To the woman lost in motherhood


To the woman feeling lost.

To the woman who is exhausted to her core.

To the woman who sees her laundry basket more than her friends.

To the woman who feels like everyone else is getting it right.

To the woman who feels like time is slipping past and she isn’t achieving anything.

To the woman who used to laugh and have fun. Who used to be fun.


We have all been there – or are there still.


No one has it all figured out, no matter how it looks from the outside.

That exhaustion can’t be fixed by sleep (although some more would be nice!).

You need to be your own priority. You deserve to meet your needs.

You deserve to not feel stuck.

Your worth is not tied up in how clean your house is, how much money you make, how many vegetables your kids eat.

Your success as a parent isn’t dependent on the sacrifices you make for your family. Denying your own feelings, interests and desires won’t mean that everyone is happy. It won’t bring happiness and ease to the home. It won’t protect you from illness, it won’t boost your kids’ chances at school or make them better readers or mean that they are polite and well-behaved or never get into trouble. Doing that won’t make life be whatever it is you think you achieve by being there for every second of their lives while letting yours quietly slipped away unmourned.

That laundry basket will never be empty. There will always be toys to pick up, dinners to cook and washing up to be done.

These things can keep you treading water, trying not to drown.

Do you want to tread water or do you want to swim?

Search for any lift raft that you can find to buoy you up, to support you until you find your stroke again. They exist, you just need to have the courage to cling on to one and see where it takes you.

The old you is still in there.

You deserve to find her.

You need to find her, show her to the world, show her to your children, to your friends, to your partner.

Being whole is just as important as caring for your family. Being whole is how you care for your family. It’s how you find snatches of peace in the chaos. How you resource yourself to deal with questions, demands, packed lunches, school runs, PTA meetings, squabbling siblings, flu-ridden households, parent taxi services, endless dinners and drinks and snacks and mopping up and wiping faces and holding space for everyone.

Want to be a ‘good’ mum whose children follow their hearts and dreams? Give yourself a break and model how it’s done.

What self-care might look like for mums in survival mode


Photo by Drew Taylor on Unsplash

When you are so far down the list of priorities, or your caring responsibilities are incredibly intense, self-care is something that is needed like air to breathe and clean water to drink.

Ironically, for the people who need it more that anyone, it’s often something that feels as achievable as climbing Everest. Much as I love to spread the message that mothers (and I’m focusing on mums because we are often the primary carers) need to get out of the house and put themselves first, I also know that can be a really triggering message to some of you.

Not every mother has the resources to leave their child. They may not a partner to share the emotional and physical load with. They may not have the money to pay alternative childcare. They may have a child so medically fragile, they cannot physically leave them alone and the childcare needed is so specialist that the options for help are severely limited.

Self-care looks very different in these situations and while regular nights out with friends and mini-breaks and date nights and evening classes would be amazing ways to press reset and make you feel whole again, we both know nothing like this is going to happen. So what do you do when time and finances are against you?

Continue reading “What self-care might look like for mums in survival mode”

Change is coming – can you help it?

Me with some of my sweet, powerful, approaching mid-life soul sisters

One of the great things about being the youngest of four is that I get to watch everyone else go through life’s milestones first. I can kind of try them on for size and make a mental note of what to do (or not to do) when my time comes.

The latest of these is menopause/perimenopause and, as I have three sisters in their late forties/early fifties, there’s a lot to observe right now.

Menopause used to be a taboo word. I think it still is to some extent. Something to be swept under the carpet or hushed up. No one wants to hear about extreme bleeds and crazy mood swings. No one wants to talk about ‘The Change’. After all, it’s the drying up and dwindling away of women as they cease to be important to the world.

Except that’s NOT what mid life is and that’s NOT what happens to women.

It’s time to change that outdated stereotype and stop letting the patriarchy keep us down! We are actually becoming strong, amazing, no-fucks-given powerhouses and we need to be respected for that.

We need to be telling our stories, sharing our struggles openly.

In the way that mothers have banded together to throw a light on the loneliness and difficulties modern motherhood can bring, I think it’s about time we were doing this for midlife women.

Luckily, someone has beaten me to it and created an amazing play all about it: Mid Life.

Screenshot 2019-11-08 at 16.20.03
The phenomenal cast of Mid Life


Mid Life, of which I have seen a 45-minute preview, is exactly the kind of thing we need. I cannot wait to see the whole thing. It was funny, it was sad and it was so well-observed (just wait till you see the suitcases containing the womens’ rage). I saw myself and my friends in these women, but it also made me realise what huge gaps there STILL are in society’s understanding of women and women’s stories. Especially as we age. We are a voice that isn’t being heard – partly because we aren’t being invited to speak.



Going to see this play is one way to change that. It will be on at The Bristol Old Vic and Barbican in London, but I’m really passionate about helping more women see it. There’s the chance it could go on tour to Brighton, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and more but it needs financial help to get there.

After raising a considerable amount to put it on at the Bristol Old Vic and Barbican, time is running out to reach their crowdfunding target. They need £2K more in the next 18 days! 

I’d love it if you could help, and donate HERE not only because this topic is important to me (it’s the second post I have done on it recently) but this theatre company is important too.

Diverse City specialises in making theatre accessible. That means, as well as giving everyone (black, gay, disabled, whatever, actors) a chance to act and be involved in productions, every performance is signed and audio described. To someone who is used to picking up the crumbs of accessibility for my son, instead of feasting on it as a main meal, this is huge. This play is no exception. Everyone will be able to access it and hear these women’s voices. What impact could that have for generations to come?

See you at The Old Vic…?





STOP doing the laundry



Mums, I need you to listen to me on this one. I’m telling you, kindly, with your best interests at heart, that you need to stop doing everyone’s washing. At least for a while. 

Let’s face it, you never get on top of it anyway (apart from in those halcyon heatwave days where you can wash and dry, like, five loads a day). I last saw the bottom of my laundry basket in June 2018 (I was out of the country for the crazy 2019 weather). And I have made peace with that.

I used to prioritise the washing and the washing up. In a life where I often feel I have no control and simply blunder around from one bout of chaos to the next, the laundry was something I could control. 

Sorting whites from coloureds from darks from stripes from towels from bedding. Folding little pants and socks and vests and t-shirts. Making nice neat piles of everyone’s clean clothes. It made me feel like I was practical. I was useful. I was contributing to the household now I no longer earned a wage.

These menial tasks took priority and while I had two small children under my feet I was spending lots of time in the house. I wanted it to be neat and ordered.

Before I knew it though, the children grew a little and started school and nursery. I had grand plans to write and maybe earn some of my own money again. But the laundry kept coming. It was getting in my way and alongside cooking and washing up, it was taking up nearly all my child-free time, leaving me anxious and unfulfilled.

That’s when I realised it was a metaphor for my life.

Putting the washing at the top of my to-do list was replicating the way I put myself at the bottom of the pile every day. Leaving my desires to ebb away and turning my into a shell of myself. Who was I? What did I want? What did I like? How could I do or achieve anything when I wasn’t giving myself the chance to meet my needs and stoke my soul fire?

Boundaries needed to be set. With myself, I hasten to add.

I announced I was no longer going to be doing washing, washing-up or cooking on my days off. No one else cared. However, I had to learn to be uncomfortable with a little more mess and chaos. I had to learn to see that my need to be creative and to write and take on projects was worth more than an empty washing basket.

As I write this, there are dirty dishes festering by the sink. If I did them, I would not be able to tap this out. And so, like my last post about not having to do all the things, I need you to stop putting those crumpled t-shirts and stained jeans above what you want and need to do. Set aside some time to do enough laundry that everyone has clean essentials but all the clothes do not need to be clean all the time. (Which will also positively impact the environment, so pat yourself on the back for being more eco).

One more time, in case you’re missing what I am saying. This isn’t just my story.

Your worth is not tied up in how clean your house is.

You do not have to do everyone’s washing, every day, for time immemorial.

It’s OK to want and need things.

It’s OK to go after these things and invite them into your life at the expense of order and cleanliness.

If you put the order and cleanliness first, I can quite confidently say you will never lead a life you are happy with and your dreams will remain exactly that. There will be no time for YOU.

Put the washing basket down and go and walk in the woods or write your blog or listen to music or read a book. That is not wasted time.

If you light yourself up from the inside, you will be the calm among the chaos that you crave.

Mums: It’s OK not to do all the things. We all need an ‘I don’t’ list

I read this post this morning and resonated deeply.

This bit really got me:

How could you possibly be [doing enough]? You’re a woman, living in an age of extreme expectation. Superwoman Syndrome has shaken off its shoulder pads, pulled on its activewear leggings and buddied up with Hustle Culture to provide you a continual feed of All The Ways You Could Be Better.  If you’re a woman with a child, then throw in a dose of Peak Parenting, and the bar for a successful life is now so high the Hubble telescope would squint.’

That’s me, right there. Constantly worrying if I am doing enough and constantly finding myself lacking. I need to give myself a break. So, note to self…. Continue reading “Mums: It’s OK not to do all the things. We all need an ‘I don’t’ list”

The biggest reason mothers have burnout



Aaaaaaaarrrrgh. This quote. This mentality. THIS is why mothers today are struggling so much. It’s such toxic messaging.

A friend shared this meme the other day and while I recognise myself in it (I’m often the first up and the last to eat breakfast), I also recognise that continually putting myself bottom of the pile is the reason I get overwhelmed, angry, burned out as a mother.

We need to stop doing this. We need to prioritise our needs. We can show our loved ones that we love them in so many ways, including respecting and honouring ourselves. Modelling that we are worthy of eating when we are hungry, having a hot meal, using the loo when we need to.

Otherwise our daughters won’t treat themselves with the respect they deserve. They won’t learn to recognise their needs. They too will buckle under their mental load. Our sons will see us as someone who meets their needs at the expense of their own and expect their partners to do the same. Our partners will carry on letting us shoulder so much of the responsibility of raising a family without even realising the imbalance and the negative effect it can have.

We can change this message. Put yourself first, at least some of the time. Show everyone that your needs are as valid as everyone else’s. It’s a small act with big consequences and your family and your mental health will thank you for it.