The following is a guest post from Natasha Janssens, author of Wonder Woman’s Guide to Money and an award-winning finance broker and money coach.
As a working mum of two, #choosetochallenge is a reminder to me to challenge the outdated social norms that govern the way I view my role in society and what is possible for me. It means challenging the storyline that says it is my responsibility, and mine alone, to make sure that my kids and husbands needs are taken care of.
I choose to challenge the guilt that comes along for the ride, every time I walk out the door to do something just for me – and leave hubby to deal with the kids on his own. I choose to challenge the story that I have to sacrifice my identity and financial independence in order to be deemed a good enough mother and wife.
The fact is that times have changed, and the rules that applied when our mothers and grandmothers were growing up, no longer exist. The reality today is far removed from what we were taught as kids.
While men and boys have been primed to thrive in a capitalist society (having been taught that their primary role is to be the providers), women have in many ways been set up to fail. While boys were told stories depicting the male character as a hero, girls were told they needed to look pretty and wait for prince charming to come to their rescue.
What happens then, when we find ourselves living in a reality that is in direct contrast to the stories we have been told as kids? Just look at the news headlines to find the answers. Women approaching retirement age are often broke and facing homelessness, after having dedicated their lives to caring for their families.
As much as I adore my children, the truth is I cannot afford to sacrifice my financial independence in order to raise them. As much as I love being a mum (some days more so than others), I cannot afford to think of myself as ‘just a mum’. Whether I want to or not, I cannot afford to be a stay-at-home parent and sacrifice my skills and ability to earn my own income. And I cannot afford to not play an active role in my financial future and leave all the big decisions to someone else.
Not only is it not good for me, but it is detrimental to their future. One of the main reasons that the gender gap has been so slow to close is because it is clearly not enough for us to just talk about it. We, as parents, must start to role model new behaviour for our kids. And it all starts with women letting go of the household chores and embracing our entrepreneurial and intellectual abilities. Let’s show future generations that their value lies in more than just their appearance or ability to cook a delicious meal.
About the expert
Natasha is the author of Wonder Woman’s Guide to Money and an award-winning finance broker and money coach. Her passion for education and helping others led her to start Women with Cents – an online community dedicated to empowering Australian women through education. Natasha is on a mission to ensure that all Australian women have access to professional financial advice, regardless of their age, income or circumstances.
Image description: Natasha is sitting on a black, leather lounge chair with her legs crossed. Her feet are on the lounge, with her black high heels on the floor. She wears a pink blazer, white top and blue jeans.