Cake

#DoSomethingYummy – Eat Cake!

Today I had a huge pile of Mummy bloggers at my house and here is the massive pile of cake we had (in fact there was more, but I missed off some lovely biscuits!)

       

This is the advantage of living in St Albans; the Mummy Blogging capital of the world.  Lots of bloggers and lots of cake!  I think that we can potentially look a little scary when we go to an event together, but we are really very friendly – after all everyone who eats cake must be friendly!

I know that they wanted a look at each others blogs, and thought you might want to know who else hangs out around me.  So here is the list of cake eaters …

  1. Helen Redding – Crumbs and Pegs – who feels she is a newbie; I can remember what that feels like, I still feel like that myself sometimes!
  2. Annie Robb – Just Annie QPR – who brought eggs and will be my children’s heroine this weekend as they love eggs for breakfast and are loving make easter decorations.
  3. Renatka Behan – Fabulicious Food – who made the big chocolate cake and cupcakes; all I can say is yum!
  4. Penny Carr – Mrs C – the lovely Penny, always so humble about her blogs success
  5. Clare Rudd – The Veggie Experience – poor lass had to sit on a wooden step with no complaint
  6. Helen Wills – Actually Mummy –
  7. Chrissie – Mediocre Mum – so pleased to see her since her husbands accident and hear that all is OK
  8. Heidi Roberts – Kitchen Talk – brought warm banana bread, much to Chrissie’s delight
  9. Mirka – All Baby Advice – the memorable Mirka who managed to not give birth while there – phew!
  10. Me – who eats cake, and has a rubbish memory!

I admit to having help – the lovely Nanny Bets came over to keep an eye on the kids, so that we might get a chance to finish the odd sentence.  Plus the big hairy northern one sorted the crumb mountain which pretty much went from the front to the back door by the end of the morning.  He is actually going back to work next Tuesday, so I thought I should make the most of him; hope this is a confidence boost for any of you looking for jobs at the moment.  (BTW I’m just a bit behind, there will be more blogs about coping with redundancy coming soon).

 

I’ve written this post for #DoSomethingYummy #EatCake for the charity Clic Sargent (an amazing charity for families dealing with a child who has cancer).  I’ve been supporting it for the last 4 weeks with my blog posts:

Surviving Mental Health for #DoSomethingYummy – my first honest account of 3 problems I’ve experienced

#DoSomethingYummy for Half Term and Two Year Old Birthdays – guaranteed to make you smile!

#DoSomethingYummy: A Warning from my childhood: The Cinderella Complex – a serious discussion about how ‘the one’ and expecting to be able to rely on a prince, can have dangerous effects.

#DoSomethingYummy: Can you love two children the same: How I found it different but the same loving two children

If you would like to get involved then Yummy Mummy Week is from 10-18th March 2012. It is a week long fundraising event where mums are being asked to get together with friends and family and ‘do something yummy’ for CLIC Sargent.  If you would like to run an event to support the week go to www.yummymummy.org.uk and sign up for a fundraising pack.

Discussion Arguing

When Is Discussion Healthy or Unhealthy?

Discussion ArguingI’m trying to work out whether I’m a fan of discussion or not.  I like a good old chinwag, and brainstorm.  But discussion?  There is a strong tendency in me to want ‘efficiency’;  So a part of me kicks in with ‘seriously, isn’t it obvious?’, but clearly it really often isn’t!

A ‘healthy’ discussion to me is where both sides learn things; either to understand other perspectives, or to shift theirs a little.  It’s where all parties are confident enough in themselves to be open to new ideas, and to not need to convince other people of their ‘right-itude’ (you know what I mean – the fact that they are more right than anyone else in the conversation).

To me an ‘unhealthy’ discussion is where no one hears each other, everyone is stuck in their ‘right-itude’ so it starts to descend quickly into a personal attack.

But I’m seeing as I write this that if there’s to be discussion, there is bound to be a bit of both ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ in it.  I wonder whether my concern over this has sometimes limited my blog, because I’ll often cover all aspects, rather than leave it to be discussed in the comments?

There have been a lot of incidents over the past few months that have got me thinking, in particular about discussion amongst Mums:

There was a big spat when someone called ‘Real Mum’ (great right-itude name) had a go at one of the newer bloggers, Mammasaurus.  It was just plain old nasty ‘Mums judging Mums’ stuff, quickly descended into bullied victim + persecutor scenario.  But if we all learnt to control our outbursts, would the mummy blogging community literally get bored?

There’s bitching behind the scenes in the mummy blogging community about ‘blagger’s as well.   A number of people commented on a post I wrote called ‘I’m a blagger blogger, fancy joining me‘, without actually reading it, just desperate to not be associated with the term; so not much discussion there.

It’s not just Mummy Bloggers, celeb Mums love to have a good go to; Sally Bercow insulted Kirstie Allsopp in the Daily Mail: which to me felt like a complete waste of time.  Plus publicly slagging off another mother, in a society where Mums aren’t regarded with deep respect anyway, is surely going to just make matters worse?

Twitter is full of spats between celeb mums taking umbrage at someone else using a different parenting technique.  Half of them ended up in the big brother house together, where they realised surprise surprise ‘she’s actually quite nice’!  Perhaps the short written word like Twitter, Facebook or blogs isn’t ideal for discussion?

There’s been some neighbourhood incidents where Mums bitterly fell out mainly due to a lack of empathy for different scenarios, ages, relationship lengths, no’s of children and financial situations.  There was absolutely no discussion which is probably why it went all tits up.  Perhaps ‘pastures new’ will be good for the Mums though?

Whereas there was another little spat in the blogging community back on Mammasaurus’s blog (she must be the lucky one heh!), which seemed to be respectfully resolved in the whole discussion/commenting process between the parties, with the slagging off commenting well controlled.  Perhaps that was a good example of where it’s wise to get things out in the open and discuss them, otherwise it could have become really gruesome in a few months time?

I experienced being involved in a blogging community discussion after launching my ‘Mums Standing Up Together‘ campaign.  I’d approached all the mummy blogging communities, but was more obviously supported by Britmums in their blogging prompts.  Blimey do these women know how to press buttons and get the discussion going.  Initially I was disconcerted (not upset) by the feeling that there were people writing about what I’d said and misunderstanding it.  After lots of tea I decided it had been useful to ensure that I was really clear about what I meant.

At home there are plenty of ‘discussions’ between me and the hubby.  Over 22yrs I’ve tried all sorts of things, like raising issues every couple of months (a bit like the big blow ups in the blogging community), or just compromising and keeping my opinions to myself which isn’t so good for my own identity.  A constant regular stream of little discussions before they blow up seems like the best compromise for us.  It’s unrealistic to not expect misunderstandings between the southern cheeriness of me and the hairy northernness of him.

Finally I saw a conversation on twitter where a mum took umbrage at Kelly Rose Bradford’s article in the Daily Mail and was pulled up for publicly criticising her (the joy of twitter!).  Kelly didn’t reply to all the nasty comments on the Daily Mail and said that ‘I wrote it purely to spark a debate‘, plus that all her family and friends understood her job.  This was a HUGE eye opener to me, because she saw the debate as the objective, whereas I see the resulting consensus or agreement to differ as the objective.  This is potentially where I’ve often been going ‘wrong’.  She didn’t feel the worry that I had about being misunderstood.  What a huge revelation!

I blogged recently about setting Life Priorities for the chinese new year, maybe I need clear ‘people priorities’, so that I can be clear on who it matters understand me?

Oh and it definitely convinced me that photo’s are massively important, because that is one bad photo of you Kelly!  Anyone fancy doing a photo shoot for me in return for a blog post, because mine looks a bit too ‘nice’ (back to the blagging!).

A Name For Our Revolution: Come and have your say

I’ve got a plan for a revolution.  First starting with mummy bloggers, and then spreading out into the world.  It’s your revolution too, so I’d like to know what you’d prefer to call it.

So what’s the idea?

  1. To strengthen the position of Mums in society.
  2. To encourage Mums to feel strong and confident in our differences
  3. To help them to appreciate that given different circumstances and different shoes, they might be different too

 

A ‘good mother’ is a mother who is herself, not trying to be someone else.  Therefore we are all going to be different, with different types of families, different backgrounds and different priorities; just plain different.  Difference is interesting.  That’s the objective; for there to be a point to you, because you are a unique you; as Ralph Waldo Emerson (a 19th century philosopher) said “Envy is ignorance, Imitation is Suicide”.  It’s ok to have a different opinion and you can still like/respect me whilst disagreeing with me.  Plus, that if I’m sure of myself, I won’t be threatened by you having a different opinion.  I won’t even need to try to convince you of it.

Mums are incredibly important to society, because we are where things start.  At the moment we don’t have a strong standing in society, and I believe it’s time to change that.  If we publicly have a go at each other and criticise each other (which is different from disagreeing respectfully), that we reduce our power and standing in society, plus waste time and energy.  I’m not suggesting that we can never bitch about someone or sound off to a good mate, as getting it out can be helpful in gaining perspective.  What I’m suggesting is to change what we do after that.

I believe that there is ‘hope for us’ as women, and we don’t have to accept the gender generalisation that a large group of women will always spend time having a go at each other.  I think that we can learn to take a breath, have a cup of tea, and imagine standing in another woman’s shoes to find the common ground; and that by doing so we’ll get the insight to stop slagging each other off.

So here are the ideas for what to call the ‘revolution’.  They’ve come from the first Mums already excited by the idea.  Now we need a name, then a badge, then for some big communities to back the initiative.  So what would you like to call it?  The only ‘rule’ is that the name doesn’t point the finger at another community e.g. Dads or non-mums and that it focusses on what we want rather than what we don’t want; so ‘Mums without judgement’ actually uses words that we don’t want.

If you have a better option, feel free to add it in the comments, otherwise let me know which ones you prefer ….

1) Standing in other Mums shoes

2) Mums stand together

3) Mums in each others shoes

4) United Mums

5) Mums Different United

6) Mums United Different (shortens to Mud)

 

Which name is the most powerful, the most inspiring?  Which one will people remember?  Please let as many people know as you can, so that we can get as much feedback as possible.

UPDATE: Tag Line and Badge

After all the fabulous comments here and at BritMums, I’ve decided to definitely go for ‘Mums Stand Together’, I’m going to grab the twitter id’s and sites for that and ‘Moms Stand Together’ just incase we need that at some point.

But you guys are right – now I need a tag line!  Plus it must take into account all the concerns – so it’s not about us all agreeing, or not debating, or all being the same.  The main objectives are

1) to help a Mum step back for a moment and think about how she would feel if she stood in the other Mums shoes – hence reduce the in fighting

2) to help us have a stronger presence in society by standing together

Hows about:

Mums Standing Together, strong in our differences?

Also, I either need someone willing to do a swap for a header and badge (I can offer an hours coaching worth £130?) or a company to sponsor someone to do it for me – any ideas?