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.

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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.

 

 

Bali Belly

Sorry – this post isn’t about dealing with travellers gastro. If that’s what you’re looking for, head back to google.

This is about bikini bodies and the wonderful ones I encountered in Sanur, Bali. There’s been a meme floating around lately about how to get a bikini body – put a bikini on your body. I love the sentiment and although I’ve never been a bikini wearer I’m happy to embrace the ideal and applaud others that do.

Last January we all headed off to Bali for the first time. A huge culture shock for all of us, especially my country kids.

On our second day in Bali Brooke and I headed to Sanur to get her hair braided. We sat on the beach under a huge tree and I people watched while Brooke was being beautified, which took about two hours.

The demographics of the beach goers in Sanur that day were probably fifty five plus. Apparently many retired people from the nordic areas of Europe snow bird to Bali.

What was fantastic is that they all had bikini bodies. Regardless of wrinkles, rolls or sags they wore swimsuits of all description without a care for size, skin colour or age.  I didn’t notice any elaborate cover ups. People strolled along the boardwalk, rode bikes and relaxed on sun loungers without any obvious concern about body image.

Nobody pointed out to them that they shouldn’t be wearing bikinis, and I imagine even if they did they wouldn’t care because if the body is wearing a bikini, it’s a bikini body.

To those wonderful bikini bodied snow birds in Sanur, I salute you.

 

 

Comfy Undies

I don’t know if it’s a middle age thing or just a difference in priorities but I’ve come to the decision that functionality is more important than looks in my underwear.

I had a time in my mid thirties where I spent up big on sexy undies and lingerie. Yep they were gorgeous, lace and satin, covered the curves beautifully. After an hour I was ready to rip them off. They where either scratching, pinching, riding up or falling down.

I’ve experimented with thongs but really why would I want to wear undies that give you a constant wedgie?

This year I discovered bonds cotton tails. My husband says they are the ugliest underwear he has ever seen and is embarrassed by them on the line.

Me, I’m proud of my comfy undies. Good underwear is the basis of any good outfit. There is nothing worse than constantly readjusting your nether regions, not a good look.

So next time you see large cotton undies on a clothes line know that there is a woman who is confident enough in herself to know undies don’t make you sexy but being comfortable in your skin does.

 

Me

crop selfie

Me, where do I start. I’m 40, just, a big milestone for this year. I’m not a small girl but I love fashion and shoes especially.

I’m a CPA, a mum, a daughter, a friend, and maybe a wife – at the minute I’m not sure.

I want to travel but don’t have the budget.

I get tagged as lazy because I’m overweight. I’ve never enjoyed exercise, running is only necessary if being chased by something scary.

I love food, I consider eating a hobby.

I don’t think I’m lazy. I work, run a business, sort of run a household, raise 4 kids and a husband. I’ve completed a Grad Dip in Adv Tax and am starting my Masters in Business and Technology.

To me just because people don’t exercise their body as much as they should, it doesn’t make them lazy. Mind exercises count too.

I’m beautiful too, it’s just more on the inside. I love to laugh and make music.

This year I’m going to focus on me being the best version I can. Kathryn 2.0.

That’s me in a nutshell.