P90x3

P90X3-losing baby weight
I had a lot of success with p90X losing baby weight after having Brutus, now with a holiday in sight I am using p90x3 to try to get a flat tummy.

So after last years 10K I have been off the wagon, I have had the odd personal training session from Martin Cullen but working, sleepless nights and juggling school runs has made this difficult (my excuses). My other problem is I actually weigh less now than when I got married, I fit back into most of my pre pregnancy clothes so motivation is pretty low. I am using my sister in laws upcoming wedding in Greece as motivation. I will be in Kos, which means beach, which means bikini in front of my hyper critical in laws- eek!

P90x3 – get ripped in only 30 mins?

P90x3 is the third sequal to p90x – the 90 day workout at home. I never completed p90x fully but followed the diet and did most of the workouts regularly. I lost my baby weight in 6 weeks and felt great. However, I only had one baby, he was not crawling at that point, I was on maternity leave, and although I had problems after giving birth I did give birth naturally. This time I have 2 babies, both on the move, one in preschool, I work part time (although never switch off as it is our own business and am currently building my career and the company brand), I am exhausted as Furby doesn’t sleep as well as Brutus did.

That being said p90x3 is only 30 minute workouts, anyone can fit in 30 mins and doing something regularly is better than nothing if I can’t manage 6 workouts a week. So far so good, I have only done one workout which initially I was disappointed with, however it worked my core muscles a lot which is the area that needs the most work. I felt disheartened by the first workout as I felt I didn’t work hard enough (I am very competitive and once I get going I really do enjoy workouts) so I did ab ripper X from the original p90x.

This was a mistake, although I didn’t feel like I worked hard, after 24 hours my legs, arms and abs ached. This was great from an ex fitness addict, and my faith has been restored, even if I do need more protein to feed those aching muscles next time. Papa Bear has started taking the kids to their Nans in the morning when I work, which means I get about 40 mins to work out (if he leaves on time) so tomorrow I will be continuing the p90x3 workouts. I’ll let you know how I get on ;) .

Will I be ripped in 90 days from 30 minute workouts? The jury is out!

Is My Child Being Bullied at Preschool

Preschool Bullying

A few things have come to light recently where I am concerned my son might be being bullied at preschool, how do you know if your toddler is being bullied?

Brutus started preschool last September he is only just 3 so hasn’t got his allocated hours, despite his size he is a sweet boy who is mild mannered and very sensitive. He is quite sociable and has a lot of small groups of friends whom he loves to have play dates with. He took to preschool brilliantly, not wanting to leave on his first day but after a parents evening to review his development it was clear to me that although he seemed confident he was still quite withdrawn at school hiding his abilities from his key worker. I wasn’t too worried though as he only did 2 days at the time and out of those two days had been off with chest infections and chicken pox so it was no wonder they didn’t know the real Brutus.

Just Fights at PreSchool or Bullying?

Kids fight in Preschool, but when is is just an altercation, and when is it bullying or intimidation.

Experts define bulling in 3 ways:

verbal (put-downs, taunts, name-calling)
physical (pushing, kicking, punching)
relational (rumors, social rejection, exclusion)

Not all scuffles are bullying, kids can’t always express themselves and act out, they fall in and out of friendships, they push boundaries and assert themselves. Play can get out of hand and wresting matches go too far, but this is not bullying. Bullying affects a child’s confidence and self esteem, it can be physical and/or emotional, intentional intimidation or shunning is not acceptable at any age.

After Christmas we upped his hours and he seemed to be happy, in fact he still does seem happy. However we did have an incident where he had been in a fight. It is the preschools policy not to tell parents who was involved but he had a small scratch by his eye and I signed an incident report. I didn’t think anything of it, Brutus had told me ‘Child X’ had wanted his car and then hit him. I know Brutus is terrible at sharing especially cars so I put it down to 6 to 1 half a dozen to another.

I mentioned the fight in jest to a friend and mentioned the child involved and my friend initially recoiled, saying ‘But ‘child X’ is only little, what are you going to do about Brutus’ behaviour?’, they had jumped to the conclusion that because Brutus is big and the other child is small that Brutus was the protagonist.

Brutus went through a hitting stage at around 18 months which we nipped in the bud, since then he does not raise his hand or push other children that we know about and we have remained strict over this with a straight to the naughty step policy on hitting. He has started hitting me and hitting his sister now though, he pushes her a lot and hits her a lot. We continue to discipline him but it is not getting through. Of course I put this down to him being a threenager!

Brutus really likes preschool he likes his key worker and all the staff, he likes a lot of the children, which is not surprising as there are some lovely kids there. But for weeks he has maintained that Child x is not his friend, when I ask why he says because he hits me and pushes me. I thought that Brutus was just recalling the previous incident when he said this. Another child looked very upset and Brutus told me she was upset because ‘Child X’ had hit her, again I put this down to projection.

The other day I was a bit early to pick Brutus up and I came up to the preschool and saw into the yard where they were all playing. I looked for Brutus and saw he was in a corner of the yard and ‘Child X’ was intimidating him, he would not let him out of the corner and was moving around him blocking Brutus’ exit. I watched this and saw that both key workers were oblivious to this. I watched for a bit longer until ‘Child X’ started to hit Brutus when I shouted over to the key workers to stop it. It was stopped, ‘Child X’ was put on the naughty step and made to apologise, but something about the way it happened made me think it was regular. I felt terrible that Brutus had been telling me for weeks but he is only 3 and not great at talking so I still don’t know for sure.

Preschool had commented that he didn’t play with children, but I know he does, I have seen it, not just next to children but he does play with children, but apparently not at preschool. This morning Papa Bear took Brutus in, he wanted to chat to them about the incident, but he noticed Brutus wasn’t himself he stood on the sidelines till a toy (a car) was free he wanted. He also saw ‘Child X’ push the car he was in away and shout at him. Still using aggressive behaviour that was unnoticed by the staff.

All signs point to this being a regular thing and my concern is over Brutus’ lack of confidence at preschool. I don’t care about him meeting developmental milestones but it had been noticed he was slightly behind socially. This did not ring true to me. Today I watched him in the park, he ran and played with 3 different children, one from preschool only briefly, another girl we hadn’t seen since Furby was born (so a year) and a friend we had arranged to meet. He played WITH the all, especially the playdate child as they sat and pretended to make dinner in a club house, made pretend pancakes then pretended the Police, then the Fire engine came and ran round happily. It was very sweet and not the child I am led to believe is attending preschool.

The Bully label

No one wants to label a child a bully, especially at such a young age, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, but I am concerned the intimidation is causing my son to turn into a victim, or will push him to become a bully himself. He already displays this behaviour with his sister.

I have raised my concerns with preschool, but it is not necessary for Ofsted that they have a bullying policy, they have a behavioural policy which they sent to me but no bullying policy. I suppose this is because 3 and 4 year olds can’t be bully’s. But lets face it, every 3 year old I know – including the very nicest- are capable of bullying behaviour.

In fact it is common for 3 year olds not to have developed a sense of empathy so they do not always understand they are hurting someone, they may understand it is wrong if their parents have done a good job with right and wrong but empathy is a complex emotion.

We need to accept that although no one wants to label a child a bully, they are capable of bullying behaviour.

How to Handle a PreSchool Bully

Is your child a bully

I think most parents would want to know if their child is acting like a bully, it is only by addressing the problem that you can help them be a nicer, kinder and respected individual. By not addressing signs of bullying at a young age you may be dealing with a worse situation later.

Even at 3 or 4, children usually know their behaviour is wrong, they may act secretive, they will hide their actions from grown ups. ‘Child X’ couldn’t look me in the eye when he knew I had seen him intimidate and hit Brutus, he knew he was wrong and had been caught out.

They may try to segregate your child from the rest of the group, I do not know if this has happened but I do know Brutus is reluctant to join in at preschool, when in other situations he is the first to join in and loves to play with friends. This does not mean ‘Child X’ is directly responsible, but if the actions are affecting Brutus’ self esteem this is likely.

I am not a psychologist, I can’t tell you why ‘Child X’ is acting as he does, I don’t know if it is just him flexing his muscles, or a deep rooted problem or just he see’s Brutus as a victim, and as Brutus has been taught not to hit or push he does not retaliate and just cries without defending himself. Great boost to a little boys ego!

How to deal with Bullying behaviour in toddlers

Papa bear gets very protective of his cub and hates that Brutus feel intimidated at Preschool, he wants him to hit back, but it is important to remember that ‘Child X’ is only a toddler, he is a baby too. He is still understanding the world, just like Brutus, and this is all too complex for adults let a lone a child.

Steps to protect your child

  1. Are they really being bullied? This is a difficult question to answer, we are still not 100% sure but all signs point to him being bullied/intimidated. Ask your child direct questions, like did someone push you today? Did someone hurt you today? Who was it? What did they do? For emotional (and physical) bullying, your toddler may not understand or have the words to explain. Stay calm and tell your child you love them and will help them.
  2. Bullying Action Plan Your preschool may not have an action plan but you can:
    • Help your child be brave tell them to shout, STOP, or NO, this will alert an adult and show confidence
    • Tell them to ignore the bully I get the impression Brutus has been trying to do this all by himself to no avail (from watching him at school and in other environments when ‘Child X’ has run up to Brutus in public play areas), but experts feel that by removing attention and not reacting the bully will get bored
    • Help them develop a social circle Friends will give your child confidence and any friends around that  they feel comfortable with will give them safety in numbers, we try to take Brutus to as many play dates as possible
    • Let adults know Key workers and parents need to be aware and monitoring the situation
  3. Take action Contact your preschool and let them know your concerns, they should be able to monitor the situation, our next step if this is not successful is to arrange a play date with ‘Child X’ we already know his mother and she is lovely and was apologetic when she found out a out an incident. I find it hard to believe any child is horrible and I think if they can get to know each other better that will help.

Signs your Toddler is being bullied

Are you are concerned your child is a victim of Bullying or intimidating behaviour, these are common signs:

  • Your child loved preschool but now doesn’t want to go.
  • He complains of bellyaches or headaches before being dropped off at a playdate, daycare, or preschool.
  • He no longer wants to play with a child he once liked.
  • He repeatedly tells you a certain kid is “bothering,” “bugging,” or being mean to him.
  • He suddenly becomes withdrawn, depressed, fearful, or clingy.
  • He makes derogatory remarks about himself, like “I’m a loser,” “I’m stupid,” or “No one likes me.”
  • He has unexplained boo-boos. Little kids get bumps and bruises when they play, but if your child seems to have more than a normal amount or “forgets” the details of getting hurt, it might warrant a closer look.

It is very hard to imagine those fresh faced Cherubs you see at your child’s preschool could be capable of hurting and upsetting your child, I am finding it very difficult to handle.

We are going to work hard on Brutus’ confidence and Papa Bear is going to show him some self defence moves by starting kickboxing lessons at home (Papa Bear is an ex Champion Kickboxer). We are putting our concerns in writing to the preschool and there will be lots of play dates in his immediate future.

*UPDATE*

Since writing this a lot of people have contacted me privately saying that they are experiencing the same in different preschools. Brutus’ Preschool doesn’t have an anti bullying policy, it covers bullying under behaviour but no set guidelines. My friends have said their schools don’t take it seriously thinking they are too young to be bullying but we need to take it more seriously.

Social Media takes the narcissism out of the #selfie

Breaste cancer #nomakeupselfie

I often talk about how social media is a powerful tool, it has it’s pros and cons, but more and more regularly we see how social media can really impact change for the good.

Cancer research awareness campaigns

We’ve all seen those posts, cryptic, a bit of a double entendre, men confused and women self congratulatory and apparently it is all to raise awareness for cancer. They are usually along the lines of what colour is your bra or where did you put your handbag today – “I like it on the table”. These are all fine, a bit of fun, they usually encounter some negative comments from irritated men who are not in on the loop. I guess this is a bit of an issue, as breast cancer, or any other cancer doesn’t just affect women, men can get breast cancer and any cancer will affect not only the patient but their family and friends.

Most of these cancer awareness campaigns are not actually started by cancer research charities but raising awareness for illness is always a good thing, right? But surely everyone knows that cancer exists? Everyone knows that they need funding for research to beat cancers, everyone has an understanding that the illness is devastating to families. We need more from social media than people playing games and congratulating themselves on doing a good thing. Updating your Facebook status as part of a game will not beat cancer, you may feel better about yourself but it is a narcissistic move that helps no one.

#Nomakeupselfie

So just after I rant about narcissism, here we get onto the #selfie, the selfie is literally taking a photo of your self and publishing it on social media. If you are taking the photo yourself it is safe to assume there was no one else there to take the photo, so you just want everyone to see you when you think you look nice. The selfie is not about capturing a moment in time, cherishing a memory of a good time with friends but literally just taking a photo of yourself.

Don’t get me wrong I have seen some interesting ways of using the selfie, such as doing 1 a day for a year but not publishing till the end, or the man who took a selfie a day to prove he was only spending the regulated amount of time in his second home used for business (he took a picture in front of both premises with a newspaper to prove where he was in the country). If you are creative you can turn narcissism into an art (I am sure this is true for most famous artists).

The #nomakeupselfie hashtag started on Twitter, I can’t find the original source, some say it was to raise awareness for breast cancer, some for other cancers, other people say it is a reaction to #sophieschoice, the young girl from Liverpool who died of cervical cancer before she was even old enough to get a smear test on the NHS.

Whoever started it, it was genius, taking makeup away takes a lot of the narcissism away from taking a selfie, however it still does nothing for cancer research except tell everyone how nice a person you are for taking a picture of yourself.

That was until people started donating, people stopped the nominations and started publishing the text number along with their selfies, by the end of the day they were publishing screenshots of the text they receive to confirm their donation.

Yesterday saw  a huge increase in text donations, everyone was involved as I saw men doing the same, some men wearing makeup and donating with their selfie (any excuse) and the result was overwhelming. I saw pictures of breast cancer survivors going topless showing their scars and people undergoing treatment posting pictures of themselves without wigs or hats. People shared awareness posters on how to check for skin cancer and breast cancer this was a real cancer awareness campaign that got people to put their hands in their pockets and donate.

In 24 hours the charity saw over 800,000 donations which was over £1 million! This is a fantastic response to social media and is still going!

To raise awareness further about breast cancer (in particular) check yourself using this guide.

Breast cancer checklist

Sorry Beyonce my daughter is Bossy and so is my son

So Beyonce and other female stars have started a campaign to stop people describing girls as Bossy as this is supposed to be derogatory and will inhibit tomorrows future leaders. Although initially I supported stars like Jennifer Garner and Victoria Beckham for standing up for womens rights and in a way I want women and girls to feel confident and not be put down by words. I never thought much about it but recently I have been calling my son a bossy boots, other people are calling my son a bossy boots – because he is. Why are we so protective about any negative implications of the wod bossy for girls and not for boys?

Surely this is a double standard.

Who is protecting my son from this terrible label of being bossy because if it is derogatory for girls why is it not derogatory for boys. Of course I understand the social history that led to this decision that girls need to be removed from stereotypes and ‘bossy girl’ is a stereotype.

I started thinking is ‘bossy’ really such a bad word?

The dictionary definition is;

boss·y 1 (bô′sē, bŏs′ē)
adj. boss·i·er, boss·i·est
Given to ordering others around; domineering.

So bossy is an adjective, a describing word, given to ordering people around.

Brutus , my threenager bosses me around all the time, and his friends are the same, boys and girls. We call them bossy with affection as they assert their dominance in a battle of wills, it is all part of growing up. Asserting dominance is typically masculine trait yet women are more likely to be called bossy, because it is breaking the mold of the submissive female, yet bossy is seen as being a girly trait. I am struggling to keep up with the hypocrisy.

Although I don’t like stereotypes I do feel we should not remove words from the dictionary, bossy is a descriptive word, it is the context and tone that makes it derogatory and I cannot recall a time I have heard it being used other than in jest or as an endearing term for a child. I appreciate other people have different experiences and other cultures may use it differently but I do not understand the need for such a big campaign over a small word.

Girls (and boys) have been called bossy for years, they have grown up to be teachers, managers, politicians, all good careers that require some assertiveness. Surely we should be commending our girls for being assertive, as far as I know being bossy does not make you a bully, assertion is different to aggression. Our understanding of the word has not changed over time?

Girls get called much worse than bossy

We are still living in a misogynistic world, we don’t even realise the levels of which women are put down as it is so accepted by society. Initially I felt the bossy label was part of this but having been made more aware of it recently I starting noticing its use. I started to wonder why we were making such a big deal over the word bossy, if we stop calling our children bossy what do we replace it with? You are an assertive boots? The description is needed or useful in many situations and is not derogatory.

What is derogatory to women is other words, slut, whore, slag, c*nt. Why are celebrities not standing up for these words, stop calling my daughter a slut, that is a campaign I could get behind and is far more damaging to a girl than identifying them as being assertive.

If Beyonce and Victoria Beckham really want to improve things for the next generation of young women then their are bigger battles to fight, be a bossy boots and tell your producers and agents to stop sexualising women in music videos, airbrushing you to unattainable beauty that causes women and girls to feel self conscious. Pick your battles ladies and until then my bossy boots of a girl and bossy little man will continue to be such, I am proud they are independent and have opinions and will celebrate their bossiness.

 

Misunderstood – A teen and his technology

This advert from apple had me crying this morning as I watched what seemed to be a disaffected teen glued to his phone surprise his family with a thoughtful gift. Watch and see for yourself.

Smart phones, tablets and technology have been under fire recently as they are seen as a cause for distance between children and their families and friends. Of course everything when over used can cause issues in some way but technology used in the right way can be magical. We are not getting rid of technology so why not embrace what it can do and share with your children.

This video shows how a misunderstood teen uses technology to surprise his family as to how much her really is taking in, although Apple’s original intention is to show people they can give their children this technology and it won’t hurt, it also demonstrates that although your child may be using a phone or a tablet they may also be taking in a lot of what is going on around them. I am thinking of a child I know who never looks up from his tablet and his family think he is not aware of what they are saying.

It also shows the potential of technology if you use it properly and mix it with love and fun activities.

Anti Vax loud mouth gets burned by Scientist

Vaccinations are a hot debate amongst many people especially mums. There are a lot of anti vax rumours around that are claimed as fact, these are not true as one Scientist helps show.

Anti vax gets burned by scientist

 

I think the Scientist (although a bit tipsy) tells it how it is, there is so much false information out there that people are effectively mis educating people and it has serious consequences.

Last week we heard one of Furby’s friends has got Measles, he is only 9 months old so too young for the MMR in Britain. Touch wood he is OK and it isn’t a serious case with complications but his poor mother has been through the mill as has he.

Herd vaccination protects the general population from diseases – preventable but potentially life threatening diseases. This means the majority of people (I think around 95-98%) should be vaccinated. This protects people who cannot be vaccinated such as people who have auto immune disorders or are receiving treatment for other illnesses.

I appreciate everyone wants what is best for their own child but if no one vaccinated these illnesses will come back in force. Only a few generations ago these were child hood killers your grandparents or great grandparents generation were scared of these diseases as they meant death, brain damage or lasting issues.

Of course vaccinations may not make you completely immune but they provide your immune system with the warfare needed if they come into contact. If you are not going to vaccinate your child make sure you have the facts why and have good reasons because if everyone believes the hype that vaccines are bad then everyone is at risk of these diseases coming back in force.

Awesome Christmas Video #xmasjammies

This video by a family puts my homemade christmas cards to shame but it is so good it has to be shared, christmas jammies viral video!

Christmas Jammies Viral Video

It is hard keeping touch with people and letting them know what is happening in your families life, once upon a time people would write letters at Christmas letting people know what has been happening in their families lives. Just a summary of the best bits – so Furby is crawling (was born this year) Brutus started pre school and was a Shepherd in the nativity – that sort of thing.

These letters are less common, as is letter writing, and with it people are more detached, we rely on facebook updates to know what our own family are doing. However this family have gone one better and created a video rap/song to let their family – and the world- know about their own highlights from the past year and big news for next year.

This video is a great way of getting little snippets of information across and is so funny, the Christmas Jammies element and poking fun at themselves is fantastic it is no wonder the Christmas Jammies video went viral.

News presenter Penn Holderness and his over achieving family made the video with their own lyrics to the music of Will Smiths Miami. They include everyone and are obviously a very loving and fun filled family who like to have fun as well as work hard. I am a little intimidated by the daughter who can speak some Chinese and play the piano at her age but love the fact their 4 year old son loves superhero t shirts.

Enjoy the Christmas Jammies Viral Video I loved it lol.

I won Champagne!

#incredibullxmas Champagne
I won some Champagne yesterday and looking into it more I am really pleased I entered.

I am a big fan of Twitter, and love to follow the conversations on there, intellectual discussions and links and quite a few not so intellectual, but certainly amusing. Every now and then you see a competition and yesterday I was alerted to a competition to win Champagne. Now I like a drink, especially Champagne and coming up to Christmas I thought I would enter.

 

 

So @incredibull are giving away Champagne to random people who let them know if they have been naughty or nice this Christmas using the hashtag #incredibullxmas they are also using this competition to raise money for save the children and raise exposure for themselves and the charity.

Incredibull are a marketing communications agency so you can expect great ideas from them but I really like this as;

  1. I like champagne
  2. I am quite fond of children

Save the Children help children both in the UK and abroad and as many children are living under the poverty threshold even with parents in work this cause is especially important at Christmas. Children are suffering because parents can’t afford food or rising energy bills this is only one tiny part of what Save the Children helps with and you can find out more on the charity here.

For the each of the first 1000 naughty or nice tweets Incredibull will donate

It might help your chances of getting on Santa’s nice list of you also
donate online or text BULL72 £1 to 70070 to donate £1 to Save the Children.

Well done guys on a ‘nice’ campaign I am sure you are on Santa’s list for some great presents :)

Updated with picture of Champagne above, I was really chuffed when it arrived by courier on the 19th December 3 days after winning, would have been sooner but my children have such busy social lives I had to rearrange.

Toddlers and Technology

toddlers and technology

Last night ITV Tonight showed a program on Toddlers and Technology, ironically I tweeted and followed this on Twitter as I watched it.

The program started off very one sided that tablets and smart phones are very bad for children’s development, and I agree, as with anything if you are going to substitute social time with a computer (or TV and DVD) and use these devices as a babysitter, your child will not develop the social skills they need.

Watching children on the program go towards tablets to play on those rather than traditional toys was eye opening. Brutus loves the iPad, we often let him use it, sometimes on his own even though he is not yet 3 years old. We do limit his time though and he self limits his time often putting it down to play with cars and if I tempt him with a real book and painting he would much prefer that one to one time with me.

I am certainly not a perfect parent and there have been times when in public waiting for food or something if Brutus is kicking off we will hand him a smart phone to keep him quiet. However, I have seen an extreme, where an 8 year old we know has his own Kindle and will not look up or speak to anyone till it needs charged. He is very bright boy and socially adept but since he got his Kindle has turned into a very anti social child and now complains he wants an iPad rather than his Kindle with gadget envy. Seeing this has made us a bit stricter with our own children but at the same time they need access to the tools of their generation.

We think that smart phones and tablets are the highest technology, it amazing compared to playing chess on a board or dominoes like we used to as children. But to our children these will probably the most primitive devices they will use. That is why it is important for children to develop some computing skills.

One thing I have noticed with Brutus is his pincer movements aren’t as good as they could be, he can’t draw letters with a pen or pencil, but can trace on an iPad. The flashy lights on an iPad makes this seem so much more interesting and appealing but we are finding it harder to get him to concentrate on creating letters on paper. This is a work in progress and at the moment cannot fully be blamed on technology but I have my concerns it may have had an impact. But the poor boy isn’t even 3 yet :)

The ITV Tonight program did show a more positive way that pre schools can use technology, this was great to see as it gave me a few ideas on how we could incorporate this into things we do with Brutus and Furby.

After watching the program I came to the conclusion that like many things, everything in moderation is a good way to use technology with your toddler. Watching the program did hit home to me that perhaps I let Brutus have the iPad too often and a bit more parenting, where I decide when he uses it not him will be a very valuable life lesson.

Sharing Paternity/ Maternity Leave

The government are suggesting we share the 50 weeks maternity leave that is currently offered to mothers so that fathers can share this leave. This has opened up a lot of discussions over how this will work.

Paternity/Maternity Leave

Women are entitled to 50 weeks Maternity leave after having a baby, however in reality the 50 weeks usually starts before the birth of the baby. Also it is dependent on your employment contract, the government offers you 39 weeks at statutory maternity leave which is about £120 a week, some employers will top this up to equal your salary, some will stagger payments from full, then half, then nothing and if you take the full 40 weeks you could have 11 weeks of no pay at all. Unless you have a really good maternity benefit in your contract. Men are currently allowed 2 weeks after the birth of a child, again the amount of pay you get depends on your employer. Sharing the leave is proposed to help women in their career paths as taking maternity leave means taking a mini career break. In America you are entitled to 6 weeks unpaid leave, other countries have better offerings but what is right.

Will this work?

This could pose problems for small businesses, as a business owner who speaks to other small business owners, I know that women of a certain age and marital status need to work harder to get the job over a young man, or a man or woman with grown up children.  We try not to prejudice when interviewing but we also know that if an employee takes maternity or paternity leave for too long would significantly affect our business. We would have to employ someone on a temporary contract to cover the work, whilst still paying the employee. Yes the government helps but this only covers the statutory pay of around £120 a week. I have recently come off maternity leave and took the statutory maternity pay for the full 9 months to spend as much time with my children. But I still had an input in the business, I took the full amount of keep in touch days to attend meetings and also to project manage my department. Not many people will do this, most people forget about work till they have to go back and some may not come back at all. If the leave is to be shared then small businesses may struggle to cover the leave for the amount of time, or unexpectedly have to cover it. There is also the risk that both parents will see they are being overlooked for promotions or miss out on jobs. On the positive side it is good that if the woman is the high earner, as many are, they have options for her to go back to work and the man be the main carer without needing to pay for childcare or him have to leave his job. Child care is more expensive in the first year and places are limited as childminders and nurseries need a certain adult to baby ratio for safety reasons. I have many questions over whether it will work or not, factors such as breastfeeding and post natal health (recovery from birth, post natal depression) need to be considered as you cannot deny most mothers have a very strong bond with their child, more so than fathers. I am generalising but from my experience, as doting a father my DH is, and he loves spending time with them, he doesn’t have the same bond. I know this as he doesn’t even wake when my child cries in the night whereas I shoot up and hear it straight away, it pulls at me. This is a very small factor and doesn’t make my DH a bad parent, far from it, but when I am away from my babies I feel like I have lost an arm and before 6 months I could not have been as focused in my job, I still have moments when I am texting my Mum to check they are OK and I only work 2 days a week in the office. I think the government is misjudging women, we make the choice of having children and know sacrifices have to be made, some women sacrifice their careers, some women don’t have the luxury of sacrificing their careers and have to work (especially single mums or high earners) and sacrifice the time they get to spend with their children, many women change their career to fit in with their children, there are options you need to find the right fit. For me the right fit was to start our own business, even before we had gotten pregnant we knew the agencies we both worked for would not be a good fit for family life, both of us had commutes and would never see our children. We started our business and after a year had our first child. It was hard and still is in return for the stress of running a business we see our children and I am able to work from home and only go into the office 2 days a week. We are also incredibly lucky to have my Mum who looks after them 2 days a week so big shout out to Nana. Overall I think it is a good thing that men can have longer paternity leave but I think women need to be strong about what they want. You have to consider what is best for your family and you, don’t feel pressured to go back to work there is enough pressure to work.