Why a gender equal society starts at home

Why a gender equal society starts at home

This term - for the first time ever - our junior school introduced the uniform option of trousers for girls. Previously, they had needed to wear a loose tartan tunic with either a plain turtleneck or shirt and tie (I know - at least my 5 year old already knows how to get dressed for the boardroom), and now they can opt for long grey trousers like the boys.

The idea was a slow burner. A couple of innovators came in on the first day of term with trousers, tie and shirt (respect), a handful more joined them a couple of weeks later with the trouser and jumper option, and my 7-year-old daughter – an early majority in this respect - took until half-term to bite the bullet.

The weather plus the current girl craze for handstands (no-one wants to show their pants off at this age) has helped sway a late majority and now we are probably at a third of the female population of the school in trousers (my 9-year-old won’t go near them).

Which I think is brilliant. Because it’s been a child-led innovation and it shows just how little they are even aware of the gender stereotypes that society and we as parents so often unconsciously project onto them.

5 reasons why all mamas should try life coaching

5 reasons why all mamas should try life coaching

So why would you need a life coach when you’re doing perfectly well on your own, thank you very much…

Well, ARE you? Truly?

Are you living the life that you envisaged for yourself before the life bomb that is kids? Are you, for example, being paid to do what you love? Are you mothering in a calm and positive way? Are you successfully managing the work/life/parenting tussle? Do you feel confident and happy? Are you proud of your body and the way that you look? Are you carving out some regular me-time?

Sadly, most mamas aren’t doing many of the above, regardless of how talented, balanced and brimming with self-esteem they were before embarking on the parenting adventure.

Not that it’s anyone’s fault. The will is usually there. Just not enough energy to go round after everyone else’s needs have come first…

How to manage the mama juggle...

How to manage the mama juggle...

Breakfast prepared and wolfed down? Check. Teeth washing/hair brushing/face cleaning/bag packing supervised? Check. Snacks/games kits/coats and shoes dished out? Check. School run done and dusted? Check. And it’s not even 8.30am.

Now all that remains is to deal with the carnage that has been left behind before getting on with YOUR stuff. Sound familiar?

It’s not exactly the most calming start to the day.

And yet if you are an ambitious, multi-tasking mama who also either runs her own business or works for someone else, this is just part of the course. It’s called the MAMA JUGGLE.

Its just one more responsibility that was secretly allocated to you when you unwittingly signed the Motherhood Contract (from which you are never allowed to resign): managing the house and all of its contents, their upkeep and emotional wellbeing…

The question is, how do you manage it successfully?

On navigating the triggers of parenting...


(My latest blog has been featured on the Women's Network. I'm super excited to be included as one of their storytellers! Click on the READ MORE link below for the entire story). It has taken me a while to accept that life is a journey of ups and downs. Mainly because I hate being down. But whilst I would love to feel eternally connected, centred and serene, I have come to appreciate that the triggers that cause the downs in life, are actually gifts. I have learnt to see them as opportunities to restore the spiritual imbalance which is presenting itself for attention (when I am willing, that is).

Somehow though, these potential lessons always seem to catch me unawares, despite being the parent of three small kids who provide me with perfect trigger-fodder on an almost daily basis. After all, they know exactly which buttons to press, they don’t ever let up, and I’m kind of stuck with them.

Last week was a particularly bad example. I’d had enough of being greeted at the school gate with a sulk. I was really fed up with restoring the living room to its normal state after daily ‘den-building’ exercises and I was finding them particularly boisterous, demanding and ungrateful. I was also premenstrual. And as a rule, the more stressed I am, the less present I am as a parent, so I was not being particularly patient, kind nor nurturing. Which made me feel even worse.


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On sharing the love...


Today I had to go to two different banks to change our address, and then to the post office in order to get our mail redirected during our year abroad. I had to bring the three kids with me. Not exactly fun on a hot, sunny day but it had to be done. The to-do list just couldn’t be put off any longer. The only post office that does this is the main one in the centre of town which has big queues and is full of people with not much room to move around. You know the kind where you need to take a ticket with your number on so that you know when it is your turn. The hot and stuffy kind that you really don’t want to be going any where near during the school holidays when accompanied by small people.

And, on cue, as soon as we got there all three started climbing all over one of the clusters of red cushioned seats and all over each other. The just 3 year old inadvertently kicked a woman twice whilst attempting a forward roll from one side to the other. I went bright red and resorted to my best 'stage whisper' to tell them to get down IMMEDIATELY (that voice you use when you want to show your disapproval but can’t shout because you are in public and the room is otherwise silent).

As an alternative form of amusement, they then turned to “welcoming” people into the building by standing on the pavement outside, right next to the busy road and bus stop. They kept being ushered back in by the man on duty who was clearly terrified they would either get abducted or run over on his watch. He kept looking over at me with a fixed smile and raised eyebrows as though to ask me to keep an eye on them. I kept smiling and shrugging at him in an attempt at miming my response of gratitude/powerlessness to move or do anything differently.

I was actually half pretending that the kids weren’t mine (my new parenting rule is that anything goes as long as they are not fighting), as well as half arguing with the post office lady that my council tax bill definitely WAS as good a proof of address as a utility bill, when an old lady tapped me on my shoulder. “I just wanted to say that your children.....” I held my breath in a mixture of fear and apprehension... “look so happy and healthy. You can see that they are really well looked after.” Gosh! I was bowled over. And in true English style, unable to take a compliment without belittling it somehow - why DO I do that? - I responded that they had actually just been clambering all over the chairs so they weren’t actually that good but she responded “yes, but they took their shoes off first in order to do so. That shows how thoughtful they are.” She continued “I am 83 and I have seen lots of children in my life and yours are some of the sweetest. You can just tell how well looked after they are. It’s lovely to see”. I was speechless.

Later that morning I reflected that sometimes it takes an outsider to show you what is right in front of your nose. I so often focus on the potential discomfort their behaviour might cause others: the excess noise, the unwanted physical contact, the boisterousness, that I forget that others might not see it that way. They just see a bunch of great kids being kids. The overall picture is obvious to anyone on the outside: that I have three, healthy, beautiful children that ARE sweet, confident, thoughtful, intelligent, curious, friendly, affectionate and kind. And that hasn’t happened all by itself. It is thanks in part to me, their very own Bobomama. Which must surely be the definition of a job well done?

So this post is for all those mamas out there that get so caught up in the daily grind that they temporarily forget just how blessed they are: that their kids really are awesome and that that is mostly because they are doing a great job. Sometimes it takes a stranger to remind us of what we know deep down is true. My encounter with the kind old lady made my day. So I’m sharing some of that love and passing it on...

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