My life has taught me that our mothers are not only the people who give birth to us, but the parents who care for us. One would consider being lucky to have one of each, but it is also painful to have to separate one from the other. I would say that one is lucky to have a birth mum that loves you and cares for you. No matter how much your step mother, foster mum or whoever took that role loves you, assures you, supports you… that never fills up the hole left behind from the birth mother. It takes being a mum to understand how hard it is.
So far working on myself towards being a good mum I have only grown, evolved and improved.
Being a mum is not the whole of who we are.
I never thought in the past that having children would get in the way of my dreams and the career I envisioned, until I became a single parent with a child who was diagnosed with Autism, then Epilepsy, then Coeliac….
Every day I create solutions on how to maintain the traces of myself in a house that constantly revolves around a boy whose every function depends on me. I would be faced with new challenges daily. I have used my skills in an innovative way to compromise and blend in my parenting role whilst juggling some sort of a profession. I have tried to work around my son’s meltdowns, sleepless nights, absences from school, constant medical appointments, feeding dramas, separation anxiety and still be the composed professional in my working life.
It was so exhausting and difficult. I felt like a hypocrite inside, politely sympathising with a client distressed over a choice of colour for the business cards, when I was still aware of the smell of vomit from last nights deadly accident, where my son almost suffocated on his own vomit as he lacked the oral function to vomit properly. I question, how can anyone live in a normal world and not be offended by the unfairness and inequality after having life experiences similar to mine?
To cut a long story short, in the world where still, just because you are a woman you are discriminated against equal opportunities, me as a single mum to disabled child, with my own health issues, I am falling into the category of being totally unemployable.
Yet I couldn’t be more productive than many people I know. I am a big believer that if you want something done, give it to a busy mum. She has no time to waste, she will get it done instantly.
All it takes for me to be productive is the right sort of work. Work that doesn’t go against my values. Work that works with my family issues not hides them in the background. Work that connects people who are in similar situations so there is no need to separate and pretend. Work that has a future for myself and others who are in the grey areas of employment potential. Work that in the future will include my son too. Work that will offer him and many others the experience of showcasing his ability and not present his disability for easy dismissal.
I have created the Functional Food Company to work with my lifestyle without compromising. Firstly, to produce food that isn’t easily available for people who need to eat differently for medical reasons, and to consequently allow these very people to be part of the production.
I am working from my home and home kitchen at times that I am the most productive. I include everyone who I know into the operation. I teach my son every day how everything works. I talk about him and his autism as part of the overall project. The products we create are completely inspired by our health issues and the solutions. We sell to the public who, like us, are affected by health crisis’. We recruit the people who get turned down elsewhere. This way we are building a company with purpose, meaning, values, community spirit, relentless talent and opportunities. There are no titles, hierarchy, bosses and managers. There are people who can do something, however little this may be.
Now we are growing our team and inviting more to join. We are fundraising to be able to move to a bigger kitchen and offer more opportunities to people like us.
Join us, support us, follow us, talk about us, sponsor us, or just buy some of our chocolate and enjoy it knowing that it was made with purpose and it’s priceless to the person who made it simply by what it represents.
Functional Foods Co Ltd.