Friday, 18 December 2015

Happy things

Wow, it's been a long time since I wrote a post! WHY? Because baby number 3 came along. Work got in the way. The normal reasons why people don't get to indulge in creative pastimes. In fact, a brilliant piece by Kate Baer sums it up right here. Sometimes you are too tightly wound up by everything there is to do to even calm down before passing out at night. Too exhausted by the overwhelming nature of everyday life to focus your energies on such an indulgent thing as writing.

Of course, a lot has happened in the last 5 months. Stuff too big to cover absent mindedly while feeding a newborn in the dark. Syria. The refugee crisis. Paris. Tragedy after tragedy. Burdened by negativity, paralysed by the sheer scale of bad news on TV, on the radio, on Facebook and Twitter feeds.

But now it's Christmas time. So worrying about the world has to take a back seat for a while. Being grateful for who and what we have comes first. Light in the darkness and all that.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Thinking positive: 5 good news stories that you might have forgotten!

On the 10th anniversary of the July bombings in London, it may seem odd to talk about positive news. This morning I turned on the radio to graphic descriptions of injured people being rescued from the awful events of 7th July 2005 and dire warnings about the severe terror threat we continue to live with. This week we are also regaled with details of the Chancellor's budget, called the first true blue budget in decades, in which politicians with trust funds cut welfare to families on the poverty line.

But before I plummet into depression, I remind myself that there has been some good news lately. News that I want to highlight and celebrate.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Hironimus-Nebus case - time we started defending our boy children too?

CC license Brad Kebodeaux
If you have been following the Hironimus-Nebus case in the US, you will know that an American mother has been forced, while handcuffed, to sign court forms consenting to her 4 year old son's circumcision, a procedure requested by the father with no medical grounds.

Judge Jeffery Dana Gillen stated “She is going to sign the paperwork authorizing Chase’s circumcision or she’s going to sit behind bars until she does.” (Philly Voice)

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

CHARITY POST: New Save the Children Club!

Last Saturday, I was delighted to take my daughter along to have a cheeky "first look" at the new Save the Children Club being launched by the international charity, Save the Children, this summer. The aim of the new "club" is to help children in the UK learn about the lives of children just like them around the world and understand a bit more about how natural disasters might affect their families. Children will receive a booklet in the post addressed to them several times a year, packed with facts, stickers, recipes, activites and the story of a real child's daily life in an area where Save the Children work.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Feminist Mum appearing at Whitlit, May 16th 2015

So I am set to make my first public appearance as "Feminist Mum" next weekend at Whitlit, Whitstable's one and only literary festival! Making Trouble: Feminism Now and Then will present a panel discussion considering what feminism means to us today, especially in the light of the recent revival in the movement's popularity. It is great to have Sue O'Sullivan and Lynne Segal, both feminist activists since the 1970s, alongside newer identifiers with feminism, myself and student, Greta Gilham Wright.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Who are you voting for? #generalelection2015

The general election is tomorrow. TOMORROW. Finally, at last, after all the chat and debates and claims and counter-claims, we all get the hard-won opportunity to put a cross next to the party of our choice. The closer we get, the less certain I am about who to vote for! I've been to local hustings, watched the TV debates, had a look at policy. And usually I am clearer on who NOT to vote for, leaving me with picking the least worst option...

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Who wins the moral highground: child-focused or child-free?

A rare child-free moment

A recent article in the New York Times, "No kids for me, thanks" has sparked a lot of debate around the changing demographics of essentially industrialised societies. No longer following the traditional "marriage then 2.4 kids" scenario, more adults are exercising the choice that comes with improved birth control. The decision not to have children at all. Gone is the rather sad phrase "childless" to be replaced with the more positive "child-free".

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Confused by the new Shared Parental Leave legislation?

This infographic from GotoMeeting might help! If you would like to learn more about what shared parental leave means for your family and your relationship, check out this Guest Post from a Norwegian mum on what it's really like sharing your maternity leave with your partner.

Monday, 20 April 2015

GUEST POST: Celebrating pregnancy and motherhood in The Gambia

In this guest post, Charlotte Kanyi explores how her husband's Gambian culture influenced her own experience of motherhood in the UK.

My marriage was an epic multi day, multi location event. Meeting my husband's family and country for the first time I was showered with warm words of blessing and delightful smiles wherever I went. At 29 weeks pregnant I was also the subject of much teasing and admiration. The continued jokes were not of the shotgun variety, more an amused appreciation that went along the lines of 'Oh you couldn't wait because she is so irresistible.' People called me powerful and looked impressed. I was touched and felt myself soften and open at this unexpected source of approval.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

"Disconnect Sunday" and space to breathe

Last weekend, we started a thing in our house called "Disconnect Sunday". It was Mother's Day so as all normal rules were suspended anyway, it could hardly be called a launch. Doing it again today, till 6pm as agreed with my other half, actually means it could turn into a thing we do. Every week. On a normal Sunday.

This is not a religious thing. Sunday was the day of choice as naturally it is a family day when we probably wouldn't miss much in the virtual world. It basically means phones off, tablets off, PCs off, no Wifi, no mobile internet. Yes it is old-school. It is how we, the pre-"digital natives" generation, used to live. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Mummy start ups: Empowerment or last resort?

Women with children appear to be starting up businesses left right and centre. These include a huge array of options such as small cottage industry type start ups (crafts and baking on the kitchen table after bedtime), re-training in massage, nutrition or hypnobirthing, joining franchises such as La Jolie Ronde and Monkey Music, freelance copy writing, PR or graphic design and also starting up retail empires such as Not on the High Street and JoJoMamanBebe.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The 7 items I wouldn't be without! Forget glamour, hello Sudocrem face mask...

This is not an advertising feature, I have received no free samples. These are basically things that occured to me in the last few days as stuff that really does make life easier when parenting small children. They ain't glamorous but they are multifunctional, practical, cheap! A few of my friends have become parents for the first time recently. I dedicate this post to you...

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Would you send your daughter to a girls' school?

So, this is quite a premature question for me as my daughter is only 4 years old and in her first year of school. There are some single sex private schools which segregate from a very young age, but in the state sector, it is common from age 11 when children join the big, bad world of secondary school! Having sorted out primary, inevitably my mind turns to the next educational quandary, where next?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

What does success mean to you?

There was a fascinating article this week by Alison Wolf in the Guardian. She argued that feminists today are too obsessed with climbing ladders, achieving high salaries and entering the circles of power and influence. Quotas on company boards, all female shortlists for parliament and achieving professional success. While this may make highly educated, elite women more visible, it does nothing to improve representation for women of all backgrounds and classes. Rather than the traditional image of the woman behind the man, we now have the team of cleaners and nannies behind the elite women; breaking glass ceilings while leaving the rest behind. As Wolf puts it,
"Class trumps gender. And inequality among women is rising much faster than inequality among men."

Thursday, 1 January 2015

What I have learnt about SLEEP...

My son is finally starting to sleep through. In his own bed. HURRAY. HALLELUJAH. AND THANK GOD (and I'm not even religious). I am allowing myself to be smug about this. He is not 6 weeks old. I am not looking around at other parents of newborns with a self-satisfied air that my tiny infant has somehow defied the laws of nature and has taken to 12 hours straight as though they were born to it. No, my son is two and half. Yep, YEARS, not months.