A letter to my sons…. Celebrating International Women’s Day 2019

At MyWord we strive never to judge anyone for anything…

International Women’s Day is a cause close to our hearts at MyWord. As a business we thrive on an inclusive culture that brings together the broad experiences and insights of the people we work with. We believe that supporting people to work somewhere that works for them will encourage their engagement. Last year I wrote a letter to my daughter outlining my hopes for her in the world she is growing up in, so this year it felt pertinent to write one to my sons. My biggest hope for them all is that they can make the world work for them and that they inspire happiness and respect from the people they share it with… Do let us know what your experience of judgement has been and what you hope for?

Dear Toby and Rory

To celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) last year I wrote a letter to your sister sharing some of my personal experiences as a working mum, and outlining my hopes and ambitions for her as she begins to conquer the world. It felt appropriate on a day that was created to champion women and highlight where we still need to create equality. However, I am delighted that this year the theme for IWD is #Balanceforbetter as a few months ago I thought it really is about boys too, and that this year I must write a letter to my sons….

I want to share my hopes for you both as you continue to grow and see what the world has to offer you, but also open your eyes to how you really can shape the world… for the better. IWD remains relevant because, although fantastic progress has been made, we are still not living in a truly diverse world where everybody is celebrated – whoever they are. My big ask of you both is that you please don’t judge anybody. Make, and take, the time to truly get to know people that come in to your life…

It doesn’t matter what car somebody drives, what school they go to or what type of trainers they wear (truthfully?!). We are all absolutely created equal and everybody brings something to every situation. And if you don’t judge people I promise you will learn so much more and have much more fun!

Through my life I have often felt judged. It perhaps came to the fore when I became a parent. I felt judged at every turn, and often continue to do so, largely by myself but also because of the society we live in. Am I a bad mum because I work? Am I a bad colleague when I have to stay at home when you are sick? Am I a bad daughter and sister because I really don’t get to talk to my mum and dad and sisters as much as I should?

I hope society doesn’t judge you, or that you don’t judge yourself. And that you can both succeed at whatever you choose to do, and more importantly that you can live life how you choose and not be judged. Toby – if you want to be a premiership rugby player go for it, Rory if you want to be a zoo keeper then I know the animals will be in safe hands. Mummy and Daddy will back you all the way but on the way to get there I hope you get the chance to be who you want to be because of who you really are.

I have really tried to ‘be me’ whomever I am with and wherever I am, but it isn’t always easy. We often feel we have to ‘be someone else’ to get the promotion we want, or prove that we are committed to whatever it is that we are doing. I promise you, that is hard work! I hope that you really can be you. And I certainly hope that you don’t judge others for who you think they should be.

You know I always go on about kindness and I feel in society today we are at risk of losing kindness. Everybody is too busy to stop and chat, or to think about what somebody else might be feeling. For me that goes hand in hand with judgement. You might be the most important people in my world but, in the real world, you are no more important than anybody else. Open your eyes and ears to other people’s experiences and it will simply be enriching and rewarding. And you can make someone very happy by offering a small thank you or finding other ways to show them kindness. Hold the door, make the tea, ask about their family.

And I hope you feel that how Mummy and Daddy have chosen to pursue our life as a family can inspire you to make choices that work for you. I love the balance Daddy and I have struck about who takes you to school and comes to watch you in sharing assemblies and sports matches. It’s something we’ve worked hard on because those experiences are so precious. And yet, when it’s Daddy’s turn, I often feel judged for not being there or for leaving you to go to work in the morning before you are even up. And I know Daddy feels judged for being there!

My favourite part of every day is coming home to you all. I feel truly proud of the people you are turning out to be. Please do look out for your sister because I can’t help but feel that girls continue to be judged more quickly and sometimes less fairly. Social media is an amazing way for people to come together (and show kindness), but it also makes the opposite easier and that really frightens me. It creates even more ways, and pressure, to be judged and judge others. Please take charge and be the Instagram follower that doesn’t ‘like’ what society expects you to like. Take a stand, be brave and be kind.

You are my world and I hope you are able to thrive in and help create a world that is #Balanceforbetter.

Love you to the moon…. and back… and around…. and back again… and to infinity and beyond.


PS and to the tractor driver who wouldn’t stop to let me pass to pick my children up from school last week, and shouted at me, “I am working and you have been dossing all day”, you really need to stop judging others.

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