Tag: social enterprise

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. 

Turning into my mother, fixing a toilet at 3am, and the perils of flexible work

I think I'm turning into my mother.

Now, I should clarify I like my mother. A lot. There are great many characteristics of hers that I should like to emulate. Her sleeping habits are not one of them.

When I was a teenager my mum could never seem to sleep an entire night. She would wake anywhere between 2am and 4am and look at the ceiling for hours. I couldn't understand it. She was tired... nay, she was exhausted. She worked for both love, caring for 4 children, and money, in a job she enjoyed. I considered her sleeping issues ridiculous. And perhaps evidence of a character flaw.

I've changed my mind.

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Sore boobs, the smell of wet sheep and a Happy New Year!

It's 2019. Already. We're so excited to be back in the kitchen for 2019, cooking for you.

I love the Christmas and New Year period. But on reflection through January, I do feel that there are some things I will do differently this year...

Seems every year, on Christmas Eve
That all good sense just ups and leaves
Although I swore we never would
We joined that martyred parent-hood

Of those who stay up far too late
Constructing toys with long debate
Why do we always feel the squeeze
To get things done by Christmas Eve?

I meant to get the carpets clean
During the year, but time was lean
On eve of Christmas. Hip hooray!
"Last chance," I thought, "Today's the day!"

A man arrived, a friendly chap
Took out his hose, hooked up the tap
And in a jiffy he had steamed
The carpets new - they simply gleamed!

"In time for Christmas!" it's bewitchin'
Our furniture piled in the kitchen
I hadn't quite considered yet
The Christmas prep. With wet car-pet.

How does one get a pudding cooked,
While climbing over case of books?
The gifts placed under tree, it's true
Just soak up lots of floor shampoo!

Come faithful ye, glad tidings keep
Our house now smelled of wetted sheep
And yet with Santa in the sky
We'd more to do, with Christmas nigh.

'Twas VERY late on Christmas Eve
We built the kids a trampoline
After searching all the things
We chose the one without the springs

The one that's tricky to erect
Even with strong arms, I quite suspect
But full of hope, the prize in sight
We headed out into the night.

Now let me tell you, let me say
Those tramps are hard in light of day
But I assure you, my words mark
They're even harder in the dark!

We toiled and laboured, watched YouTube
One spring sprung free and whacked my boob
It wasn't really all that fun - 
At last we got the bugger done.

We paused, each to congratulate
By now, it was so very late;
But one small flaw, there was no doubt
The net, it seemed, was inside out.

The juniors, tucked in bed, none heard
I said a lot of naughty words
And so instead of rest and play
We built again on Boxing Day.

From us, we wish you all good cheer
Can't wait to serve you this new year
For me, the break has taught me this
Start sooner on the Christmas list.

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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I am a professional...

Blueberry bagels in the foreground with a child's hand stealing blueberries off the plate

I generally consider myself to be a professional. It's true, that reasonably often this means I need to take a junior recipe tester assistant with me to business meetings. But I always try to maintain a professional, um... air. I brush my hair and my teeth. I dress appropriately. 

I don't go to meetings in my pyjamas.

Well, hardly ever.

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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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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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