Motherhood. It is a definitive new chapter in every woman’s life. It feels like you draw a line and start anew. It is scary, it is overwhelming and… it feels like you are starting life from scratch, learning a new way of living, growing slowly, stumbling, asking questions without the hope of receiving an answer, building a life without guarantees but a large dose of faith, trust in the unknown and hope.
For me motherhood is a blessing, but also the greatest challenge I’ve been through. Motherhood challenged my principles first, then it challenged me outside of my comfort zone (oh so many times). Motherhood challenged my relationship with my partner, who I thought I knew well. It challenged everything I’ve said or thought of parenthood. But most of all motherhood challenged the relationship I had with myself. I was surprised to discover parts of me I wasn’t even aware existed in me. Wait a minute, who is that new person? It suddenly became essential that I get to know myself really well again and re-build that idea of who I was, but in a new and better way than before.
The hardest part was to accept and start loving the person I’ve transformed into. And the next hard thing was, and still is, to accept that I don’t accept to be defined by motherhood only.
In a few days we are celebrating Mother’s Day, but as a feminist, a former Sex and The City Fan and a mumpreneur, I believe that every day is mother’s day. The question is what do we, mums, make out of it? Daily? For ourselves? What rituals do we create daily for ourselves honouring the original person who lives undercover for most of her life, under layers and layers of traditional roles defined by society? Who is the person behind the wife, the mum, the parent, the friend, the mentor? How do you get to see her, to get to know her, to live close to her?
Looking constantly for answers I have interviewed many women and mumpreneurs in the past 10 years. Today I’ve chosen some quotes that I thought might help you find that original Iconic Woman you were born to be and claim your own crown:
What is the hardest part of being a mum today?
Dessy: For me the hardest part of modern parenthood is that we drown in information, theories, recommendations, guidance and diagnoses. Just look at the latest research from a few years ago when everyone was saying how important is to keep our children busy and active. All physiological and psychological theories kept encouraging us parents to keep children busy with learning and sports. Today there is a new theory, that we have to leave them to feel bored in order to encourage their creativity. I wonder which theory is the right one…
My feeling is that parents themselves turn into confused children who are not sure what direction to take. I know parents who have raised two, three children and even they start doubting their decisions after reading most of the things published out today. This abundance of information sometimes creates some wrong ideas.
Do you believe women can have it all?
Jenny Ison: I think that women often assume that other women they know or read about do have it all. However, when you talk to any of these women you realize that we are all running and juggling and compromising – nothing is as easy as it looks from the outside.
Lucy Choi: I do think it is harder as a woman to have it all. We are the ones who have to adapt and change, trying to juggle so many different things, being a good mother, a good partner, and being successful at work at the same time. There’s such a mix of emotions, and contrasts between being a mummy and being a businesswoman, you almost have to be two people at once! I faced one of the biggest challenges of my career when I launched my label in 2012 and gave birth to my first child around the same time, and then I opened my flagship store in August 2015 and gave birth to my second son just five months later! I never do anything by halves, and really do believe in just going for things and never looking back. I know many other women have had to do the same if they’ve wanted to climb up the career ladder and have a family at the same time.
On how we are influenced by our mothers’ sense of style
Tsitaliya: It’s just in the last few years that I started realizing how much I am influenced by my mother’s style. I don’t mean in a literal way, but rather making references to her way of serving coffee and pancakes on weekends, her way of playing with her hair whilst she reading in the garden, her straw hat and oversized sunglasses, head tilted on one side with a curious look. I remember her wearing cigar trousers and a striped top with her espadrilles with a pop of colour. Her hair put up in a small bun. My mom had a very subtle and innate sense of chic and elegance, her grace and feminine but whimsical style was very much celebrated by her friends who came over to drink cognac and look through fashion magazines, then cut out pictures and take them to the tailor to create their own dress or trousers.
I’ve been thinking about the way our mothers affect our whole life; our attitude and the way we appear, because I can clearly see that my daughter is affected by every little detail that happens in her life right now and she sometimes looks at me with such a deep and understanding look that I can feel it is all imprinted in her mind forever.
The hardest part about being a mumpreneur?
Andreea: Giving up me-time to deal with family and business. No matter what I do with my family or for my business, I try to always leave some time for just being myself; to enjoy reading a book while having a cup of tea, to watch a movie in the evening with my friends, or just to sleep longer one day. I think about these as a luxury now, but I still do them most of the time, but maybe not as much as I wish.
When Happy Ending means more than falling in love, getting married and becoming a mum
Eveline Bermudez: “What was the problem? I was happily married. I had two beautiful children and was working part time at the University.” She had to ask herself the big question: What do I want as an individual? What are my values? What drives me?
Michelle Dempsey: I grew up with the notion that after a baby, you were supposed to lose your sex appeal; hate your new body, dress to cover it up, and mope around Target like a frumpy woman desperately missing her youth…But then I held my daughter in my arms for the first time, stared in awe at her precious newborn face, and realized that my life was just beginning, and I was reborn as well.