A girl’s guide to coping with the joys of life!


Pipa and her daughter I don't know about you, but 2011 for me has so far been pretty hectic! Obviously you know I'm here at QVC a few times each week and that I pop up on BBC London Radio most weeks.

I run an online magazine called The Raphael Project and I'm also doing an MA (I really enjoyed flashing my student card the other day to get my student discount at an event!!)

On top of all that, we're moving back to London (our house is under offer at the mo, fingers crossed!) and of course, most importantly I have two small children that I love to run around with!

Now please don't hear me as complaining about this because I love a full life, I absolutely love it and I'm very fortunate to be a student with a great job (ha ha!) but ALL of us as working mums tussle with the guilt, the plate spinning and the never ending lists that surround us.

So I thought I'd share this little gem with you, written by Shirley Conran (some of you will remember her from the days of her book "Superwoman" )…

 A 12 step, girl's guide to personal work-life balance

The key to personal work-life balance is time management and realistic expectations, plus life coaching and mentoring, or self improvement courses that include self-identity and assertiveness.

Very few women, even high-fliers get ten out of ten for self-identify. Have working mothers ever been made to feel guilty? Yes. Do working fathers feel guilty? No. Do you see any articles on the problems of working fathers? No. Have you seen any articles on the problems of children with working fathers? Never.

That's why these 12 steps are for women only…

1) Be realistic. A woman can have it all, but probably not all at once.

2) Dump the mother guilt. Remember you are dumping it to protect your psychological health, your partnership, if you have one and any children.

3) A woman needs to make sure that she isn't a closet Queen of the hearth, who intends to keep domestic power to herself (You don't need a pair of breasts to take a child to the dentist). One parent mothers need to remember that no man, however wonderful can replace a child's father, so help your child to see as much as possible of his father and have a bit more time to yourself.

4) Keep a bit healthier than you are at the moment. Any higher aim is unrealistic.

5) Never buy a handbag that isn't A4 size.

6) Plan on paper. Keep a diary and plan your weekend and evenings as carefully as you do your weekdays. Use an index card to plan your day, with not more than three things to do and three telephone calls to make. If you add something, cross something else off. Use lists, and cross off items with a joined up central vertical line rather than a tick. List everything that needs doing and delegate all except five major items. Separate housework from responsibility for children, which is a separate job.

7) Don't take on too much. If you do, get out of it firmly. Just say no. Keep saying no.

8) Keep tough. Don't be delegated to. Just say clearly and politely and in good time, that you can't do it. Leave it undone.

9) Plan for domestic democracy. This is no problem before you have children, which is the time to make it a habit.

10) Plan a crisis routine for taking on your partner's chores in an emergency. Make sure that you have just as many emergencies.

11) If you feel constantly tired, openly take a day off away from home to re-think your goals. Go away alone, except for your notepad.

12) My gran told me that you can't get a quarter out of a pint pot and this is the key to self-management. Things haven't changed. To get through life you need a fast, adaptable sense of priorities to achieve your particular work-life balance.

It's good to take life tips from each other and I've noted a couple here from Shirley Conran, (first stop, a chore list to share with Hubster!!) so I hope that helps a little with your day, even if just one or two of the points ring home for you.

Pipa x


  1. Cindy Corrigan March 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm -  Reply

    I loved reading your blog Pipa, I am just about to retire from work, we are selling up and moving to a smaller place, and in a different location. Reading Shirley Conran’s tips reminded me that I read them years ago when I too was running around like a blue tailed fly. My tip would be to spend the time with your family, the children especially because you can never get the time back and it goes so quickly, have some time for your partner, they are after all who you will be left with, and also remember to look after yourself, it’s not possible to care for others if you don’t give yourself some care and consideration. I would also add that the most destructive things in life are words, once spoken they cannot be taken back, so consider carefully before you send them winging out into the ether, they can do so much damage if spoken harshly, and so much good if spoken kindly.
    Love Cindy xx

  2. cassandra clinton March 17, 2011 at 8:23 pm -  Reply

    hi pipa i must take you to task on your comments about working fathers my son is a teacher and has one son he is a single father and takes parenthood very seriously he has his child with him alot and tries to juggle his demanding job with childcare worrying all the time if he is doing the right things so please do not generalise as everyone men and women alike strive hard to balance there lives even myself a sixty four year old try to help as much as i can that said i enjoyed your blog and watch you all on tv best wishes from cass

  3. Annie March 19, 2011 at 12:15 am -  Reply

    Hi Pipa, reading The Raphael Project I was interested in the book you recommend, Molecules of Emotion- however I see it advertised as by Candace Pert, but also by her and Deepak Chopra. Is there a difference do you know. He is an author I like. Also on the same site I noticed The Biology of Belief. Bruce Lipton which I can totally recommend. Gave it to my partner (a scientist) a while ago for Christmas and he loved it (normally switches off to metaphysical stuff!.) NB I also really rate this book, just the right mix between mysticism and science in my humble view. Anyway I’ll await your reply before I buy. Thanks for the heads up!
    Annie x

  4. Pipa March 19, 2011 at 6:56 am -  Reply

    Hi Ladies – thanks Cindy for your comments – I SO agree about the words section particularly! That old playground rhyme “sticks and stones” was never further from the truth! And Cass, I’m glad you felt free to take me to task – but they were Shirley Conran’s words and I think she was just making the point at a general level which for most women helps them realise that they put too much burden on themselves. I’d say you’ve done a great job on your son, he sounds a fabulously responsible and involved Dad!
    Much love xx

  5. Susan March 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pip,
    As always I really enjoy your blogs. You are a total inspiration! I cannot believe how much you are juggling. I mean I knew all that but every time you hear it you think flipping heck!! I don not know how you cope. A job and 2 kinds is more than enough!! Your little ones are lovely too by the way. I am glad Cass stood up for the men too – but I agree – it is just a general point but we can apply it to ANY of us really!! You must look after yourself Pip!!
    Take care
    Susan x

  6. Pipa March 24, 2011 at 9:59 am -  Reply

    Hi Annie – the forward is by Deepak Chopra but the book itself is by Candace Pert. x

  7. Rosie April 1, 2011 at 8:40 am -  Reply

    Hi Pipa – as a working mum of teenagers – your blog has struck such a chord with me.I do have hubby to help me out – but juggling so many things at any one time is so hard and so tiring.
    On the plus side,I do enjoy my weekends and the “free time” that I/We do get.I had to love so much about the handbag tip – I cannot be parted from my “Rose” kipling bag as its so big and holds my whole life in it!!!!
    Keep juggling Pip :) XXX

  8. Eileen. April 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa, just followed the link to the Raphael site, its fantastic, really enjoyed reading the various articles, well done, take care.
    Eileen. xx

  9. Lorraine April 22, 2011 at 7:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa, You are a VERY busy lady but I love to watch you on QVC and also follow you on FB and the Rapheal Site. Nice to hear you up to date news. Was surprised to learn you are moving back to London as I remeber how exited you were to be moving away from the big smoke and do up your new home.
    Take care and I hope all the family are well.
    Lorraine xxx

  10. jean hynd October 12, 2011 at 10:55 am -  Reply

    hi pippa, you had a ruby/burgendy nail polish on the diamonique show on tues 11-10-11 between 11am-1pm, its lovely, could you tell me what colour and brand it was, would like to buy it, you wear some gorgeous polishes. i got into supermodel(leighton) because of you. thankyou. jean

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