Women: Following their dreams. A new series on BE&S and a bit about….me!
I’ve got some changes to announce but before that can we just take a moment ….Boiled Eggs & Soldiers has just turned one! Hip, hip hooray it’s our anniversary today (well, it was last week but life was wet and busy and that doesn’t rhyme!) so let’s just make it today.
All the eggs came to the party. (I will post the recipe for this cake later on in the week but my fussy Miss said it was her favourite by far)!!!
An anniversary is a good time to reflect on the year that was don’t you think? I have spent the last year trying out something entirely new to me (being BE&S). Being a blogger especially a “foodie” blogger was never a childhood dream that I had, given that the internet didn’t even exist when I was little that’s not surprising (how old is she, you ask? 43 and no, I don’t know how that happened either, I still feel, 29 ok, ok 35 (although some mornings closer to 85! but I am happy with the comfort in yourself that comes with age) I digress) it wasn’t even an adult dream that I had either. I have no background in food, writing, IT or putting myself out there on public display (makes me cringe, still)! I realise that I do hide behind recipes on this blog and have been thinking that it might be time to branch out a bit and introduce some more “lifestyle” type posts and maybe even share a little more of me (cringing again, with thoughts of who would be interested, really?). Anyway, here goes and if you do manage to read this the whole way through there is a point to it at the end, I promise!
In my former career in Human Resources I was very much interested in diversity especially gender diversity and working in a particularly male oriented business it was front of mind on a daily basis, eg. increasing the numbers of women in the business, flexible work practices, equal pay (which I have to say did happen) and the like. Also having a background in interviewing rather than retire those skills along with the corporate career I thought that I could put them to good use on the blog and on a monthly basis profile women who are giving their dreams a red hot go. Are you interested in that?
To kick off the series I thought perhaps I should share a little bit more about me than what’s on my About Me page as to how I ended up blogging and what my future dreams might be too.
I found leaving full time employment to be a stay at home Mum just over 3 years ago quite a confronting time in which I had to redefine how I saw myself and where I fitted in the world. I had worked in the corporate world for nearly 20 years, travelled the world with it, people used to listen to me and actually do what I asked, amazing (!) or we would at least have a good healthy debate and come to a solution! I took maternity leave for just about a year each time after having the girls, I loved my time with my babies and being away from the office, I didn’t miss it for a minute but I still saw myself defined by my career (and maybe by the shoes and handbags) and went back into it when my mat leave was up.
source Ok, this is not really me, I’m not blonde for starters but I did enjoy dressing up to go into the office and I really, really like shoes and handbags!
It’s a familiar story for many, I know, with both parents working long hours trying to juggle it all so I’m just speaking from my own experience. The stress levels in our family were sky high, GT was travelling most weeks and Miss E was about to start school. I didn’t know how much longer the juggle could continue and my perspective on what was important in life had changed dramatically after having kids. I worked in a particularly hard nosed business and while I pulled on my big girl pants every day I just didn’t want to do what I was doing anymore, it was soulless. I really wanted to be around more when E was at school, I had an inkling that she might need some more help than perhaps others. I had idyllic (and totally misguided, ha!) visions of coffee mornings with other mums, getting fit, a perfectly run tidy home and lots of time to play ladies or do whatever and be involved at the school and I thought I would love that. I was in the fortunate enough position that me stopping paid employment was an option for us for a while, so I did.
For the first few months when I’d meet people for the first time and they asked what I did I’d get all flustered and then go to great pains to explain what I used to do, I didn’t feel comfortable saying yet, a stay at home Mum (SAHM, I didn’t even know that acronym existed either). I’d never judged other women by what they did or the choices they made it was just about how I saw myself. Who was I without the suit, the job description and the financial independence too? Dunno! Turns out that coffee mornings are few and far between because quite frankly, who has the time? Being fit has to be scheduled in like a meeting or it doesn’t happen, a perfectly run tidy home, dreaming! And spare time, ha! And then there’s the after school activities and feeding the troops etc, etc, etc…. So my days were full and I was busy, but who was I now?
Did I need a place in an org chart to know who I was? ( yes, for a time it mattered to me but not now). Did I come on too strong with the other school mums in meetings? (probably) Did my expectations of how quickly things should move need adjusting? (while I’d like to say no the reality was yes). Was being totally financially dependant on my husband ok? (took some time (and a secret slush fund, now empty) to be ok with it). Why did I spend hours worrying about something somebody said or if what I said had upset someone when had it happened at work I would have brushed it off and moved on in an instant? (still don’t have the answer to that one). Why does something always come up (without fail) that hijacks the days plans and makes me feel like I’m always on the backfoot? (just someone out there trying to teach me to let it gooo! but it still happens) How come hundreds of people used to listen to me and take direction when the 2 smallest people in my life paid no notice to what I would ask them until it had been said at least 20 times and finally at full volume????? Are you nodding to any of this?
It took about a year for the noise in my head to quieten down to stop treating what was now my life like a job and to start being ok with me in this shape and form; a wife and a mum, a daughter, a sister, a friend and enjoy it. So now if asked what I do I say a SAHM, with pride.
So this really is me this time, Hello! Doing my first ever “selfie”
Once I’d lost the shackles of my previous career and got comfortable with what I do for others I gave myself the opportunity to think about what I would like to do for me. I’d had the idea for BE&S when I was working and trying to work out what to feed the family for dinner each night. I’d always enjoyed cooking but took a real interest in it when I started cooking for the girls when they were babies. Good nutrition started playing on my mind so I studied Nutrition for a year. It was mainly for my own personal knowledge and to be able to feed the family well but I also thought that it could help me with the blog if I ever got the guts up to get it up an running. If’ I’m spending that my time thinking about and making food why not write about it too was what I was thinking.
Well a year ago I did get the blog up and running and it has been one massive learning curve with so much more to go. This year is the first time I’ve actually felt old, not physically, but the whole IT thing that goes on in the background with blogging quite literally stumps me all the time and yet I can ask a 20 year old how something works and they can tell me in an instant and my 8 year knows her way around the iPad better than I do! I have a new appreciation of how people my parents age may have felt when computers first came out!
There are so many bloggers out there many of whom have amazing blogs, putting yourself out there takes some courage, some creativity and a lot of time. It’s mainly a lovely community of really kind and helpful people as well but, as happens when you are trying something new, I’ve had a lot of self doubt this year too. I’ve tried to hold on to why I’m doing this and keep on plugging on.
A good reminder to hold onto your dreams and don’t compare yourself to others. Thanks to Love Wednesday for sharing the thought with me in a FB chat group.
So that’s just a gloss over of what my transition was like from corporate to SAHM to working from home Mum trying to make a go of a new venture but one that fulfil a previous untapped dream to cook, create and connect. I’d also one day love to have a shop, run cooking classes, be an interior decorator and maybe have a tea plantation! Well 43 isn’t really that old so there’s time and it’s good to have dreams right!
Given that there are so many amazing things that people, and for this series, women, are doing in in their lives I thought that once a month I’d interview a women who was following her vision and dreams, ask her what, how and why and you never know what that could inspire in you too!
The first interview for Women: Following their Dreams, will be posted next Tuesday, so please come and check it out then.
Finally, I’d like to say a big, heartfelt thank you to every one who comes and visits Boiled Eggs & Soldiers, your support and encouragement, comments, likes, feedback and seeing the readership grow has been overwhelmingly amazing. I personally get so much out of doing this blog and I hope that you get a lot from reading it too, (if nothing more than what’s for dinner!).
PS. The photo at the very top was from a girls trip a couple of years ago which was also a dream come true!
Are you following your dreams? What are they? Spill… Anyone else feel a bit at sea for a time when their lives changed?