Mums Half Hour: Join Us Live
Whether it's feeding your children the right food, dressing them in the latest fashions or ensuring academic brilliance, how much pressure do you feel today as a modern parent?
From birthday parties and fashionable clothing to getting our children into the right schools, we are forever feeling the competitive shadow of fellow parents. Being a working parent doesn't make things any easier, especially during the holidays and many of us will know about the incurred guilt and many challenges faced by having to entertain your kids for six weeks.
Yet are we becoming too worried about our children's actions, their safety and how we look to other parents? How cautious are we being in comparison to what our own parents permitted when we were younger?
A study by Start-rite shoes asked parents a number of questions on what they were allowed to do as youngsters in comparison to what they allow their own children to do with startling results.
These results along with the day care debate, tips on what to do with your kids during the holidays, and how independent you can allow your children to be will all be up for discussion in our show.
In this live and interactive webTV show, Tamzin Outhwaite and our panel will also be taking your questions and thoughts so if you have something to say, they want to hear it!
Tamzin Outhwaite and our panel join us live online on 10th June at 13.30 to discuss the pressures of modern parenting.
H: Tamzin Outhwaite
A: Stephanie Kilshaw, mum of one
B: Nifa McLaughlin, mum of two
C: Jayne Everson, Mum of three
H: Hello and welcome to Mum’s Half Hour, I’m Tamzin Outhwaite. On the second Friday of every month for the next 6 months we’ll be bringing you Mum’s Half Hour, a chance for you to enjoy the conversation thoughts of other mums and let off a little steam on the issues which matter to you. Now the series is full of interactive, fully interactive, so you can get your questions and comments to us right now and we’ll receive them live in the studio, or post them in advance of every show, and the Mum’s Half Hour team will select as many as possible. We’ll also be giving you the opportunity to win a year’s supply of Start-Rite shoes for your children in each and every episode, so stay tuned to find out how to enter. Today we’ll be talking Parental Pressures, and being a working mum doesn’t make things any easier. We will focus on returning to work after giving birth and childcare, managing your career with little ones, and making sure that your sales bargains are the right fit for your children’s feet. But before we do that let me introduce you to our first Mum’s Half Hour panel. Joining me today, a mum of one, Stephanie Kilshaw. Mum of two, Nifa McLaughlin and mum of three Jane Everson, all of whom have their own unique experiences and opinions to share. Ladies welcome, and congratulations on making the panel
A: Thank you
H: And don’t forget this is a live show so if you have any questions or comments for our panel please use the box on your screen, click send and we’ll do our best to tackle them over the course of the show. And if you’re tweeting whilst watching the show you can get involved with the conversation by using the # tag mumshalfhour. So, ladies, now when I first had my daughter, well the first time I went back to work, I would say that the pressure or the feeling for me was very bittersweet. I was quite pleased to be you know liberated in a way and out of the house, but at the same time I missed her desperately. How did you all feel?
A: I think much the same as yourself. I think really it’s a double edged sword shall we say. It’s very nice to be an individual, a person again but also you feel very guilty at first going back to work and leaving your child but again I think you need to regain your independence
A: It’s a really nice feeling. I don’t know about the other ladies, how you felt?
H: Is guilt a common thing, the guilt doesn’t leave you does it?
H: Ever as a mum
C: My mother said that it will be until you’ll die you’ll have that guilt, even when they’re in their 50s you’ll still be guilty. Certainly my experience with my children, I run a business – I started a business from home, I have premises now, but even though my child was perfectly safe and happy, if I stuck him in front of the television while I was answering some emails or calls I would feel guilty and somehow think that he was going to be psychologically damaged because I was doing it. It’s just a normal thing to do but you do feel guilty
H: Yes I think that’s quite normal
B: Yes absolutely, I think when you first go back to work you have about two weeks where it’s excruciating and you can’t think of anything but your baby, and everything you look at reminds you that you’re not with them and then slowly and slowly you just get used to being back and you just get used to being part of a team or probably in your case just got back into work, and you start to enjoy your work and actually enjoying your work makes you feel guilty as well because you feel –
H: I know
B: I’m actually quite enjoying this
H: Well the other thing is, I don’t know about you but pressure from other mums about when is the right time to go back to work. Is there a right time?
A: I think it’s a personal decision, only you can make that decision and I think with – with some of the HR laws that are around at the moment now, I think it’s – it’s almost a pick and choose for yourself. You can actually go back a bit earlier or a bit later now and it’s – things are a lot more relaxed. I went back after 3 months and although I felt guilty I was ready to go back, I was ready to start putting a different routing in my life other than 4 hours of feeding, changing and everything else that goes along with being a new mum, so –
H: And what did you do childcare-wise at that time?
A: I was very lucky actually Meg’s father, his sister had Meg for me for the first two years of me returning to work, so it was almost like a family friend and she knew her so I was part of the lucky set, but I do appreciate when people have to use a childminder they’ve never used before
H: That’s it, it’s like your – it’s the most precious thing in your life that you’re leaving with someone and unless it’s a family member there’s an awful lot of trust that comes into play there, whether it’s a nanny or a childminder or a friend
B: We had a nanny and it was very hard coming to that decision but my children were – the eldest was 10 months when I went back to work and the little one was 7 months when I went back again to work, and we chose a nanny just because you know we both work and it’s very difficult to find, you know, like a childminder or a nursery that takes little children and can accommodate you, you know to be flexible, you need someone that’s going to be there if you suddenly need to be half an hour later or you’re stuck on the tube, you know it’s very difficult to have to rush back to get your child. It’s the worst thing, suddenly leaving your child with somebody who really you don’t know that much about, you have to just go on your instinct
H: Did you interview people?
B: Yes we interviewed loads and loads of women, and I really went on references as well so I phoned up other mums and said what was she like, and in the end we decided on our nanny because I phoned up the reference and they said oh yes we went on holiday and we left her with the kids for two weeks, and I thought anyone that would go on holiday and leave their kids with a nanny, she must be ok
H: Yes absolutely
B: And then instinct, you have to go with your mother’s instinct, your own instinct
C: It’s hard; you do get it wrong though sometimes. W e employed one this week and unfortunately had to let her go because she was off sick most of the week, so today I’ve had emergency childcare, I’ve got a lady who works in my business looking after my youngest this morning and the cleaner this afternoon. It sounds awful but –
H: No it’s just a juggling –
C: It’s just being a mum isn’t it. She’s worked for us for 5 years and she loves Joe so you know, but that is being a mum, it’s just a – I was close to thinking do I cancel today and I thought no I need to do it for me, you know this is –
H: And a support network around you I think is really important. For me friends that live nearby that I can phone and say –
C: Yes you still feel guilty don’t you?
C: You don’t want to over-use their help
C: And that’s what I find, I sort of allot – I go round all my friends
B: And also if you’re a working mum you can’t return the favour, you can’t always say well I’ll look after them next week because you can’t
C: You do have that guilt as well
H: I’ve got a question here from Paula that says “I’m an anxious mum, I worry about everything and when my children are with their childminder I just can’t relax. Having a childminder is a new development for us, how can I calm my nerves, is it normal to be such a worrier?”
B: Oh I think it’s very normal to be worrier, and it’s probably something that’s going to take time so you know give it a bit of time and you’ll start to see that, you know, your child’s really happy. But the other thing to do is maybe ask the childminder to write down what the child’s going during the day so you can get a bit of –
C: It’s like a little log
B: Yes like a log, like a little diary
B: Especially if you’ve got a little baby, they can’t tell you that they’re happy or not
B: That they’ve had fun building blocks or whatever it is so ask the childminder for a bit of feedback as well
H: What I did was I went back, I did a series when my daughter was 4 months old, and the hours we do can be 5 in the morning till 9 at night, so I worked on one series and I didn’t see her awake for most of it, but then of course for the next 6 months I was in her pocket so – and my nanny at the time wrote a daily diary as if it was coming from her, saying you know I ate – drunk all of my milk this morning and I wouldn’t do this and then you know – so I’ve always got that from that time, and although I felt guilty for being out of her life for something like 10 weeks, I still know that I’ve got that of what she was doing as a reference
B: And you can give that to her
B: At some point which is lovely
H: And she’ll say “I never felt like that”
C: At nursery they do let you – there was one that I went to, it was a Montessori in Winchester and you could actually sit in a gallery, like a viewing gallery and the child didn’t know you were there and you could watch them, and you know that might be something she could do with the childminder if she could just be secretive –
B: Hiding behind the curtains
C: Yes just for an hour just to reassure herself that actually her child’s fine and will survive
H: What did – did any of you find it a shock going back to work? You know some people say you know they’re looking forward to going back to work and when they do the emotional tug that happens is so strong that they’re shocked by it and -
A: Yes and I think that really my experience was the simple tasks I used to perform before became mammoth. I couldn’t concentrate at all when I first returned, and it was because I was so worried that I thought – you know I’ve left her for the day, what happens if – oh she doesn’t know she’s getting fed at 11 o’clock today, she’s due some Calpol at 12 o’clock, and I’d constantly find myself worrying about these things rather than actually the tasks I was supposed to be undertaking in work. And I just think sometimes it; you know there’s a problem with the concentration levels which can sometimes make you panic a little as well
H: Also when that happens it’s priorities, once you have a child nothing else seems to be as important because it isn’t, so your job probably starts to feel less important to you
H: And then it’s harder to concentrate on it
H: I’ve got a question here from Stephanie who says “my daughter is coming up to 5 and I’m thinking of returning to work” at 5, so she’s had a long time at home with her now, but she’s worried about how her daughter will adapt to this. Any advice?
B: Gosh well I mean it’s great that she’s had that long term off with her daughter
H: That’s a luxury
B: Yes, it’s a real luxury and she’s probably thinking “am I going to be able to you know use the computer again” or whatever it is, but I think it would be absolutely fine and presumably her daughter’s in school so she’s able to –
H: She’ll have distractions
B: She’ll have distractions and also she knows the child is somewhere where she’s happy and she’s learning so it’s not like she has to get used to a childminding situation or the child’s very young, but you know it might be worth her talking to her work and seeing if she can go and do a couple of days before she actually starts
C: That’s a very good tip
B: Yes just to get back into it and have a go at the things she might be doing and –
C: Take her daughter to the workplace as well so she knows where she is
H: Where she is, yes
C: Because I think with my son sometimes, my youngest one, that’s his nervousness, he doesn’t quite understand where mummy is and whether she’s coming back
B: Yes absolutely. Children don’t really understand why you work. You know my – both my daughters don’t understand why I’m not at the school gates every day and other people’s mums are
C: Someone else’s mummy is. You’ll always get that comment – why can’t you come and watch me play cricket?
B: Yes you do have to sit them down and say to them I work so that we can have nice things or so that we can go here and there –
H: Holidays –
B: Yes I like – I’m glad to give them a reason for – you know we don’t just have all these lovely things; we have to work for them
H: In an ideal world I think doing like 4 or 5 hours a day as a mum would be perfect, or two full days a week so that your – but it doesn’t work like that and I don’t know many jobs that offer that
A: I think as well because I’m self-employed I’m quite lucky in respect that probably one day out of five I can actually go to the school gates for quarter past three and surprise Meg, rather than her being picked up by the childminder, and I think if you just make the effort to do those little bits as well whenever you can, it’s so much reward on the child’s face to actually see that, it’s lovely
H: There’s also a lot to be said I think for – we always used to joke that our daughter was being bought up by a committee because you know we’re all juggling and everybody was kind of putting their bit in – Godparents, parents, grandparents and it makes for quite a sociable child which I quite like
C: Yes all my children are very confident socially and I think maybe that’s why – they’re not clingy because they’re used to –
H: Yes that’s what you don’t want, so that they only will – you know they can be a mummy’s child or a daddy’s child but the idea of them being – could only be able to be looked after by the parents, I didn’t really want
A: Well I’m not actually with Megan’s father anymore and her father has another partner as I do, and it’s great because Meg has every other weekend with her dad and every other weekend with me, and I know some people dread the thought of actually splitting that time, and I do miss her – she has become such a social butterfly because of it, she’s got so many different experiences through things that we like doing and things she likes doing with her dad as well, s o-
H: And I would imagine that’s quite nice for you to have some time to yourself with your partner
A: Oh it’s lovely; we can go golfing at the weekends all day
H: Yes there are pluses to that and I would say she probably has two sets of parents in a way
A: Yes she does, two Christmases and two birthdays
C: I think it affects us more than them doesn’t it
A: It does
C: Like my youngest this morning went of going “yes I’m with Kelly today” and I was like “oh” – he was like really excited
C: And it’s great, it’s great, but you sort of think he’s not going to miss me at all
B: It’s good to make your children adapt to different circumstances because if they’re not used to that, and then you have to – suddenly someone has to look after them, they can’t cope, but if they’re used to you know having to be with someone here and someone else you know, then it’s great, they are going to turn out to be a bit more social and a bit more adaptable
H: What do you feel about like employers that are quite open to you taking maternity leave, I mean have they in your cases if you weren’t self-employed been quite flexible?
H: Have you had flexitime, have they been –
A: I mean –
A: I worked – I worked as employed for two years, I only started my business up 3 years ago, and Meg’s 5, so when I returned to work obviously I was worried about getting the phone call to say that Meg was unwell and that I’d need to go to the nursery, but the employers have been fine. I think actually – I worked in HR so –
H: They had to be understanding
A: But I think you know that the law is geared not just for mums but dads as well, parents to take this time off now, there are a certain amount of days you can have with your child, you know when they’re sick, and I think it’s worth investigating these things as well on the internet if you’re not sure as a new parent what you’re allowed to take because there are guidelines that you can look at to help you along with things like that
H: But would you say that working from home has got to be the best option? With a young child?
A: Sometimes it can be hard just to concentrate
H: Hard, I know
B: You have to be very disciplined
C: Yes. I work at night, I do a lot of my work at night, it sounds awful, fortunately my husband’s away two or three nights a week so that’s when I really focus in and do a lot of –
H: When the kids go to bed, it’s your time
C: But as they’re getting older, it’s actually getting more difficult because my 9 year old will constantly keep coming down now; you know that typical excuses for a drink, he wants something to eat, so by the time I’m actually sat down properly concentrating it’s about 9 o’clock now
A: Yes I don’t think anyone sits down before half past nine at night
B: Or eats before half past nine
H: Yes. One little thing that’s quite topical, I’ve got a question here from Lauren, “I’m completely out of ideas on what to do with the kids for the summer holidays. I’m also struggling cash-wise, so any tips on cheap and cheerful activities will be greatly received.”
A: Oh well I’ve got a season ticket to the museum now
H: Oh really
A: Meg loves the museum, and it’s just, it’s cheap, well it’s a donation in a box and especially with – I’m from Liverpool, it’s 7 floors of everything you could possibly do in the school holidays, they have various exhibitions on as well and she just loves it and she’s 5 and I always thought she’s probably a bit too young for this but it’s great, fabulous
H: And also parks don’t’ cost anything, picnics in parks where there’s swings –
B: Parks, get together with another mum, another couple of mums and other kids, pack a picnic up and you know off you go and they love it, and also if you’ve got a park that you always go to, take your kids to a different park, it’s amazing – they think it’s such a great adventure but you’re actually just going to a different park in a slightly different area
C: Different slides, different swings they think it’s great
H: Kids don’t know what costs what do they, they judge things by how much fun
C: It’s the cheapest ones and often the free ones they enjoy the most – my boys love crabbing, we go down to the sea and we catch some crabs. Doing treasure hunts as well in the garden, they absolutely love, you know doing nature trails and I don’t think you need a massive imagination
H: Especially in summer I think which is what we’re talking about, summer holidays coming up
B: It’s a lot harder in the winter
H: Definitely. I mean the other day we had a paddling pool which Florence has completely grown out of and it’s tiny, but all of the bath toys went in it, and the butterfly nets then became the fishing implements and the kids were all round and it was “who caught the shark first” was the game, and then the shark went back, and we made it up, Tom and I and you know I think they played for about 3 hours, 4 kids –
A: It’s the old saying isn’t it, when you get a Christmas present for your child they play with the box rather than the actual present so – child’s imagination is just – knows no bounds
H: I think that’s the key to let their imagination –
C: Den building as well, doesn’t it; den building’s the other thing, with a blanket
B: And also cooking with your kids, they love baking, they love making mess – any kind of mess, so you know just get a recipe book –
H: Cooking cupcakes I think is something
B: Yes and decorating cupcakes is always a winner
A: You can always get your child to help you clean the house as well which is a good one, I’ve found. We’ve put the music on and we get the feather dusters out
C: Especially boys, they love it – boys absolutely love cleaning, they get a bit mad with the hoover sometimes and they fight over it
H: Well it’s role play isn’t it, it’s role play. We do half an hour in the morning of dancing before nursery which is – just put some loud music on, she’s obsessed with Adele and Rumour Has It, and as soon as that comes on that’s it, she’s dancing around, and we do that before bed as well
C: Get her to clean while she’s doing it
H: It’s not a bad idea! Now it’s time for our competition, for your chance to win a year’s supply of Start-Rite shoes, all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to submit a question on our You Tube Channel and let us know whose shoes you’d most like to walk in for a day and why, and remember to leave your name and your contact details too. Now let’s talk shopping – it’s very relevant as we’re about to hit the summer sales, but we’re not talking shopping for you but shoe shopping for your little ones. Girls, now what I do is I will shop online, and then they’ll arrive and then they won’t fit her at all, and then I can’t be bothered to send them back so I end up giving them to somebody or keeping them as a present for someone. I’m not that successful, but I hate the idea of going into shops to do my shopping. I don’t mind measuring her feet- what do you do?
A: Much like yourself I tried online shopping and it didn’t work for me, I found that the materials and the sizes that were returned in the post were not quite as I expected, so having Meg, she is 5 years old, she is quite fashion-conscious and she does try to drag me round all the stores with the big and bright, you know the advertisements and she’s a sucker for anything like that, but it is a case of actually having to calm her down first, then measuring the feet and then deciding what type of shoes – you know she likes to wear – compromising with school shoes, that kind of thing, but definitely for me it’s got to be the real shopping experience rather than internet buying
H: The actual experience
H: Well because also then that’s an experience for her as well isn’t it?
A: It is, as she’s a girl she’s naturally interested in shoes as am I, so –
H: Do you not then have to stop her wanting 5 pairs
H: Because she can see them, it’s like being in a sweet shop isn’t it?
A: Yes it is, it is but I think if you clearly define what you’re after before you actually walk through the doors, and have the conversation, then I think it goes a long way in calming them down – “we’re specifically here today for school shoes, we can buy some weekend shoes next week, but today it’s school shoes, no heels and they’ve got to be black” – and we drum that in before we get through the shop door
H: And then the shiny pink ones can happen another time
A: Yes absolutely, it always happens, it’s natural
B: See my – I’ve got two daughters so – especially the little one, she’s absolutely obsessed with shoes, I mean you know she just can’t get enough of shoes, so I would try to avoid taking her to any kind of shoe shop because it is just a nightmare, she wants to pull all the shoes off the shelf, she wants to try every shoe on, she wants the ones that you really don’t want to buy, the really expensive ones or the bright pink plasticky ones, so it’s just a nightmare, so what I tend to do is I know their size so I now, I mean they’re 3 and 5, so when they were little I used to get them properly measured and make sure they had the right shoes for their age, but now I think I just – I go in and I do it all myself because it’s just so much easier –
H: In a shop rather than go on the internet?
B: I go into a shop and you know just – if they’re with me it’s just much more of a nightmare and you end up buying shoes that really you didn’t want to buy, so yes I think it is easier if I do it
C: But you can go back and get them checked as well can’t you, I think you can go back and get the fittings checked even if you’ve bought them without the children, and they – certain shops will change them as well, they’ll exchange them. I’ve got 3 very lively boys so I have to take them in because they’ve got wide feet, and it’s quite difficult, but one of the problems I have is a lot of the shoes don’t’ have any entertainment for the children so -
H: That’s a really good idea actually
B: Because they do just pull all the shoes off because there’s nothing else to do
C: So the ticketing system, a bit like the supermarkets, and you have to wait then, sometimes there can be 10 people in front of you and you’ve got 3 boys it is hell, and actually the amount of time it takes if you were to take them all individually and then you’ve got the childcare issue where you’ve got to get the other two looked after and my husband and I dread it, we absolutely dread it
B: When it’s school shoes, when it’s the back to school season and the shops are just rammed with parents –
H: And there’s no sizes left in the school shoes
B: And your children, they’ve got their eye on the ones that there’s no sizes left, it’s just a nightmare
C: But we waited for 2 hours, we were given a little bleeper at this very large, well-known store, which is a great system so we could wander off shopping, go and get a bit of lunch, came back, got some measured and they said sorry we haven’t got any in his size
H: Oh no
C: It was just like –
H: What about the sales, are you ever tempted to – because I do a bit more bulk buying, I’ll see things in the sales and I’ll buy her 3 pairs of shoes, and just hope they’ll all fit because they’re in the sale
A: I think we’re all guilty of that, it’s just one of those things. I mean you tell me a woman who doesn’t like a bargain, it’s one of those you know you do look at things like that and you do think well – but it is a false economy, it is a false economy, my daughter has eczema and if I buy her anything that’s not breathable fabrics such as leather then it’s just a nightmare, within a week her feet are itching and they’re sweaty and it’s just, it’s not good for her at all and you know, who are we cheating really here if we buy cheap shoes
H: Yes it’s more the sales as opposed to the cheaper shoes, like if I see a sale that I think – I always think – I’m a bargain hunter I suppose so I always do that thing of like, oh look they were this much but now – so I’m saving money so I’ll buy 3 pairs in different colours or 3 different sizes because I know she’ll grow out of them quickly, when it’s probably best to just get what she needs, that’s the thing I think. Ok well, talking with this in mind, we have got some top tips from Start-Rite on what to look for in a pair of properly fitted shoes. Take a look at this
Nothing matters more than the health, well-being and comfort of our children, so when choosing their footwear you’ll want to know you are getting the best possible fit to ensure healthy foot development. Don’t forget that measuring is only a guide, which is why it’s so critical that various steps are undertaken during the actual fitting of the shoes. With this in mind we want to show you some key things you should be looking out for. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensuring you get the best fit possible. Once they have the shoes on they will stand the child up, making sure that the fastenings are checked. Starting at the back and working forward they will check the heel, they will check the length, they will check the depth of the shoe and they’ll also check the width of the shoe. Asking the child to walk, this is important to see that there is no slippage at the back of the shoe. Don’t worry; all Start-Rite shoes include growing room. Visit startriteshoes.com where you can check out our fitting videos, which show you how to fit each type of shoe from lace, Velcro, boots and even a sandal
H: And as Andrew from Start-Rite said you can watch videos on both measuring and fitting shoes in store and online either on the Start-Rite You Tube channel or through Startriteshoes.com. Well that’s not the end of the show yet, don’t worry. I’d like to find out a little bit more about childcare issues for me, because I’ve got a couple of questions here, I’ve got one from Michelle – “how do you balance work with life? I work full-time, I’ve been refused part-time work and I’m currently struggling to gain the balance and I feel I’m missing out on my son growing up. I play with him for half an hour before he goes to bed, but he’s tired at weekends and I try to spend all my time with him, but it’s hard with him having everything else to do. Any advice please?”
B: I totally agree with her, I mean when I get home from work I try to be with the kids and you know I am exhausted and I try to hide how exhausted I am from them, because I don’t think they want to see mummy coming back from work and just being kind of on the sofa and just you know all I can do is watch TV, so I do try to be supermum a bit, and then it gets to the weekend and you know, you don’t want to spend any time away from them because you’re away from them all week, and actually what happens is you have no time for yourself, you have no time on your own, so I think both of them probably need to spend some time alone, I mean perhaps her child could spend some time with somebody else at the weekend, for a bit of the time
B: And she could maybe have some time on her own so that it’s not just so full on the whole time, so your
H: Working or looking after the child
B: Looking after the children and there’s nothing else
H: There’s nothing for you
B: Except sleeping, and to maybe getting some food at some point, you know there has to be some down time for mums, especially working mums. No and stay-at-home mums, it’s exactly the same, you just need some time on your own
H: Well your identity – I think it’s your identity that you feel is missing when you’re either at work or looking after children
A: I used to make an effort of booking just half hour sessions, something like getting a manicure or something, having something done once a week
C: Yes so you can be Jane or whoever – whether you’re mum, wife, running your own business, you’re then boss as well, so I just feel like I’ve got all these labels. I know it’s a bit controversial but one of the things I’ve considered setting up my own business, I was in IT sales before and I couldn’t go back, I just felt it just wasn’t right, is that there are other options, you know just because you had this career before you had your child, you know really re-evaluate, you know you could do something else and it’s just looking at the reasons why you’re doing the job you’re doing, you know does it fit any more and whether there are some other options out there for you so you’re not constantly beating yourself up
A: Yes I think you underestimate how much you change when you become a mum
H: Of course, and you neglect yourself. Well we’ve got a really topical question here, “on BBC Question Time last night, Jermaine Greer suggested that the sexualisation of little girls starts with Barbie dolls and kissing daddy goodnight. Surely she’s taking things too far, what do your panel think?”
B: I think she’s taking things too far because I played with Barbie dolls when I was little, or Sindys actually is what it was back then, and I played with dolls
H: And you kissed your dad goodnight
B: And I kissed my dad goodnight, and I’ve now grown up to be a working mum, a career woman, I don’t think it’s hindered me or made me feel any different, I don’t think it matters, I really think you should let people play with whatever they want to play with
H: I completely agree, the sexualisation for me comes in when people are having spray tans at an early age
B: Yes or young girls wearing mini-skirts, I mean that’s a slightly different issue, but I mean playing with a Barbie doll, I mean you know when my daughters play with Barbie dolls they’re playing, you know mummies,
H: Yes it’s role play
B: You know they’re not playing anything else
C: You could say that about Action Man couldn’t you? Sort of stereo-typing boys as well
H: Of course
C: I think there’s a lot in the press about certain type of girls but I think it’s the same with boys, but you know I don’t think we look at –
H: Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder
C: We don’t look at our husbands – they don’t look like any of the characters that they used to play with
B: I think I look like Barbie
A: I work at a plastering company which is obviously a very male-dominated arena as well, so – and you know I was working the mould, excuse the pun
H: Ok girls well time flies when you are having fun and our half hour is up. My thanks to Jane, Stephanie and Nifa. Be sure to catch us next time on Mum’s half hour on Friday 8th July where we will be discussing school holidays, what to do with the kids, competitive parenting and buying their first shoes. Thank you for watching and see you soon