I often describe myself, from a professional perspective, as an entrepreneur and lawyer. I am passionate about both areas and therefore, often say I am a Legal Entrepreneur to illustrate the adjoining professional passions I have. Of course, in life – for me, it is always family first.
I am a mother of 2 young boys, and I know I am very privileged to have a supportive partner. I realise for many professional women; this is not their reality. To give a clear context, my husband does not only support me at home – there are no gender roles in our house. More importantly, he is my right hand in all my professional and business endeavours. With that being said – he is my equal and outlook on many things different to mine. Together we have a remarkable balance, which I believe is a pivotal ingredient to our success on all fronts.
Of course, the decision to build this life was not taken lightly. We were very mindful of the perceptions around spouses working together and the need for having strong governance and other structures in place to build a legitimate and robust legacy.
I realise that this sounds very contradictory, and for many years, I, like many women, found myself judged for my ambitions. Even more so, because my husband and I decided to start working together in my las firm (which I established seven years before we were married). Later, (after marriage) also in our other business endeavours. Moreso, working with your husband, who is not a lawyer or partner in your law firm, has often been the subject of bias. We have however chosen a long time ago, consciously, not to be labelled by this.
I can also say that working together is not easy. However, for us, it has been a great adventure and together, we have achieved building a loving and close-knit family and a successful business.
I have reflected on how we have managed this because I know it is unusual, and in truth, it has been arduous work. I can only note a few critical thoughts for those considering a similar narrative:
- Defined work / professional roles that complement and do not compete with the other;
- Both parties must view the other (on all levels) as an equal;
- Being a united front (both at work and home). Debate differences privately and respectfully are vital;
- Ensure that you make time for fun outside of work and children;
- Boundaries are essential – avoid any “shop talk” after work;
- Continuously learn and improve your skills (and weaknesses), whilst ensuring that you stay in clear focus of our respective strengths.
So, in concluding my blog for this month – if you are looking at building a family and business with your spouse, it can be the most challenging. Still, also the most beautiful and rewarding journey that life has ever offered.