ISSUE 4      MARCH 2003


An occasional newsletter for mothers who do it all and then some more





Introduction:  Women on the edge of war


Article:  Mothering – the world’s oldest profession


Check it out: Skateboarding Mum


Review:  Children’s books that mums will love to read





Hello again –


It is hard to imagine what it must be like to be a mother in Iraq, putting the kids to bed while guns and tanks assemble over the border. Or a mother in Israel, waving the kids to school in a bus that may or may not return. Or a mother in Palestine, peeling potatoes and wondering what your teenage sons are up to.


What do women awaiting terror do? They get on with things, writes an Egyptian author in a recent article. Put simply, they survive. You can read the article through this link:,3604,913002,00.html


Everyday, we who live in stable communities have a reasonable expectation that at the end of the day we can be with our families. Our daily challenges – unwieldy carpools, obstinate children and husbands, deadlines, housework, burnt food – pale in significance. With that in mind, let these women on the brink show us the way. Let us not linger on the clutter of the daily grind and focus on what we value. Let us get on with life.


Mum at Work is a website hoping to inspire mothers to indulge their creativity despite the demands of mothering, domesticity and work. This is our creed: LET’S DO IT ALL – WE’RE ALREADY TIRED ANYWAY!


 Till next time,


Candy Gourlay


P.S. If you enjoy the newsletter, you might want to forward it to friends who you think will enjoy it as well. If you don't want to receive the newsletter, let me down gently by replying to this email and typing "no thank you" on the subject line. No hard feelings.





Yes ladies, we are purveyors of the world’s oldest profession. Except, of course, that a lot of us don’t think of mothering as a job.


And that’s why, in a world already riven by gazillion conflicts, there exists a divide between the “working mother” and the “stay-at-home mother”.


“Keep on working, mum” columnist India Knight counselled recently in the Sunday Times.


She writes: “(Women) who have spent a life devoted solely to their children at the expense of any personal interests often make for the most disappointed, difficult and demanding people in late middle age and old age, when the children are grown up and have families of their own.


 Think about it next time you sit in judgment on some poor woman who finds her work as stimulating and challenging as she does her children.”


But why must one sit in judgement of the other? The fact is, we are all on the same side. And both sides yearn for the good stuff on the other side. The mother-with-job would love more time with her kids. The mother-at-home would love the stimulating rough and tumble of a career.


Though mothering is seen as a state of being, a blessing, a state of grace even (!) – a lot of it is in reality about bloody hard work.


I therefore submit that mothers should regard mothering as a job (a bit like being a doctor who is always on call). A job can be stimulating, boring, fascinating, grinding, wonderful and terrible – all things that we should allow ourselves to think about mothering. A job is an important part of your life but it is not the be-all and end-all of your existence.


If you let yourself regard your mothering as a profession, you will make time for other, self-affirming things. Children will not suffer from having happy, fulfilled mothers. Indeed, they will thrive.


And when your kids move away, your sense of self does not disappear with them.


UK readers can access India Knight’s piece on,,2-525-603604,00.html


I’d love to hear what you think. Click here to reply.




How cool a mum are you? Nobody can be as cool as skateboarding mum Barb Odanaka, children’s author and founder of the International Society of Skateboarding Moms! Check out her website and join the club if you dare!


REVIEW: Kids’ Books for Mums


If like me, you are a mum who pretends to buy books for her children but is really buying them for herself, you might find this list useful. I have read these books and loved them – who knows, I might even let the kids have a look at them someday. Here is my current list of favourite children’s books – do you have your own list of favourites? Send me your list or reviews by clicking here.


1.       Holes by Louis Sachar

Boy in boot camp. Touching, funny, put it down and think stuff

2.       Stop the Train by Geraldine McCaughrean

Pioneers in need of train station. A can’t put down romp.


3.       Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Coping with maternal depression and death. Moving.


4.       A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

Lovingly written Newbery winner about celadon making


5.       The Great Elephant Chase by Gillian Cross

Terrific can’t put down adventure.


6.       Heaven Eyes by David Almond

Touching, almost lyrically crafted tale of belonging


7.       Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Depression-era story with a loveable protagonist


8.       The Wish List by Eoin Colfer

Gripping story of dead girl trying to get into heaven


9.       The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Commercial but addicting laugh out loud teenage angst


10.   Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean 

Chinese boy rides kite. Good read.



(c) 2003, Candy Gourlay. All rights reserved.

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