Jodi Geddes and her beautiful mother, Jackie, reflect on three generations of strong women in their family, the trials of growing up, and managing the crazy work-life juggle. While things have changed over the generations with different challenges, they both hold the same hopes and dreams for the next generation that follows them.
We couldn’t resist sharing their incredible stories of their heart-warming love, why it’s important to slow down and ask for help, and Jackie’s incredible act of selflessness to save her son’s life.
Jackie, you are the proud mother of two children and grandmother of two grandchildren. What was it like working when you had two little children?
Jackie: We faced many challenges taking on a new business when our children were just two and four years of age. It was tough, and at one stage we had five mortgages to support our one business loan. We ran serviced holiday apartments, which required long working hours and we were very much hands-on. I remember cooking breakfast one morning for 30 guests, with a screaming baby and a two-year-old.
I must admit there were many tears, but somehow we managed by sharing the load and it became a very successful operation. Thankfully it did get easier as time went on.
How were society’s expectations different from today for working women?
Jackie: There wasn’t the same pressure and expectation on women, and many chose to stay at home. Houses were far more affordable, and we didn’t have all the trimmings that go with life today, so financially it wasn’t as necessary for women to work.
How did you practically manage the juggle?
Jackie: We lived in Far North Queensland, Australia, and had no family support, so it was just the two of us to juggle our work and family life, and I am very proud that we achieved this very successfully. Because we were self-employed, we were able to tag-team a lot of the time.
So, whilst we worked long hours, we always made time for the important things. I became very involved in the children’s school and other activities. We were always there for our children. We loved our family time together and this was always a priority.
What’s your advice to women who are trying to manage their careers and have a family?
Jackie: Don’t be afraid to ask for help — we all like to be needed, and it’s a nice feeling to know you have helped someone in their hour of need. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. Try not to take your work home. Children need your full attention, so try to put that mobile away until they are in bed!
Jodi, what was it like growing up? What are your memories of your mother working and your family life?
Jodi: I had a very different childhood to most, as we grew up in Cairns and my parents managed hotels. This sounds glamorous, but what it meant was that they were always ‘on’. They were incredibly hard working. They worked from 6am to 10pm and somehow managed the juggle. But I do remember my parents never missing a thing. They attended all school events, picked us up from school, and somehow always made us kids their priority. Only now do I fully comprehend the sacrifices that my parents made for us and the reality of how tough things would have been. They too faced the juggle, but it was a different juggle.
You are an incredibly driven person with an incredible work ethic. Where has this come from and who is your role model?
Jodi: My dad! He is the most driven person I know and has taught me everything I am today. He has taught me to always believe in myself and know that I am capable of achieving anything. He holds the belief that if you put your mind to something, it is possible. And thankfully, that has played out for me my entire life.
How would you describe your mother in three words?
Jodi: Selfless. Resilient. My best friend.
What are you most proud of about your mother?
Jodi: I have always said that if I am half the mother that she is, then I will be proud. She is truly one of a kind and has taught me to be the mother I am today.
In 2010 my brother had a very serious accident which left him in a coma for four months. After 34+ operations, two strokes, and numerous blood transfusions later, he thankfully survived. But his kidney didn’t and so my mother donated her kidney. I remember her telling me it was the easiest decision of her life. At the time, I was not yet a mother and so I did not fully comprehend the meaning of this. It’s only now that I truly appreciate the selfless act she undertook by giving my brother her kidney and the fact that I too would not hesitate to do exactly the same for my children.
What’s your hope for the next generation of women that follow behind you?
Jackie: It would be nice to see life slow down a little, but that’s not likely to happen. I would love to see less pressure on women to be super parents as I think you all try to do too much. I am proud that my daughter is following her dream and building a business that will help parents behind her. Jodi has made so many sacrifices to launch her business, but I know Circle In will make the journey of working parents a little easier for the next generation of women.
Jodi: I hope that Circle In is no longer needed. I hope that true equality exists and that being a working mother is truly embraced in the workplace and at home. I really hope that our children quote our statistics and wonder how we did it, knowing that things have moved so far. I hope that it’s no longer a conversation because it’s no longer an issue. That’s when we will know that the next generation is fine.
Jodi, as a parent, and Jackie, as a grandmother, what is your hope for your family as they grow up?
Jackie: My wish is for them to be happy and healthy and that they grow up to be wonderful people. To find their passion and follow their dreams.
Jodi: Your children become who you are, so you need to be who you want them to be. So, I will continue being a strong, independent working parent and role modeling the values we believe in as a family. My wish is for their health, happiness and to not be afraid to pursue their dreams.
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