Women’s month is just around the corner with Women’s Day being celebrated on 9 August. While most of us look forward to a day off and use it as a good excuse to get a mani and go shoe shopping, there’s a long history behind why we take a day to celebrate women. In South Africa, we pay homage to and celebrate the bravery of 20 000 women marching in protest of the pass laws in 1956. Four women organised this march that delivered petitions signed by over 100 000 women to the then Prime Minister, JG Strijdom’s office while singing a powerful struggle song, “when you strike women, you strike rock”.
Women wear many hats, from daughter to sister, wife to mother, to friend, colleague and career woman. We are masters at multitasking, keeping many balls in the air and putting out fires. I don’t know about you, but I often feel overwhelmed by my role as a woman. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, sister, blogger, a friend – and when I sit back and take a good look (with my very critical eye) at all the hats I wear, they definitely not all sitting straight (and certainly not all at the same time). Yet, there’s a constant pressure to tick all the boxes. Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve become even more aware of my role as a woman and just how hard it is sometimes – and living in today’s fast-paced, technology driven world certainly doesn’t help. With social media being so prevalent in our lives, we are constantly comparing ourselves to the illusion of other people’s perfection. After spending a few too many hours on Instagram, I can find myself being pulled down the rabbit hole and begin comparing everything in my life to those portrayed in those beautifully curated pictures. From idealic holidays and exotic destinations, moms with beautifully manicured nails and freshly blow-dried hair to babies who sleep through the night and sail through teething, to toned, tanned bodies being refueled with a green juice after a hard workout. I know I am guilty of often only posting the pretty picture (because who wants to see the laundry basket overflowing, toys strewn across the floor or last night’s dishes still piled up in the sink??) But why are we often so reluctant to let our guard down? As women, we all know the reality of daily life and that it truly does take a village but yet we are so often the harshest critics. Rather than patting each other on the backs and praising each other, we judge, critique and comment – the Duchess of Sussex is a good example. Her outfits are either to short, too long, to tight, too bright, too big or too bland. I read some of the comments on photos posted of her and cannot believe some of the nastiness dished out by fellow women. Despite her Hollywood past, she must be overwhelmed by the enormity of her new role and be daunted by this foreign world she’s found herself in, so why are we not supporting her and applauding her for the work she has done as a long time advocate of women’s rights and gender inequality? Why do we look for the negative?
“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back”
As women, we give every inch of ourselves trying to tick all those boxes and strive for perfection. We put enormous pressure on ourselves to achieve and get it right the first time – and with everything at our finger tips, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing results immediately so when things take more time or aren’t quite perfect, we feel like we’ve failed. Rather than constantly comparing ourselves and questioning our abilities, focus on what you have achieved and see your story for what it is – yours. Instead of allowing comparison to steal our thunder, let’s learn from each other, celebrate the small wins together and share in each other’s joy. I know I would not be the woman or mother I am today without the strong women in my life that I’ve had the privilege from learning from or the group inspiring mother’s I’ve been so lucky to have in my corner when I feel like I’m unraveling at the seams. Wherever you are in your story, high or low, inspire and empower the women around you. Success is never reached alone or overnight – it takes time and a village.
“A rose can never be a sunflower and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are beautiful in their own way and that’s like women too” – Miranda Kerr
You might be wondering how flowers fit in with Women’s Day but I’ve written a few posts now about how flowers impact our lives (read them here and here) and we can learn a lot from them. Flowers teach us patience – they grow in their own time, at their own pace and in their own environment and each one turns out just as beautiful. Remember this next time you compare yourself or your journey. Flowers teach us to see beauty in the most unexpected of places or times (just think of the constant of a beautiful flower blooming from the charred earth of a recent fire) Remember this when times are at their most challenging – stand back and appreciate what is beautiful in your life. Flowers prove that everything has it’s season and there’s a right time to flourish. It might not be your season just yet. Lastly, and quite possibly my favourite, flowers teach us authenticity. They are what they are – the sunflower isn’t trying to be a rose. We need to remember to be true to ourselves and build on our own strengths.
In celebrating Women’s Day this year let’s celebrate who we are (because we really don’t do it enough) and celebrate being women supporting women on this wonderful, crazy ride we are all on. Buy her the flowers, leave her a note, tell her she’s beautiful.
This post is written in collaboration with Fabulous Flowers Florist.