Today is the 9th of March and sits between two significant dates (of course, every day of the year is significant for reasons big and small, momentous or otherwise): yesterday was International Women’s Day and tomorrow is Riley’s birthday.

The older Riley gets, and the more IWD gets stamped into the awareness calendar, the more I’ve come to realise that they are inextricably linked in my mind. While I was already a mother when he was born, those of you who are aware of my past – written here on the blog, or publication elsewhere – will know how horrendous and scarring that pregnancy was. He is now marching towards puberty. I cringe at the way casual, sexist comments and jokes are worked into popular sitcoms (don’t get me started), and I wonder how well I am demonstrating, or modelling, strong values. And if I am, how well that is being absorbed or recognised. By both children, I might add.

I have very simple housekeeping rules: open the blinds. I can’t abide being in a house during the day with curtains drawn, even if I’m sick – especially so, as I like to watch the outside world if I can’t get out in it. Our bedroom lets in a lot of light – while showing how dirty the windows are! – and so yesterday when I was in bed, clutching at my stomach in a gastritis flare up, I occasionally went through my social media feeds. Trailing down my iPhone screen with my fingers, I was very aware of how physically pleasurable experience it was (cramps aside) to bask in that warmth and read the proclamations of love and strength, for and by women, across the world. Again, it made me realise how fantastically lucky I am, and how much I still want to achieve.

My body might break down more than I would like it to, but that doesn’t mean my ambition or goals are breakable; I often pretend to be glib and ironic in order to hide my vulnerabilities. I’m sensitive, and I shoot first, like Han Solo, if that’s what my self-preservation tells me to do. Friendships have come and gone over the years. I have my faults – but I have my strengths, too.

Sometimes, you need a day’s reflection in bed, alone, with some good reading material and the sun streaming in, to get some perspective. We all need down time. A slow day. Before we pick up our tools again.


Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity