Relationships Are The Focus For International Women’s Day 2019 (What This Means To Me?)

Every year on 8th March International Women’s Day is celebrated with a focus on women’s rights.  The achievements of women from the past, the present and the future is what we celebrate.  This year’s theme is relationships.  Our personal relationships, our business relationships and our friendships.

This is by no means to exclude the men in our lives and does not make men inferior at all.  It just celebrates a movement whereby women have equal rights and now have equal opportunities in the workplace and home environment.

I have been fortunate to have been raised in a family where my parents allowed me to make my own decisions and make my own mistakes.  The value I place on my upbringing has made me grateful.  It may not have always been a bed of roses, but parents do the best they can and love unconditionally.  My parents loved and respected me and taught me to seek love and follow my values in my own life.  Their influence has been the underlying factor, of the woman I am today.

As I found love with my husband, a man that respects me and encourages me to be the best person I can be, I am very grateful.  Like any relationship, we have our ups and downs, but it is how you get through those ups and downs that matters… together.  Mind you, we may need to experience a few Mr Wrongs before we find Mr Right.  My advice is find a partner that is supportive and brings out the best in you.  Love, honesty, support and communication is what I treasure in my marriage.  As a woman, I choose nothing less.

When I became a mother, another women’s “role”… I found this was my calling in life.  I absolutely loved raising my 2 children.  I did not have the honour of raising daughters, as we had 2 sons… a wonderful privilege that I embraced.  Born only 17 months apart, I was determined to be the best mother I could be.

Now as a parent myself, I understand the sacrifices that parents make for the love of their children.  We sometimes think that we should give our children the best of everything… but it is our TIME that children need.  Not expensive gifts, treats or anti-social activities.  Our children deserve our undivided attention to know that they are loved unconditionally, but they also need to be taught manners, courtesy and respect.

As working women, time is limited, so we need to schedule time for each child and make it important.  It may be a juggle or it may be that we sacrifice something else in our lives… but they are only young once and we need to focus on the person we are raising for the sake of future society.

The “tooth fairy” antic really annoys me, as parents feel an overwhelming desire to keep up with their children’s peers.  I remember only giving 50 cents for teeth, now it is in the larger notes category.  What are we teaching our children?  I think children need to learn to work for their money and appreciate the value that they have earned.  My sons used to do their daily chores with encouragement from a chore chart, maybe earning several dollars each week, not that much at all.

We taught our children the value of money and their childhood was treated as a learning experience.  By no means did I do everything perfectly, but I did the best I could with what I had.  Now our children are in their early twenties, living their lives independently and I know that they will be OK.  We never stop learning throughout our lives at any age.

Today marks a very special achievement for my youngest son, as he has just purchased his first home, at almost 22 years of age.  He saved for a deposit and applied to the bank for a home loan.  I am proud of the responsibility and independence he has displayed in the process of this big life venture.  My eldest son at a similar age did the same thing.  As a mother, I know that we have taught them financial responsibility and I am so proud of the lives they are now leading.

Although now I find it challenging that my guidance and womanly advice is much less regular to when they were dependents.  Life has changed and is different.  I am always here to emotionally support or advise if necessary, in their adulthood.  One day I look forward to the next chapter of my life, when I will become a grandmother.  With no plans for either son at the moment, I will focus on my relationship with the rest of the world.  But I do look forward to being a guiding light for my grandchildren and spoiling them… but assist by instilling those precious morals and values in this tough challenging world.  More importantly, they need to know their own worth and believe in their own abilities… boy or girl… men and women of the future.

My involvement with the Country Women’s Association (CWA) also provides me with a network of support and friendships.  The CWA is the largest women’s organisation in Australia and aims to improve conditions for country women and their families.

CWA is known for bringing women together to improve their lives and providing a network of understanding and welfare of all women.  They also provide a forum to give women a voice within our nation.  They do this by lobbying the government for change, helping the local community and creating a network of support.

We sometimes under-estimate the true value that our friendships bring to our lives.  I have been fortunate to have made friends through this renowned women’s organisation in many regions and have met some strong women making a real difference.  It is amazing what a bunch of women can do when they put their heads together.

Through my farming business, I have also had the opportunity to meet and associate with many women with unique strengths.  Some women are a supportive partner in the farming world and some women paving their own way.  It doesn’t matter what we choose to do in our lives, as women, we should just do it with passion, commitment and a big heart.

Let go of all the debates of unimportance and accept we all have our own unique paths to follow.  Working women versus stay-at-home mothers.  Feeding style, sexuality or life choices… is only important to the person making the choice… everyone else needs to stick to their own opinion without pushing it upon others.  What is right for one person may not be right for another.  Acceptance is needed in life.

Good manners, kindness, compassion, understanding, love and support is what really matters.  If we all stick to this, life is so much more content.  Appreciate the iconic women that have shaped our lives, the strong women that are in our lives and the young women that are awaiting the future.  As women… be the woman that you admire or aspire to be.

Women need to be celebrated today for how far we have come over the years… individually and as a group.  Thank you to the men in our lives for giving us the freedom, equality, love and respect that you give us every day.  It is this support that brings balance to our lives.  Remember, we all have the responsibility of shaping our future daughters and developing them into strong capable women of the future… and raising our sons into the respectful beings that show a mutual support.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Take care, Karen.

P.S. In the words of Quentin Bryce, an iconic, influential and inspirational woman.  Also, the first woman to become Governor-General of Australia.

“Yes, you can have it all, but not all at the same time.

Set your own priorities, trust your gut and follow your heart.

~ Quentin Bryce, 

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