We often wait till Mother’s Day to give deeper thought to the amazing contributions from the incredible women around us. These are the real Wonder Women, the unsung heroes in our everyday lives whose contributions, attitude, kindness and love go a long way in uplifting our existence. We might be so accustomed to their giving nature that we sometimes forget to show appreciation. Whether they’re colleagues, sisters, bosses, daughters, friends, mothers, teachers, aunties, wives, partners, grandmothers or even your next-door neighbour, our lives are that much better because we have them in it.
For this series, I am featuring three of Canberra’s Wonder Women, but please know that this is also dedicated to all the Wonder Women out there, regardless of how little or how much you do for others. Perhaps you know a Wonder Woman or you are one. Either way, this is for them and for you. We see you.
Let’s start with Dinah Bryant. Dinah is a shy mother of four, who prefers to work behind the scenes. Volunteering at their local Parish’s Christmas activities is part of their traditional duties. Dinah got the family to deliver Christmas hampers during the festive season to people in need. They had contributed to and helped pack the hampers at their local Parish. Having just hosted a battalion of family members from different cities over the holidays, Dinah swears it takes a village to help her manage.
With a successful career that went from journalism to politics to a senior position in public service, Dinah decided to leave her career to raise her children. Sadly, this decision came as a result of a tragedy. Dinah lost her father to cancer shortly after helping her mother through potent chemo that cured her mother’s bladder cancer. Dinah said: “It was from this point I had made my decision, life was too short to go back to work. I wanted to be at home with the kids. Our kids are very active with sport and the thought of trying to juggle that with school and homework and work was too much.”
Fortunately, she and her husband were in a position for Dinah to make this sacrifice in order to do more and be involved in her children’s activities. She says she’s never been happier.
Having three out of her four children involved in cheerleading, Dinah became a coach to help her children and other kids on the teams go from performance anxiety to total confidence and resilience. Cheerleading as a twelve-month, local and interstate sport is quite a commitment but Dinah says it’s beautiful and rewarding to watch kids blossom over the years and an honour to help them become more confident. She also volunteers for the kids’ swimming, netball, AFL, soccer, oztag and basketball activities.
Dinah does remote, part-timing with a communications company and has used her love for cake decorating to kick-start her home cake-making business, Hooray for Cake. She’s been very fortunate in getting a steady flow of significant orders or cakes.
With regards to managing all the madness, Dinah says it takes a village. They have no blood relatives in Canberra, but a few close friends have become family who all help and support each other. Dinah says she can be pretty tired and cranky a lot of the time but believes she doesn’t do much more than any of the other mums out there.
Dinah said her friends are always there for her. I spoke to Sheen Ireland, a close friend of Dinah’s. She had this to say:
“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Dinah for many years and to me, she’s your every day (and silent) Wonder Woman. She manages a full sporting schedule with four children, she volunteers with these sporting teams, [and] she’s a superstar communicator….”
Dinah plans on becoming a volunteer for Lifeline when her kids are older.
Dinah is one of many Wonder Women I have had the privilege of meeting. Next week, I’ll be introducing another.
Until then, power on, Wonder Women!