I got thinking about the women in my life. The woman who has most shaped my life has been my Mum. She's a wonderful, giving and kindhearted woman. She's wise and a great cook. We argue but we laugh. Do we laugh. A lot of our arguments end in eye contact and then fits of laughter. Mum's still strict and I never want to disappoint her.
Mum gave up work to stay home with me until I was almost five. On her first day of work, she got a call from my preschool to say she had to come to collect me urgently - I had a serious infection in my ear. Her work was incredibly supportive of my illness, and even in recent years she has taken carers leave to be with me when I'm sick. I still marvel at how her life was turned upside down due to my Ichthyosis, and yet she did so brilliantly. She and Dad cared for me with gentle hands and open minds - and with so much love.
A friend told me how lucky I am to have a good relationship with my Mum, and told me of the difficult relationship she has with her mother. I love that my Mum and I can spend time as friends. I am so appreciative that she passed down her values, her ability to make bad situations easier to deal with by having a laugh, and also her love of cooking and eating. I love you Mum.
My female friends are amazing. They're smart, funny, caring and they all make a difference in some way. Many of them are championing diversity and have overcome adversity. I feel I can talk to lots of my female friends about anything - and I also value that they trust me to share the same. My friends come from different parts of my life - work (I work with some wonderful women, and men), uni, school, TV, blogging and social media, and those I've met along the way at various events. And they're of a wide age range and come from diverse backgrounds. I love them.
I've learnt to be discerning about who I spend my time with. During my childhood and early 20s, I was forever disappointed with my so called friends letting me down. I can honestly say that I don't feel that disappointment with the friendships I have now.
My current female managers have had the most influence on my career - both my day job and media work. I have worked with them for almost six years, and in that time, my sick leave has decreased considerably. They're so supportive, and have given me great advice. They're both extremely successful, highly driven women - which is admirable - but even more impressively, they truly care for the staff they lead. The show integrity, emotional and technical intelligence an humility. They are funny and foster an engaging workplace. They both go above and beyond. There hasn't been a day when I've not wanted to work for them. And I certainly never want to disappoint them.
I also have some wonderful male friends who really respect women. Never have I heard them speak in a superior way or make derogatory comments about women's looks, sexuality or career choices.
I like this company I keep. I have a great sense of pride for knowing them.
Happy International Women's Day. Be kind to each other.
Tell me about the women in your life.
This post is for Sarah Wayland's International Women's Day writing challenge.