I’m a feminist.
I’m a working mum, determined to break into the “Boy’s Club” that has historically been the trend in educational leadership. I grew up in a school that was dominated by female teachers yet male leaders. When I started teaching, I set myself a goal to break that long standing tradition.
My first principal as a graduate teacher, was a female. Not just any female. An inspirational, break down the barriers, girl power female. Full of class. Quiet and diplomatic. Yet strong, brave and working hard to eradicate the long standing male principal mould. And a superb role model for this young, determined working mum, bent on showing her daughter that, as a woman and as a mum (no matter your age), you can have it all.
After seven years of classroom teaching, from snotty nosed 5 years olds, all the way up to stinky, pre pubescent Year 6 kids, my last two years have been spent out of the classroom in leadership contracts. And I now find myself in a situation where I can apply for the longer term contract of my current role as Assistant Principal.
Yep, I made it. The feminist inside me is proud, excited and determined. And you know what…..
I’m not going to apply.
It’s important to me to break those moulds. It’s important to me to demolish those stereotypes. It’s important to me to reach the goals that I set for myself as a graduate teacher.
Just not right now.
Trust me, I have struggled with this decision. I'm sure my husband, mum, sister and friends are all very OVER the discussion that I have had over and over and over again. I think my friend is actually avoiding my calls at the moment. I’m sure she sees my number pop up and, as she doesn’t have a spare two hours to listen to me go back and forth, “Should I? Shouldn’t I?”, stuffs the phone under the lounge cushion and pretends not to hear it!
I have struggled because, my determination says otherwise. It tells me that as a woman, I can squash that stereotype. I can work full time, and I can work full time in whatever job I want. It tells me that being a mum doesn’t have to mean that I give up my own aspirations and beliefs about equality and women in leadership.
It tells me that I am allowed to want it all.
But here’s my dilemma……
I have realised, that at this point in my life, I don’t.
I can’t be the mum I want to be and the leader I want to be, all at the same time. I can’t be there for my daughter. My poor daughter who is about to enter High School (Urgh, remember those years) and needs a mum who doesn’t have to juggle big commitments at school with her well being. I can’t be there for my son who…..well, who knows where that one will go! He is 6. 6, quirky and an amazing little individual, who needs a mum that is available for whatever life throws at him.
I really have enjoyed this job. I would like it again down the track, if that’s what life has in store. I am learning so much as a leader, an educator, a parent and a colleague.
But this time in my life, these kids, this age won’t come again.
I will still teach, I will still get to love my job. I will still get to enrich little minds and get fulfillment from teaching. My alternative is a pretty good one.
I am still the same 'break through the glass ceiling' feminist I have always been. I still think I can have it all.
I just get to choose when.
I have just read a very interesting, yet backward article in the Australian Financial Review by past politician, Mark Latham. I am not a usual peruser of the AFR, (You're shocked, I know!) This article however, has crossed my path a few times in the last few days and I decided that it was time that I had a read.
Have a read yourself…...and tell me what you think.
I know, I know. I am a very low key, nobody blogger, whose words will have little or no impact. But I just couldn’t let this one go. I don’t have the audience Mark Latham does, but I tell you what. If I did, I would be a lot more respectful of a woman who has been through what Rosie Batty has been through. A woman who is using her grief and tragic circumstances to try and ensure that what happened to her does not happen to anyone else.
I read on, getting slightly frustrated with the tone of the article. And then I reached this line…….
“There was a time, in the dignity of working class life, when grieving was conducted in private. In the 1960s, nobody tried to enlist the parents of Adelaide's missing Beaumont children as celebrity speakers.”
And my frustration turned to red hot fury.
Yes! Let’s live in the 60’s where we grieve in private so as not to disturb our working class neighbours with our dirty laundry. Let’s not share our stories in order to help those around us. Let’s sit quietly and darn socks while we are at it!
I support Rosie Batty. I support Rosie Batty, the victim and I support Rosie Batty, the public speaker.
I don’t know Rosie Batty, have never met her in my life. I have seen what everyone else has seen.
I have seen the woman whose boy was taken from her by the man who was supposed to be the one to protect both her and her son. I have seen the woman who has spoken so bravely to raise awareness regarding family violence. If Rosie’s public grief means that just one woman in Rosie’s past situation has the bravery to walk away and get help then I am happy to listen.
We are not living in the 60’s and we are trying desperately to break down the barriers that were so strong in that era. We want women and men to talk about family violence. We want people to seek help for what were once ‘private’ issues, be it violence, depression, mental health...the list goes on.
“Men are also blurting out intimate accounts of life-disasters.”
God forbid! Men are talking…..about their problems! We want men to talk openly about their issues, not hide behind 1960’s style macho walls.
At no point would I ever consider talking publicly about your grief, issues or problems, a lack of “dignity.”
Bravery, courage and strength….those are the words that I would associate with Rosie Batty….and any other victim who is strong enough to stand beside her.
We’re having one of those nights
I’m about to lose my……..mind. I have heard every whinge, whine, cry and sook known to man and I am about to lose it.
So what do I do?
Share it with you!
Do you ever have those days when you get to 5:30 at night and you are suddenly contemplating sneaking the clock off the wall, moving time forward an hour or two so that you can send them to bed…...now?
I have counted to three about ten times. We have sat on the time out step. We have threatened with bed, no play dates, no ipads...the list goes on.
Bathtime was painful. Dinner was a nightmare. Bedtime is…...still going. We've had Mummy lay down, Daddy lay down, a drink, quiet music, a banana, a drink, the fan on, the fan off, a drink…...for Mummy.
I love my children and I know you love yours, but please, next time you are having a night like mine and you are about to scream (or lock yourself in the bathroom…..not that I do that, just saying), know that you are NOT stuffing up this whole parenting debacle and that your children are completely normal….or as completely normal as mine are anyway!
"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlights reel"