Andrea Mara

Parent blogger at Office Mum, Manager

Andrea Mara has three small kids, one tall husband and one office job. She writes at about being a parent, being a mother working outside the home, being a woman in the workplace. She’s just trying to keep her balance. Follow her tweets @office_mum or find her her on Facebook/ Office Mum.

How to Bring Your Toddler to the Cinema in 28 Easy Steps

When toddler starts playing with seat and inevitably hits himself in the mouth, stifle his roar with a packet of chocolate sweets. Ignore dagger looks from sibling who keeps saying "Mum, mum - why did he get sweets?" and can no longer follow the film because all she can think about is sweets and unfairness.
04/02/2015 16:48 GMT

Childhood Christmas Memories - There Was Almost Always Snow

The smell of one-sided toast with melted butter - it was always done on just one side under the grill, crisp and melty. Tea for the grown-ups, milk for us. Sitting by the fire that my grandmother had set when she got up at half six, as she did every morning.
19/12/2014 07:07 GMT

All I Want for Christmas

"Why are there never any pencils in this house? If I could have one thing from Santa, it would be a working pencil," I said to my seven-year-old as I tried to tick off her homework. She gave me a look that said " go ahead and ask for a pencil, I'm sticking with the Anna Sleigh," and went back to her spellings.
12/12/2014 02:06 GMT

Apple and Facebook Are Paying for Egg-Freezing - But at What Cost?

Suggesting (deliberately or not) that delaying child rearing is optimal for women who want to continue their careers is a backwards step, and completely at odds with everything that career-women with children have been trying to achieve. There's also an underlying assumption that egg-freezing is a simple process.
16/10/2014 17:29 BST

Presenteeism: Why Are We Still Rewarding Presence in the Office?

Presenteeism - it usually means turning up at work in spite of illness, but it also refers to the practice of working long hours when there's no real need to do so. Staying in the office because everyone else does. And everyone else is staying there, because, well, everyone else does.
10/10/2014 13:49 BST

Are Women Less Competitive Than Men, and What Should We Teach Our Children?

I see gender differences in attitudes to competitiveness in my own family. My kids running down the stairs, shouting "last one down is a rotten egg" and the would-be rotten egg usually cries. So I discourage the competing, in a bid to avoid the tears. My husband on the other hand actively encourages competition - though usually as a means to an end.
23/09/2014 12:35 BST

Five Things I Got Completely Wrong About Starting School

When my first child started school two years ago, everyone said it would be a big change. I didn't exactly disbelieve them, but really, I thought, how big could it possibly be? Unsurprisingly, I got it completely wrong.
04/09/2014 17:15 BST

So, Is It Easier to Be at Work or at Home With the Kids?

I remember a work colleague of mine from some years ago, who regularly told me that work was easier than looking after his kids. "The office is a break for me," he used to say, "I'm heading home now to the real job". I didn't have children at the time and I assumed he was exaggerating. In fact, as the work we were doing at the time was very challenging, I thought it was a form of self-praise - a humble-brag of sorts.
24/08/2014 23:09 BST

Overthinking It at the Hairdressers

I recently had my hair cut. It's an experience that is in theory very relaxing - an enforced hour of peace and quiet. Time spent reading magazines or Twitter, drinking coffee, and being looked after - being the centre of attention.
08/08/2014 12:07 BST

Five Things I Haven't Learnt at All About Holidaying With Kids

Every year, bright-eyed and innocent, I look forward to going on holidays with my kids. And every year, I am taken by surprise to find that the holiday isn't quite the restful experience I expected. Here's what I have, in theory, learned this year - but will forget all over again by next year.
04/08/2014 17:01 BST

The Swimsuit Edition

Then last Summer, for the first time, I found myself looking around at other women and comparing. I felt conscious of every little lump and bump - three kids in five years can do that. Discussing this with two friends some months later, I expressed how uncomfortable I had felt wearing a bikini last Summe...
30/07/2014 12:27 BST