Within five minutes of talking to someone new, I often find they are trying to put you in a box that sums up the type of person you are. The usual questions are things like, “What do you do for work? Do you have kids? What sort of education do you have?”
My answers never seem to satisfy them. Yes I was a teen mum, yes I was a VCAL student, yes I was a female bricklayer and yes I AM a successful business woman regardless. Just because my journey into business isn’t what society would say is normal, doesn’t make it wrong or any less impactful.
Never apoligise for the journey you have taken
I chose an alternative path way at highschool, one that suited my strengths; instead of doing VCE, I did a bricklaying apprenticeship while still attending school. This doesn’t make me not as smart as others. I still have my year 12 pass I just did it differently. The pathway you choose for yourself adds to the person you are. It doesn’t matter if you get it right or wrong as long as you are trying to be the best person you can be.
Don’t let your circumstances create any self doubt or shame
Whenever I would mention I was a single mum to someone in conversation, I would always receive a “I’m sorry to hear that” in return. It would prompt my quick reply of “Don’t be sorry, it was my choice. I chose to be single and happy.” I always made sure peoples reactions never made me second guess myself or my decisions. There is no shame in going against the grain and doing what is right for you.
Connect with others in a similar situation as you
Build yourself a network of like minded people who are going through similar situations. This network will have many benefits including having people to bounce ideas off and share industrial knowledge and information relevant to your interests, aswell as having people who can support you through your journey, and you, theirs. Nothing beats having the support of your family and friends, but it’s also beneficial to have support from other people experiencing a similar journey to yourself.
Be kind to yourself
If you can’t get past your own stigma how can you expect others to? I make sure not to dwell on the negatives or the stigma regarding my situations or on what others may say regarding it, I do, however, make sure to remain focussed on the positive outcomes I have achieved because of it. If I wasn’t a young mum I wouldn’t have had the drive to start my own business. If I believed bricklaying was only for men I wouldn’t have learned how to brick a house, or a school for disadvantaged children in Uganda, Africa.
It’s time to stay positive and it’s always time to break boundaries and cut new paths for our children and theirs. Let’s not get upset about how people may perceive us for the choices we have made when these choices have benefited our lives and our families. Life is too short and this Mother’s Day, we all would benefit from embracing the journeys we have taken to becoming the people, the friends and especially the mother’s we are. As modern women we work so hard everyday, in the workplace, in our homes, in our relationships. We work and strive for success in almost everything we do and most times, this benefits not only us, but our friends, our family and our wider community. I am thankful for the choices I made along my journey and I have come to accept that we don’t owe apologies to anyone, but we owe a whole lot of kindness to ourselves.
Written by Casey Mackinlay. Have you read? Moldova CIP: Moldova Citizenship By Investment Program, Turkey CIP: Turkey Citizenship By Investment Program, Portugal Golden Visa Program, Dominica Citizenship by Investment Programme