This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter. Wow! What an awesome theme. One that reminds us that gender-balance is so important in all arenas…but can this really be achieved?
In my McGill days, as a student loving life in Montreal, I thought I could conquer the world. I knew without any uncertainty that I was going to be a powerhouse. I would slay at home, at work, and at anything I put my mind to. As a young wife, I also felt that way as well. I really felt like I could have it all : the career, the Pinterest recipes, the bedtime stories, the date nights and the cocktail hours with my girlfriends…no problem. As a mother of 1, I began to question the sustainability of this ‘have it all’ life. As a mother of 2, I realized that this was harder than it looked and I began to have second thoughts. As a mother of 3, I am often ready to shout ‘LIES! It’s all lies! Don’t believe the hype’ from the mountaintops!
So let me qualify this a little bit. I believe that woman can have it all. I believe that we are at a time in history where we can play at the social, economic, cultural and political tables as well as any person of the opposite gender. The thing is, I realize that we may not be able to have it all at once and we are certainly challenged in doing it if we don’t have solid support systems. Through my work as a coach, I know that the idea of ‘having it all’ can become overwhelming, and cause women to feel like they are failing.
Personally, it’s very rare for me to feel like I am ‘winning’ in all areas of my life. The mom hat, the wife hat, the entrepreneur hat, the daughter hat, the friend hat, the whatever hat…that’s a lot of hats! If I am winning at work and home, self-care takes a nose dive. If I am winning at self-care, with the kids and with work, well…those lunches are not as fabulous as I would like. The thing is…that’s okay. We are not playing a game that requires us to win or to lose. This game requires us to be in the moment and make the best of each moment.
Knowing what we now know, we have to be careful of the narrative we are perpetuating. We have to be careful of the images that we are portraying. Women, please be honest with each other. Please be kind to each other. Please be gentle with each other. Please be compassionate with each other. Every now and then we glimpse vulnerability in each other. It’s at this point, where we have to make a choice. Do we ignore it? Do we pretend we didn’t see it? Do we judge it? Or do we meet it with empathy and compassion, and do what we can to help that woman thrive?
When women support women incredible things happen. When this support is the kind of no judging, no competing, no intimidating kind of support, we help each other reach higher levels. What I know, is I thrive when I am supported by the women in my tribe. I am so blessed to have people to step in and step up for me when I need their support.
So as we lead up to International Women’s Day, where this year we focus on #BalanceForBetter I have a challenge for those who wholeheartedly believe that the world is a better place when women have a seat at the table. I challenge you to evaluate how you are supporting the women around you. Whether they are the women in your family, in your tribe, in your office, in your community or even the woman you don’t know struggling at the grocery store check out line: how are you doing your part for #BalanceforBetter?
Shifting Perspectives is a weekly conversation with Yolande. Yolande, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, now calls the Turks and Caicos Islands home and in this podcast challenges Caribbean woman worldwide to fuel themselves with diversity in the way they think, the way they work, the way they parent and the way they live.