I very often feel like a bit of an anachronism as a woman and finding my worth in a world where so much value is measured financially is a struggle.
From the outside I am very aware that others may look in and see me running a successful business and wonder what my problem is. But reality is never quite what it seems via a pretty website or social media is it? My business is successful in so far as it is not making a financial loss and provides a service to others that they value, it has helped me grow in ways I could never have imagined and has introduced me to people and ideas that I would not have otherwise encountered. It has been instrumental (and paid for) my gaining skills in photography, writing, cooking and food safety, digital technology and communication. To put a financial value on a skill is difficult though isn’t it?
My business makes nothing like enough money to be considered a reliable income that could help me feel independent, to be absolutely clear it is my husband’s income that provides for us as a family. While the children were small and while we moved from country to country as they grew up it was genuinely difficult for me to work and I was more comfortable with my supporting role in our family, but we’ve been back in the UK four years now and my youngest child is in her final year of school. To be utterly dependent upon somebody else financially feels alarming in a world in which woman are supposed to be equal, to be independent.
There are many women in the realm of digital creatives whom I find inspiring, entertaining and informative; I have learnt an enormous amount from many of them. I have also found myself in awe of them and comparing myself to them and their success (as perceived by me) negatively. And then I have to stop and remind myself that they are 20 years or more younger than me; they grew up in a different time with different skills. They are digital natives, early adopters and comfortable with sharing themselves online in a way that I still find challenging. Many of them do not yet have children, or they have little ones and while I still remember all too well the desperate fog of sleep deprivation and endless long hours of entertaining toddlers they also have access to childcare that I didn’t and haven’t yet encountered the challenges of parenting teenagers.
I am all too aware of my ‘privilege’ and am not writing this to elicit sympathy or advice, but simply because I have a sneaky feeling that I may not be the only one in this position or who feels this way. I think there may be others whose financial contribution to the household is small and who may also struggle with pinning down the value of everything else they contribute. These thoughts are not new I know but for those of us whose lives are lived in large part in supporting roles it can feel as though we’ve been left behind and simply aren’t doing our part in the fight for equality.
Or maybe it’s just me?