My message to Women – Be kind, don’t judge and be there to support each other
It’s International Women’s Day on 8th March. I have been fortunate enough to meet some wonderfully supportive and understanding women on my journey through life so far, all of whom have positively impacted me in so many ways. I’m going to take some time to recognise just a few of these women and share why a negative experience inspired me to start Hour Hands.
|My message to women on International Women’s Day:
Be kind, don’t judge and be there to support each other
Starting my own business
I am so fortunate to be able to call two inspiring women my friends – Charlotte Knight and Amanda Gummer. They run their own businesses and were so encouraging when I decided to set up on my own. They became my first clients – and still are on the books for admin support and bookkeeping help. A few years down the road and I have met so many more amazing women, including June Cory, of whom I have asked millions of questions especially in the early days of Hour Hands, Caroline Deutsch who’s support got me through the last few years, and Ruby Raut, whose passion and drive is an inspiration and I call myself lucky to be working for her. They support me and allow me to ask questions and learn from their experiences
These fabulous women help me to function and keep me on track! They have my back and make me a better person. Special mention goes to the ‘Birthday Club’ ladies who are always up for going out, whether it’s someone’s birthday or not! My “Mädels Wochenende” group – the German girls whom I see a few times a year, and my friend Donna, with whom I put the world to rights with on early morning dog walks.
The Hour Hands team is a collection of wonderful women that keep the Hour Hands ship afloat and make me laugh. They care about my business and our clients’ businesses as much as I do and for that I thank them. Their talents are never ending and they can find a solution to every bookkeeping and personal PA request that comes in the door.
She grew up in a very rural part of Ireland, worked in a factory but took the opportunity to go to Germany for a year when it arose despite not speaking a word of the language. It’s only when I moved to the UK myself in my 20s that I realised what a big step it was for her at the time as my grandparents didn’t have a phone and flights were expensive, so getting home for visits was difficult.
I could mention so many women have brought me to where I am today, so many that I couldn’t name them all – there is physically not enough room! All have freely given me support when I needed it, shared advice when I asked, and always, always have been honest and covered my back, even if I didn’t want to hear what they said.
These women are even more important to me as I have experienced the opposite situation, when women are unsupportive or even actively work against each other. I was fortunate to have a great support network around me when I had children: very important to me as I don’t have family nearby. But I soon discovered that the ‘school gate parents’ are not all always kind. There was (and still is) a lot of peer pressure to act and look a certain way which makes me really cross and very sad. Many judge each other for working / not working, having a fit and skinny body (or not), looking 20 years younger than we are (definitely failed). All this along with raising kids / looking after elderly relatives / having a great marriage is hard enough without having the sisterhood against you.
In my view
To me, it doesn’t matter if you work or not and who cares if your baby eats organic carrots or has the occasional bag of chocolate buttons. A 7-year old shouldn’t have to play four different sports, three instruments and speak two languages to fit in with their peers and prevent comments from other parents. Everyone should decide what is right for them and their family without judgment. Come on, Sisters! it’s hard enough as it is and we need to have each other’s back
On a positive note, it was these negative experiences at the school gate that gave me the idea to start Hour Hands. I felt that there needed to be someone out there who could help people like me – with 3 kids under 4 struggling to hold it all together: someone to whom I could outsource some of my day-to-day life admin and ‘stuff’ to help me stay sane. A Family PA is what I needed. No-one could be found, so I relied on coffee and wine, but other mothers now have the Hour Hands team to help.
Now, I know that Hour Hands is a good, understanding place for women to work – my team tells me. Women can have a professional life and be effective whilst having the flexibility we need – not just for school runs and sports days but for other life events. Stuff happens and it’s often us women that have to respond and hold everything together.
So based on all of the above, my message to women, today and everyday, is be kind, don’t judge and be there to support each other. Women need other women and we’re stronger when we’re working together.
Enjoy our day.