It was so wonderful to have my mum and my daughter there too. I don’t think I’ll forget seeing my three year old daughter’s face, watching and listening to her mother speak about the importance of mothering, children and mothers. Just as my son had shown pride in his mother at my book launch, my daughter seemed intrigued to see her mother stand in front of a microphone and speak to an audience in London, away from home. As I say in the book, hearing our mothers’ stories is a feminist act. Telling our own is another.
It was wonderful to connect with other mothers, some at a similar stage of life, others of different generations and life circumstances. Thank you to the Committee for inviting and welcoming me to the Conference. I am so grateful to you for your support. I so admire your work and dedication.
Since the conference, I have been busy with family commitments, breastfeeding support and the (recently quite intense) daily needs of my young children – the irony – and so it has taken a while to sit down to write. I have also been trying to digest recent media delight in deriding the care of mothers at home. We are failing our children, you know, by failing to promote their development in absolutely crucial things like holding a pencil.
We have an uphill struggle.
No one of us can promote the issue of maternal care alone. Join and support Mothers at Home Matter, join the Purplestockings Movement, join All Mothers Work, engage with campaigning groups and speak out beyond sympathetic ears. We need to be heard. We need to raise our voices.
Since starting my own campaigning and writing – together with my commitments in my local community as a breastfeeding counsellor in person, on the phone and online – I have had to confront the question of how to limit the intrusion of social media and screens into my day-to-day life with my family and how to limit writing and reading during ‘family time’. How to restrict online activity, comfortably miss online debates on news and articles or the opportunity to share pieces of interest, or keep up with messages and notifications. I sometimes feel guilty for being absent from threads, neglecting to respond to tags or for failing to post more regularly about the issue of mothers. However, in truth, we can only do what we can do.
On reflection, writing and promoting the book took a huge amount of time and energy and I put a huge part of myself into it. It was a vulnerable and exhausting process. Now that the book is born, I need to give myself permission to rest, recuperate and recover. A kind of literary post-partum period.
I am hoping that the book will take on a life of its own, too. Those of you who are reading it, please take it out there, spread the word and share passages, photos of pages, whatever you feel speaks to you. A movement needs momentum!
My book satisfied part of my need to be heard. I will still raise my voice when I have the time or irresistible need, online or at events. I am also looking forward to a secondary campaign nearer Mother’s Day – with some wonderful events coming up where I will be speaking about the book and meeting mothers in different parts of the country.
In the meantime, motherhood awaits. It is, and always will be, family first. The Purplestockings Movement starts at home after all.
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/12644262@N03/4255363605/in/photolist-7u2Rm2-qeRn1-ciQVUh-ciQv9E-7u6L5m-5LGGpU-e4Jdr8-jnaU7-59K9gb-zke67-5LGGKY-59EVqX-5LCpnZ-duJF4n-4aToKH-59EVot-59EVBD-HTz6r7-5Q4GGG-jSBn9-LRwhXW-59K8VA-BcgDv-5LCqG2-MFCHRv-7DEKQ4-9DPayJ-yVQAqu-MKZByj-neBn11-59K8Yb-59EVRM-oBmjb3-5LCr1e-jTyPB-dwqAfp-59EVQn-cLtApf-59EVNX-dpL6WS-hK7Ao-zFAuu-9jMUSx-g13SM1-59K93J-59K8Fm-59EVTc-59K9aw-aM2W4t-a7Yj8Q
A huge thank you to everyone who could make it to the signing yesterday at Calder bookshop theatre. It was lovely to sign copies and chat to you all and what a fabulous space in the Theatre for my little talk, too. Well and truly under the spotlight!
Here is a link to my speech.
The book is now available at lucky indie bookshops, amazon, the book depository and Womancraft Publishing.
Do ask your library and local bookshop to stock it. If you’re enjoying the book then spread the word and get the purplestockings movement moving! Looking forward to speaking and signing copies at the Mothers at Home Matter conference on 17 November in London. Then? Rest!
I’m now at that point – unfamiliar territory for me as a debut author – where my book baby is out in the world and being read, talked about, critiqued, enjoyed and shared. Yes, I know, probably criticised, too. Even the best books have their worst critics. And I know where mine are to be found – they were part of the driving force behind the book, to be fair! But the launch experience over the past month or so has also brought home to me that there are so many of us who are in agreement and many who are relieved to be reading something which speaks to and for them.
Which means I’ve also confronted something I never anticipated: the good wishes and encouragement from supporters and admirers who don’t know me but who are responding from the heart to my words.
So thank you to the many of you who have taken the time to tell me directly that the book has made you cry, made you laugh, brought a fresh realisation about something painful or emotional, made you angry, made you happy or made you determined to share the message.
I’m excited and starting to feel relieved and a little lighter. Because the book no longer belongs to me. It belongs to you.
If you have enjoyed it, felt a connection or transformed your thinking in any way, please do share your views. Tell others. This is a book which – from a debut author and an indie press – is reliant on a circle of readers sending ripples out into the world. From grassroots it will grow.
Please also do review the book online – it helps encourage people to read it. Get talking in person and online. Proclaim yourself a Purplestocking! I’m amazed to hear of sisters connecting with the book outside of the UK: in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, the US and beyond – we are a global movement. And I’m privileged and humbled to be part of it. Thank you.
“… when jobs are being lost to automation; when wealth is accumulating in the 1%; when the workplace increasingly encroaches on family life; and when women remain at higher risk of poverty because they have cared for their families, feminism has to start to ask itself: are we ever going to find creative ways to protect, support and empower women beyond simply pushing for paid employment? We must start to recover some of the intellectual and creative verve of the original women’s movement: we have to return to discussing redistribution of wealth and the fair organisation of labour. We don’t need to agonise over labels of socialism, conservatism, radicalism or whatever. We just need to put humanity at the centre. Because the fact is that many mothers remain trapped by the market either as workers or as unwaged carers, and are marginalised by reason of being mothers. We have to get political. We need to find ways to value care, to support carers, and put money into the pockets of those who sustain and nourish the human race. At heart, we need to support the right of mothers to frame their lives in the way that is right for them: we need to liberate ourselves from conditions which get in the way of this most fundamental of women’s rights. Mothers, our time has arrived”
#MothersOfTheWorldUnite #Purplestockings #LiberatingMotherhood
I am overjoyed to be signing Liberating Motherhood, Birthing the Purplestockings Movement, at Calder Bookshop Theatre in Waterloo.
I will be there from 6 til 9 pm. Do join me for a hello, a chat, to buy your signed copy, and a reading – around 7 – in their little theatre.
Recent news about child-free sections on flights led to an interesting article from one Julie Bindel recently about how, like, annoying children are and stuff.
I wrote to the Guardian. They printed my letter, here. Granted, they edited the letter to remove observations about hatred, women and cats. And how mothers are being thrown under a (child-free) bus, but the point is made, nevertheless.
Liberating Motherhood, Birthing the Purplestockings Movement, is out now.
If you are enjoying the book, please feel free to review it online, eg amazon. And share the word! Do also ask your library and local bookshop to stock it!
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sackerman519/7184867255/in/photolist-bWUjHD-vkPCgF-rAHpAb-aivZxT-cegH5S-tZQy2B-at42i4-7ZJNPs-dYi3Kc-xKdE8H-5WZkiY-5WF5Gz-bAk2zT-5XvP51-cAUokA-y2J8o6-7ZJNLf-7ZJNDQ-5Y3mwz-atd2iS-7BBu1H-xu3Yiq-ier32A-saSezY-Hbm1S-onF2Cc-oiTdAh-ciPVhs-saS9Ru-7m6VX-gmd74z-fhm4NV-iwjJyj-2LYY5Y-HZFFDd-x5GRVd-s5Nmuw-y1Rfkm-uYx2az-9KhW1C-aUBtXP-5AD79U-rt5FiZ-atanpr-daYjjv-cN3PbG-t7V2vP-CYraLF-hbJFvW-65KTa2
Today would have been my beloved Nan’s 100th birthday.
I miss her. I’m thinking of my Dad and his brother and sisters and how they are missing their mother. This day, especially.
My siblings and I spent much of our childhood with her – before and after school, at the weekend, during holidays. She was caring, loving and warm but tough. Little but fierce. The original spitfire. I still remember her hands. Her voice. Her laugh. Her smell.
I wrote a little about her in Liberating Motherhood. Every time I return to that section, I cry.
So, really, although I write about mothers – ourselves, our own – I just want to honour my grandmother, the matriarch, with a short note. With a thanks and a moment. She was my father’s mother. She was loved.
As I say to my children, those we love will always be with us if they are in our hearts.
Love you Nan.
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/blumenbiene/29161137836/in/photolist-LqSsjy-GT1eYu-L3qzNE-GT161j-F5V297-eb2QV2-5TrQzM-5TwbPC-5FNe4x-7sauPV-v9eRZr-xgDH2B-cm9XMw-r8WVJq-ArgRmm-81uDBx-iJhZm8-aXq7De-c2wkq3-79d5dQ-w5sUAY-bvWbCn-LjsDCf-58jWfz-wBjNW2-eTN8jf-79UZmg-p9jKae-w66MGM-jJTb7j-KwSV5N-6mAx6D-wB9xmA-r5ktTA-zBjHNo-AgKbF1-4BeUgC-oEtUvF-a4RW9g-c2xazw-kAAQKW-4wAMpw-9eBkqF-c2wJ3w-tbvJe-eTAB8Z-xgxH1s-aCA2Rs-5vCS19-LqSUpE