Last week I wrote about women in my life who I believe have incredible personal qualities and could teach our baby girl Holly important life lessons. Qualities that I believe will shape her into the most amazing woman who’s going to change the world. Thinking back on what I wrote, the qualities I discussed all seem to be personal traits like patience, tolerance and kindness. And it’s obvious that I admire these qualities and see them as virtuous otherwise I wouldn’t have devoted a blog post to them.
But I’ve been thinking about another side of the women I know that I didn’t mention, a side that’s so often overlooked, undervalued or scorned. I have a group of mommy friends who I met at my previous job when I worked for a very corporate, very male-dominated, very cut-throat consulting firm. The kind of place that measured your worth solely by the number of hours you billed your paying clients.
Emmi, the mother of a gorgeous two-and-a-bit-year old boy, is one of the funniest people I know. She is witty, intelligent and has an incredibly dry sense of humour. She is also the best project manager I’ve ever worked with. I do believe she could put Mr Trump to shame. She single-handedly rescued a number of multi-million rand projects from destruction simply by waving a very pink, very sparkly magic wand. Ok, obviously that last part is slightly embellished; the wand was only minimally sparkly. It emitted more of a soft glow than sparkles like a vampire. I don’t actually know how she did it, but she more than once prevented clients from pulling the plug on difficult projects.
Candice is a woman who has the most stamina out of anyone else I know. (She has two strong-willed and curious toddlers with only a year between them.) She’s also incredibly ethical and has the moral standards of a particularly pious monk. When I worked with Candice she led her teams to the successful completion of some ridiculously difficult projects for unbelievably demanding clients. Without once resorting to violence. She didn’t even swear at her clients (even when they clearly deserved it).
Lisa also has two children – a sweet little boy and a very busy little girl. And she manages to work full time as a training manager for a multinational corporation. And, while she effortlessly (or so it seems) transitions between the role of mommy, devoted wife to a husband who’s just completed his MBA, and corporate high flyer, Lisa is also a very talented media designer.
And the thing that these hard working, intelligent, ethical, strong and determined women have in common is that they’re all madly in love, obsessed even, with their little children. And, when they climb into their cars at the end of the day and slip off their Nine Wests, they seamlessly slip out of their roles of women to be reckoned with into the much more demanding role of Mommy. And it is these women who, on the eve of Women’s Day, I want to salute for being the backbone of, not only society, but of our economy too. Their strength and hard work is laudable and the love they have for their babies, faultless.