Month: January 2012
So I came across another article yesterday that basically blamed mothers for any messed up adults (again!) the headline being – ‘How bond with mother in first 18 months can shape our love life!’ I should probably say it was in the Daily Mail which helped me not to take it too seriously. However, the article was based on research done by a team of psychologists and university professors (The study is published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science) which again doesn’t particularly mean it’s any more true – but nevertheless made it appear slightly more official. The researchers found ‘those children with a secure bond with their mothers were likely to have more successful relationships later on in life’. This much I agree with and I know there has been extensive research that the first years are of huge significance to a person’s life course. There has also been extensive research on how physical touch and love have a massive effect on the brain development of children – see a brilliant book on this called ‘The Science of Parenting’. However, the research in this article goes a step further claiming:
‘Your interpersonal experiences with your mother during the first 12 to 18 months of life predict your behaviour in romantic relationships 20 years later.’
Apparently the ability to ‘trust, love and work through arguments’ is developed early on in these crucial stages. I don’t think a single person could read the article and not end up analysing whether there is a correlation between their mother’s love and the success or failure of their relationships. My problem with this is whether it gives adults an excuse for poor behaviour and encourages a lack of responsibility for one’s actions.
The article does go on to say, ‘Old patterns can be overcome. A betrayed baby can become loyal. An unloved infant can learn to love.’ Which suggests we are not a slave to our upbringing though even this was put in a particularly harsh way.
It is not new news that our childhood affects who we are as adults but when it comes to romantic relationships I would have thought we were more influenced by the opposite sex parent to a larger extent and surely at a much later stage in life? As with most sweeping statements it ignores the multitudes of other factors that influence a persons conduct in a relationship.
If this study is to be trusted then where does that leave every mother who has suffered with post natal depression and was unable to bond with her child during that crucial first year? Feeling pretty crap I would think!
I’m a firm believer that most things can be turned around with a big, and consistent, dose of love and that we have the power to change ourselves, break the mould and decide who we want to be!
After a few weeks on the wagon, I’m afraid I’m back on the Picnik…
Anyway, I think this is what the tap might look like if I spent too much time with fivegoblogging’s Gin O’clock posting! Click on the badge if you haven’t seen it yet.
It’s all gone a bit surreal and sixties here!
Having written last week about being a Mum and working flexibly around your family, I have been thinking about the term “Mumpreneur”. I know that the term made it into the OED at the end of last year and that this caused a bit of a debate to arise. There are many who seem to find the term derogatory, and yet since becoming a Mum and considering my options with regard to working around my family, I have also seen the term used positively by many individuals, communities and companies.
So, what’s the debate all about?
The first post I read, the one that made me think about this at all in fact, was a post by Lynn Harris. Her perspective is that the term Mompreneur (she is writing for the American audience, hence “Mom”) is often used to patronise and belittle the achievements of women in business. “let’s face it: when we are not among other mothers who are prepared to salute and support us, the word “mom” has a different — and diminutive — connotation.” I’ll be honest; I hadn’t really considered this. I am in awe of women who successfully have a family and run a business. I find the idea of working for myself and doing it around my commitments to my family a really beguiling one. But then I am one of the “other mothers who are prepared to salute and support”. I hadn’t thought about those who might not. Those who might use the term to suggest that you were somehow not as serious about your job as a proper entrepreneur, after all you don’t hear of many men being called Dadpreneurs; men are entrepreneurs with a family.
So I searched about a bit and it seems that there are many people who subscribe to the same thoughts as Lynn Harris. Jen Walshaw of Mum in the Madhouse says that the term suggests that “not only do we often run a home, but in between it all we manage to do a little work” Rebecca Jones of Business in Red Shoes says that she has “asked men and women in business what they think and the majority worry that it implies they are a mum first and business comes second”, suggesting that the term may be “hindering their business appeal for those who worry their role as a mum will interfere with their abilities as a business woman.” If this is the perception, then how come so many women in business do use and associate with the term?
I emailed Erica Douglas of littlemummy.com. She is one half of Become a Mumpreneur, so I assumed that she must be able to tell me something positive about the term! I saw Erica and her partner Antonia Chitty speak at the Business and Baby Show 2011 and have taken e-courses both via littlemummy and BAM, they are certainly using the term Mumpreneur to connect with their target market and seem to be encouraging women to embrace the term and use it to move themselves forward as both Mums and business women.
Erica’s response was very interesting. She said that “a Mumpreneur is someone who has gone into business because they are a mum.” She also highlighted the sense of community that there can be with the term Mumpreneur “I think there are many mums in business who do identify with the term, and for them it gives them a group or ‘tribe’ to feel a part of and gain support from.” Interestingly, Erica says that she feels that the term Mumpreneur only describes one stage of business and that there comes a time when your business and lifestyle move past this title; where children become less dependent. This ties in with Rebecca Jones’ point. Perhaps women who identify with the term are women who do put their family first and their business second? I personally would see this as a strength in many ways, although I can see Rebecca’s point that as a client I may be less forgiving.
I suppose overall the key thing is that the term Mumpreneur can be useful if you identify with it, if your clientele identify with it in a positive manner and if it says the right things about you and your business. It is not a useful term if it is applied to you in a pejorative way as a means of suggesting that you are not as good at your job as others who are not ‘distracted’ by family. For me, one sentence stood out in Erica Douglas’ email and it was this “If I decide I’m going to do something then no terminology in the world will stop me aspiring to that.”
So, women who work for yourselves and have a family, keep aspiring to be the best you possibly can; refer to yourselves in whatever way you wish and do not be limited by language.
… and here’s the answer – I like the radiator idea, everyone, but I’m afraid this is what it actually is:
I read with interest yesterday an article on the updated findings of a landmark report published three years ago by the Children’s Society – ‘A Good Childhood’ which I blogged on some months back – here. The previous study warned that young people’s lives are being blighted by Britain’s selfish society. However, the updated findings say that ‘half a million children in Britain are unhappy at any moment’. Following interviews with 30,000 under-16s it claims those who have deeply negative feelings about their lives are at higher risk of bullying, depression and eating disorders. At first glance it makes for depressing reading and is another stark reminder that we still have unacceptable levels of child poverty in this country are more than unacceptable. But, I then realised that the study was not talking about children on the poverty line but children in general across the board!
As I read on what actually concerned, and frankly annoyed, me about the report was the findings that;
‘Children who worry that they do not have the right clothes to “fit in” with classmates are three times as likely to be unhappy with the way they look, with the problem affecting girls more than boys.’ And ‘Those who received less pocket money than their peers reported lower levels of well-being, but so did those who were given a lot more cash, suggesting that children want to be similar to their friends more than they want to be rich.’
I’m sorry but since when did we not balk at the idea that our responsibility for making our children ‘happy’ lies with providing them with the right ‘clothes’ and enough pocket money? Is it just me or is something amiss here? Should it not be more cause for alarm that the emphasis and importance placed on image, labels and material things in general is completely out of control and endemic? Instead of being encouraged to revise our children’s opinions we’re being pressured to adhere to their demands and (in my opinion) helping to compound the problem.
Don’t get me wrong; I do understand the mortification of not having a ‘puff-ball’ skirt, ‘Wallabies’ or a ‘United Colors of Benetton’ sweatshirt at school because we were a single-parent family who lived on a council estate! However, despite our low income, my mum always dressed us ‘well’ albeit not the latest labels. My mum, instead encouraged us to be individual and suggested it was cool to be different – just as well seen as we were the only mixed-race kids in our entire year! I remember my aunt made us some ‘flares’ just before they heavily came in fashion (I’m talking the second time round in the 90’s – I’m not that old!) and although we were a little nervous at wearing them in the first week, the ‘top girl’ of the school came up to us asked us where we got them from and if our aunt would make her some! There is a lot you can get away with if you’re confident and this attitude has got me a long way in life ever since. I just think it’s a much more helpful trait to encourage in your child – confidence, individuality and setting the trend rather than following it.
There is a big difference between not having any shoes at all (real child poverty) and not having the ‘right’ shoes. And as for pocket money – don’t even get me started. They don’t know they’re born!!
The BearCub is really into cooking lately and I’m not one to discourage culinary skills in a man! We do a lot of ‘play’ cooking and he loves creating me weird and wonderful meals to pretend to eat. However, when he really wants to get messy and do the real thing I send him to aunty!! My sister lets BearCub do everything I would never let him do: unload the dishwasher, play guitar (a real one), rearrange her cupboards and cook with ‘real’ food!! I guess that is what favourite aunties are for! Well last time she let BearCub lose on her kitchen they made some actually really delicious cakes and when I asked her about it she told me she found the recipe designed for kids to really get involved and do most of it themselves – which of course BearCub loved. So I thought I’d share it. It’s great to find kid friendly recipes and always a bonus if the result is edible!!!
The recipe is from Cook UK and it really is a cake recipe that your kids can make with minimum supervision. They promise that, “Children will enjoy making the cake mixture and seeing it turn into small cakes within half an hour” and my sister says it’s true. Furthermore the site has sections where it says which parts you need to do and which parts your child can do by themselves so they can really feel ownership of their creations:
For the cakes
2 medium eggs
110g / 4oz self-raising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
110g / 4oz butter (soft)
110g / 4oz sugar
170g / 6oz icing sugar
85g / 3oz butter (soft)
3 drops of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of milk
12 Cake Cases
THE ADULT: This recipe is a lot easier if the butter is soft.
YOU – Pour all the ingredients for the cakes (not the Butter Icing ingredients) into a bowl and start off the mixing.
Preheat the oven to 170 C / 325 F / Gas Mark 3.
YOUR CHILD – Continue mixing until all the ingredients are well mixed together.
Use a spoon to fill each cake tin about half to two thirds full with cake mixture.
YOUR CHILD – Place the filled cake case on a baking tray. A flat tray is fine but if you have a bun tin with cake case holes, all the better (click picture on right to enlarge).
YOU – Place the baking tray in the pre-heated oven (170 C / 325 F / Gas Mark 3). Put it in the middle of the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Do not open the oven door for at least 20 minutes. If you do, the cakes may well collapse. They are cooked when golden brown.
YOU – Use a sharp knife to slice off the top part of each cake. Click the picture on the right to get a better idea of the size of the slice.
Cut the sliced off cake into two, these will be used later to form the wings of the butterfly.
YOUR CHILD – Place all the ingredients for the butter icing in a large bowl and stir for about five minutes until all the ingredients are well combined.
YOUR CHILD – Place about a teaspoon full of the butter icing on top of each cake. Then push the “wings” into the butter icing.
More decorations can be placed on the cake depending on what is available.