Most modern woman lead a very hectic lifestyle today, juggling work, career, and their families, playing the role of Superwoman.
I have been thinking back about what a busy life I have had, and what I have achieved so far.
It all started with a full time job, when Melissa started school at 5 years old , Tamara was a year old, I was just 23.
I had a full time baby sitter and worked from 8.00am to 5.00pm. We had our first pony for the children, a little Shetland named Tubby. I had been rescuing neglected and badly treated horses, and Tubby was one of them. I also had Snowy, a little colt that dad had broken in for Melissa, and within a year I had rescued a beautiful Arab mare that had been left to starve. She was in a paddock, within 30 metres of High St, Wodonga, Vic and next to a busy intersection and schools.
We rose each day around 5.00 am to start riding , schooling and looking after the horses. Melissa was a very competent little rider at age 5 years. When Melissa started Pony club, life became very hectic, with Horse Shows and Gymkhanas running from August to April each year. The weekends were full on with sports, either with the horses, tennis, squash, or Little Athletics. Within a few years I had 5 horses in work, plus I was retraining problem horses for students, and teaching children to ride.
It was a hectic lifestyle, we also partied at home, entertaining friends, or dining out celebrating my darling brother Brian’s wins on the racetrack, most Saturday nights. (My brother Brian was a very successful jockey, and racehorse owner and trainer, his story will feature shortly)
After 6 years at the job, I had an industrial accident squashing my thumb, which required several operations.
Having the time off gave me a chance to think about my future, I was just 30 years old, with two daughters, a 12 year old and an 8 year old, 5 horses and a menagerie of other animals.
I decided I would go back and study for a higher education, and become an Accountant, as per my original goals.
My first job after leaving school was training to become an Accountant, but I got sick of my boss chasing me around the office. I had received very high marks in all my grades, and the commercial course, and he convinced my parents to allow me to leave school, as he would train me and pay for my courses.
My husband John and I had gone our separate ways by now, so I needed to work full time whilst studying. The only real option was to study by correspondence for the first 2 years, which is what I embarked on. I eventually did the 6 year course in 4 years, studying up to 5 subjects each semester, and receiving credits in all subjects.
My brother Richard had come back to Albury, and was managing Supreme Fisheries . Rick gave me a full time job running the office at Supreme Fisheries. Life was even more hectic, I ran the house and organised the girls like an army chief. There were the horses to be exercised and schooled early mornings and again in the evenings, both girls were involved with the horses and little athletics. and I was studying every night. Melissa was at high school with a load of homework, and I studied every night from 8.00pm until 1.00- 2.00am in the morning. I went for years with this regime, averaging only 3- 4 hours sleep each night.
About 1982 Supreme Fisheries had been sold and taken over by another group. I had no job for about 4 months, so I studied full time, whilst looking for work. I was very proactive in finding work, and then within a week , I had three terrific job offers. The dilemma was trying to choose which job, as each had fabulous career options. I decided to go with KPMG, due to the diversity of the accounting and tax work involved.
Just six months into my accounting studies, I decided accounting was far too boring, and it was the Taxation Law that interested me.
I stayed with KPMG for 6 years, until I realised after all the promises of promotion, they were not going to promote a female. I was now 42 years old, Melissa had barely moved out to live with Michael, and Tamara had flown the coop at 15.
I decided the only way I would fast track my career, with a view to starting my own business as a Taxation Consultant, was to move to the city. I chose Melbourne, and a small boutique firm of Chartered Accountants. Again I had been offered three terrific job choices. I had turned down a group who were accountants to the stars . I became incredibly bored within a short time, the work was nowhere near as varied and exciting as KPMG.
I did not know anyone in Melbourne , apart from some relatives, so I started a theatre group. I advertised in the Age, and ended up with a huge number of woman, and a couple of men. The plan was to go to Live theatre and the Opera on a monthly basis, with dinner before or after the show. I spent a couple of weeks, organising meetings and interviewing and meeting the group. They were so enthusiastic, most had husbands who did not like the theatre or opera, so they were excited about being organised for a monthly outing. I had on average over 40 regular members, all women except for half a dozen men. I did all the organising for each event, calling to inquire who wanted to go where and when. There were no fees or charges for my time, and most events we had between 20-30 members for bookings and travel.
Again I had organised chaos in my life. We ended up dining out and socialising at least six nights a week. It could have been seven nights, but I needed one night at home. Within five years I was socially exhausted, we had dined at the very best restaurants Melbourne had to offer, and seen a huge variety of opera and live theatre. I had also been approached to hostess two nights a week at Silvers Nightclub. I did not get paid, but there were free drinks and special shows for all my invited guests.
I think playing Superwoman, was becoming too exhausting, and I was considering taking a rest.
The thought of taking time off, to do nothing was not exactly attractive. So I decided to tell the boss to shove it, and I would start my own business.
I moved to Toorak, and set up my office from home, right smack in the middle of Toorak. I took an evening job with Telstra out at Burwood, so there would be money coming in. From 9.00am every morning I was on the phone, cold calling all the local businesses, or sending emails, directing them to my web site, and asking if they were looking for a new bright star accountant. I had a terrific resume, and they came in droves. Suddenly I was working 18 or more hours a day, seven days a week. I had doubled my salary income within a year of starting my business, and tripled my income within two years.
Melissa spent a lot of time with me in Melbourne, whenever she could. I taught her to do accounting and bookkeeping, and she did all my data entry and administration for the entire time. We bought her a PC, and she then worked from home in Albury, handling all the clients books, and putting it all on to accounting software to send to me back in my office in Melbourne. She would come and spend weeks with me, catching up on all the filing and administration.
I always had a Christmas break , spending a week or so in Albury, but I never really took time off, for a real holiday, in the past 20 odd years.
Finally after my third year in business, I came back from Christmas in Albury, and simply lazed around the house. I was exhausted.
I lazed around and did nothing for three months, until the clients demands were too much. That year was the beginning of the end of my Superwoman years. I no longer worked 18 hour days, or 7 days a week. I had sorted out the good clients, and dumped the bad ones. I decided to work 9-5, and take time out to take it easy. I took up tennis in the evenings, playing competition and social tennis 4 nights a week, Saturday afternoons, and Sunday mornings. Sounds like a work aholic to me.
In the meantime I had been investing in real estate, and accumulating a large number of properties. I scaled my business clients down and kept the pick of the crop, then working only part time in the business. The balance of the time was spent managing my investments. I had swapped half of my business income, for a passive investment income. The real estate income itself became a full on job, organising renovations and tradesman from a distance, and there was loads of travel to Albury for meetings and inspections.
It has been a very interesting journey, and a full on life, doing what I loved. Superwoman retired about 15 years ago, however I am still trying to catch up on all that sleep I missed out on, when superwoman was at her busiest.
I am hoping the younger females enjoy my story, and never give up, on their goals and dreams. Dreams are a promise you make to yourself, and you must never break your promises to you. That is what makes dreams come true.
My only other dream and plan, was to become an artist. I had promised this to myself, and waited my whole life, until I could afford to sustain myself, while pursing this dream. So here I am, on my last big journey. Truthfully even though I have done my art when time permitted, over the years, and I do have a large private collection, I think my art relates to a time that has since passed. I may have to reinvent myself again, but not as superwoman, but in leisurely activity and hobbies