I’m feeling rather pleased with myself after launching this Blog last week, but I’ll let you into a secret…it was supposed to happen about 6 weeks ago! It was deeply frustrating to me that I just couldn’t seem to make it happen when I planned. There were a number of excuses reasons for this failure to implement: my eldest is in Year 10 and was doing some important exams, needing a lot of support and help with revision. My other two children seemed hardly to be at school – in the 3 months from the beginning of March to the end of May there were only 7 weeks where they spent 5 days there. I found that really hard to manage. And my two girls both had birthdays, therefore expectations, therefore parties (need I say more!) Added to that we are doing a lot of work on our house this year; spring was bathrooms so we’ve been toilet-challenged and under a permanent layer of dust for 3 months.
So, we had a lot going on, that seems to be a fact of modern-day family life, but I have never before felt the same degree of inertia, like I just wasn’t moving forward on anything. And I’m afraid to say that my frustration made me somewhat irritable at times, as well as feeling like I was under-achieving on all fronts. Not very Zen.
I’ve picked up similar feelings from a lot of other women recently, including those without children. People have been talking about negative energy and general discombobulation. Is it the alignment of the planets, or even something as prosaic as the weather? Wet, dry, sticky, cool, we just don’t know where we are!
Naturally, I turned to books for a bit of help. The Confident Mother by Sherry Bevan is a quick and easy read and something you will want to go back to. It certainly helped me to accept myself as “good enough” as a mother, partner and general citizen, when I was feeling a bit low. Years ago, when my eldest was about 2 years old I bought a book called Having it All? Choices for today’s superwoman by Paula Nicholson. I didn’t even have time to finish it, that’s how super I was! Never picked it up again. Too depressing. Sherry Bevan is a bit more my cup of tea. Good enough is good enough.
I also read Shattered: modern motherhood and the illusion of equality by Rebecca Asher. If you’re a bit more politically inclined and want to knock your partner into shape then this could be the book for you. I found it a little too angry for my taste, and a bit long, if I’m honest, but if you’re into studying this kind of thing, it could be worth a read.
Read more about both these books below.
I am reassured by people, better informed than I about this kind of thing, that change is in the air. Certainly, looking at the calendar, there are a lot more white spaces available for writing, reading, work and play, and as I write this, the rain has stopped and the sun is shining. I look forward to restoration of my mojo in the coming weeks and will keep you posted!
The Confident Mother by Sherry Bevan
Sherry Bevan is a business confidence coach and mentor who specialises in supporting women with children starting or running their own businesses. In her work she tackles head-on the challenges women face in pursuing their vocation alongside being a mother. Unlike Rebecca Asher in Shattered, who looks at the legal, structural and cultural factors which inhibit women’s progression, Sherry looks at the emotional and confidence issues. In that sense this is more of a practical work-through book, than a campaigning book to make you angry, like Rebecca Asher’s.
Sherry organised the Confident Mother Conference in January 2015 and this book brings together the interviews from that conference. These include parenting ‘experts’, business women, wellbeing and nutritional experts and other mothers who have been through the sorts of parenting challenges that most of us do not face. Each chapter represents a separate interview. At first, I did not like this structure; I was hoping for a bit more analysis and it seemed a little contrived. But the style grew on me as the chapters became more interesting and relevant. The style also means that you can skip chapters you may not want to read without it affecting your overall appreciation of the book.