I am a woman. I am a woman in a female-dominated industry. I am a woman who supports other women in my female-dominated industry. I am a woman raising a young girl who I hope, one day, will enter this same female-dominated industry. I am a woman, who alongside all other women, has gone through an unusually challenging year both as an entrepreneur and mother, and I feel like this year has transformed us all into superwomen.
If you’re reading this, and you can agree with even one statement written above, give yourself a pat on the back. Give yourself a standing ovation. Heck, give yourself an appointment at a spa for a relaxing massage, followed by a mani/pedi. We’ve been through a lot.
As an entrepreneur, if you’re in my shoes, you had to change your entire business model and operations. You had to PIVOT (yes, we all shudder at this word now) to incorporating an online revenue stream, service your client base without touching or seeing them, bring your knowledge-base online in the form of online courses, or somehow hang on without being able to make any changes to your business because it just doesn’t work that way. You’ve had to protect your baby (because your business is your baby, created from your own blood, sweat and tears) from being eaten away from a dwindling economy. You’ve had to watch your business savings wither away with a lack of traffic and revenue that you’ve depended on for however long you’ve been in business for. We’re all about supporting local, but there’s only so much support one can expect when it’s not “business as usual.” To say this year has been challenging is a gross understatement, and it’s not quite over yet. But we’re still standing.
If you’re a mother, you had to put on a totally different pair of shoes and become a daycare provider, or teacher all while holding down a job that doesn’t fare well with screaming kids in the background. You had to remember long division, grammatical rules that you hadn’t thought of in eons, had to make a pulley system with your kid and help them understand how it works. You did art projects and had gym class outside in the snow. You made breakfast, lunch and dinner every. damn. day. If you’re a single mom? Well, you did that with no assistance from your significant other, and you deserve a medal… or some financial reward of some kind. On top of all of this, you’ve had to consider the physical and mental wellbeing of the people in your care (partner, kids, potentially parents, and yes — yourself), and protecting them from all of the effects of this pandemic. But we’re still standing.
If you’re not a mother, one may think you’ve had it a bit easier — but I doubt that. Engaged to be married? Hah. Good luck planning a wedding. Three backup dates, making sure all of your preferred vendors are available, and then making sure everyone’s covid cancellation policies work with your plans, altering your “big day” to be something different than what you’ve dreamt of your whole life… Because of a virus. Single and dating? Where can you go on a date when nothing’s open? Fending off feelings of loneliness when you live on your own, working from home and interacting with people via zoom calls, and trying not to eat your feelings is a struggle of a different kind. But we’re still standing.
Women are a creature of a different kind. We’re built to create life and nurture it. We can be strong and assertive, yet kind and compassionate. We chase our careers and accomplishments even with the odds stacked against us. We love hard, we solve problems like no other, and we challenge the status quo. We wear a million-and-one hats, juggle one too many plates, and we do it all without complaining. We are unique, we are complex, and we are fabulous. We are mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, best friends, therapists, sommeliers, shoulders to cry on. We get knocked down 6 and stand up 7. And that’s where we are now, we’re still standing.