I have been thinking a lot lately about the interesting place a woman business owner has in this world. For instance, twice in the last month, I have been reprimanded personally for not allowing advertising on my website and for not giving away my coaching services for free.
The response wasn't, "Oh, I understand, this is your policy."
It is "I can't believe this is how you think the world works..." along with a personal smear about my email manners, which when my husband reread my responses, assured me that I was just being kind, but firm.
Another interesting occurrence, in the year 2008, is the way I am treated when I am with my husband.
When we crossed the Canadian border, I was driving and the border patrol asked what I did for a living, which I responded to happily all the businesses I ran (yes, as a new multrepreneur, I am still happy to tell everyone what I do.) He then leaned over and said, "And what do you do, sir?" My husband said, "I am the stay-at-home dad to my boys...." but the man gave him a strange look and so my husband added, "of course, I used to be in software...."
This has never happened the other way around when my husband has been the one driving across. What I did for a living never seemed to come up.
When I went to the printers to talk about approving the final copy of my book, my husband showed up as a surprise to support me (sweet guy that he is) and for the first 15 minutes, they spoke to him, asked him questions and assumed he had anything to do with (except loving inspiration) my project that I have been working on intensely for over a year.
I feel the great responsibility, that my husband once had, of being the sole monetary support of our family through my work. Yet, I feel the role that I am expected to play is so much different than if I was a man.
An expected role of over-generous with my time and resources, over-kind and understanding for those who don't agree with my rules, bendable-over-backable, and flexible in my policies.
This all is expected while we are also expected the same at home with our children and our husbands.
Sound familiar business women?
The strangest part is, I expected the same thing from other women owned businesses.. before I knew... oh... before I truly understood.
It's almost like you choose women businesses because you have a better chance to get more, much more while paying less! No wonder, you see so many women who become cold and closed off after years of this kind of expectation and treatment (and have given in to it for too long.) What is a woman to do? (besides many trips to the day spa!)
I am not interested in the current roles to play and becoming bitter.
I chose my businesses because being of service is what I love. Being kind to everyone is my favorite practice. Being firm about the policies that I have decided are important to my businesses, doesn't seem to feel natural to me, but it does seem vitally important right now. Playing a role isn't my style as I tend to live a life blazing my own trail.
As far as the latest incidences, I wonder: Do I have to take my punches? Am I just paying my dues? Is it karma?
Always asking questions, never taking a situation for granted and allowing the path to unfold is the only way I know how to take this journey. Meanwhile, I want send out my deepest gratitude for all the women who have gone before, to make my journey so much easier and acknowledge their amazing giving nature! Thank you and Blessings!