Wednesday, 28 August 2013


A funny thing has happened... I appear to be having a baby.

Now, I know what you're thinking: we must be bonkers, right?! too....

Well, I would like you all to know, dear, dear readers, that this has nothing to do with adding to and enriching our family and everything to do with keeping you all entertained with comedic accounts of my (usually fruitless) attempts to breeze through parenthood in an effortless and elegant fashion.

A quick example of the calamities that frequently befall me:

I took the twins to my Mum's at the weekend, which is a couple of hours away in the car. Obviously because I was on my own and it was 28 degrees outside we got stuck in a massive traffic jam. We were stationary for about an hour, during which time the girl did a massive wee all over her carseat (don't ask me why I didn't put nappies on them - I'm pregnant and deranged). So, I stripped her off, put a nappy and dry clothes on her, stripped the boy and put a nappy on him too. By this point the people in the car next to us were openly laughing at these two naked wee chimpanzees jumping around the car. Her carseat was soaked through, and unfortunately the only thing I had to hand was a paper bag. So I sat her on the bag, strapped them both in and off we went. The girl then decides to eat the paper bag (now soaked with urine) and promptly throws up all over herself. Yum. By the time we arrive at Mum's we're all in a right pickle, so the girl gets showered off, changed into another set of dry, clean clothes.... and within 10 minutes falls into the pond. You can't make this stuff up!

I bet you can't wait to see what happens when I try to cope with 3...

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Working Mother

The vast majority of mothers I know have a job of some description; be it in an office, working from home, childminding or running their own business. It doesn't make them superstars, martyrs or villains, it's just life.

I'm actually struggling to put into words what it's sometimes like having a job when you are a parent. There are days when I am flying by the seat of my pants; just about on time getting everywhere, stressed, worried, always looking at the clock, feeling guilty that I'm not where I ought to be, wondering whether I put on deodorant this morning and knowing that I didn't brush my hair. And then there are days when getting everyone up and out of the house in the morning is a breeze; when the children wave me off absent-mindedly as they launch into an activity that is so much more interesting and stimulating than anything they'd ever get at home, and I go to work, drink hot cups of tea and have proper grown-up conversations.

The point is it's a massive undertaking to combine working and parenthood, and the two rarely cohabit peacefully. Indeed, they will often have stand-up screaming rows with each other over who gets priority. This means that there are certain truths about working mothers that need to be universally acknowledged:

  • Working mothers will not put in as many hours as non-mothers
  • They will likely have more time off work (due to child's illness, lack of childcare etc.)
  • They will be less flexible when it comes to working overtime and business travel
  • They will be out of the door at the end of the day
  • They will be less "social" outside of working hours

  • I'm not saying that these things are good, bad, justifiable, deplorable or lamentable. They just are facts.

    Unless of course you are Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, who appears in September's Vogue draped sexily across garden furniture in Yves Saint Laurent stilettos. I'm going to try to say the next part without venom (but you can probably guess whether I'm a fan or not) - Mayer got the job when she was 5 months pregnant with her first child, worked up until the day she gave birth, worked later on the same day she gave birth, took 2 weeks' maternity leave (because it's the law), built a nursery in the adjacent office for her baby and full-time nanny and proclaimed: 'The baby's been way easier than everyone made it out to be.'

    Maybe that's because you're not actually doing anything, Marissa! How can someone who has 24-hour help, including cleaners, housekeepers, gardeners, personal assistants, chefs and full-time nannies claim to even be a mother, let alone a working one?

    Mayer ingratiated herself further to her staff by demanding an end to flexible working hours and working from home, insisting instead that all remote employees report back to the office full-time. Does this mean that she built nurseries and paid for nannies for everyone she therefore screwed over who had to scramble to find somewhere to put their children? It does not.

    The irritating thing about this whole situation is that people might look at Mayer and thinks that's what a working mother is. A woman who can earn a gizillion dollars, be at the height of her profession, be a devoted wife and mother and still find ample time to frolic around being a sex symbol on the pages of fashion magazines. This is not what a working mother is, and not what a working mother should ever attempt to be. This might be the least feminist thing I've ever said, but after 2 years of juggling work and children, I really don't think we can have it all. What's more, I don't think we should try.

    After feeling perpetually inadequate when faced with Mayer and the like I have decided to prioritise and concentrate on doing the important things well. This means that I probably won't be a CEO by the time I'm 35, appear on the cover of Time magazine, have an immaculate house, finally lose the babyweight, do another master's degree, travel to foreign climes, volunteer for charity or get my freezer in order. But it might just mean that I enjoy my twins' childhood and every so often have a nice sit down and a biscuit.