As I was reading this shocking article about the rate of sexual abuse in the Afghan I am reminded again how fortunate I feel that my daughter wasn’t born in a country where women can’t feel safe at their workplace.
We are benefiting from the privileges gained for us by the previous generations of women ahead of us and I am reminded every day that we, the western women, have a social duty to fight for the human rights of women from across the world. Current country borders were created by mainly men, after some bloody wars, in an attempt to mark their territory in the same way male lions do it in the savannah.
Women and mothers solidarity should go beyond borders, just like the ‘medicins sans frontier’.
BBC News – The sex scandal at the heart of the Afghan government
It started as a wild dream five years ago, but it is now a reality.
The book created due to the generosity of many mothers from across the world who shared their life story with me is now available to be ordered via amazon
Thank you to everyone who believed in the power of mothers as leaders and supported me on the way.
BBC News – Ethiopian woman gives birth and sits exams 30 minutes later
A fascinating story about a mother in Ethiopia and her drive to get an education no matter what.
Today we are celebrating Mother’s Day in The Netherlands. If you are a mother with small children like me, you will be surprised with little crafted gifts with many red hearts and sweet little poems. We take pictures of these moments and we might even print them for the album, for later. They form our memories.
The reality is that life with our children is full of opportunities for such moments of connection. You just need to stop, pause, notice it and fully enjoy it. Unfortunately, in my case, what happens is that I am in too much rush to bring them places and to pick them up. I simply miss those pure, ordinary, but memorable moments.
One of those moments happened this last Friday. I was supposed to drive my daughter to her dancing lesson. My son was still upstairs taking his afternoon nap. I rushed downstairs asking her to dress quickly but I noticed she was trying to tell me something, she was delaying.
I was worried that I had to drag Thomas out of bed, despite being still tired and that Kara will be late. I became agitated and impatient. That didn’t help, of course. In the middle of the meltdown. I stopped, looked at the clock and I realised that we will be late. I had a choice. I could be late and in the process make everyone, including me, unhappy or I could re-evaluate and go with the moment. It is very rare for me not to stick with my plan, but I did it. My son slept and I went upstairs with my daughter. She was keen to show me the new book she started to read. I invited her to read to me, while I was relaxing in her bed. I have not felt so peaceful and happy in a long time. And that was only because I was willing to listen.
This week I turned 40 and I realized that life is full of ‘boring’, ordinary moments with my loved ones. These are the best moments and these are the ones you miss, when your dear ones will no longer be around.
From time to time you can live your dream, you just need to open your senses and take it all in.
Today is International Women Day, we celebrate women’s courage and beauty. We congratulate each other on our achievements and progress against discrimination and but, how was this day chosen?
On 8 March 1908 a New York textile factory caught on fire with the owner trapping his female workers inside to prevent them from striking with other factory workers. 129 workers died in the fire. The colors of the fabric they were working on were chosen as the symbol of the international women’s rights movement. Since 1908 women got voting rights in most countries, but unfortunately there are still textile factories in Bangladesh where women are trapped in unsafe buildings. The sad thing is that they are making clothes for women in the other part of the world who celebrate International Women Day by wearing pretty dresses. The gender equality can’t be achieved as long as we raise our girls to become princesses with lady manners.
The progress is only real when the day-to-day language bias towards girls and women has changed. ‘Determined girls are not bossy, they have leadership skills’.
On March 8th, 2019, Catalyst developed an app for correcting language bias, Try it out and see if your language needs to be corrected: https://www.catalyst.org/biascorrect/
Last week, it was my son’s first week at school. I waved goodbye hoping he will cry asking me to stay longer, but he didn’t. He was ready for it and actually looking forward to it with excitement.
I, on the other hand, wasn’t ready to let go. I was afraid because my little baby boy entered into the big world of schedules and societal expectations.
For the past 4 years, every time I was awake at night because of him I would comfort myself with the thought that he will grow up eventually. What I forgot was that when he grows up, he will also move on from the baby cuddles to the ‘I am a big boy now, mummy’ phase.
‘Steliana, letting go is letting come’ someone in my coaching class told me earlier this year. I read about Otto Sharmer’s theory U and ‘Presencing’ but I guess I didn’t really understand it until this last week. As adults we find it difficult to let go of the old self and that stops us to see the new opportunities around the corner. This time the scary thing was the idea of me suddenly becoming a mother of two school-age kids instead of a mother of toddlers. Some other times it is about letting go the old ways of doing things at my job or letting go a certain status. This week I learned an important lesson from my four-year old son who just moved on to the next phase of his life without complaints and drama.
I am recounting the memories of a year with a lot of ups and downs. Perhaps some of you had the same because that’s what life is: unpredictable and surprising.
Life is what happens to you, while you are busy making other plans. (J.Lennon)
I was really looking forward to our week in south France but I was suspicious of the word ‘glamping’. I changed my perception when I arrived at ‘La Douce France’.I loved the huge luxury tents and even more the delicious dinners in the ‘table d’hôte’ setting.
Their sudden death made me realize that life is short and if we don’t do anything about it we would continue with the same jobs and life until we become 50. We had a dream of living in a nice warm country, cooking for our guests and living much more outdoors. We couldn’t postpone it any longer.
In your adulthood you may be a bit selfish. You are in the peak of your life and you need to make decisions on how you want to spend it and what kind of life you want to offer your family. It is your time to make that decision. The children will grow and later in their life they will also make their own decisions on how to spend their life.
I love how in this HBR article, Anne Welsh McNulty addresses the hard truth that we, women and mothers, find difficult to face in the:
Quotes from Anne Welsh McNulty, HBR article:
‘sometimes senior women tend to distance themselves from junior women, often to be more accepted by their male peers’.
‘It’s easy to believe that there’s limited space for people who look like you at the top when you can see it with your own eyes.’
However, there are still many senior women who take their ‘mother-hen’ role seriously and know that the antidote to being penalized for sponsoring women is to do it more.
Enjoy reading this article, Steliana