The question, what women support and inspire you, has me right now reflecting on my career and my path to where I am today. I have always been surrounded by smart, strong, inspirational women. My bosses, a majority of whom were women, have always modelled mentorship, thoughtfulness, originality and a hard work-ethic. My colleagues and friends have supported me and given me confidence. And where I am today, as a part of the maker community, I am surrounded by creative women who have so much passion and confidence in what they do that they’re willing to share it with the world. I am in awe of all of our abilities to forge our own paths and break the mold of working 9 - 5 to fulfil our passions.
I’ll be honest, when I decided to stay home with my kids and not go back to an office job, I thought I was setting the gender equality back years. I was erasing all the work that women had done for years before me! Ultimately it was the right choice for me to be home with the kids, and I don’t regret it one bit. But instead of erasing all the efforts of the women before me, I was able to be more involved with my community newspaper and I could invest time volunteering at the local school and pursuing other interests that wouldn’t have been open to me had I been working full time.
I have felt embraced by the community in Ottawa and the world around me. This year has been TOUGH! With two school-aged kids at home, I had to make a big change to the business. Instead of going out to the studio space I moved my work back home so I could keep making soap and supporting my kids with school. It meant a sacrifice for us all. But through it all, I have an amazing family, customers, cheerleaders and friends who have supported me. I am privileged that I’m able to be at home with my kids during this year of virtual school. I realize how lucky I am to be able to do what I love and be surrounded by the ones who I love. I am constantly buoyed by the delightful emails or messages I get from people who have tried my products - it means so much to hear that someone loves what I have made for them. Has this set the business back? Yes! But as the world re-builds, so will I.
I look at my cousin who is studying to become a nurse right now. She’s also making an incredible journey as a photographer. I look at her and think the world should see her confidence, her talent and her dreams. Supporting women who are tackling new journeys can be as easy as Following them on Instagram or as supportive as offering to mentor her in some capacity. If we each took the opportunity to think about the BEST part of ourselves and offered it to someone else, what would it be? How could we all thrive? And what can we learn from those younger women today?
What would I tell my younger self? Oh EASY. Put on sunblock. Take all the courses. Take all the chances. Be bold. Check your spelling. Travel. Dream bigger. And do everything else the same because your life is going to be filled with amazing experiences, people and family.
Ahh quitting. Well, sometimes you NEED to quit. Sometimes you need to quit that day job. Sometimes you need to quit doing ALL the things and narrow your focus on just some of the things. Sometimes quitting is the way to finding what you really need.