I was lucky enough to attend a Business Chicks breakfast the other day and their guest speaker was former Governor-General, Dame Quentin Bryce. What an inspiration for all of us? Not only was she the Australia’s first female Governor-General but he has also raised five children and in 1965 she became one of the first women to be admitted to the Queensland bar. Pretty inspirational wouldn’t you agree?
She did talk about dinner parties she used to hold at home and this was the expectation at the time of being a woman! She talked about the days of preparation leading up to these events with:
– a special blue liquid used to clean the crystal glasses (never knew that one!)
– hand cleaning of the cutlery
– perfect table setting
– …and then the food!
The food took ages and done from scratch. It was delicious food but the work getting this done, especially when you are also trying to raise young children , really seems quite unrealistic.
She talked about one day the tipping point and realization was when one of her guests sat there and pulled out some of the key nuts and ingredients out of her dish she has spent hours on and followed the recipe exactly. At that moment she realized, why am I trying to be a superwoman?!
This really resonated with me as a full time working mum with two young primary school kids. I can have it all but I don’t need to be a superwoman. I don’t have to get it right all the time and I don’t need to do everything. We need to give ourselves a break and BOOK in some quality, relaxation time for ourselves!
Dame Quentin Bryce, when asked about what advice she would give to working women today? She said that we should focus on ourselves as well and spend some time looking inside ourselves which will make us better people for others. Some simple things she enjoys like lying on the grass and looking up at the sky and just enjoying life, make so much sense.
When do we really stop and relax and just do nothing? I know I probably don’t do this enough. I always feel compelled to be completing or achieving something….I think that’s just how I am wired…but in today’s tech language, I probably need to ‘recharge’ and maybe even ‘reboot’ occasionally. Do you do this often enough?
Dame Quentin Bryce shared the advice that we should simply ‘schedule’ this ‘me time’ into our busy lives. Sounds simple but it is such great advice. This is something us busy working mums should be able to do as a matter of normal habit as we are masters of the schedule and the diary! Why don’t we schedule ‘me time’? We should invest that time in ourselves more often and in turn we will be happier, more energetic working mums, ready for the next challenge.
I challenge us all to book in that ‘me time’ today and yes, set the ‘reoccurrence’ button so we keep doing this and don’t feel guilty about it. It is actually a responsible thing to do for everyone!
Dame Quentin Bryce has now written a wonderful book that I would recommend you read or buy as a gift for a fellow working mum. It is called ‘Dear Quentin: Letters of a Governor-General’ and Royalties from the book will be donated to the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.