Spend time doing what you love or with those you love?

A very dear friend lost her husband in tragic circumstances on the weekend while pursuing his hobby away from his family. My heart is breaking for her loss and the little girls that no longer have their daddy.

The thing that struck me is everyone keeps saying “Well at least he died doing what he loved” WTF.

I’ll be honest, I think that at 45 with 4 little girls he shouldn’t have been taking unnecessary risks, regardless of how much he loved doing it. His pursuit of his own happiness has now left the 5 people who loved him the most devastated.

I understand that you must find joy in life but I think it is necessary to find balance. There are times when others needs have to be considered.

For me I want to try and find things I love to do that I can do with those I love.

Grief Stricken

I’ve had bad news today. I read on google that a 44 year old father of 4 from Bendigo had died in a skiing accident. My stomach turned but I tend to jump to conclusions,

Then on the 6pm news Ian’s face appeared. I felt disconnected – why was his face on the tv? Then it came rushing in – Ian Baker killed in ski boat accident, died at scene.

I lost my composure. I sobbed, Andrew yelled at me to calm down, he doesn’t cope well with grief. His family don’t display emotion.

I haven’t seen Ian or Joanne in years. Last time I had contact with Joanne was on my 40th in February when she sent me flowers. Both of us have busy, hectic lives as wives, mothers, workers.

That doesn’t matter. Joanne and I met on our first day of high school and have been friends ever since. Jo was actually visiting me at Uni in Geelong when she met Ian. Our friendship remains regardless of how often we speak, we know that we are thinking of each other.

Tonight my heart is breaking for her and my instinct is to drive to Bendigo to hold her hand. There really isn’t much else I can do. I can’t bring Ian back or turn back time so he doesn’t get on that boat. All I can do is be a presence for Jo, someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, someone to make cups of tea.

I don’t know how you cope with losing your partner of over 20 years, the father of your four daughters.

Vale Ian Baker, taken way too soon.

To mother or not to mother

I have a friend, a smart savvy professional woman. She is younger then me, 31, but she has made a decision that she doesn’t want children. My immediate reaction is omg – you’ll get over it, your biological clock will start to tick loudly and you’ll change your mind. Then I stopped and thought – what a huge amount of courage it takes to make that decision.

It actually isn’t selfish (another of my initial thoughts!). Her reasoning is that whatever she does she wants to do wholeheartedly. For her, her professional career is an extremely important part of her self. Having a child would require compromise on both being a professional and being a mother, she isn’t prepared to be half hearted at anything.

In todays society we are often damned if we do and damned if we don’t. There is so much pressure to be a mother and yet we are also expected to participate in the workforce. For many of us financially we have no other choice but to reenter the corporate world after children, often in male dominated careers where it is difficult to break into the boys club when you have to make sure you get to child care by 6pm and then spend the evening cooking, arbitrating, educating and soothing.

Honestly, the more I think about it the more I applaud her decision. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids but I know I’m not a perfect mother and they have had to make sacrifices for my career. Unfortunately for them they didn’t get a choice. Hopefully, regardless of my intense mother guilt, they won’t spend years in a therapist office talking through abandonment issues caused by having a selfish career orientated mum. Instead they will celebrate the fact that they had a strong, inspirational mother who pushed them to be self sufficient and showed that with a bit of determination you can achieve.

The negative in the bed

I attended a conference a while ago and the speaker (I can’t remember who!) said something along the lines of how the person you share a bed with maybe the person in your life who is least confident of your chance of success. I get that. Don’t get me wrong I love my husband but he is very risk adverse. He sees the world with a glass half empty attitude.

For a long time I let his negative and “don’t try something in case you fail” attitude affect my behaviours. My attitude now is to prove him wrong.

As with most things in life you can usually take someones negative and make it your positive.

I’m not going to lie, sometimes it is an uphill battle. It takes determination and resolve to succeed when the person you share a bed with is your biggest critic. Instead of letting it drag me down I use it as the kick in the bum to get up and go.

 

Life List

I’ve decided that I need to make a list of things I want to do on a regular basis – soul food things. A bucket list is all good and well but I need a list to live by so here is my list at the moment:

  • See, participate and enjoy live music at least once a month
  • Eat a new taste/ cuisine at least once a month
  • Cook something new at least once a month
  • Get a massage at least once a month
  • Read one non fiction book per month
  • Read at least one fiction book per month
  • Try to have breakfast with Cranky Pants at least 4 mornings per week – this is present breakfast no tv, laptops etc
  • Make everyone sit down to a meal together at least twice per week – again being present
  • Find something to make me smile and laugh EVERY DAY!

This is my living list, I’m sure it will grow and change but it’s a starting point.

Bra Burning & Bloke Bashing

I’m a feminist, not exactly ground breaking news to those who know me. Don’t get me wrong, I love being feminine, I love pretty dresses and high heels (although at the moment I’m not allowed to wear them!). I have more handbags than most women. I shave my legs, at least when I think people might see them.  I also love empowering women to be strong and take leadership roles. I want to see more young women realize that being assertive is not a bad thing, that being bossy is a compliment not a derogatory label.

Even now, two  plus generations on from the bra burning feminist protests, we are still lagging well behind the fellows in our representation in leadership roles.  Of our top 200 ASX companies less than 5% have women CEOs and our parliaments are still woefully lacking in women members. Our current federal cabinet has one female, The Hon Julie Bishop, who is minister for foreign affairs and deputy leader of the Liberal Party.  Considering the current government ministry is 16% female and the sitting members are 22% female it is concerning that cabinet is only 5% female. As a paid up member of the liberal party this doesn’t bode well for my goal of becoming the first female treasurer!

This trend is repeated in my own community. Our local council has only two female councilors, 22%. The boards of our local hospital and private schools are similar. Our local community bank has only one female director – comprising 10% of the board! Yet according to the ABS the population of our shire is 50% female.

I wonder what the young women in our society see when they look around. What female role models can be found? I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan of Julia Gillard’s politics but I was proud we had a female Prime Minister. I was also appalled at the treatment she received. I don’t recall seeing male leaders subject to the same innuendo and discussion of their sexuality. Why is it our society tries to dewomanise strong women?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think men are all bad and out to undermine women, we do that well enough on our own without their help! Nor do I think women should be appointed to roles just because of our gender.My concern is that there are capable and strong women within our communities that aren’t being given the support and opportunities to sit at the table.  Research has shown that organisations that have boards with a higher percentage of women perform better.

My aim in the next twelve moths is to work in my local community to help and inspire women to lean in and become leaders.  As the amazing Carol Schwartz, AM said at a CPA luncheon last week “you can’t be what you can’t see”. I intend to stand up and by seen as a leader in my community, but I won’t burn my bras as they are expensive to replace.

If you too are feeling inspired to lean in, have a read of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Also have a look at Lean In, Ban Bossy,  and our own Australian Businesswomens Network.

 

 

Gosh – I’m fat?

Really there is no need to point it out. I’m well aware of my size.

What makes people think that those of us who are larger haven’t noticed? I find it quite insulting when doctors, friends etc point out that I’m overweight. I’m fat, not stupid.

My husband is one of the worst. I know he stresses about my health and the effect my weight has on it but looking at me and stating “my god you’re huge” really isn’t helpful, or, “if you would just lose some weight” which I get often from my mum.

I know that my weight has an impact on my health. I am a well educated woman and am quite literate so I can read the studies on health issues that arise from being obese.

Yes, I do have health issues that my weight complicates but some of them are genetic defects that I’m stuck with. Not making excuses, just stating facts.

I’m learning to love myself however I look – that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be healthier. I do have to find the program that works for me and one thing I’m sure it isn’t is lapband so doctors stop pushing that barrow.

At this stage in my life it is what it is, fat chick walking.