Tag: family wellbeing

Boys are born competent. Girls have to prove they are

"Boys are born competent. Girls have to prove they are," someone once said to me. I was horrified. Surely that wasn't true?

Last week I attended the junior recipe testers' swimming carnival. I helped with timekeeping, which was both fun and nerve-wracking in equal measure. My juniors swam in their age races, I got to watch and cheer from close quarters, and while neither are currently showing promise as the next Australian champion, they both did well.

My daughter did very well in her age group, recording one of the fastest freestyle times for her age, and the fastest for her house. This qualified her for the 4 x 50m relay. My son also qualified, although not as far up the list as his sister.

When the relays were called up her name was top of the list. She looked panic stricken. "I don't want to go in a relay!" she implored.

At that moment I couldn't have known the what would follow. Over the following few hours she and I would span the emotional rainbow: tears, tantrums, shouting and sobbing. Eventually it came out: she was worried she wasn't good enough and would let the team down.

My son swam for his team without a second thought.

My heart broke. Her anguish was palpable and there was nothing I could say to either change her mind or convince her of her value to her team.

My blood boiled. Why do we live in a world where competent, very young women question their competence, in a way that our very young men do not? As a mother, what was I doing wrong?

"Am I good enough?" is asked by many women: the young and the not-so-young. For the first two years of Dinner on the Table's existence I felt physically ill every time I went into the kitchen. There. I've said it. Out loud.

I am privileged, I am educated and I am accomplished. And for 730 days I was hamstrung by a fear that I wasn't good enough, that I was a phoney, that one day I'd be found out for a fraud. No one told me I was hopeless, as far as I can recall. That was my conclusion. I'm not proud of it, but there you have it.

"Am I good enough?" is one thing. "Are you good enough?" is a different question entirely.

Women with disabilities may routinely be told they are incompetent: they will never hold down a job, could never care for a child, never hope to have a relationship with someone who cares about them deeply. There's no expectation they'll do the things their non-disabled sisters will do.

Women who care for a child with a disability may be told their child is worthless. The competence of mothers like Natalie may be challenged because she loved, and cared for her child. The cruel argument generally goes something like, "What sane woman could love a child like that?"

When Amanda found out she was pregnant with twins I sat with her and helped her understand her ultrasound report. She allowed me to walk with her during her journey from woman to mother. I watched her make difficult, sometimes painful, decisions in the best interests of her unborn children.

Amanda, who has a moderate intellectual disability, is a success story. Told she was incompetent for much of her life, a key few people believed in her when her babies were born. Amanda surrounded herself with people who recognised and supported her ability to mother her children. And they rolled up their sleeves and helped her do just that.

The voices of women like Amanda and Natalie are seldom heard. These women must daily prove their competence in the face of others who assume their incompetence. Those questions may be less an internal demon, and more an external threat.

I continued cooking because I was convinced that we can change the daily lives of vulnerable women, and their families, by understanding their experiences, and supporting them differently.

I remain convinced. 

Sourcing local honey for you

Sustainability, and sourcing locally grown produce is important to us.

At Thomas Holt Drive, where our dinner cart is located, our partners, AMP Capital, have bee hives, along with trained staff to maintain them, keep the bees happy, and to collect the honey. They were delighted to give us some of their honey to cook your dinner, or cater for your events in Sydney.

And so this week we're excited to bring you two delicious offerings: our much adored Teriyaki Chicken, and Apple and Cinnamon Muffins made with honey sourced from our second site at Thomas Holt Drive. Local honey indeed, from hives just 15km down the road.

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Work-life balance is a myth

Work-life balance is a furphy.

There. I've said it. Out loud.

Sorry to burst your bubble. Or perhaps you made that discovery ages ago (and if you did, why didn't you tell me?)

I don't think that's the end of the story though. While it might not be balance, it just might be something else...

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Our packaging war on waste

Sheep looking down at camera

Like many of you, after the ABC's #waronwaste campaign and TV show we were horrified. We thought we knew something about responsible disposal of rubbish, but the problems that rubbish is causing were far worse than we imagined. And so we started thinking...

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The over-sharing and the ridiculous...

Legs of a woman in a white skirt, holding a basket of flowers

I assume it's not just me, others too, find themselves in this situation. But there are times in life when you are forced into the most ridiculous conversations. Living with one or more  junior recipe testers under the age of five will mean this is a daily occurrence. But it is made even more problematic when you are forced to have a ridiculous conversation in a very public place.

Now, I realise, I am at high risk of over-sharing here. So if you are prone to embarrassment, please do avert your eyes.

I recently had need to visit the GP....

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School holidays and climbing the roof (but not the walls!)

A red and a blue door of adjacent terrace housesSchool holidays are, for me, a break in routine and a chance just to hang out. They're also a time to climb on the roof. I should point out that I didn't include that on my original school holiday plan...

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We've launched our own #waronwaste

Pumpkin

We buy veggies for your dinners from a local vegetable farm. When I first went to the farm to talk to the farmer about this arrangement we gazed out across his fields. "Well," he said to me, "You'll have to give me a couple of days notice of your order."

"Ok," I replied.

"So I can pick 'em."

When the veggies get to our kitchen they have often just been plucked from the ground. We need to wash them, then we trim them, before we chop them up for you. They don't come in plastic bags, they're rarely neatly cubed, and they never have a 'washed and ready for use' sticker on the pack...

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Last minute orders are here... for when you're begging for mercy!

Black and white image of children's hands on a table top

Recently, I had one of those days. Not the good one. I had a bit to get through, so I made a list. Lists are good. They keep you on track. And there's that sense of great personal fulfillment when you tick something off.

My big problem is, I lose little pieces of paper on which I write lists. But I will not be deterred. I now write them on my phone. And then they do not get lost. Very often...

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Confident in my capability... Challenged when proving it

Image of a sunset across a paddock

I blame it on the time. Actually, I blame it on the time of day. And the lack of sleep. And the fact that I felt a little fraught at the time.

I am not generally inept at public transport. I do not usually have difficulty discerning sign boards and timetables. A very long time ago I lived in East Africa, and managed to negotiate the public transport system there. On one notable occasion I shared my seat with a live chicken, while a panic stricken goat was hoisted past my window and onto the roof of the bus. When it comes to transportation, I have runs on the board.

I was, on those occasions, travelling alone...

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I could use your vote... AusMumpreneur Awards

Vote for me button AusMumpreneur Awards

I am honoured to be nominated for an AusMumpreneur Business Award in the Making a Difference (Business) category.  This is a people's choice award... which means I could really use your vote.

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