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Showing posts from March, 2012

Reclaiming Motherhood: When Staying At Home Means Having It All

As a full time mother I know myself to be distinctly in the minority, and often experience that rather awkward, exposed feeling of realising that everyone else apart from me has left the dance floor. In the twenty first century Western world, the 'norm' for many women is to return to work and choose alternative care for their babies and children, and increasingly, pressure from government, society and the material world dictates that less and less women are making the choice to remain at home with their children. In 1981, only 24% of UK women returned to work within a year of childbirth; by 2001, it was 67%, and the most recent figures from the Department for Work and Pensions says that 76% of mothers now return to work within 12 to 18 months of having a child.

Prior to motherhood, I was a therapist, a profession which has a fairly long history of upsetting feminists and women in general with the news that care by someone other than a primary attachment figure, and in particul…

Becoming a Mother: The Wallpaper of Fear

Recently I wrote about the products marketed to girls and what the Bailey Review refers to the increasingly 'sexualised wallpaper' that surrounds our children today. I like the way this idea of 'wallpaper' neatly acknowledges that the imagery that surrounds us can and does have a huge impact on the way we think, feel and live our lives. This got me thinking about other wallpapers, fabrics, and trimmings that decorate our world and the way in which they might be impacting on us, either consciously or unconsciously.

Pregnant with my first child, about five years ago, I was terrified. My whole life I don't think I had ever heard anyone say a single positive thing about the act of giving birth, and to me it seemed an impossible horror. I knew that I absolutely had to do it, and often compared my situation to a person about to parachute jump from a plane, only they - lucky bastards - actually had the option to duck out at the last minute, which I didn't.

I wasn'…

While I Nurse You To Sleep...

While I nurse you to sleep... 
I...rest.  For the first time today, I am still.  I am not lifting, carrying, holding, bending, reaching, stretching, scrubbing, wiping, hauling, or lugging. Here in this dark room I lie beside you and allow my body and mind to come to stillness after the chaos of our day. You suck, and tug, you fiddle, and fuss...and slowly come to stillness too, until we both are still, and both are resting...I wait, momentarily, and then, I slowly slide away and leave you sleeping.

While I nurse you to sleep...
I...take stock. I turn over in my mind, the contents of the fridge, the washing on the floor, the money in the bank. I count up the years I've had so far and the years I might have left. I work out how old I will be when you are the age I am now - thirty seven - seventy two. I hope I make it. I count the eggs you already have in your body and those I have in mine and I wonder at the people they may become. I think about the person I was before I met you, the l…

Dolled Up: Products that Sexualise Our Children

Stuff matters. Sometimes it's hard to accept, and it can be easier to throw up our hands and declare that it doesn't. But it does. 
As a parent of two small girls I have already said my piece on this blog about today's massive culture of 'Girly Pink'. As the oldest grows bigger - she's now four - I've been looking at the world through her eyes and becoming increasingly concerned by the messages I feel she is being given, not just by the 'Pink' products that tell her to be a 'Passive Princess' - staying at home and brushing her hair while the boys get out there and fight dinosaurs - but by the large number of products that encourage her to dress up as a woman while she is still such a very young girl. Make-up, high heels, tight jeans, and more; all available in her sizes and marketed towards her.

It's easy to dismiss some of these products as 'a bit of fun', allowing our daughters to 'pretend to be like mummy', in the same …

Love Is The Answer: Ten Creative Ways to Strengthen Attachment

Attachment - the invisible threads that connect us to our children - woven from elements no lab could ever replicate: Love, Time, Connection, Closeness, Understanding...to name just a few.

A healthy, strong and positive attachment means happier, calmer children who grow into adults who are better able to cope with life and make happy and healthy attachments with others. Through you they are learning about the joy of 'relationship', about how wonderful life can be when you connect deeply with another person, when your eyes meet in laughter, when you love freely and without constraint.

For some, attachment comes naturally from the moment of birth, but for others, the weaving of the threads can take longer, perhaps because of a traumatic labour, unsuccessful breastfeeding, difficult life circumstances, or even spectres from our own childhood that can suddenly rear up and haunt us when we become mothers and fathers ourselves. Still others miss the first days or even months or year…