Making it happen – a single mom’s career in wine

It’s been a year since my last post, which in retrospect feels like a brief moment.

Looking back I see a wiggly climb upwards. So many intentions that were put forth came to fruition, with unrealistic asks falling to the wayside. Myself and my daughters have found a beautiful little peaceful house we call home in East Kelowna. Big enough to fit my ridiculous South African storage container of goods – but small enough to keep somewhat tidy. I’ve continued the quest to find balance on my own two feet while grasping this newfound reality that I am raising two small girls completely on my own. My choices affect their realities, day in and day out. They are my life’s greatest work.

I took a good look at myself in the mirror the other day. The image I saw wasn’t quite what it once was 2 years ago. The lines around my eyes were more defined, my skin tone paler and jeans a little tighter. I was tired…unsure of the last time I caught at least 7 hours of sleep. So innately happy and free, but so very tired.

When I look inward and embrace gratitude, I overflow. I am so lucky to have found my career calling. So many people live and die wishing they followed their dreams. I have a job I adore and a motivation to match – which seems rare these days. So many individuals desire to have children, and can’t…I have two vibrant, healthy daughters. So many people are caught in a marriage or relationship that is harmful or abusive…I am free.

The trickiest part though? How to achieve parallel growth and success on two paths at the same time…that of a single mother, and that of a woman who works in wine. Both roles hold their own societal expectations – a feat that feels near impossible to master at the same time.

A career in wine is insanely fun. It can be about late nights, socialising with some of the most charismatic people you’ll ever meet along with a deep dive into a rabbit hole of potential knowledge. It’s paradise for the overachiever. I could say motherhood is much of the same: late nights, social engagements, perpetual learning and challenges…the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The trouble is there’s only 24 hours in a day to fit both (sleep is key too).

This year, I have passed more exams and started working with Kitsch Wines; a brand I whole heartedly believe in. I work with a team of raw, talented and unbelievably kind individuals that I have come to consider family. It’s extremely exciting to be a part of the growth and creative energy that radiates daily.

Last month, I travelled down to Napa to write my final exam for the WSET Diploma; a gruelling test that I found extremely difficult to prepare for. For two months my evenings consisted of staying up past midnight to get the knowledge I needed into my brain before collapsing into bed. My alarm would go off faithfully at 6am; giving myself enough time to make a large bodum of coffee and hop in the shower before blasting ‘Circle of Life’ to wake up my girls (everyday…it’s our thing). Breakfast, home reading, pack lunches and off to school and work. Repeat, repeat. Somewhere in between I managed to fit in cooking (barely), cleaning (barely), grocery shopping (must eat more vegetables), gymnastics, ballet and birthday parties.

Days are always busy with the evenings surprisingly quiet. This is when my internal conversations start. “How do I get better, advance my career and learn more about the subject of wine while being the best possible, present mother I can be?” Most nights I collapse with the conclusion that it’s simply not possible and that I ultimately have to make a choice. I sigh and question whether or not my attempts to excel at both are just going to result in parallel failure.

I’m surely not alone in these conversations with myself. Any single parent working solo to provide for their family, alongside grow a career must wrestle with the same thoughts, guilt and questions.

How do I foster career growth alongside fostering my children’s growth?

I decided to take this last long weekend and wrestle with it all. Write down everything I want and push it off to the universe. What does the definition of “having it all” mean anyways? What does it mean to me?

I also decided to sleep. So I did lots of that…

My conclusion felt long-drawn but simple.

Being a single mom is a challenge, but not a career limitation.

I will continue to progress at my own pace.

Looking forward to 2020 and back on the non-existent wine posts for this site in 2019, I have made a goal to start writing again in this space. I want to write about wine producers and stories that mean something to me. I want to share more about this piece of the world that I call home.

It may take longer for me to pass the test, rake the leaves and fold the laundry as I juggle life as a single mom; but I’m moving forward at my own pace, and that’s my kind of ok.

Thanks always for the encouragement and support.

Cheers for now,

Katie x