It is often with envy that I look at other women and their seemingly perfect lives and families. Neatly turned out for church, family functions, not a scuff mark on their trousers or shoes, their hair and clothes perfectly in place. I find myself asking, “How on earth does she do that?”
Which is exactly what I heard one of my friends’ mutters under her breath recently, looking directly at me. When I asked her what she meant, I realized we’re all in the same boat in one way or another. Always peering over the garden fence, assuming the grass is greener and better kept on the other side. As my friend continued to explain, she assumed I was some kind of Wonder Woman. I immediately burst out laughing and in between catching my breath, I asked her why she saw me that way.
Apparently raising four kids, including a set of very young triplets, and simultaneously deciding to set up my own Financial Consultancy during a recession is utter madness. I don’t think of it like that and until someone commented on it, I hadn’t given it a second thought. It was just the way things were. It gave me some food for thought and made me start examining my work, life, and family time. I realized that I certainly stretched a 24-hour day well beyond its breaking point. This was something I had always done. There was no alternative. I had always worked hard: it came naturally as it did in my whole family, especially as my father ran a restaurant and that meant we were all running the restaurant when we were younger.
As a consultant, at the time, I worked in the insurance industry for over eight years, providing advice and new business ideas to brokers and clients alike. Then, a mere six years ago, our world was turned upside down by a triple blessing in the form of triplets. People started wondering how I would cope, juggle and keep my sanity. As women, we find a way to cope, juggle and indeed, remain sane. We endure and persevere and that is the same attitude I take with me when focusing on giving financial advice.
One thing that has allowed me to not completely lose the plot was the fact that we had to run a tight budget. Having triplets certainly meant huge investments and expenditures were required.
Luckily, we managed. I realized this put me in a very fortunate position and I vowed that I would focus on giving long-term financial advice, tailor-made for everyone’s situation. Specifically focusing on women as I believe too many of us don’t take care of their financial well-being and planning for their long-term futures. They are mostly too busy juggling everything that is expected of them…and more.
My children need me, my husband would sometimes like to see me and spend time with me, but I firmly believe that this shouldn’t derail a career. That’s why I keep all these balls in the air and try to fit everything into my life. Some people look at me in disbelief, some in shock and even a few in admiration, however what I do and how I ‘attempt’ to manage my life is for my own satisfaction and not to prove a point. If you discuss and contemplate long enough, you can talk yourself out of anything. I find that when I talk myself into things rather than out of them, whilst still being there for my kids, my husband and my career, I can have the life I want.
I now no longer look at other women and their families in envy, but in mutual admiration. Knowing that each one of us is making decisions and sacrifices to strike the balance that is right for them and in their lives. I also consider that my family is always there supporting and cheering me on, and not looking over the garden fence.
Perhaps there’s a bit of Wonder Woman in all of us.