Welcome to Sisterhood…

So what is this sisterhood malarkey I speak of?

We all find things hard. Without exception, I don’t know one woman that has found marriage and relationships to be a breeze, or has popped out a baby and happily carried on without a care in the world, or has dealt with loss or illness and not allowed herself for just a moment to think that life isn’t fair. And yet women are awesome – many of us carry the daily grind of our household, many manage to juggle work and home, we care about looking presentable (some of the time – forgive us the occasional hoodie and jogger combo) – and all the while remembering to support friends and family with texts, gifts, cards and general thoughtfulness. AND then we give ourselves a hard time for not being thoughtful enough, available enough, in touch enough. Or for not always having perspective when someone else around us is having a ‘harder’ time than us. Men don’t beat themselves up in the way we do. They’re simple creatures really…

This also isn’t about man-bashing by the way. There are a LOT of stupid men out there and I reckon we should definitely get some laughs out of some of the ‘silly’ things they do. But actually, the last few years have led me to the conclusion that it’s not as simple as all men are dickheads. Some, but not all. Men and women are very different and that leads to conflict, especially when you throw the exhaustion and anxiety that having babies brings in to the mix.

I’m not going to solely focus on pregnancy and children – it will definitely feature as it’s been a big part of my life for the last four years – but I do want to look at how we feel as women who have had children, not just in a role as mums. I’m not a parenting expert or domestic goddess – I can’t make art out of the kids’ fingerprints and my pastry suffers with the dreaded soggy bottom (to be fair, I’ve only made it once but I got cramp in my fingers rubbing the flour and butter together, so I realise I’m no Mary Berry). I once put fairy liquid in the dishwasher when we ran out of tablets.

If you run out of dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid isn't the answer
If you run out of dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid isn’t the answer

Frankly there is SO much advice out there already that I don’t feel the need to throw my hat in to the ring. What do I know anyway? I’m just muddling along like the rest of us, doing my best and worrying that I’m getting it all wrong.

One of my concerns about starting a blog was that people would think I fancied myself as some sort of life expert. Ha! Here’s what I do know: I have found the last few years tough.

I’ve basically hit an age where I have to grow up and be responsible – having kids and a mortgage, juggling a career, dealing with my husband’s cancer diagnosis, having less time to do the things that make you feel good about yourself, like seeing friends, going shopping (I realise that not going shopping and dealing with cancer are not comparable, by the way), and generally lolling about with nothing to think about. And as hard and lonely as it has been at times, I’ve slowly realised there’s nothing unique about my experience. It only takes a few random conversations with not only your friends but someone at the park or the check-out lady where you’re honest and open (oh god, I’m THAT person in Tesco) and you quickly find that most of us feel the same. The irony of this life-stage is that whilst it can feel like no one understands and you’re on your own, the majority of the female population have felt or will feel that solitude at some point. Every one of my friends has faced challenges in the last couple of years, whether with relationships, their career, motherhood or watching someone they love deal with something horrible that they can’t protect them against. And yet many of us feel guilty – guilty because actually we’re very lucky, there are people far worse off, so we should be bright and perky and stop feeling sorry for ourselves. And then we feel even worse. When you look at it like this, women are pretty bloody complex.

So I’m proposing that I will write this blog and hopefully someone will read it, and it will be about the shared experiences we have and using that common ground to make us all feel a little bit better about ourselves. We are in this together and being able to talk to each other and be really honest – not all stiff-upper-lip and stoic – actually can not only make us feel better, but it’s usually bloody funny too.  I think it’s about honesty. About sharing stories of triumph and woes, love and heartache, how our partners drive us fucking nuts, and realising that we’re all in this together and none of us really knows what we’re doing. So, I’d like to dedicate this blog to honesty, being able to laugh at the ridiculous-ness that life throws at us, and (of course) to the sisterhood.

And as you’ve read to the bottom I would love your comments, and thoughts on potential future topics…

Top photo: Newtown Ladies Bowling Team 1939, from LIGC-NLW

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50 thoughts on “Welcome to Sisterhood…

  1. Sam says:

    Steph, I’m not sure why I haven’t become aware of your blog before now but it’s fab – you’re a really good writer and I love what you’re saying. It’s always good to know that we’re not in this motherhood thing alone. (And it was lovely to meet you the other night!) Xx

    • Steph says:

      Hello! Thank you – glad you like it. It was lovely to meet you too, and I think I’m just about recovered from the weekend. It was exhausting! x

  2. Katy Hill says:

    Haha I did that with fairy liquid about a year ago! I guess everyone tries it once! I ended up scooping out the bubbles! Was LOVELY meeting you at BML. I’ll carry on following your brilliant blog xx

  3. barbara potter says:

    I am really enjoying your blog which my lovely daughter-in-law has introduced me to. Before I comment on any of your posts I would just like to know if you have older women in mind when you say that you want to focus on the experience of women having children? I am 65 and have 3 fantastic adult children and 3 even more fantastic grandchildren. I am also a midwife and health visitor so have spent almost my entire life being involved with babies, children birth, loss and everything in between and have already been inspired moved and tickled pink by many of your posts and comments. Great to know about sisterhood and wait to hear from you xx

    • Steph says:

      Hi Barbara – thanks so much for reading and commenting. Sisterhood knows no age! Would definitely like to hear from your experience. If it’s ok, at some point I’d love to drop you an email with a few Qs I could use in future posts – it would be interesting to look at similarities/differences between generations. I think we’re probably all more alike than we think. Thanks again for reading xx

      • barbara potter says:

        thanks for warm welcome Steph – ready now to get started and very interested to hear from you any time about celebrating diversity differences and continuity across generations xx

  4. Jo says:

    Steph this has cheered me up immensely. I am a mum of 2 boys and work full time. On the bin thing, in our house my husband will put out the bins but only after i have asked him and also reminding him bins is the same day every week! Now I have noticed at around that time on a Monday evening I no longer have to ask, he will turn to me and in a slightly sarcastic tone “yes! I’m putting the bins out”. Progress has been made but there is still a long way to go…. 🙂

  5. Claire Kacy says:

    You’ve cheered me up no end this morning, thoroughly enjoyable reading, quite surprised I haven’t woken everyone up with my laughter at 6am :). Can’t wait for more, I’m now a “Sisterhood” addict. xxx

  6. Laura-Jane says:

    Nice work Steph,

    I spend most of my day thinking I should be doing something “more”, something “better” in either work or home. Spend more time with the kids, spend less time with the kids and more time improving myself and getting a better job….aaahhhhh!!!!! Too many choices and too many bloody house and home magazines that all lead to paralysing fear of failure and the feeling of not quite being good enough. Well done for taking the leap and actually writing about the many foibles of a lady’s life! At least we have friends and vino right? X

  7. Olivia says:

    Awesome!! I had almost given up on blogs because a lot of the times they just make me feel inadequate about not preparing the tastiest meal or baking the perfect sponge or not having the most wonderful life. Just had a meltdown today about not having the cleanest house or manicured nails so it’s nice to hear I’m not the only one!!

  8. Chrissie Gale says:

    So true and so refreshingly honest, my friend and I had our own whine and wine group when our kids were first born – very therapeutic, at least till the hangover kicks in!

  9. Sandy says:

    Hi steph
    Just been sent this blog and it’s great, funny and very true. We could all write books on just one subject and all have the same page and chapter!
    I’m a mum of two men 19 and 24 and the stories I could tell in their younger days and now, maybe be alarming and funny to write and read.
    Watch this space and hello
    Sisterhood x

    • Steph says:

      Loving that we’re all in the same boat! But you get more sleep now, yes?!
      I’m planning to set up an email so people can send me some of their stories – happy, sad or just worth sharing – that I can add in posts. Thanks Sandy, have a cracking day
      Steph x

  10. lucy says:

    Lovely words and lovely blog. Like that you don`t have the answers and that its just about sharing the trials and complexities of being a grown up woman ( including but not exclusively about being a mum). I have just hit 40 (mother of 2 young kids, partner, employee, sister, daughter etc) and am now not just a grown up but also FORTY ( FORTY?! how did that happen? that is PROPERLY grown up)and despite being as laid back as they come in my 20s and early 30s, I am very sorry to say that I am now as far away as I have ever been from being chilled! But I can just about manage to crack the odd smile with the help of the sisterhood and sunshine (and wine, obviously).

    • Steph says:

      I too am a nervous ball of anxiety most of the time. And in my head I’m still 18… Thanks so much for reading and commenting

  11. Pingback: Alicia

  12. Anne Jenkinson says:

    Hello Steph,
    Loved the blog – well done & thanks Lindsay for sharing.
    Looking forward to the next installment
    Love & hugs from Down Under
    Anne x

  13. Patricia Erhardt-Lewis says:

    LOVE IT!!! So awesome that you’ve started this blog. One of the things I’ve loved about having kids is the side-splitting hilarious and tear-jerking emotional stories (sometimes the same ones!) that we share in the euphoria and psychosis of their infancy. And I really miss that. I also really miss my sister and being able to do the same with her. I loved this post and can’t wait to read and comment on more. Well done. And well done for taking the leap. It takes some guts. You know you have something valuable to share. 🙂 Tons of love coming your way.

  14. Cara says:

    LOVE THIS – I have missed your off the cuff wit and wisdom lady! And yes I may not have out fairy in the dishwater, but I have flooded the bathroom, nearly lost the dog and I regularly forget to pluck my eyebrows. I am over that shit. Looking forward to reading more.

  15. Liz Brown says:

    Loving this!! Stumbled across it on a Facebook share and have loved it! Looking forward to the next installment! Peace out xx

  16. Leelor says:

    Wow! What a read and so true, well done Steph. I love my little family to bits and I wouldn’t change it for the world although don’t get me wrong it’s had its challenges along the way. Somedays are like Groundhog Day what with the added sleep deprivation, loss of identity, those jobs that just never get done, your partner/husband asking why are you crying to the response of “I don’t know!” and trying to catch at least 5 minutes to myself by going to the toilet without a little voice saying “mummy, what are you doing?” as they burst in mid change of the tampon!

    As for future blogs I’d be interested to hear how other mothers feel post baby as I don’t feel that there’s not enough support for mothers once you’re signed off the two weeks after the birth of your child. If you haven’t already got a good support network around you it’s down to you to join children’s centres and classes. I distinctively remember being in hospital the day after giving birth and asking the midwives to help/show me how to bath my baby to then be told ” there’s not the time or resource to do that”. Therefore you just muddle through and bring up your child how you think is right.

    I look forward to reading your future blogs with interest x

  17. Riddles says:

    Was always going to love this. Can relate on so many levels. What I love most is there are so many of us out there who feel the same (in fact ALL at some stage will experience a “not so perfect” life moment – yes even those who tell us they have the most perfect husband, have (passionate) sex EVERY night and children who sleep through the night, eat vegetables, and can read by 3 months – whatevs. All wank.) I’m looking forward to seeing what else you got so I can laugh, cry or share over a glass of wine or water if I’m being good. Beautiful work Douglas. PS whilst reading this Jamie (husband) kept annoyingly interrupting me to ask stupid pointless questions – but my sisterhood angel must have been watching because he dropped his coffee (whole cup) into his lap…….funniest thing I’ve seen – his trousers and pants were off quicker than on our wedding night!

  18. Serena Leckie says:

    Never a truer word said. Eloquently and honestly put you have epitomised so many emotions that women feel at the most extraordinary period of their life. Best of luck on this new journey, I for one will be following eagerly, you are clearly a natural writer, not to mention a caring, capable and heart warmingly self deprecating wife and mother.

  19. lisa gardiner says:

    What a great idea, and said so well!!! Fab move Steph and am certainly looking forward to the next installment. Possible future topics, i agree with the sleep deprivation etc one, also how to cope with kids and a hangover (still suffering from Friday night!!!) and could go on! Lastly i would love to say hi to all the lovely ladies of our year at school. Hope you and families are all well and would really love to have a big family picnic in the park, if we ever get a summer!! Much love xxxxx

  20. Noo says:

    Well done Stephie in getting this blog up and running!! I know I’m going to find this forum hugely helpful, reassuring and no doubt hilariously amusing (especially if you share some of your Doug related stories!).
    It’s so important for us girlies to be supportive of one another and stick together through the fun stuff and the not so fun stuff. And, importantly I feel, to be really open and honest rather than feel like we always have to put on a brave face and be all chipper and tickety boo. Many a time (more recently now that I’m a mummy of 2) I’ve tried to put on the brave face when all I really wanted (and needed) to do was have a good old blub with my friends, let the tears roll and mascara run (if I’d actually managed to get 5 minutes to myself to put the bloody stuff on) and just let it all out. So maybe this blog will help us all feel like it’s ok to let it all out. And that we’re all in the same boat, just trying to be happy….
    Can’t wait for the next instalment xx

  21. alicia says:

    So so proud darling. Many a wise word said, I too will be looking forward to the next blog. Am horrendously hungover and doing my best at being a mum today but when my brain cells return I will write something more interesting in return. It’s great to read the TRUTH! Love always x
    Ps. If anyone has any tips of ways to entertain children without moving, talking or thinking much appreciated x

  22. fiona reiman says:

    Such beautiful words and each one hit through to me as a working mother with two little boys. Always nice to know we aren’t on our own. All we can do is our best:)
    Looking forward to reading more.
    fiona

  23. Karin "I'm knackered" Yardy says:

    I’ve just spent all morning feeling like a terrible Mum cause I’ve got a cold and couldn’t take the rabble out. Then my daughter farted at the dinner table and we all laughed till we cried and these are the things that help us plod on. Great idea Steph. I’ve heard its not until we’re in our 40’s that we can truly start to chill out. Can anyone confirm this!!!???

  24. May Douglas says:

    So much truth in your post Steph.Having children is probably the biggest turning point in your life.Making the step to get married or to commit to a relationship as partners, is a breeze in comparison.
    A fathers role is completely different to the mothers role.Its a shared responsibility, but the mother is the one left at home. Whilst the father continues to work,he still has his camaraderie and continues with his career.
    Throw into that major illness as well. It makes for a very tough call.
    Men are going to say that their responsibility is huge.Especially when a child is born as they have to continue to go to work every day, having had little sleep, and come home to an environment that has changed completely.Some men deal with this differently to others.Some men are very hands on and share the child care, where others leave it up to the wives to cope. Some women are independent and think it will be so much quicker if they just get on with it.The end result being they are knackered most of the time.
    Gone are the days for a lot of young people when relatives were close at hand and you could call on mum or mum in law for help and support. I personally didnt have that luxury and I have much sympathy for the young mothers like you Steph who dont have it either. It must make one helluva difference if you do.I think one of the worst comments men can make is ” Why didnt you ask me , I would have done it” Competely missing the point that they shouldnt have to be asked.Its staring them in the face, they should just do it. We would feel so much warmer towards them at the end of the day.

    May Douglas

  25. Emma McTear says:

    Having just read your blog and understood and agreed with all the points raised I wanted to leave a comment to let you know I will look forward to future reads…maybe a topic on sleep deprivation and motherhood? This theme seems to be one that I am always discussing with friends always hoping to find that magic sleep solution!! Good luck & I hope to read more xx

  26. sarah says:

    Amazing!

    I look forward to coming here for some much needed reality checking. Myself and many of my friends (with and without kids) get so caught up in the worrying about what’s expected of us and being ‘successful’- whether that being good mothers, just-as-good-as-men career women, or often, both.

    Sometimes it’s nice to just stop a minute and just ‘be’.

  27. Liz says:

    Steph, this is amazing and thank you for having the gumption about you to start this blog. I am sat here reading it blubing my eyes out with your honesty and how it reflects many of my feelings and because I am weaning Emmy of the breast and all the hormones, guilt, regretful feelings and irrational thoughts that it brings along! I will be an avid follower and wish you loads of luck and love with it, Lizzer x x x x

    • Steph says:

      Oh Liz – such a tricksy time. Blub away, but Be Kind To Yourself. And know that whatever you’re doing, it will be the right thing because you love your girls. And try and have a nap! Thanks again, means a lot xx

  28. Elly Walsh says:

    LOVE it Steph, well done you – what a great read and so true through and through. Have signed up, shared on Facebook and now eagerly waiting for your next blog.

  29. Elisa says:

    Great idea for a blog Steph… You put so many of my regular mixed up thoughts into sentences that actually make sense there!! 😉 Thank you… I look forward to reading future entires and when I’m able to think of something and/or string words together a little more coherently than I’m managing today I will (hopefully!) have some ideas/suggestions too. x

  30. deborah seal says:

    This is fantastic and ive read your blog just as ive had a little melt down and its made me smile, reading stories and sharing always make me see the lighter side and instead of crying through exhaustion I can cry laughing which is so much better. To sister hood xxx ( ps I was crying because my husband wasnt caring enough when I was being sick with a bug and just actually writing this after reading your blog has made me grin rather than feeling annoyed with him )