behind every successful woman...
giving thanks to the men in our lives
6 September 2015
I was recently invited to a panel discussion at the University of Tasmania about Women in Leadership positions. When we speak of female leaders, we often talk about the glass ceiling, the gender pay gap, the imposter syndrome… For me, these issues are real but at the same time distant. I simply had some life goals that I had to kick, and I kicked them one by one. Sometimes being a woman was a challenge to my career goals, sometimes I used it to my advantage but what I did notice in these discussions is often a lack of acknowledgement of the role that the modern day man play in this rapidly changing world. I am writing this piece in some ways to try to look at the issue from a slightly different perspective, and to bring some balance in the great gender divide. But, mostly, I want to take the time to point out and give thanks to my unsung hero who has been the quiet reassurance in my life, who has given me the strength to get to where I am today. This piece is for you, Daddy Dinosaur…
I want to take the time to reflect on how difficult it must sometimes be being the “wings beneath my wings”. I see you, gently laughing off jests from your mates about “being under my thumb”. You and I both know that the truth is far from this. People assume lots of things. I am the loud, social one and you often just let me take the lead in our business decisions but you are always the one to rein in my crazy, unworkable ideas. We are a team and we do what we do for our children. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we complement each other but other people don’t see this. What we represent is a divergence from the socially expected gender roles. But there you are always jut shrugging off criticisms from people who just don’t get it even when it makes me mad. “They don’t know what we know,” you’d reassure me.
You talk about our partnership, about us being a team – each having specific roles to play both in our business and at home. We work together, and we play together. We are lucky that there is no clear “breadwinner” in our family, we are both as capable as one another, who eats bread anyway? Not this LCHF family. We both work hard to "bring home the bacon". It works in reverse as well, people assume this little lady is just a pretty face, the trophy wife and man, do you let them know when they get this wrong! I think we are a smart team. We are not bound by what society expects us to do but instead we leverage our unique skillset to achieve the best outcomes our family. How lucky we are to be so in tune with each other.
You know that I have thirst for continuing education and when I announced that I was going to get my MBA, you supported me all the way. In the beginning, it just meant not partying so much on the weekends but as the children came one by one, you took over nappy changing and night time settling just so I could finish yet another assignment. Thank you, my MBA is really our MBA. It didn’t matter, we are not keeping scores and there is no competition when all team members are just working toward the one goal. When I announced that I was going to stop feeling unhappy about my body and I was going to embark on a fitness regime, without even discussing it, you took over dinner duties every night just so I could fit in my 45 minutes of exercise. This, even after you’ve spent all day at work. I love that we don’t have any strict schedule of who does what when it comes to housework and yet chores seamlessly seem to get done. It’s the seeing that the washing machine has been loaded when it has been on my mind for the day but I had not gotten around to it that makes life all the much sweeter. We are like this at work, one moving in to take the load off the other as things get demanding like a beautiful perfectly synchronised dance working as a team.
I want to pause for a moment to acknowledge how hard it is for a man like you to find your place in the world. We constantly hear about how hard it is for a woman paving her own way, and I agree it is not easy and I have had my share of struggles but how hard it is for a man supporting such a woman. Putting up with constant negative comments and pressure from society to fit into a mould of what is expected. But, you don’t seem to care. The stronger one is not me, but you. You are not a stay home nor a fully working dad, and I’m not a stay home nor a fully working mum. Those titles don’t fit either one of us. We just work together, doing what needs to be done. Our girls have equal share of time with both you and me. How glorious that they should only know a father like you. How glorious that they should grow up to be strong, independent women but who knows to lean on support when they need to. They too will learn the value of true partnership.
Happy Father’s Day, Nick.
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