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Busy, are you?

Posted by Mum About Town
Mum About Town
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on Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Busy, busy oh so busy.  Quite literally the buzz word of today.  Even out trumping ‘stressed’ and ‘exhausted’, I feel like I can’t cross the road without someone telling me just how extraordinarily SWAMPED they are.  

How are you? I ask my neighbour.
MANIC! She screeches.

Fancy a coffee? I text a friend
Can’t.  Totally slammed. Is the answer.

But I’m as guilty as the next with my OHHH-SO-BUSY retorts.  And strangely it’s nothing really to do with just how much we have on our plates.  No, we’ve all officially joined the Busy-Team where the only answer is busy.  (A bit like the banana game but less funny.)

Of course competitive busy, as a sport, is now also on the rise.  Could you possibly pick up my kids from school reads a recent text.  I’m just SO busy! Now, how does the texter know that they are honestly busier than their recipient?  Who could possibly be the judge in this frantic, breathless rush?

Working mums, those with terribly tiny toddlers, small business owners, CEOs, others with no childcare, no PA, no helping hand… I wonder if we really are busier than our predecessors or whether we just complain a lot more?  Perhaps it’s simply our default setting and someone this Christmas needs to turn us off, unplug the busy lead, let us cool off and then power us up again?

Put up your hand if you’re going to join me as I duck out the Busy Cult.  Let’s face it; it’s dull, heightens stress levels and is definitely not an appropriate answer to any polite enquiry.  Let’s redefine the narrative and promise not to air our busy linen in public.

She doesn't want children

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 15 May 2014
Dear Patricia Marie

I utterly adore my fiancée but she is adamant that she does not want children. When we met three years ago I was OK about that, but I have since changed my mind.

She says she is not the maternal type. I am 34 and she is a year younger. We both have well-paid jobs, so financially it would not be a problem.

Now, when I see our friends with their young children, the thought of not having any makes me feel so sad.

I try to suppress these thoughts but they keep returning. How can I marry the woman I love and have her children?

Patricia Marie says...

The problem is that you have changed your mind but your fiancée hasn't.  At around 30, a woman's biological clock often kicks in as she becomes aware that after 35 her fertility levels can decrease. This doesn't seemed to have happened with your fiancée.

You need to tell her how much you want children. Don't try to pressure her, but discuss why she doesn't want them. She may bring up some interesting points that you may not have considered and could understand better after hearing what she has to say. If she remains adamant that she does not want to have children, you have a decision to make.

What is it is about fatherhood that appeals to you? Are there ways that you can accomplish that without having children of your own? For instance, do you have nieces and nephews you could enjoy spending time with? For many childless couples they can help fill an empty void, bringing the greatest of pleasure to their aunts and uncles.

If you give up your desire for children you could end up resenting your fiancée and regretting that decision deeply. Also, most importantly, do you value having babies more than you value your future with your fiancée? If the answer is yes, sadly, you have to ask yourself, would it be better to end the relationship, and in time find someone you love who does want children? Before making a life-changing decision, you may both benefit from contacting or for some counselling.

Got a dilemma? Please email  Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows


Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Tuesday, 11 March 2014
We are fortunate to live in a time with experts and doctors, psychologists and sages offering incessant information about life and how it should be lived, including our children and the mystifying task of raising them.

It’s wonderful to have so many choices and access to the latest studies but who should you trust with your child’s wellbeing. Apart from keeping them alive, healthy, meeting all the growing milestones, there is education and social skills, sports, emotional and psychological development, and the list goes on and on until at times you are overcome with exhaustion and fear in simple contemplation.

Well it’s not me and it’s not the latest guru peddling a new book or a morning TV show mouthpiece with a quick fix solution.

It’s YOU. You are the expert.

A parent (and often the nanny) knows their child better than any outsider. You know their rhythms, likes and dislikes and all their subtle idiosyncrasies. You know the difference between a genuine cry and the I-want-a-sweetie-right-now-wail. Is the homework not getting done because of laziness or there’s an underlying issue to address.

Trust your instincts. Listen to your child’s life without fear or panic. If you have been paying attention, you’ll know. If you need help, seek the guidance, advice, opinions until you feel satisfied.

Creating a solid foundation to know your child means going for a walk, playing cards, eating a meal together, exchanging stories, without the distraction of your phone… being in the moment. Some call it mindful parenting. I am more of the school of thought that it’s Parenting 101.

The world can be a daunting concept when you are responsible for a young being. I suggest occasionally taking guidance from Peter Pan…a little pixie dust and imagination can be a wonderful thing.

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Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 18 November 2013
Daily feedback for parents is an important aspect of childcare and many families now require the nanny (you) to communicate via a diary.

Busy lifestyles, crazy schedules, even different time zones mean adults sometimes don’t have the opportunity to sit in peace to discuss the day’s events. It’s a combination of catching up on the ordinary affairs of life, and the more significant issues such as milestones and the “something happened on the playground today I need to tell you about” moments.

Hopefully the parents are in sync with the difference between an important matter for conversation and the regular daily routine. When 5-year-old Sammy loses his third tooth a quick note in the diary is fine (with the evidence alongside). If his teacher has approached you with a concern about his behaviour or development, the note should refer to this and the need to find time to relay the facts in person.

A few more tips:-
  • A little detail is good. An essay is unnecessary,
  • Even if you are exhausted and should have had your break 3 hours ago, ensure you at least write a few words before you clock off to say you will compensate tomorrow,
  • Don’t rely on the diary to write something you would never say in person.

Also smart phones can be a handy tool for messaging if you are running late, for reminders and even happy snaps. Every parent loves updated pictures of their offspring having fun and smiling. Just remember your employer is not your bestie so better to err on the side of “less is more”…unless otherwise instructed or demanded.

A diary is a convenient tool for communication. And like any tool it has its place and its time. Use it wisely. Regularly. Sensibly. And always have a pen that works close by or a charged up laptop.

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A mummy break

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
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on Monday, 18 June 2012

Although my husband is sympathetic and generous when it comes to my constant bellyaching about the trials of motherhood and domesticity, I think it’s essential to leave Kitty in his sole charge for a while every now and again. You know, just to re-calibrate his reality every now again – just to make sure we’re reading from the same page.

Because it is easy, when someone else is doing the lion’s share of childcare, to think that it is all basically fine. It happens to me, when Kitty is the care of someone else. From a distance, it looks perfectly easy. When you are not the one making those millions of carefully-adjusted decisions every hour, when you are not the one who is ultimately responsible for the location and supply of nappies, bottles and pyjamas, hanging out with children is perfectly fun. Why on earth do we need a steam mop? Or a full-time live-in housekeeper? Everything is just fine as it is.

So off I went to a wedding in Norfolk for 24 hours this weekend. I didn’t leave a list of instructions, or things laid out neatly with arrows drawn on paper leading from one thing to the next. I just made sure Kitty’s shoes and pyjamas were in the right place and that there was one clean bottle. Then I waved goodbye and set off.


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