Ditch The Guilt

Household cleaning tools on a blue wooden floor

During the same weekend that I grit my teeth when the Duchess of Cambridge spoke about mother’s guilt  ( I tried to imagine Prince William ‘fessing up to the same thing – no me neither ), I read another article in the Observer by the goddess, Mariella Frostrup about tackling her insomnia. I don’t suffer from insomnia but have many friends who do and go to incredible lengths to try and ‘fix it’.

The big reveal was on its way:  what was Mariella going to attribute it to?  Hormones, the menopause, too much sugar, not enough sex… I can’t lie, I felt deflated when her answer did come.   For while anxiety and regular insomnia are synonymous with hormonal change in a woman’s 50s, it didn’t explain the nocturnal struggles experienced by younger women. On closer inspection she discovered, a picture starts to form that’s recognisable to any women who is knee deep in the mothering, marriage and career years. Read More…

The Things I’m Glad My Mother Told Me

The Things I'm glad My Mother Told Me

I never got round to writing either of my daughters a baby journal, celebrating their first smile, steps or words. As a full-time, working mother, I am lucky to rarely feel “the guilt,” but oddly, not having found the time to fill in those books has always niggled. I have no hope of trying to remember it all, and possibly, to make amends, I decided that far more useful than recording a six month old’s milestones would be to give each child a book of life maxims: tales from their mother’s lessons learned the hard way.

While my own mother has been able to impart first hand her natty Chinese pearls of wisdom, meted out at regular intervals – apparently earrings really do finish off your face – I sadly never knew my father. He died in a car crash when I was 15 months and my sister was a newborn, barely 36 hours old. He had just returned from visiting my mother and sister in hospital. It was a cruel twist of fate for a couple that had spent many years trying to conceive and who had finally been blessed with two children. The enormity of his death didn’t really register until I had my own children, but I’ve often wondered what he thought: what would he have told me to do, believe in, forget about, learn from.

And so, a year ago, I decided to start a sort of love letter to my girls. Read More…