Celebrating International Men’s Day

Today, 19th November 2020, is International Men’s Day.

International Men’s Day celebrates worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. It invites every man, woman, girl and boy in the world to come together and celebrate men and boys in all their diversity.

As an all female team, we wanted to reflect on the wonderful men in our lives, how they support and empower us, and what International Men’s Day means to us as women.

Chris has been married to her husband (also Chris, so let’s call him Christopher to avoid confusion) for 21 years. They got together on his 21st birthday – what an expensive birthday that one turned out to be – hahahah!!

Christopher is a local lad from Easington Village. He has been hugely supportive of Chris throughout her career: “He took an engineering role working 6am-2pm to allow me to work late (and bring work home to work later) and forge my career at Hartlepool Borough Council by doing the school pick up then all the after school activities which for my children was most things, dancing, gymnastics, ballet, cricket, football, golf, swimming etc, making dinner and sorting the house out. He never complained.

“When I left Hartlepool Borough Council, he looked after the children, whilst I took a job where I travelled around the UK, often spending a few nights away a few times a month.  On the plus side, I was actually at home more, as when I didn’t travel I worked from home, so we have always managed to spend lots of time together as a family.

“When I wanted to start Planning House he supported me 100% and gave me confidence and the comfort to give it a go.

“Now I’m working from home and Chris took another role within Royal Mail as an Engineering Training Manager, which means he now travels for work and is often away during the week. But he’s so much happier now, which has made me realise that although he didn’t complain, he wasn’t exactly happy about his own career.  It takes a strong, tolerant man to do what he did and I’ll be eternally grateful”.

Claire’s husband, Steven, has also been hugely supportive of her career: “Steven has never been a ‘typical bloke’ and that is one of the things I love about him. He is always ready to listen and has supported me through some massive milestones in my adult life, meaning the big decisions were a lot less scary to make.

“He owns his own photography studio and so when it comes to our careers and balancing them with raising a young family, it only works when we are open and honest about our aspirations and what we need from each other.

“I felt stuck in a public sector job for many years, and after finishing my maternity leave, I was determined to move to the private sector to progress my career and re-gain my enthusiasm for the job I knew deep-down I loved.

“When applying for new roles Steven encouraged me to push myself and always said ‘we will make it work’ if I was offered a job that involved a different working pattern or salary. He even offered to work more hours if I wanted to go part-time or less hours and take the lead on childcare and house stuff if I wanted to go full-time. This meant I could confidently apply for the roles which excited me and wasn’t held back by the hypothetical ‘what if’ questions as I knew, whatever opportunity came my way, he would support me and we would muddle through to find a new balance that worked for us and our family.

“It is very cheesy, but for us teamwork genuinely does make the dream work!”

Helen bagged herself “silver fox” Adam 18 years ago and whilst he did have some greys then he is certainly a much “silverer fox” now! They say opposites attract and in a lot of ways its true, Adam is the patience to Helens impatience, the sensible to Helen’s impulsive and the romantic to Helens cynical side.

Having said that they share the same life goals and family values which they work hard together to teach their two little boys.

After having children Helen left a full time role with regular office hours for her role at Planning House. The flexibility offered was a great fit with family life and allows Helen to pursue her own career goals whilst supporting Adam with his. Adam works incredibly hard as a group commercial manager for an international group of companies and in his limited spare time when he isn’t building car race tracks and Lego sets he sets about crossing jobs off the DIY list Helen has lovingly prepared to keep him busy.

Even with all that he never forgets Helen’s morning coffee and for that and everything else he does for their family she is very grateful.

The three core themes for International Men’s Day in the UK are:

  • Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys;
  • Raising awareness and/or funds for charities supporting men and boys’ wellbeing;
  • Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity.

We are proud of the strong, supportive men in our lives. As parents, we aspire to raise our sons to have the same wonderful outlook on life and hope that the conversations being had as part of International Mens Day this year, and in future years, will make the world a better place for them to grow up in.