Happy Mother’s Day to all you fabulous Biz Gals mums out there! I am constantly in awe of what you do on a daily basis and am hoping to “join your club” soon…if all goes to plan!
In honour of Mother’s Day today, I have decided to feature the most inspirational women in my life, my mother Mary and grandmother (or Nona as I called her), Ricca.
This year is the first Mother’s Day we will be spending without my Nona which is heartbreaking, but she has equipped me with the tools and inspiration to remain strong through whatever adversities come my way.
After all, both Nona and my mum were and are the eternal embodiment of strength, determination, resilience and grace under pressure.
So here is a glimpse at their stories on one of the most special days of the year…
My Nona Ricca, travelled from Egypt with her husband and 2 young children to a safer life in Australia in the early 1960s. Whilst she was fluent in several languages, she didn’t know a word of English and proceeded to teach herself through TV shows while her husband grew his jewellery business.
The Edirnelian family quickly grew to three and, soon after, my young grandfather tragically passed away leaving Nona to fend for herself in a world where the man was the traditional provider and the holder of all knowledge about their livelihood.
Thrust into a role that was very foreign to her, Ricca pushed on through her grief to educate herself further, cement her knowledge of English and build her own ironing business that allowed her to work around her children’s school hours and meet more people within their new community.
The business thrived and she was able to build a wonderful life for her family. She retained one of her ironing clients until the day she passed away last year - that’s just the sort of woman she was. She believed that if she could continue to work and earn some “pocket money” why shouldn’t she.
My mother, Mary, helped Nona by assisting with raising her siblings whilst she was still studying and, soon after marrying my father, when it was time to have me, was thrust into single motherhood almost immediately.
Balancing double shifts as a nurse throughout my childhood to ensure that I wanted for nothing and didn’t feel I was missing out, both mum and Nona took on the joint task of raising me. I relished my time with Nona and grew up surrounded by super strong women and some standout amazing men for good measure.
Mum’s focus has always been directed at other people before herself. From her siblings to her patients, from me to Nona in her later years as her carer, it’s a quality that she got from her mother and that rubbed off onto me. It is only since being married that my husband has encouraged me to embrace the whole “put your gas mask on first” mentality. This is now something that I am trying to teach mum.
It’s a hard lesson to learn when you have spent your life looking after others though and my hope for mum this Mother’s Day, is that she embraces the concept of looking after herself first and foremost.
I sat down with mum this week and posed the questions I have asked our other Inspirational Biz Gals. Here is what she had to say.
Biz Gals: What is your greatest achievement?
Mary: My greatest achievement is raising you to be such a successful individual.Always giving your best in your endeavours.
Biz Gals: What is the greatest lesson you have learnt?
Mary: Think before you leap.That can be said in what you say or what you do.
Biz Gals: What is the best advice you have been given?
Mary: That's a hard one. A little old lady named Muriel once said to me when I was working in a nursing home at the age of 16 to, “never change being the caring person you are”.
Biz Gals: What or who inspires you?
Mary: My mother! Even though we disagreed on a lot of things, until the last minute, she was in control.That gives me the inspiration to always be in control as well.
Biz Gals: What is your biggest hope for women in the future?
Mary: That women continue or learn to be self reliant. Never stop bettering yourself, whether it be financially, through education…in all aspects of life. If you want something then go get it!