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





Introduction:  Spare a thought for the virtual mother


Article:  Singing on the Brain


Check it out: Mrs Mad gives up snorkelling


Review:  The Bitch in the House





Hello, friends! Tis the season for demented shopping sprees, unmitigated parental blackmail and appalling infantile greed. It’s Christmas, here we go again.


But instead of indulging in the traditional yuletide whinge, let me tell you a story.


Poverty and abandonment by a philandering husband drove my friend Rosita  to seek work overseas as a cleaner. It was the only way she could support her seven kids.


Early each morning before scrubbing her first toilet in North London, Rosita pops into the local supermarket in search of bargains. A bottle of Nescafe Gold Blend, a tube of Colgate, a tin of baked beans. At the end of every month, she ships her little hoard of groceries to her kids in the Philippines. 


“Why don’t you just send them the money?” I ask her. “These things are cheaper in the Philippines.”

”This way,” she retorts fiercely, ”I feel like I’m really looking after them.”


Rosita is mothering her children the best way she can from across several oceans. She is a virtual mother.


This Christmas, spare a thought for thousands of virtual mothers like Rosita. It turns complaining about Christmas excess into just another unnecessary luxury. 


 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.





My friend Jo used to be a fish net stocking, pointy-bra, stilleto wearing rock singer with big hair. She used to swing down to the stage on a trapeze wearing a string bikini ensemble and scream at the cheering crowds: “DO YOU WANT ME?” She used her ballet training to deliver sky high kicks while singing Private Dancer on club tables. Ten years and two children later, Jo hasn’t lost her stunning looks, style and voice.


Last month, she was asked to audition for a pop gig in Jakarta. And this trapeze riding, high-kicking, fish net stocking diva was terrified.


Oh, the slings and arrows of motherhood!


Most of us call those years bringing up children the best years of our lives. But what comes after? Is there life after motherhood?


What happens when  the nurturing years have become less intense, when nights are not so sleepless, and the children prefer the company of their peers to you? When opportunity knocks, would you be afraid to open that door?


Jo is afraid to fail. In the past, she took failed auditions in stride. But motherhood has changed her. Now rejection looms like the end of the world.


She is also afraid to succeed. If she gets the job, she would have to do it. She would have to become someone other than her children’s mum. She is afraid to make a commitment to being a person other than a mother.


Many of us have been in Jo’s shoes (albeit not stilletoed). Many of us have resisted that shift from mother to other.


Jo’s been dreaming of singing again for years. She’s been writing songs and recording them at home. She seizes every chance to sing – in church and school events. She knows exactly who she wants to be. But it still takes a little bit of extra courage to make it happen!


Singing mums should look up  a resource for mothers who sing for a living, or who would like to.


Colleen Hubbard wrote Big Purple Mommy to encourage other mothers to continue with their creative work after having children. Operamom’s interview with Colleen Hubbard will be a useful fillip for mothers who don’t know where to begin:


*I have changed some names to give privacy to individuals mentioned in the features



CHECK IT OUT: MRS MAD GIVES UP SNORKELLING  is a website reviewing children’s books by a Hertfordshire school teacher whose initials are M.A.D. Mrs Mad used to love snorkelling and cross-stitch but since having twin daughters, she’s given those up for reading – and running her excellent review website!




You are cool, efficient, the heart and soul of your office: nothing is too much for your well padded shoulders. Then you go home to your family and become the Wicked Witch of the West.


The Bitch in the House (subtitled 26 Women tell the truth about sex, solitude, work, motherhood, and marriage) was published in the U.S. last year. It  made waves because so many professional woman recognised themselves in the 26 Jeckyll and Hyde case studies  featured – women who do it all, but not quite as well at home!


Do you find it easier to yell at the kids and the husband than to yell at your colleagues? Then you should check this out:




Excerpt -


(c) 2002, Candy Gourlay. All rights reserved.

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