Be your own Wonder Woman – perhaps you are far more capable than you realise
By Marisol Basson, founder and MD of Elevate Financial Consulting
It is often with envy that I look at other women and their seemingly perfect lives and perfect families. – Neatly turned out for church and family functions, not a scuff mark on their trousers or shoes, their hair and clothes perfectly in place. Then I find myself thinking “How on earth does she do that?”
Which is exactly what I heard one of my friends’ mutter under her breath recently, while looking directly at me. Deciding to confront her and ask her what she meant, I realised we were all in the same boat in one way or another. Always peering over the garden fence, assuming the grass is greener and better kept on the other side. However, as my friend continued to explain, she assumed I was some kind of Wonder Woman. I immediately burst out laughing and in between catching my breath, I asked her where this came from.
Apparently raising four kids, including a set of very young triplets while at the same time deciding to set up my own Financial Consultancy in a recession is utter madness. I don’t think of it like that and until someone commented on it, I hadn’t given it a second thought. It was just the way things are. It gave me food for thought and made me start examining my work, life and family time. I realised that I certainly stretched a 24-hour day way beyond its breaking point, something which I had apparently always done. There was no alternative. I had always worked hard, it came naturally as it did in my whole family, especially as my father ran a restaurant and that meant we were all running the restaurant when we were younger.
As a consultant I worked in the insurance industry for over eight years providing advice and new business ideas to brokers and clients alike. Then, when just a mere three years ago our world was turned upside down by a triple blessing in the form of triplets, people started wondering how I would cope, juggle and keep my sanity.
But as women, we find ways to cope, juggle and hopefully hold on to our sanity. We endure and persevere and that is the same attitude I take with me when focusing on giving financial advice.
One thing which has allowed me not to completely lose the plot was the fact that we had to run a tight budget. Suddenly, having triplets in the house certainly meant huge investments and additional expenditures. Luckily we managed. I realised this put me in a very fortunate position and I vowed that I would focus on giving long-term financial advice tailor-made for each individual’s situation. I specifically focus on women as I believe too many don’t take care of their financial well-being and planning for their long-term futures. They are mostly too busy juggling everything that is expected of them…and more.
My children need me, my husband would sometimes like to see me and spend time with me, but I firmly believe that this should not derail a career. That’s why I keep all these balls in the air and try to fit everything into my life. Some people look at me in disbelief, some in shock and even a few in admiration, however what I do and how I ‘attempt’ to manage my life is for my own satisfaction and not to prove a point. If you discuss and contemplate long enough, you can talk yourself out of anything. I find that I talk myself into things rather than out of them while still being there for my kids, my husband and my career. It has given me the life that I want.
I now no longer look at other women and their families in envy, but in mutual admiration, knowing that each and every one of us is making decisions and sacrifices to strike the balance that is right for us and for our lives. I also know that my family is always there supporting and cheering and definitely not looking over the garden fence. Perhaps there’s a bit of Wonder Woman in all of us.