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Women are rubbish at sport

15 Mar

Really?

Well if you talk to the mums and women I know, that’s what you’d believe. Recently I set up a weekly training session with ‘Ron’ – a fabulous trainer who I’d met while working on a feature.

But as a sex, I must confess we are rubbish. Not one of the women I spoke to said: “yeah but watch out as I get really competitive, so be prepared to eat my dust.”

It was all: “Well… I’m really bad at sports/I’m really unfit/I haven’t done any exercise since the birth of Tiddles/ I can’t run….” you get the picture. And I’m not judging them because I include myself in this. I regularly use the lines: “I make a ‘grapevine’ look like Spaghetti hoops” and “I gave up aerobics as I knew my super-bad co-ordination would never improve so I’d be able to actually go in the right direction as the rest of the class.” to belittle my abilities – which as it turns out are not quite as awful as I remember.

It’s just insane and I’m coming across it ALL the time – Many of the women I now know are the women all those articles were written about over International Women’s Day – we are the lost mummies – the professional women who had good careers up till about 35, then had kids and are now floundering in the ridiculous ‘you-can-have-it-all’ mantra we were promised as children of the 80s but clearly doesn’t exist.

But it’s not just these women who have this self doubt – and it’s not just in sports – this was just the latest example.

Over the years I’ve interviewed many successful women (often not mothers) and I would guestimate that at least 80-90% of them have self doubt and are constantly scared that they are going to be found out as frauds and will be ‘discovered’ as inept or incapable of doing their job.

What is it in the female psyche that makes us put ourselves down so much… and so often? I just can’t imagine men saying those things. We limit ourselves by our own put-downs. Surely there are enough external influences out there in the big wide world to put us down and challenge our success, we shouldn’t need to sabotage ourselves and our own potential as well.

I don’t know what the answer is, it seems no one does – but it sure isn’t belittling ourselves and our abilities. Every one of the women I’ve come across is not only super-capable, intelligent, charming but they are also adeptly juggling more than most circus performers. That’s not to be sniffed at, or belittled. Ever. Especially by ourselves.

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A smile costs nothing

15 Mar

Children are so perspicacious.

Walking along the street this morning, my five year old and I passed four policemen. As we walked by she smiled and said ‘hello’. The response. Blank looks and lowered heads to avoid her eye line.

So my daughter asks: “Mummy why is it that firemen always smile and wave at us, but policemen never say hello or smile and are so grumpy?”

Good question.

My children love the fire station, they always get waves and smiles and are even occasionally invited in to sit in the fire engine, try on a helmet or watch a fireman slide down the pole. They think firemen are great and always pass the entrance hoping there will be someone there they can make contact with by wave or whatever. Conversely they are already disappointed with the police.. the smiles are rarer than hen’s teeth and they only get personal contact at open days and fetes etc, where they are mobbed.

It’s common knowledge the police have a generic image problem. So smiling, being friendly and showing willing that you are a part of a community would surely be a good thing. Community policing is hard enough but a smile to a five year old not only costs nothing, has no dangerous side effects, but also puts police in the “friendly, there to help” category of a child’s mind – rather than some aloof untouchable.

I fail to see how this could be a bad thing and think it could go some way to improve the police image for the future. There are already plenty of ‘kids’ who see them as ‘the enemy’. It may seem simplistic and clearly it’s not the only solution, but smiling more will never build barriers, however, it just may help break some down.

Nits

12 Feb

Every week it seems we get a note either from the school or nursery warning that yet ANOTHER set of nits is doing the rounds.

I have stocked up on the obligatory nit comb, lotion etc and made a mental note of how I will wash and clean everything in 24 hours so as to expunge the creatures from my home should they dare enter, but so far we have managed to escape any infestation.

This does not, however, stop me from becoming totally neurotic every time I visit a hairdressers. As they part my hair and say in that inane way “So how would you like it today?” I can’t think straight, I’m watching their eyes, looking at the reflection of their comb running through my parting hoping, nay praying, that they do not see bugs jumping up and down on my scalp or little white eggs clinging to strands of hair.

I live in fear of the words: “I’m so sorry Mrs G. (married name) I’m afraid we can’t do your hair today, you have nits.”

Kids & nits, I can deal with… but me being ‘outed’ in a salon – that must surely be the ultimate humiliation. I wonder if I’m the only one with such neuroses or if other mothers have to confront similar demons just to get a trim?

 

Present Politics

6 Nov

There are 30 kids in Ellie’s class, then there’s the kids she knew at nursery, then there’s the NCT group, then there are old friends who have kids of a similar age, then there are the neighbours -and then there’s the same for Josh.

Kids parties are therefore a constant feature in our weekend lives and present buying can break the bank if you’re not careful. I don’t want to be mean, but I do try to have a sense of perspective – they’re only five after all and Josh’s peers are only 3 – how much do they really need?

But using this philosophy and living in the glossy environs of west London, I’m sometimes found wanting.

Awful moments come in many forms – major, life changing ones we can’t do anything about – and the little ones that are merely mortifyingly embarrassing – like when the going home present in the obligatory goodie bag is the same as the gift you’ve just given. Gulp.

#busted as a cheapskate

A cheeky little plucker

1 Nov

No, the title’s not a pun about chickens or a random tie into the game season, it is me, ‘coming out’ about my unfortunate addiction: plucking.

Like any addiction, it started innocuously enough, the odd rogue eyebrow hair – hardly Denis Healey but rogue none-the-less. A quick pluck with a pair of tweezers and boom! eyebrow control once more.

Now the mention of control obviously rings alarm bells. I’m no psychiatrist but aren’t all proper addictive behaviours: bulimia, anorexia, alcoholism, drugs, self harming etc –  either fundamentally or in part about control or loss of it.

I realised tonight, as I undergo my now daily plucking session before bed in the quiet of my own bathroom – the only time in fact I ever really get in the bathroom alone these days – that this five minutes of plucking has become my sanctity – my refuge – and my ‘me’ time. I need it, I crave it, I’d panic if I couldn’t find my tweezers, yikes –  It’s true, I am addicted to plucking.

I love nothing more than getting a sneaky hair by the tweezer tips and plucking it out, full follicle and all. The excitement and rush – it’s a mood changer, enhancer, whatever you like to dubb it. But woe betide the breaker – that horrible moment when, despite a good grip with the tweezers the hair snaps at the root, leaving a tiny stubb, too small to grab again, too long to create a smoothe finish.

Maybe I should try going cold turkey to get over my obsession – or perhaps, with Christmas coming up, I could just pluck the turkey instead. (boom boom)

Middle Aged Drunk Dialling

9 Oct

I’ve long been a fan of Caitlin Moran, and having enjoyed her articles & book, I then finally got round to reading this piece “I got the infant from Time Out drunk”

I would just like to point out to the juvenile puker at Time Out, that although he may have vommed, Ms Moran was not exactly immume to the effects of the vino. As any slummy-mummy will know, Boden shopping to mums is essentially mummy porn for the middle class, slightly tipsy mother – or maternal drunk dialling if you will, for want of a better equivalent.

Better we shop online & spend a small fortune while fantasising about perfectly coiffed kids than fantasise about other men, dialing up old flames or generally causing more trouble for ourselves than need be.

Boden can always be returned & refunded. No harm done.

Mumisms

12 Sep

I just did it again…

Definition of a mumism: A fact your mum told you years ago, probably as a child, that stuck in your head which you randomly use in grown up conversation years later without thinking – only to realise that it’s not a fact at all and you just took it as such because YOUR MUM SAID IT WAS SO….AND YOU BELIEVED IT HOOK, LINE AND SINKER.

My latest mumism:

To my friend: “The only reason stopping me moving to Bristol is that it’s the wettest part of the UK, got it’s own special micro-climate” – even without googling this, it’s a pretty safe bet this  isn’t actually true but i said it with my default – I-trust-my-mum – head on and then had to admit I just fell foul of a classic mumism..

A quick google seems to suggest Cumbria .

Thanks mum. So Bristol’s back in the running then.