Back To School - Why Society Is So Lonely

Last September my kid moved to a new school where all the kids already knew each other. So I would check in with him. “Who did you play with today?’ ‘No one’ he’d reply. And my heart would break. On the third day, I decided to enlist the help of the other moms. Some were lovely and helpful and empathetic. But a couple were quite distant, dismissive. And I felt like a little kid again myself, awkward and lost, trying to make new friends in the playground.

There’s a post doing the rounds on Instagram about the importance of making shy or new kids feel welcome. We live in a time where people are lonelier than ever, where the Gen z generation in particular is experiencing record levels of loneliness. And it’s because we’ve lost all sense of community. I personally would never leave another woman standing by herself or allow another person to feel excluded. And I’ve raised my son to be the same. So I’m reminding not only the kids but the adults. Raise your kids to be kind, to include others and to think of themselves as part of a community. And apply those rules to yourself.


It’s Time To Stop Dad Shaming

There’s an interesting new study out and it’s about dad shaming. In the report, 52% of dads say they’ve been criticized about the way they parent, and 44% of that criticism actually came from their child’s other parent. I’ve definitely been guilty of this. From correcting the way my husband put on diapers or held the baby in the early days to disliking his tougher approach to discipline. And more recently, it’s his laid back approach to mealtime, ie pizza rather than my ‘perfectly devised’ nutritionally balanced meal plans.

Society’s assumptions about gender parental roles, which gives the mother precedent is detrimental to both parents. The study showed that not only did the criticism make fathers feel less confident about their parenting skills, it also made them want to be less involved. Obviously the latter is not ok, but it is important for us mothers recognize this behavior in ourselves and to step back sometimes, not only to let our partners the opportunity to step up but to also give ourselves a break. A less involved co-parent is more work for you. Just know that your kids actually benefit from the full parental experience, pizza and all.


How To Raise a Feminist Son

We are desperately trying to right the wrongs of the past but for those of us with young sons, there’s an opportunity and indeed a responsibility to ensure we're raising a generation that knows better. These ideas are from a great New York Times article along similar lines.

Teach him that he has a full range of emotions not just angry but - I’m scared, my feelings are hurt or, I need help.

Put good men in the space of your son. Give him strong female role models, too

Allow him to follow his interests, traditional or not

Teach him to cook, clean and look after himself

Teach him to take care of others

Encourage friendships with girls

Teach respect and consent

Expect more. ‘Boys will be boys’ is not an excuse for bad behavior. 

Never use ‘like a girl’ as an insult

Read a lot, including about girls and women

Celebrate boyhood


Empowerment. Be Anything Or Be Realistic?

Here's a question I grapple with every day in relation to raising my son, and, the messaging I send out to the young women on my platforms. Do I tell them they can do and be anything or do I warn them about the harsh realities of the world?  I was raced with the former 'be anything' messaging and I don't believe I would have been able to navigate the world as I have, feeling it was against me. I have friends who were raised that way and it made them hesitant, nervous, defensive. And sometimes you need a bit of naïveté to push past that. You'll deal with the obstacles as and when they arrive, hopefully surrounded by the right mentors and support structure.

Happy New Year!


Can Our Schools Raise Good Citizens

My son started kindergarten today. Why is the first day of school such an emotional experience? It really was for me. So much more than I was expecting. I also wonder whether in these fraught times, there's a heightened sense of anxiety about how we raise good citizens and also, the world we're sending our kids out into.  

Can we entrust our schools to teach our kids civic responsibility and the need to respect their fellow humans no matter what creed, race or sexual orientation? This requirement has risen from midway on my list of school criteria to the top 3. Our kids spend around 70% of their time at school, absorbing lessons from teachers and fellow pupils alike. If we're to change the world for the better, we have to look to how we're raising the next generation and the values we're instilling in them.


What Makes Working Mothers Want To Leave The Workforce?

On three separate occasions this week,  high powered, career-minded female friends of mine told me somewhat bashfully how much they wouldn't mind just giving up the rat race and becoming stay at home moms. The bashfulness was interesting because I guess they expected me, their feminist freedom fighter friend, to be a little disapproving.  But of course I feel quite the opposite.  The whole point of feminism is to give women the right to choose. Work outside the home, stay at home, all options are great if you make them from a position of strength.

But the reason for this particular post is to share what these women had in common and it's that they all hated their jobs. They were sick of the politics of corporate culture and the daily grind. So the question is, if you do what you love does that make the daily wrench away from your children every morning a little easier?  I think it might. I'm so passionate about my work and of course, as an entrepreneur I get to be my own boss and make my own hours. I can't imagine leaving it behind to focus solely on motherhood much as I idolize my son. I wonder if this rings true for others?

Why Motherhood Drives Ambition

Women in the workplace often hit a stumbling block when they get pregnant. There's an assumption they can no longer handle the work or somehow have less drive. And I believe that's why these two inspiring images of women at the top of their game looking powerfully pregnant, struck such a chord this week. Serena Williams who won the Australian Open while 7 weeks pregnant is featured on the cover of Vanity Fair while Alysia Montano is photographed running the 800m in the US Track and Field Championships also 5 months pregnant. Both look invincible. That's not to say every mother can do this or feels like this way during pregnancy. I suffered from terrible morning sickness and could barely walk fast let alone run when I was pregnant, but my drive and ambition remained unchanged and if anything, increased once I had the baby. I hope these images serve as a reminder to all that having children isn't an impediment to career success.

How Do We Provide Mothers With Real And Tangible Support Systems

This Mother's Day as I enjoyed the customary day off household chores and a brunch I didn't have to cook myself, I reflected on the millions of women around the world experiencing much greater challenges trying to balance the demands of career, home and children. The struggle is very real. Juggling motherhood and working outside the home is hard, like having two full time jobs. Some mornings I feel like I've already lived a full day by 9.30am. And I'm lucky. I work for myself and get to choose my own hours. Let's support mothers every day, not just one day of the year, with real and tangible support systems such as affordable childcare, paid leave, flexible working hours and equal pay. 

Photo: Sophie Elgort

Photo: Sophie Elgort