Mindful moment… Think before you ask...
I am in the process of writing a book and it's all taking much, much longer than I'd anticipated. Almost three years after I started, I'm still locked to my laptop and the end is still not in sight. It's a sore point. Last weekend I went to a birthday party and spent the night dodging people's kind enquiries: "How's the book? When's it coming out?"
It was like being single at a wedding and being asked by relatives: "Still not married then?" I felt like such a failure - but I wasn't the only one. I met an old friend, who, like me was hiding in the loos. She looks after her children full time and had spent the night fielding the question: "What have you been up to?" "What can I say? I spend all day doing laundry and changing nappies? I haven't been up to anything," she said. She worried that working mums were judging her. Another friend who has not been able to conceive, still finds herself in tears when a stranger asks if she has children. She knows they are just being polite but everything rubs salt into the wound. I'm not sure what the answer is to all this. We all have to make conversation with each other but perhaps we can try to be more sensitive in our lines of questioning, or at least, not take it personally when people excuse themselves to lick their wounds in private. Or in the loos.
* Marianne Power is the author of helpmeblog.net