NEWS - Could the Alchemy VA way become the new normal, the ‘new world’ family dynamic?
Posted on 22nd June 2020 at 11:51
Equality, it’s not a marketing buzz word or a flash in the pan phase. It’s a real movement and it’s something that impacts each and every one of us in so many ways.
What is equality?
Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents.
I’ve seen a few articles in recent weeks regarding gender equality. A topic that I wanted to sensitively and compassionately attempt to address today.
We do not live in an equal world by any stretch of the imagination. Unnecessary and incomprehensible injustice and suffering is happening everywhere and we’ve seen the rawness and impact of this most recently in the powerful Black Lives Matter movement.
But I do not feel I’m educated or experienced enough to talk about racial equality today. I’m aware of my privilege and I’m continually educating myself. But gender equality, is something I’m a little more confident in talking about.
An article that moved me recently was in The Guardian, who reported that the UN has warned that the Coronavirus pandemic exacerbates inequalities for women.
"UK society regressing back to 1950s for many women, warn experts. Inequality has worsened during lockdown, says study"
With many women (around 72%) being ‘forced’ to be the ‘default parent’ while 67% of women with work commitments feel the same.
That’s an awful lot of women who are expected to do it all alone...
I feel I am in the minority here and this is certainly not a pop at our male counterparts. Far from it.
I’ve always taken a gently rebellious approach to life. I set my own standards and rules underlined by my values - integrity and fairness always being the driving force. My husband Paul shares the same outlook.
I have many labels, several hats to wear. Most importantly to me - I am a wife and mother. I am also incredibly fortunate and proud to have a virtual assistant business to nurture. My family always come first but I wouldn’t be able to do any of these roles justice without the unconditional love and support of my husband Paul.
I personally feel that our generation of women are collectively experiencing gender equality ‘growing pains’. Little over 100 years ago as women we didn’t have a voice, we weren’t able to vote. We were allowed anywhere near the board room, let alone a seat at the table.
Previous generations of women fought courageously to give us a voice, the opportunity. Focused on and driven by the promise of a more equal world. The following generations carried that torch, honoured this fight and drove further change. We could have successful careers and other commitments outside of the traditional care giver role.
Women were started to be welcomed into the boardroom.
Now, as I see it, our generation are stuck in the beautiful paradox of years of courageous battle. We can have it all. If there’s no seat at the table for us, we’re empowered and fortunate enough to build our own table. It’s a place of great privilege.
Yet, we’re still expected to do it all immaculately.
We haven’t yet found balance and it feels so damn difficult because in our own ways we’re collectively navigating generations of expectations, feeling the weight of a society (that in my opinion has been built by and for rich, powerful men) as well as maintaining the standards and commitments we make for ourselves.
We can have it all but it’s suffocating!
Not due to anything we’ve done or not done. The way I see it, the world just hasn’t caught up yet and we feel the weight and pressure in our everyday lives.
My son is my why.
He’s the reason I started my Virtual Assistant business. I so desperatly wanted more flexibility, freedom and fulfilment from my career. I wanted a better work life blend. I want to teach him that you can achieve anything if you dig deep, rally your troops and jump 'all in'.
The past few years starting and growing my Virtual Assistant business have been the most challenging and rewarding years of my life.
One thing that this pandemic has taught me is that our family dynamic is strong and our responsibilities are closer to equal than most. If my husband was not my business partner, my Virtual Assistant business wouldn’t have been able to survive this pandemic.
Not because our clients dried up or we weren’t able to trade. Far from it, we’re a robust, established and sustainable online business and we’ve been busier than ever in recent weeks.
Alchemy Virtual Assistance would have failed because my family comes first and
I simply couldn’t have maintained nurturing my family, home, clients and businesses all alone.
If Paul was still in his rigid 9-5 job, he couldn’t have stepped in to help care for our son, prepare home cooked meals for us, to wash our clothes, home school, read bedtime stories and continue to support our clients and business.
We’ve been frantically tag teaming it for the last how ever many weeks as a complete and equal team.
Our responsibilities are shared equally.
There are no ‘blue’ or ‘pink’ jobs. Putting the bins out is a job for anyone who is able to do it.
When the world descended into chaos, like many, the Sanders family pulled together and did what we needed to do. For our family and for our livelihood.
One thing that was apparent was that our brave decisions and relentless graft in the preceding years enabled us to find an equal, effective balance for both our family and business.
A recent example, Paul graciously dropped into solo parenting for days on end whilst I finished my first book: The Alchemy of Virtual Assistance. To some extent it was an unspoken decision, one that happened naturally. We both understood that our collective efforts were for the greater good. Whilst I was purposefully writing and editing, my increasing mum guilt was squashed as I had our home office window open and I could hear Paul and Rex in the garden building a bug hotel.
In those days I realised that as individuals, Paul and I had an equal opportunity to make the most of our lives and talents.
Once my book was completed, we found a new balanced rhythm that allowed us both to meet our commitments to our family, business and ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s been tough. Relentless. Exhausting. Emotional. There’s been days where I’ve broken down and sobbed under the sheer gravitas of the situation we all find ourselves in and closer to home, I certainly feel the weight of responsibility that I have for my family and business.
We all need balance. Each person and day is different. There’s certainly no right or wrong. All we can ever do is what we think is best.
I’m incredibly proud that my little boy is growing up in an equal, accepting, supportive and entrepreneurial household. That Paul and I share the same balanced outlook. Like any parent, fostering an enriching, safe and nurturing environment for our children is the most important thing on our agendas.
We are just one family, doing what we need to do in our own little way. But the hairs on my arm have pricked up as I’ve thought to myself recently - Could the Alchemy VA way become the new normal, the ‘new world’ family dynamic?
Working from home, flexibly - focused on a fair and equal balance. Outputs and happiness over productivity and profit. Wellbeing over working hours.
When my small boy is older, perhaps he will take a different view...
We can have it all but we aren’t expected to do it all alone.
If you'd like to read more about my journey building my Virtual Assistant business and learn about how you can best go about creating your own, take a look at my book: The Alchemy of Virtual Assistance.
To learn more about our award winning Virtual Assistant services or Virtual Assistant franchise oppourtunities, please get in touch.
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