Prising free of my own perfectionism

My very nearly eight-year-old played Flounder in an amateur kids’ production of The Little Mermaid musical this weekend. I expected to be emotional (lots of welling up and wiping away tears: check!), proud (heart wildly drumming seeing her so confident and happy on stage: check!) and tired (check: it’s been months leading up to this, four performances in one weekend and I wasn’t even the one that involved!). What I didn’t expect was to be revisited by my lifelong frenemy, perfectionism. Perfectionism snuck up on me as I found myself assessing her and weighing up whether I felt this was…

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For our children, for us all – making more noise on gendering

“Is your husband a sports fan?” my phone provider’s rep asks nonchalantly. Distracted, I reply, “Yes he is but he doesn’t need his phone to…” The penny drops. “Hang on,” I flounder, “Isn’t that kind of sexist? Shouldn’t you ask if I’m a sports fan?” They sound amused, “Well, are you?” I’m flustered. That kind of isn’t the point and I tell them so. I tell them they should not be asking that question, that it reflects badly on their company. Then I move the conversation along quickly because I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable, even though I feel…

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On punishing myself as a parent

“You should never leave someone alone if they don’t want to be alone!” my six year old appealed to me. Laurence had been gone for a couple of days. The twenty month old was doing early mornings with the change of seasons and I was running on a deficit of sleep. After a particularly tiring day where every transition had been a struggle for my four year old, I just felt done. Now she wasn’t ready to get out of the bath and all I wanted to do was put the baby to sleep so I could sleep. So, feeling…

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Don’t wait to talk to your kids about sex

My six year old asked me the other day whether men’s bodies store sperm or make it continually. She qualified the question by pointing out that she knew baby girls were born with all their eggs. As we talked we got on to the subject of what happens once a month when an egg isn’t fertilised, how you insert a menstrual cup and why I’m not menstruating at the moment (ie lactational amenorrhea). She wandered off, seamlessly losing interest and moving on to something else but I paused, grateful that we’re able to have conversations like these. I’m also aware…

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How do we smash gender stereotypes for our girl family?

“Three girls! Poor dad!” Thanks, you’ve just told my children their dad wishes at least one of them were a boy. He doesn’t. “You have your hands full. Are they all…?” My eldest has started answering this one, “Yes, we’re all girls.” “Are you going to keep trying for a boy?” I guess the assumption here is that that’s what we were doing the second or third time. I’m always tempted to respond asking for advice on how to do that. I mean, is there a specific position for conceiving boys? Truly, I know that this is meant as friendly…

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How do we nurture our children’s self esteem?

Every now and then I have one of those I-hope-I’m-getting-it-right moments. I had one of them last night in the kitchen, chatting with Laurence about awkward conversations I’ve had about home education recently. Home ed is an easy concern trigger for me because it’s so blatantly alternative. Yet I wander down this hole when thinking about a lot of my day-to-day decisions when it comes to my children, knowing there’s no sign from the sky with a clear answer. “I’m not worried about their education,” he answered. I waited for some form of “I believe in you, babe” call to…

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It’s OK not to be OK

I keep finding myself responding to any of the question “How’s the pregnancy going?” with “Fine, thanks. Just tired.” It’s not totally inaccurate. Even compared to my own two previous pregnancies, I’m physically feeling positively spectacular to the point of sometimes forgetting that I’m even pregnant. That is if you don’t count the fact that I almost always need the toilet and even if you don’t see me making millions of bathroom trips when we’re out and about, you can bet “Need a wee” is there on my mental list of things I’m trying hard to ignore. When I say…

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