Thursday, 12 June 2014

My Hero Likes My Book!

This is really a boast disguised as a blog... but hey, I'm excited and cannot help bragging a little.

Oliver James, psychologist and author of many really excellent books, including They F*** You Up, Affluenza and The Selfish Capitalist, has long been the psychologist I admire the most. I used to read his column in the Guardian many years ago, before I had children, and I warmed to his sane, clear, kind approach to human relations, particularly families.

Once I had children, his books became a lifeline. Because they were without hysteria, very well written, and because they are full of hope. Instead of telling me that my mistakes had 'ruined' my child forever, James's belief has always been that, although the first two years are very important, they are not the only chance we will ever get to do this right.

Thanks to Oliver James, and my mother, I learned to do my best, and to expect the best of myself, but also to get over it when I had a bad day. Put it behind me, don't dwell guiltily on my failures, get up the next day and try all over again.

So when I wrote my own book, How To Really be A Mother, I finally, after many months, nerved myself up to send him a copy.

And you know what? He read it. And he liked it! Here's what he said:

"I have read innumerable other books trying to do the same job but this is really excellent: well done! A splendid book. If I get a chance to recommend it I shall take that chance..."

Here's what I said: 'YEAY!!'

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Surviving The School Gates

It's not just your children who go to school, it's you too. And while the whole 'School-Gate-Thing' may not be quite as fraught as a thousand articles about what Claudia Schiffer is wearing to drop Clementine and Caspar off, or the best healthy muffin recipes for lunchboxes might suggest, it's not simply a matter of being on time and not forgetting the schoolbag, either.

Here is a piece I wrote on navigating the politics, style stakes and playdate planning, for the excellent