My mum was pretty concerned when I told her I was being made redundant but I brushed her worries aside, it was a week before Christmas and that was a New Years problem. Plus I secretly believed I’d be fine! I have unique skills, amazing experience and passion to boot- what employer WOULDN’T want to snap me up? I was so confident that when I filled in my childcare rebate form I said I’d only be job seeking until March…
I don’t really need to tell you how that panned out do I? Spoiler: not well in case you’re new here.
Mum clearly saw something I didn’t. Calls went unreturned. Applications bounced back with a politely worded but automated ‘thanks but no thanks’, while some potential employers just never bothered acknowledging my application at all. It’s a demoralising process even for a seasoned veteran like me.
Anyone who knows me will vouch that I am not a wallower. I get sad (or mad) and then get doing. So it didn’t take many calls to recruiters responding ‘we really need a FULL time candidate for this role’ before I figured if the unicorn role wasn’t out there I’d just create it.
Mum’s lips were pursed as I mentioned over a coffee catch up that I was considering starting my own business.
I reflected on what her thoughts were later; Did she think I should just take a significantly more junior role for stability? Was she judging me for not putting my family first? Didn’t she think I could do it? Was she worried that like my doggedly determined dad (who owned his own business prior to retiring) that I’d exhaust myself under the pressure of striving for success?
We never really spoke about it again in detail. I just got on with stuff; building a website, creating some content, building my network- all the basics I knew I had to tick off the list. I didn’t raise it with her again as I suppose I was worried she could see something I couldn’t and I kind of needed my blind ignorance to keep going.
Then I created my Facebook business page and invited her to follow it. And for the first time my work, and a new and huge part of who I am, was visible to mum.
She first commented that she liked my website; the colours and the feel. ‘Phew’ I thought.
Then I started my blog and we started talking more about work and life stuff.
When I wrote the ‘Little Miss Chatterbox’ post mum was interstate and she messaged me the kindest message;
Not going to lie, I teared up reading it. Mum and I have always been close, we even rocked Thailand together a decade ago, but we’ve never been super demonstrative. I mean I know she loves me and is proud of what I achieved but we don’t say that stuff out loud.
Now when I see mum she asks me lots of stuff about the business or about the blog posts I’ve written or content I've created. The other day she asked if I created the graphic I shared. ‘Yep’ I said. ‘All the words?’ she asked, ‘Mmmhmm’ I replied. ‘But what about the layout? It’s so… professional looking!’. ‘Thanks’ I laughed before I enlightened her on the wizardry of Canva.
Mum and dad headed off on a big 4-month caravanning journey last week. It was a particularly sad goodbye given the current situation and because I rely on mum and dad a lot for support and guidance, especially with The Wee Man.
Mum messaged me as they drove off and it’s a message I’ll treasure forever;
So here’s the unexpected upside I discovered from starting my business. Sharing your genuine passion and being your authentic self can build so many connections and open so many doors- I just never realised it would open one so close to home.
So to my mum (who I know will read this and who is currently driving back to Queensland just 4 days into their grand adventure after all the state lock-downs), thanks for always being in my corner. You have always stood by silently cheering me on, but your recent words have meant more to me than I can express. In time of incredible doubt and frustration, you have helped me to believe that I’ve got this and have something of value to share. Love you x