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Q&A with Joanna Gosling, author of 'Simply Wonderwoman, a survival guide for women with too much to do' - ANSWERS BACK

(153 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 13-Oct-11 10:38:15

This week we're inviting you to send in questions to Joanna Gosling, author, mother of three and broadcast journalist for 20 years. Joanna currently presents news programmes for the BBC.

Her new book, Simply Wonderwoman has the strap line ' a survival guide for women with too much to do'. It's about 'helping you have the life you want, not the crazy muddled one that's foisted on you once you have children' (sounds familiar grin). The book passes on strategies, tips and ideas to help save time, money and effort and includes tips on everything from how to minimise effort spent on cleaning and laundry, how to be empowered through DIY and even how to use jump leads.

For those of you looking for a ponce-tastic Christmas, there's a fab section on Christmas which incorporates making salt dough tree decorations into a stress-free Christmas and there's a really useful christmas countdown (have you booked your panto tickets yet?)

Post your questions to Joanna before the end of Wednesday 19th October and we'll be linking to her answers at the beginning of November. Sending in a question will automatically enter your name into a draw to win one of five copies of Simply Wonderwoman.

JHart0 Thu 13-Oct-11 11:54:17

In trying to juggle everything are women victims of our own disarray?

There are only so many hours and in the day, but in trying to accomplish everything so many tasks get left unfinished.

WitchOfWoo Thu 13-Oct-11 13:12:11

Welcome Joanna,

I need around seventeen clones in order to get things done - full time work, children, cooking, cleaning hah, my family all help yet we never get out of the bit.
Any tips on laundry and the storage of before it takes over the house?
And shoes?
And books?


Childpatch Thu 13-Oct-11 14:37:12

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

madwomanintheattic Thu 13-Oct-11 14:41:06

i haven't read it, clearly. surely unless it's aimed at single mothers (i note the gendered title) it's a fairly short book comprising mostly of the advice that 'children and the home are your partners responsibility too.'

she can't really be suggesting that old eighties bolleaux that women are supposed to do all the cooking, cleaning, childcare, work ft and jump start the car, can she?

given that i haven't read it, i really hope this isn't what it comes across as? someone who has, please reassure me? (actually i don't even know who she is - she might be kat banyard's bezzie mate for all i know)

Pentagram Thu 13-Oct-11 14:55:34

More pressure - madwomanintheattic - more pressure....

At least that is my impression too given the cakes, crafts and 'things in jars' in the photographs....

I'm sure that Joanna Gosling is a very intelligent woman in a tough job and a great mum to boot. She has clearly done well for herself and she and her husband, Craig Oliver are very wealthy. But i feel irritated and patronised by this money for old rope - sorry but i do.

Pentagram Thu 13-Oct-11 14:58:48

Oh and to add - i have no beef with a couple who have obviously done very well for themselves and have three children too. It is not personal...

zinfandel Thu 13-Oct-11 15:13:07


The book looks really interesting but what makes it stand out from the other "guide books for busy women" already available? Or even from going onto Mumsnet when you need some practical advice?

LetTheSlaughterBeGincognito Thu 13-Oct-11 15:37:44

Any tips for dealing with paperwork? I need a system or something...I'm drowning!

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Thu 13-Oct-11 16:50:22

I am torn between wanting this book (in case it helps me keep up with things a bit better) and not wanting it as it would mean taking on even more responsibility for all the keeping up.
Why don't men have to be Wondermen?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madwomanintheattic Thu 13-Oct-11 17:00:00

oh, that's not their job inigo. they just have to nip out to work periodically and scratch their bollocks. when they get home they need to see freshly bathed children in hand made clothes, a sparkly bog, and smell lovingly prepared dinner in the oven (oh, and see the wife's paycheck hit the bank account every month). tis even better if you can get them to do the diy as well, although you do have to be a bit careful with emasculation if your mates find out.

the reason that joanna gosling hasn't written 'wondermen' is clearly because tis only women that have been suckered into the belief they are personally responsible for everything. particularly if it hasn't been done.

although now i'm going to start a search for the mythical 'how to do almost everything' book for men that features childcare, cooking and cleaning as well as how to build a tree house and knowing how to use a chainsaw. cos clearly there are plenty of those. wish me luck.

TootaLaFruit Thu 13-Oct-11 19:08:23

I'm rather surprised (and blush) by some of the negative responses to this book (which no-one has even read yet).

Did any of you read the MNHQ OP? The aim of the book is to 'help you have the life you want, not the crazy muddled one that's foisted on you once you have children'. What, pray, is wrong with that? It's not saying "you are woman = must make children clean and tidy house and earn money and practice blowjob technique or you are a faaaailure". It's saying that when you have children your life inevitably becomes harder, and more complicated, and oh look here's a book that might help you out a little.

If you don't want to know, don't buy it and don't go scribbling mean things on this nice author's QandA page

I would like tips on how to stay sane when dh the children trash the house at the weekends. It makes my blood boil but they're not going to change so I need to somehow rise above it without ruining my weekend muttering and cursing to myself while throwing dirty dishes in the machine.

TootaLaFruit Thu 13-Oct-11 19:09:37

I would like tips please blush grin

CaptainMartinCrieff Thu 13-Oct-11 19:24:42

I see you're a Mum of 3 Joanna... Do they have chores? If so what do they do and are they rewarded for doing them (e.g. pocket money).

Scootergrrrl Thu 13-Oct-11 19:35:18

How do you handle the getting out of the door on the school run chaos? DH can be of no assistance as he swans out to work right in the middle of the morning rush, waving a cheery goodbye as he surveys the carnage over his shoulder. Git grin

FootballFriendSays Thu 13-Oct-11 19:42:22

I haven't done self-help parenting-type books for years, even less so lifestyle ones with crafts and things, so I won't be buying this one, that's for sure. However, I heard an interview with the author on Radio 1 today and she came across as quite nice and down-to-earth, definitely not patronising, I'd give her the time if I was around tomorrow (but I'll be at work).

madwomanintheattic Thu 13-Oct-11 20:35:34

toota - well quite. but having children does take two parents (whether they are both around post-birth or not) and it is interesting that such helpful books are entirely aimed at organising women to get it all done in a much more sensible and organised fashion...

i would like to to know what it is about the contents of the book that means they are directed at women specifically, not the entire family, as suggested above? i'm sure the suggestions within are fairly good, so why restrict their impact to women? publishing yet another book on how women should do everything better (easier! faster!) reminds me of the 1950s where women were supposed to be all grateful for those new-fangled appliances (as some sort of sop for losing their jobs to the real men home from the war) be grateful, ladies! your new ez-brite mop means No More Scrubbing! be free!

i mean, i suppose at least this variety of gendered targeting assumes you have a job. it just doesn't do a lot to actually help share the burden of childcare and housework. it's still women's work.

joanna, here's a tip for you - read some susan maushart. and if you have, how do you square it with your commercial interests?

quite right though toota, i haven't read it. she might well engage with the partner issue within the text. i can't see any mention of anything other than the woman in the (badly copied) pages available on amazon, though.sincere apologies if the content is rammed with equality of responsibility. but bad choice of title if so. and way to promote outdated stereotypes.

but i'll take my bad temper and dreams of equality elsewhere. and continue searching for a 'self-help' book that doesn't assume the woman is entirely responsible for everything from the cover forward. it's 2011 ffs.

joanna, thank you for visiting mn. many apologies for my lack of manners. but why target women specifically? (i mean, i know it's dead obvious. to play on their insecurities about not being good enough and make some money, camouflaged neatly under a 'helping them make their lives easier' banner) i'm sure you're robust enough to defend your choices in a pithy one liner.

do you believe that such books directed at women are helping to effect cultural change, or do they continue to enable outdated media perceptions of gender roles?

missorinoco Thu 13-Oct-11 20:38:47

I secretly love these books for the cleaning tips in them.

What would your top five tips to an organised life be? (Other than get a nanny and send the kids to boarding school grin.)

madwomanintheattic Thu 13-Oct-11 20:40:25

i just read your post properly toota. grin

how ironic that you need joanna's help because your husband creates mess at the weekends and doesn't lift a finger to clear it up. and you want to know how you can clear up after him and the kids and stay sane. you. not him or them. and you have totally internalised the message that it is your job.

i give up, really. i do.

the solution is not you doing more, or doing it better, easier or faster, in case you hadn't worked that one out yet.

<flings hands in the air and marches off to rock in the corner>

CaptainMartinCrieff Thu 13-Oct-11 20:50:20

FGS madwoman you've given your opinion.. It a Q and A by the way.. (I see you've asked a question too before you get all pedantic). Maybe you should start a thread in the Feminism section if you want to rant and pick on the author and people who do want to ask her questions.

The book is probably geared at women, because the author is a woman and a Mum and rightly or wrongly because women will buy it whereas men won't.

madwomanintheattic Thu 13-Oct-11 20:56:28

i know. that's why i'm cross. grin

mnhq - do feel free to delete all of my many and varied rantings on this thread. but please leave one of the hundred or so questions regarding why it was directed at women... grin

happy cleaning.

smackapacca Thu 13-Oct-11 21:00:32

Sorry - I'm pleased you wrote a book 'an all, but I find it quite depressing. 'How to put up a picture' - Really? In the pics on amazon there's playdough, stuff about kids birthday parties, and a delicious looking chocolate cake; I grant you that. WHY though? WHY should women do absolutely everything?

I'm with madwoman on this - It's like the Yummy Mummy scenario - eyes rolling at our silly husbands who're just too daft to help out tsk.

madwomanintheattic Thu 13-Oct-11 21:23:34

<small titter at being sent to coventry the feminism section btw. i mean how very dare equality be glimpsed anywhere else? grin>

<recalls the man-iron>

CaptainMartinCrieff Thu 13-Oct-11 21:29:25


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