Published On Mar 08, 2018 in
Today is International Women’s Day. There’s been so much going on in the past year about women’s issues, and there is so much to say. When I was thinking about where to start, I kept coming back to my dad. Yes, that’s right, my dad. On International Women’s Day, I am going to talk about my dad – for two reasons: first, if we want to continue to make headway and tackle the issues that face women, we need to include men, and second, because my dad made it possible for my mom to have a successful professional career.
My mom always worked, and recently retired from a forty-plus year career in physical therapy. She loved working, and had a tremendous amount of pride in helping her patients make strides after surgery or getting adjusted to a nursing home. I have always been thankful that my mom worked, and she is too – it set examples of independence, work ethic and a can-do attitude for my sister Natalie and me. It also helped provide an additional source of income for our family, and my mom was always proud to contribute financially. That pride and that energy she brought home from helping others rubbed off on us too, and made a major impact on the fabric of our family.
My dad helped make that possible. He adjusted his schedule so that he was home with us every Tuesday, and worked on Saturdays. Pretty unique for the 80s! He got us off to school every morning and was home when we got off the bus. During the summer there was no end to the adventures, including many “don’t tell your mother” moments – like when he knocked off her side mirror backing out of the garage and tried to glue it back on. Our ponytails fell out within an hour and our outfits probably weren’t as on point, but looking back that didn’t really matter. What mattered is we all benefited. Both my mom and my dad enjoyed successful careers, and because he didn’t have a traditional schedule, we got to enjoy additional time with our dad.
My dad’s support of my mom’s career also had a major impact on the fabric of our family. My sister and I got to experience that support and flexibility firsthand, which laid the foundation for us to have successful careers. It also set examples of what to look for in a supportive partner, and most importantly, we cherish lots of fun and happy memories of Tuesday adventures with our dad.
This may seem like a small story in the grand scheme of things. But it impacted my mom, my sister and me, and we’ve impacted others in return. I have taken the lessons from my childhood and the support my parents had for each other in their professional careers, and now I am grateful to be a working mom at a company where I am directly involved in our women’s initiative. The work we do with PECO NOW has an impact on outcomes for women in the workplace and for working moms. It might have started small, but now I am contributing and my work has an impact. I know my dad had a major role in getting me to where I am today. So, thank you, Dad. I know we have a long way to go, and we can’t do it alone. To all the dads, brothers, sons, grandfathers, friends out there that have set good examples, given their support, guidance, and love, thank you.