Rise of the Sisterhood
This month, Profile is all about celebrating strong women who empower others in their community. I caught up with a few local movers and shakers for their thoughts on the women who inspire them and the importance of sisterhood.
“Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them!”
As a mother of two daughters, this quote has always been one of my favourites. So much is expected of today’s modern woman and we put so much pressure on ourselves to be everything to everyone, that sometimes we need to stop and realise what a great job we are doing.
I thoroughly enjoy the women I work with. I can go and talk to them and share my weaknesses and my strengths and bounce ideas off them.” - Robyn Littlejohn
Today’s increasingly busy lifestyle means many of us are juggling the demands of raising a family and running a household, while maintaining a career.
We’re pretty amazing really and we need to tell each other more! But do we offer each other enough support? Is the sisterhood really alive and well? To discover more, I asked a bunch of busy working mums for their thoughts on the matter.
Joining me for a delicious lunch at Wildflower Restaurant and Bar was Kylie Davies, owner of Abbey Furniture Restorations Nambour; Julie Anderson, sales executive with Aspire Estate Agents; Janine Prescott of SPC Finance & Leasing; Robyn Littlejohn of Tafe Queensland and Kara de Schot, general manager of Profile magazine.
profile: Who do you look up to in life?
julie: I’m lucky to have wonderful friends, but one in particular, Linda Kelly is amazing. When you speak with her you just feel empowered.
kylie: My grandmother. She started off as a ward of the state and as an adult was put into service but she went on to have a great life. She had seven children and about 35 grandchildren. She never dwelled on anything negative – you would never know she had a difficult beginning. When she was 85 she said to me, ‘I have done anything I wanted to do. I have no regrets. I have been so loved and created a wonderful family and if anything happens to me now that’s ok’. I try to live up to that.
kara: My mum. I am inspired by her resilience in life in general and her practicality and pragmatism. Her mother passed away when she was just 15 and as the eldest of five she practically raised her siblings and then went on to raise her own family at a young age. She is very humble.
janine: One is my mum. My father worked away a fair bit but Mum made sure we never missed out on anything. We did dancing and sport and Mum was very involved in everything we did. She was the scorer for netball and made our ballet costumes and took my brother to motocross events. She was a well known midwife too. To see her living with Alzheimer’s in her later years was really hard. She struggled for 15 years and passed away in June. She is sadly missed. My other inspiration would have to be my best friend – she knows who she is. She has the biggest heart in the world. She always finds time to do something special for her friends. She doesn’t have any family here and she is an inspiration.
robyn: Mine would have to be my mum too. My mother always used to say to me, ‘Whenever you go and visit someone, don’t visit their possessions or their home, visit them. It’s not about what people have or own or how they look, it’s about the person’. I tell my kids the same. She never bothers anyone with her own problems and never tells people about all the wonderful things she does. She also taught me to take risks.
kara: I’ve been lucky to have had a few career-wise and they are very important to me. They have definitely helped me grow. Outside career, there are other women who inspire me, particularly other mums. When I had my son Jay, our mother’s group started their own private Facebook page and we would all be up at night feeding our babies at the same time so it was a fantastic time to connect. It was a supportive sisterhood connected by social media.
profile: How do you empower your daughter?
robyn: I tell her the most important person who needs to love you is you. I always say to my daughter, don’t forget your friends because when the boyfriends walk away, they are the ones who will be there and your mum and your sisters. When something awful happens in life, I catch up with a good girlfriend and we cry together and drink some wine and cry some more! It makes everything seem so much better. My daughter is lucky enough to have a best friend who is always there for her.
tanya: I try to remind my daughter that she has plenty of time to grow up. Unfortunately a lot of girls in early high school carry handbags instead of school bags and wear lots of make-up. I think girls need to know they don’t need to do that.
profile: Has social media helped or hindered women’s empowerment?
kara: If you saw a female that looked like a Kardashian you would do a double take because in real life they would look fake! But that is what young women are being exposed to as the norm. It would be great if you could go behind each photo and say this is the reality. People’s lives are not what you see on Facebook. I’m not going to put pictures of my son having a tantrum, I’m going to put a photo of him looking happy. Facebook is just a showreel.
kylie: I agree, it’s not real life, it’s the curated version. Facebook should be like a dinner party, everyone comes along and has a polite conversation. I don’t like when people go on about negative stuff on Facebook. You never know who they are talking about, it’s not the right platform. You should bring your best manners and play along. Just keep it light.
robyn: I love the dinner party analogy!
profile: We talk about the sisterhood but do women really support each other enough?
julie: I think we do but it’s up to the individual. It’s about how much you are wanting to share with your friends and family. I have always had great friends and lots of support. It probably does come down to a generational thing too. Back in my day, there weren’t the expectations or the pressures there are now on women and it’s more competitive.
robyn: I have great friends and I thoroughly enjoy the women I work with. I can go and talk to them and share my weaknesses and my strengths and bounce ideas off them.
janine: Yes, I think we do. When I went through emotional issues with Mum, my best friend was going through the same and we were able to discuss different things and stages. My sister and I are like chalk and cheese and fought like cat and dog growing up, but now we are the best of friends.
kara: My sisters and I used to fight growing up but once we had children it really connected us. Sisters are so important and even though we are so different, as soon as there is trouble with any of us, the others will just drop what they are doing to be there, no matter what. Being away from family and raising my own family now, I think there would have been more support in past generations where there was more of a village feel to raising children and it would have been more of a sisterhood. We would have more time to look after each other’s kids or do some baking for each other or whatever. Nowadays we are all just too busy.
kylie: I have a few close friends who are part of my sisterhood. When you find them they are so precious so you have to cultivate them and be grateful for them and give back to them.
WILDFLOWER RESTAURANT & BAR
Best Western Plus, Birtinya
Wildflower Restaurant and Bar at Birtinya has to be one of the Sunshine Coast’s best kept secrets – until now! Located at the Best Western Plus, Oceanside Kawana hotel, the stylish restaurant is open to the public and offers delicious, reasonably-priced cuisine in a contemporary setting.
Award-winning executive chef Gareth Collins will make sure you experience a fantastic culinary experience.
The lunchtime menu offers an array of mouthwatering dishes to suit all tastes, with choices including pork and brioche – American-style hickory bbq pulled pork with apple slaw and thick cut chips; wagyu burger with tomato ginger jam and Swiss cheese with thick cut chips; master stock chicken salad with rice noodles, wombok and sprouts in a sesame and lime dressing; Thai beef and ruby grapefruit salad and Pacific ale battered fish and chips. My choice of salt and pepper calamari with wombok and peanut salad in a delicious dressing really hit the spot. The juicy calamari was perfectly balanced with the crispy salad and was the ideal portion size.
The dessert menu is to die for! I couldn’t go past the coconut panna cotta with mango pulp and meringue crunch – delicious! Other choices included chocolate nemesis with raspberry textures and milk chocolate sorbet with salted praline and the ever popular pavlova with passionfruit curd, tropical fruits, floss, toffee and lemon sorbet – which according to one of my guests tasted as good as it looked!
Wildflower is fully licensed with an impressive wine list and also caters to families, offering a great kids menu.
It’s the perfect spot to meet a girlfriend for lunch, or an affordable option for a family lunch or dinner and they also cater for groups or functions.
9 Florey Boulevard, Birtinya
Phone: 1800 754 473