My story is probably a lot like many other Mums’.
I was married rather young (or at least young for today’s standards) and found myself at the age of 24 with 2 young kids and 20 years of parenting to look forward to.
I’ll happily admit right now that I wasn’t phased at all. At that point in my life I felt like I was grown up, I was completely convinced that I’d found my calling in life as a Mother and a Wife, and that I would be happily occupied for the rest of my life helping these two amazing creatures grow into themselves.
I’m sure there are many young feminists reading this who are finding it difficult to not snort themselves into a feint right now, but it’s important to remember that over three decades ago the world was a rather different place and that the values and expectations that were put on women were rather different. I’d grown up in the 60s and had been the product of a happy marriage, the kind that many young forward thinking women of today might find completely repulsive.
My Father worked in a door factory for the entirety of his life: long days, nights, weekends. He devoted his life to crafting fine walnut doors, working tirelessly for the betterment of our family and, as a result, my Mother worked even harder to make sure that he got all the rest, food and love that he needed. She baked, cleaned and swept us out of the house when he needed to rest – in short, she performed her wifely duties to the tee.
Unfortunately, she was rewarded for this by being widowed at the age of 53. Regardless of this, my childhood was well and truly idyllic, intimating that all I needed to do was find the right man to settle down with and I would be able to live a rich and fulfilling life.
6 years into raising my family I discovered that my husband had been having an affair whilst I was looking after our children. To say that my world was rocked would be an understatement. We divorced a few months later and suddenly my outlook on the world looked slightly different. At the age of 30 I was newly single, unemployed and staring down the barrel of 14 years of childcare with no get out plan.
Luckily, I discovered yoga at this point in my life, as well as a career path that would give me enough money to raise my kids and give me lasting fulfilment for the rest of my life. I’d been dragged to a networking event in Birmingham by one of my ‘best friends’ who had thought that we’d be able to meet some affluent single men (I’m sure those young feminists would have a field day with her) and there I got talking to a woman about starting a business that I could work around my schedule. All I needed, she said, was the right attitude and a commitment to well being.
She was right, but of course I also needed more than just that. In order to successfully set my business up I had to learn how business worked. In addition to gaining a handful of marketing qualifications, I also started working with a graphic design company to create a series of custom vinyl decals that I could use to brand my car, as well as merchandise which I sell to my students.
5 years later I was spearheading a yoga-based revolution that would go on to keep my kids fed and make me find a new purpose in life.