busy is glorified. Stress, exhaustion and burnout are all considered the norm and just accepted as modern day life. There is no better time than now to start practicing self-care.
Now, I tend to despise buzz words and on trend topics. I didn’t read 50 shades of grey, I never saw Twilight, I refuse to watch Tidying up with Marie Kondo or whatever her name is and I won’t use words like “extra” unless I’m buying gum because I just tend to avoid things that are popular. BUT “self-care” is not a trend. It is something that we all need to practice and add to our daily routine. Call it something else if the word “self-care” bothers you.
Who checks social media every day? Well, if you’ve got time to scroll you’ve got time to allocate 30 minutes to look after yourself. Start having these discussions in your own home. Whether this be with yourself. With your partner. With your children. Start to make the change within your own family unit first. Once we stop being so damn busy we can clearly see what matters most and where we choose to put our energy.
Balance isn’t something that you will just trip over and go “oh hey there balance, that’s where I left you.” You must make a conscious effort and decide what it is you want for your life, for yourself and for your family. Because you actually deserve a happy, fulfilled existence.
So. Figure out what is important to you. Where do you want your time and energy to be invested? Yes we all want to be a thoughtful friend, a dedicated wife, a selfless mother, a considerate daughter. Who eats nothing but natural, organic, sugar free, vegan, homemade meals from glass jars. Who gets to exercise every day in the latest Lulu lemon active wear. Who gets a solid 8 hours seep every night and children that sleep 7pm till 7am. While also excelling in our career and having a stylish and always spotless house that smells of rainbows and unicorns. Truth bomb. You cannot have it all! Well not without losing your shit a bit anyway. Sorry.
We cannot possibly be perfect all of the time. But we can try our hardest and we can choose a couple of these things that we do really well and just give ourselves a break on the rest. So take the pressure off. We don’t have to be everything to everyone.
With my business clients I say stop saying yes to things that don’t help you achieve your biz goals. But today I am saying ask yourself “does this support the life I am trying to create?”
Thank you for coming tonight and thank you Nikki and the rest of the Women’s Network for organising this event. You should be so, so proud with tonight’s turn out. So well done.
Speaking tonight was massively out of my comfort zone, so thank you Nikki for seeing something in me. If you take away just one thing from my ramblings I’ve done my job. Enjoy the rest of your night.
Mingle with the women in our town because we’re not just a bunch of chicks in the bush. You’re surrounded by smart, funny, creative, confident, beautiful, quirky, calm, weird, warm, bubbly, strong, fierce females. So get to know each other. And let’s see you all again at this event next year.
Photo courtesy of Hayley Scrivens