I have been reflecting a lot this week on those women who have had a significant impact on my life, those who have inspired me, those who have raised me and those who support me on a day to day basis. So, it was only right to celebrate my inspirational women on International Womens Day.
Start at the beginning, my Family.
My mum raised me to be a strong independent girl. She assured me that I could do anything I wanted in life. She encouraged me to work hard at school, to go out and get a job as soon as I could for independence. I was given the freedom as a child to try anything I wanted and make my own decisions.
She was installing confidence and independence in me, maybe unconsciously for a reason, as she died when I was 16.
My strength and independence carried me through those difficult late teenage years. I persevered, got those A-levels and went off to university, striving for the best life.
My Sister and Niece
My sister is 21 years older than me and I saw her being independent and a survivor too. She went through a divorce with two young children in her late 20s. She got back on her feet for those children, provided and became an independent woman herself.
And then there is my niece, just 2 years younger than me. We grew up as sisters, bickering, playing for hours on the rec, playing snooker and darts. Later in teenage life I would defend her out in the pubs, making sure she was okay, always had Aunty Lynn to look out for her.
Emma has now just turned 40 and is a recruitment consultant in Bristol. Not just any consultant, she is the 2nd best in the company, working for one of the biggest recruitment companies in the country. She’s so good that she is currently on a free holiday in Thailand, the fruits of her incredible performance.
I have so many incredible women in my life that support me with life decisions, disasters, celebrations.
One who has literally been there for everything, always on the end of the phone or on a WhatsApp conversation is Becky. My soul sister. I can’t tell you how much I love her and how grateful I am for the support she’s given for my almost entire life.
We met aged 11, both starting secondary school together in the same form IH2. We did everything together, in my bedroom wall adorned with New Kids on the Block, Christian Slater and River Phoenix. In her bedroom listening to Madonna, she lived a stones throw from Long Rock beach and we lived there in the holidays.
She was there when my mum died and three years later when my dad died. We went out drinking cider every Saturday night and partied away at the Barn club. We went to radio one roadshows, Plymouth shopping trips, bowling, swimming, lived the best teenage life.
University meant that we went our separate ways, me to London, her to Lancaster but kept in touch as much as possible, even if we didn’t speak for 6 months when we saw each other again it was as if we had never parted.
We lived our lives with careers, marriages, , death, divorce, babies for me, then a happy marriage and babies for her. Probably for the past 3-4 fours years we have never been closer. We have been guiding lights in each other’s lives, always there.
And god how I wish we lived closer to each other. She is a true best friend.
The More recent friend – Marianne
In the past three years I met an incredible person who has been an absolute rock during the past year where my divorce has been rumbling along from one stress to another.
Marianne is just the most incredible person. I often look at her, listen to her stories and think, f@ck, what you have been through. And it has made you the most caring and considerate person ever.
Marianne had a life not dissimilar to mine in our 20’s, a successful career, rising the ranks. She married and had two children and her second child was diagnosed with severe autism. Not long after the husband up and left and she picked up the pieces.
Her youngest son, with autism is the same age as Dylan my eldest. And it breaks my heart to hear what she goes through with him, the caring responsibilities, the tiredness, also the love and the determination to do the best for son. And, her beautiful daughter who has flourished into the most incredible teenager.
Despite all of this she manages like a super woman. She really is someone whom I look to and think you are incredible, what you have been through and what you have created is amazing.
No fail she sends me a message regularly to check in and make sure I am okay. She is there with a coffee in hand or a bed for me to sleep in if its all gone wrong at home. I love her very much.
My Working Life
I take inspiration from so many women in my working life. Mainly from the women who send me messages and comments about Mrs Mummypenny. These women have read my pieces and have faced up to their own financial trouble. And are working hard to pay off debt, built that future for their children, get their own independence. Every message I receive inspired me to do more, to write more, to help people save more.
My good friend Faith, the most beautiful writer, was the one who inspired and supported me in my debt free journey. She helped me to understand that there was another way to live. That my debts needed to be paid off. She was even there when I couldn’t decide how much of my debts to pay off. I remember messaging her in February 2019 saying Faith I have some emergency money, should I jut use it to pay off my last 5k of debt. Yes Lynn, go for it, become debt free.
Finally, I must pay homage to my incredible friend who I worked with at EE. Our shared boss (and best boss ever, but a man so I wont talk about Winners!) said we would get on incredibly well when he recruited me, and he was right. Anita has been the most incredible friend for many years.
She was there at the birth of Mrs Mummypenny, in fact should be its joint mummy as we came up with the name over a bottle of wine in her living room!! She has been there throughout my business journey, leaving EE and every battle good and bad in the past ten years. Even there when I thought I might be unexpectantly pregnant with Jack and did the test with me. It was positive, she is that kind of a friend.
She is an uber successful super mum who has risen the ranks at EE to director level. She works incredibly hard and is raising two of the most perfect boys. Such an inspiration to me and so many others.
Women are incredible and should be celebrated every day for what they achieve. Life IS tougher for women than men. There is still bias towards men in many areas of life, but with support from each other, encouragement and celebration we can match and be better.
As Beyoncé said, who runs the world, girls.