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Kate's Mother's Day Speech

Sunday, March 26, 2017

On Thursday, Kate gave a speech to promote mental health awareness for mothers and introduce the Out of the Blue film series of the same theme. Many have hailed it as her "meatiest" presentation yet, particularly applauding Kate's admission that she has found motherhood daunting at times. I was very moved by the mothers who commented on this blog attesting to how meaningful and supportive Kate's comments were to you. Those are the best accolades Kate's speech could get--feedback from real parents who felt uplifted and affirmed by her words.


On a secondary level, however, I was struck by a growing assertiveness from the duchess in this speech. Kate has been a predominantly silent figure in the decade she has spent in the spotlight. In the entire time she dated William, we only heard her voice once, and that was by chance. Kate has been something of an enigma, and inevitably we have all have projected a variety of assumptions and personal preferences onto her smiling image. Her early speeches and interviews have been scripted and sweet, further entrenching her cotton-candy image. But, as Kate speaks more, a window begins to crack open into her actual personality. Who she is and what she really thinks.
 


In her Best Beginnings speech I heard support and encouragement, but I also heard a relatively private woman publicly stand her ground on a fundamental issue of contention between her choices and the public's complaints. It was just a hint of the "does Kate work enough" debate. Kate almost directly addressed the criticism that we often hear--that she can't claim to be a busy mom, because she has access to nannies and staff that many women cannot afford. Kate said:
Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience. However, at times it has also been a huge challenge-even for me who has support at home that most mothers do not.

I heard a lot of things in Kate's speech, but most of all I heard her claim the right to her role and reinforce that she isn't going to shift under pressure. She defined that primary role not as global ambassador or charity patron or even princess, but as mother:
You go from thinking of yourself as primarily an individual, to suddenly being a mother, first and foremost.
Kate's image has been sketched by her smiling still shots, which might have conveyed a more biddable personality than is the reality. Both in her choices on speech topics and even more in the candid conversations she has with fans, to which we are increasingly privy, a much stronger and self-directed persona is emerging.


For those who followed Kate when she was dating William, we already have had the hints of Kate's tough core, and certainly we have seen her presence and strength in the stressful and upsetting moments she has had to tough through in public, like the day she spent touring in South East Asia as topless photos of her were published in France. We have inferred this strength despite her silence, but with the Best Beginnings speech, I think we might start to see more of Kate asserting herself vocally. 


Kate's direction as a mother has been evident, too, in the way the Cambridges have raised their children. While Diana wanted to give her boys a normal upbringing, she didn't quite achieve her goal. For the moment, it seems that Kate is coming about as close as possible to an average childhood for her tykes. The couple's retreat to the country in the early days of their family life, Kate's strong bond with her family, and the average messy play days George clearly enjoys with his mother and grandmother, all attest to Kate's laser focus on providing a carefree and happy childhood to both her little ones. 


On Friday Kensington Palace made a surprising announcement. Prince George will not attend the prestigious Wetherby in London, where both his father and Prince Harry were pupils. The press and public alike were sure that George would begin at the newly opening Kensington location, but instead it has been released that he will attend Thomas's Battersea, a co-ed school that is a full half hour drive from KP. I am confident that this is due in large part to Kate's influence on the decision. 


Kate had to address her own advantages in her speech, but she didn't have to approach the speech in the way she did. She could have discussed the challenges of parenthood and highlighted the greater difficulty of those without nannies. Instead, she claimed equality with other parents, which is not to say she doesn't appreciate that she has more help than some, but that at a fundamental level being a mother cannot be outsourced. She has the same expectations and burdens as the next mom, and as much of a right to fulfill her role in the best and most involved way she can. Kate noted: 
Nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother. It is full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love, and worry, all mixed together. 
Nannies can't take on those burdens of love and worry, joy and exhaustion for Kate. Only she can love George and Charlotte with the all-consuming passion of a mother. Only Kate can feel the complete pressure to shape and raise her little ones to their full potential. Motherhood at its fundamental level belongs to Kate just as much as it does to every other parent regardless of social class or privilege and she clearly has no intention of giving that up. 


A Happy Mothering Sunday to Kate and to all mothers. You are absolutely irreplaceable and very literally make the world go round. Thank you for all you do to raise up a strong and healthy society. 

73 comments:

  1. Hi jane. Just want to share that Kate's friend and private secretary Rebecca deacon just got married yesterday at Chapel royal. I saw photo from instagram however just her back wearing a gown,no frontal picture. Not sure also if Kate and William atended.

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  2. Lovely posting Jane. My only thought re the Battersea school is the long daily commute for a four yr old.

    (Also, you'll want to correct the "to all mother's" in your last paragraph ~ your writing is usually perfection!)

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    1. Actually, she would only need an apostrophe if she was showing possession; in this sentence Jane is referring to more than one mother, hence "mothers." Her grammar is spot on!

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    2. Actually, you only need an apostrophe when you are showing possession or ownership; in this sentence, Jane is referring to more than one mother, hence "mothers." No apostrophe. Her grammar is spot on!

      As an English teacher I had to comment - the incorrect use of apostrophes drives me crazy!

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    3. EV, exactly and Jane did correct the word before you saw it.
      I'm glad someone else objects to the "greengrocer's apostrophe!"

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    4. Gotcha, Kaye! Oh, that apostrophe drives me crazy! We are definitely on the same page :)

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    5. I have been taught that the Saxon genitive is right with an aposthophe at the back: mothers'..

      I might be wrong, Enghlish is not my mother tongue...

      Anon2

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    6. Pleural possessive, Anon2. Belonging to more than one mother. It sometimes gets tricky when a word ends in S. ------EV and Kaye- I have a number of Grammar irritants. Unfortunately, (or not) I have become so lazy on the internet myself that I now make too many errors to be correcting anyone else's usage. There are, however, 'Its and It's" which are constantly being mis-used. The apostrophe indicates a contraction-forming one word out of two--i.e.-IT IS becomes IT'S, the apostrophe being for the missing "I" in IS. "IT'S is not possessive or showing ownership. IT'S a long way to Tippererry; you can't tell a book by ITS cover.----What sets my gums on edge is the use of the subjective pronoun when the objective form is called for. ("between you and I...") But it's a pest best left in its box. :+]

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  3. Alejandra RamirezMarch 26, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    Very nice post! You are so right! She really opened up about herself and her struggles, thus showing she is like anyone else!
    Really nice insight! :)

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  4. I honestly feel you looked too much into this. You're getting an entire scene from a single line, and I don't think that should be done. On George's school, it's interesting they chose a school so far away when they have another location of the same school in Kensington. I doubt it's the wisest choice, daily commutes are tyring enough for children, let alone one so far away.

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    1. Im not sure but I think the Kensington branch is not coed.

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    2. I agree. I do think this speech was markedly different from past speeches, and it did give us some insight into how Kate feels about being a mother. But I think this post jumps to some conclusions that I'm not sure can be drawn. I don't think certain lines were a direct response to criticism she's received but rather her own personal sentiments about being a mom.

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    3. Having daycare for children does not relieve parents of their concerns and anxieties regarding their children. Whether you have babysitters ,helpful relatives,or nannies, the buck stops with the parents.
      Although it's not ideal I know many children whose schoolbus commute is thirty minutes each way.

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    4. I agree with both of your points, Anon! But I do think that Kate's own upbringing by the amazing Carole can only lead to Kate being a wonderful, loving, wise, and savvy mother. I don't think Carole can get enough credit.

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  5. Sonja from BavariaMarch 26, 2017 at 12:02 PM

    I wonder why they chose the schools's campus in battersea over the one in kensington? I can understand prefering Thomas School over Wetherby, but all branches of this one should be similar/the same?

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    1. The one at Kensington goes to age 11 and this one goes to age 13. Maybe the intention is to keep the kids there as long as possible which is good as it provides more stability.

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    2. Sonja, I wonder if different branches serve different ages? Battersea is specifically listed as "kindergarten" and I thought I saw Kensington listed as "prep." Although I don't know just what that means!

      On a different note, I would love to know who is pictured with Nanny Maria in the picture of the window??

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    3. State education and some private schools have senior school from aged 11 plus.
      Public schools like Eton and Marlborough take children from 13 plus
      perhaps they intend a public school after this one.
      Maybe they do not intend to send them to boarding school until 13.
      Rather sad that however long George stays at this school, he will never be able to travel there on a bus or the underground.

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  6. Diana tried. But, others never really allowed.

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  7. Excellent, well-thought out analysis Jane. I agree with everything you said.

    I'm reading that at Thomas' Battersea school, the first rule is to "be kind". I'm sure that had a lot to do with their decision. They don't want their privileged children growing up to be spoiled and ill-mannered toward others who are less privileged. Diana had the same goal, only she taught them herself. Her limited influence obviously lasted. Neither William nor Harry appear to be mean-spirited, though at times they have acted like spoiled brats.

    I read a quote by one of her former classmates, that in one private school Catherine attended in her youth, she had a bad experience--being bullied by the "elite" blue-bloods there. No doubt she's experienced that all throughout her academic career--even at St Andrews. This would have also factored into her choice for Prince George.

    But yea, that is going to be a long commute... Especially in London.

    Belle

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    1. Some of those bullying stories were proved false (I've read) because the details, if true, depended on Kate being a boarding student when she was really a day student at the particular school. Anyway the stories came--as usual--from unnamed sources, not from Kate herself.

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    2. It has since become one of those little media-perpetrated and propagated stories that has become accepted "fact," even by respected royal writers. Few people question that bit of Kate lore, so thank you, lizzie. If anyone here can find a reliable Cambridge/Middleton quote to substantiate that bullying story, by all means, let's have it. Judging from that HS musical clip, she was indeed someone who could prompt envy in fellow students. It is possible that her appearance was at the new school that, according to the story, her parents enrolled her in to avoid the bullying. I'm even having trouble separating fact from fiction. Her education is clearly stated in her bio on the official Royal site, but certainly no details about reasons for choices. At any rate, envy is often the basis of "Mean Girl" bullying and sometimes for remarks such as the one you mentioned.

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    3. Catherine didn't stay at Downe House very long, according to her wikipedia. Biography still shows the reason for leaving was bullying. One who knew her reported she was bullied, including having poo put in her bed. Another friend says that could not be possible due to her being a day student--before she goes on to describe her own hi-jinx at the school.

      http://www.themortonreport.com/celebrity/royals/kate-middleton-bullied-at-downe-house-what-a-load-of-poo/

      A commenter on that page says Downe indeed does provide beds for their Day students.

      Who knows...

      Belle

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    4. Sonja from BavariaMarch 28, 2017 at 10:14 AM

      Well, maybe Kate just did not like being at a single sex school and that's why she left downe house so soon and why george won't attend wetherbys but a coed school?
      I went to an all girls catholic school until 10th grade (because it did not go further, afterwards I went to a coed school), the same school as my mother had attended and that my little sister still attends. I personally loved it there, the whole atmosphere and learning environmemt and I still prefer the all girls school to the coed school I attended later. But of course there were girls there who just did not like not having boys around at all. I even know one girl who left after a few years to transfer to a coed school because she could not stand the drama anymore. I feel like there was more mean girls drama and stuff, but I still loved my time there. It definitely isn't for everyone and maybe it was just not right for Kate?

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  8. I agree that this analysis comes from Jane's own opinion and interpretation of Kate and doesn't come from Jate's speech itself. To say this commentary on her speech is a stretch is putting it mildly.

    Kate's comments were very benign and universal.

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  9. I think the school ethos appeals to them. But I also wonder about security and reliability. By choosing a school NO ONE was expecting, they can be reassured that none of the families who will be in reception with them are here because of them. Future years might not have that reliability, but this class will be filled with Children whose parents made the decision to send their children there because of their belief in the school.

    Having said all that, with traffic issues, it is brave to go to school so far away.

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  10. You have echoed my sentiments exactly on her speech. She was articulate, firm, and the sentence about motherhood being a challenge "even for me who has support at home that most mothers do not" really stood out when I first heard it. I also appreciated her publicly stating that she is "a mother, first and foremost." I think we are getting a glimpse of the Kate that William fell in love with. Sure, she is pretty and stylish, she shows class and discretion, but she is also strong and independent. She is the woman her parents raised her to be and, unlike poor Diana, had a fantastic example of good parenting as she grew up. Brava, Kate! You are made of stronger stuff than the Firm or the media can break!

    Congrats to Rebecca D. on her wedding yesterday. I hope W&K were able to attend. Next up, Pippa's wedding! I think the whole "will Meghan or won't Meghan be invited" issue is just so much tempest in a teapot. She doesn't even know, nor will she ever be related to, Kate's family so who cares if she's there? If Pippa does feel like the media circus would take away from her day (which is only speculative as best) who could blame her? We don't even know if Harry is invited, let alone if his invitation includes a plus one. Poor Pips. It seems she can't do anything right in the public eye.

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    1. I greatly admire Kate and believe she is incredibly strong but independent is not a word I would ever use to describe her. It's not a criticism because we all have different aspects to our personalities and Kate has many very admirable and inspirational qualities. But independence is not one of them.

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    2. I don't want to start anything, so please don't take my question that way, but I would really love to know why exactly you think Catherine is independent. I can see where she is strong in some ways - like facing the public after her topless photos came out, and weathering the press treatment she received during the dating years - but I wouldn't describe her as independent. So I would like to know why you think that, and some examples of her independence.

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    3. "Next up, Pippa's wedding! I think the whole "will Meghan or won't Meghan be invited" issue is just so much tempest in a teapot. She doesn't even know, nor will she ever be related to, Kate's family so who cares if she's there? If Pippa does feel like the media circus would take away from her day (which is only speculative as best) who could blame her?"
      Sorry but I completely disagree with you. Pippa is a big girl and is marrying the man that she loves. I doubt that she would be one to shy away from some non-sense of being upstaged on her wedding day. These ladies are all beautiful and educated ...not lightly rooted lily's. I would think that they are far more secure than many give them credit for. Oh and to presume that Meghan and Harry will not be together as a family with the Duchess, seems quite based on fiction. They are steadily moving in a solid long term direction by nearly all indication.

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    4. Robin, altho I agree with your sentiments re Kate's speech, which I appreciated, on a personal level, I must state that ANYONE can be broken, but, Kate will give TPTB a run for their money, if necessary, IF her parents continue to supply her with the emotional support which seems to be lacking from her husband. (Spain, Verbier, and countless weekends he has spent away from his wife and children, choosing instead to party with his "friends." Just another reason to be happy, for Kate, that her incarceration at Anmer Hall is almost over, putting her--and her parents, sister and brother within easy reach of each other.) And, following up on that, I am more and more convinced that William has abdicated as both husband and father, and has turned over responsibility for the kids' early education to Kate; the choice of Thomas's School, Battersea, reflects Kate's schooling, not William's, altho he must've backed her decision, probably met the headmaster, etc. Doubt that we'll see many pics of William attending the the kids' sports days, tho; that'll be left to Kate.

      And I, too, congratulate Rebecca and Adam; both bride and groom looked wonderfully happy in the two pics I've seen as they drove away from St. James Palace, last Sat. Looks like a marriage meant to go the distance.

      Like you, I can't see the point of either Harry or Meghan's attendance at Pippa's wedding, and doubt that either will be there--nor any other member of the royal family. Just the yellow press stirring the pot.

      JC

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  11. Totally agree. Love the photos you chose here too. Wonderful words Jane. As a full time mum
    For a decade now I relate to the Duchess' mothering words & also the joy & amount of satisfaction in this job alone without even adding other jobs in. It takes my best self, my daily prayers, my intellect & my heart to mother my 2 children & help them navigate A world so different to what I grew up in. It buoyed me up in Australia thinking of her words & I wrote her a card to thank her.
    Theresa QLD Australia

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  12. Wonderful photos! Glad people are seeing the real Kate instead of a projection of one's individual interpretations of what a Duchess/Princess/Mother should be. That photo with George at polo by the cars---she had to have character and fortitude to resist that adorable little face. George had an incident with a cousin over a toy, I believe. George's developing character may be showing through in a later picture--he is calmly walking along with a bit of a smirk on his face. I call the episode a draw. Charlotte gives promise of an even more determined personality. Jane, I think you are absolutely correct that motherhood is the role that takes priority in her life. Lots of people say it, but she lives it, despite the pressures to consign her children to Nannies and boarding schools to allow her time to open one more hospital or attend another luncheon. Other causes have their places, but she has shown the children's needs come first. They are still so young and need hands on from a parent whenever possible. She was lucky, as both have explained, to be in a position to do so. She and William show their appreciation by embracing causes that help correct problems sometimes stemming from homes with parents and homes that weren't as fortunate. I don't see why Kate should be denied this role just because others don't have a choice or have chosen differently. including other royals.

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    1. I'm sorry anon 1 but how do you know this is the "real" Kate and not just another projection?

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    2. I don't think we know the real Catherine. We see glimpses and press and public projections of who she is, but we really don't and have never truly seen the real her.

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    3. How do you know we're Not seeing the real Catherine, Leslie? I think you may have a good point, but perhaps you could expand on it? Perhaps you are emphacising the difference between image and knowledge of someone, as I meant. I'm not sure what you mean by that statement. Do you mean "real," as in the person her family and close friends see or "real' meaning what we see is a fake and that she is not really kind and supportive, a good mother, etc.? Tell me which public persons are the real ones and which fake? In my opinion, image is such a complicated concept-it relies as much upon the observer as the one observed. As Forrest Gump would say, Pretty is as pretty does." She is reported as being kind,involed,and informed by those who have actually inter-acted with her. Some of her critics have never met her personally, let alone had a conversation with her.---In my 3:41 statement I used "real" in the sense that multiple people who have met and worked side by side with her have agreed on who they saw. Contrasted with individual judgements by those who have not. --------In short, I think the Catherine we heard and saw during this speech is the one we have been hearing about from co-workers and recipients in her charities, but have not seen reflected in some of her speeches or in some stories about her. Previous speeches did not reveal this person. I think that has been a confusion for people.

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  13. I know Diana was before your time and you really don't remember much about what happened. But she did give the boys a remarkedly normal childhood. She was starting from a point which Kate couldn't even imagine.

    Diana had to fight to give birth in a hospital, Will was the first royal born in one. Will was the first royal to be educated when he was little at preschool, K, etc. outside the palace and not by a tutor. The list goes on and on. Everything that people admire about those two boys came from Diana and her ironclad will be break the royal mold in how kids were raised.

    You have made several swipes before at her and I just don't think you have the correct perspective to judge. Diana broke the mold so Kate could have so much more freedom in raising her children.

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    1. I agree Anon 5:03. I remember it was also a huge deal for Will to go on tour (Australia?) with C&D as the heir and the heir to the heir being on the same plane was a big no-no. Think they had to get the Queen's ok.

      I agree too much is probably being read into Kate's speech. Given the venue and purpose of the speech it would have been shocking if she hadn't said those sorts of things. But since none of us actually know Kate personally nor do we interact with her (I'm assuming) she often serves as a bit of a Rorschach card for all of us.  

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    2. Princess Anne gave birth to her son in 1977 and her daughter in 1981 in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital. They not William were the first of HM's family to be born in a hospital.

      I don't know what schools Anne's children attended, but I imagine they too were taught outside the home from the start.

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    3. Anne's children aren't heirs to the throne, don't have titles, etc.... Completely different. Diana fought a completely different standard.

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    4. Absolutely correct, Anon 5:03. Diana paved the way (and was criticized for much of it!) for so many of the decisions William and Kate have made.

      Lizzie, how often has Kate been criticized for not making a speech personal. Well, here she did so and it's being minimized and/or dismissed...and Jane is "reading too much into it". Somewhat ironic, no?

      Anon 7:57, you are correct about Anne, but the big deal was that an HEIR TO THE THRONE would be born in a hospital (rather than BP).

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    5. I think it was good Kate mentioned "having help" (i.e., nanny, night nurse when Charlotte was born, housekeeper, other staff), royalfan. Otherwise she was quite likely to be justly criticized for trying to say "I'm just like every other mother." I'm just not sure I see the rest of the speech as necessarily being as "revealing" as some others do. But I've not been one to call for personally revealing speeches anyway! 

      My criticism has been that while I think removing stigma IS important and so the HT campaign is good, I think the link between reaching out and actually receiving professional help has been largely ignored. Based on only media accounts (the only info many people would see)  there seems to be an assumption with HT that simply talking to anyone--friend, co-worker, neighbor will be helpful. That may sometimes be true but certainly won't always be true especially since many recipients of heartfelt disclosures may not know what to say to be helpful. And there is research (Coyne's) showing people often AVOID depressed acquaintances because they may make too many negative self-disclosures. So talking to the wrong people may backfire. 

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    6. lizzie, it can backfire, but if you can get people to even mention that are having issues then there is the chance those hearing can call in help if there appears to be a serious danger to others or the person themself. Plus if people get comfortable discussing mental health issues like they do most other health issues then they may become more comfortable talking and reaching out to a trained counselor/MD etc. I do not get the impression that any of these campaigns are ignoring the need for professional help but they are trying to reduce the stigma around mental health issues and get all people comfortable with people learning to start asking for help.

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    7. Perhaps, I hope you are right ali. But as these links show, wait times for psychological treatment in the UK, particularly for “talk therapies” like CBT can be excessively long (sometimes years) for those who have overcome stigma and sought treatment. I know efforts have been made recently to shorten wait times, but this is where income definitely matters. Those who are well off can seek private treatment and are not dependent on the NHS. I know HT can’t do it all, but I don’t think the notion that simply reaching out for help leads to getting help is realistic either.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-36038905

      http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/children-mental-health-problems-forced-8535976

      http://www.bbc.com/news/health-24537304

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jan/25/nathan-filer-mental-health-care-where-did-it-go-wrong

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    8. Logical and verifiable argument, lizzie. Perhaps your point emphacises the importance of having those around one to talk to while waiting for treatment.

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  14. I think we will see flashes of the true Kate here and there. Personally, I think she is made of sterner stuff than she gets credit for. It couldn't have been easy to glide through her Paris trip with all the media whispering about William's behavior behind her back. And the years of being the girlfriend when William couldn't commit also showed off her strength of character. She never cracked (except maybe within the confines of her parents' home). And I am sure she is trying to create a safe haven in her home, so that George and Charlotte feel able to escape the prying eyes of a very insatiable public appetite (good or bad news). She's had a very busy 2 weeks. And I am sure that she and William made an appearance at Rebecca Deacon's wedding- to wish a loyal aide and probably a good friend to Kate well on her big day. I hope she got to have a sleep in today!

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  15. Thank you for this post! I think you're spot on.

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  16. This has been one of my most favorite posts, thank you for summing it all up so well. You're absolutely spot on Jane that you simply can't outsource the core of motherhood - the sheer emotionally overwhelming sense of responsibility and love. No amount of money can make up for the guilt at leaving your child with someone who is not his or her mother, even just for a day!

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    1. As a mother who works full time and travels frequently for work due to a demanding job I love, I feel no guilt about the choices I make, including to leave my child in the care of others. While perhaps you did not mean for this post to be offensive to mothers with careers, it was offensive to me. I would suggest that we keep the mommy wars off this blog. Judging other people's parenting choices was not necessary to comment on the substance of the post or Kate's speech.

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    2. Judith - Seriously? Being a devoted mother and being a career woman (even one who has be away for a day, gasp!) are not mutually exclusive. Let's not get into mommy wars, please.

      On to a more fun subject. I thought Kate's speech was excellent, and very well-written. She's not a natural speaker, but she keeps putting herself out there, which I admire.

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    3. Amen Anon 8:19. I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt Judith's comment was a bit of a slap in the face.

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    4. I did not find Judith's opinion offensive at all.a lot of mothers experience this feeling of guilt. It is one of the challenges of motherhood, and for many mothers difficult to handle. Those who don't experience it have no need to be offended, it is like being offended because others have PPD.

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    5. It is a matter of parental choice sometimes. Sometimes there is no choice. One must trust one's child to another. There is excellent outside care and not so great care. For those who have a choice whether to work outside the home, I think the children will accept and adapt if the parent(s)do. Judith may be a parent who cannot accept the situation as normal. It seems Kate may also be in this group. JTQ and 8:19 apparently can accept being away from the child for career. So will their children, hopefully.---- Motherhood is a relevant topic for a Kate blog-she has openly stated that is her primary role. Especially on a post rcognising Mothering Day about a speech essentially about motherhood .There is no need for "mommy wars" if we each understand we are giving our personal opinions. ----I would suggest that parents who have a choice and who are convinced being away from a child has no consequences ask their child if he would rather have his mommy around more often or would prefer Nanny or babysitter. Then talk with the child about his feelings.Some may prefer Nanny or Granny. What would Charles have said, if asked? What would George say? I imagine he has made his preference known and that can make leaving difficult. There may be a bit of sensitivity to this topic because of the implications of what an answer to that question might bring.

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    6. I take offense because the implication is that a mother who chooses to work outside the home (notice that Judith did not actually mention work just leaving ones child with anyone else period) is somehow being selfish or a mother who does not feel guilt is somehow less of a mother than those who do feel guilt. As Kate noted being a mother is a challenging role. It's even more challenging when other women insist on shaming mothers who do not make the "right" choices or feel the "right" feelings.

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    7. 8:19 here again (after a day of flying cross-country to argue an important motion tomorrow morning while (gasp!) leaving my child in the care of others). I wholeheartedly agree with 12:33. The issue is not that people make different choices. I do not begrudge people the choice to stay at home with their children, as my own mother did to my great benefit. I do not take issue with others feeing guilty for being away from their children. I do object to the insinuation -- intentional or not -- in certain comments -- that one is less of a mother for being away from one's children or for not feeling guilty about it. There is a way to express one's opinions without suggesting that other people's choices are wrong because they are different.

      For me, personally, I have chosen to treat guilt as a construct based on the idea that one is not behaving as one should. The implication that a woman should feel guilty about not being with her children stems from the premise that a woman should be with her children and not building a career. I reject that premise, and so I don't feel guilty about working, even if my job requires frequent travel. I miss my child when I am away (sometimes; at times it is nice to have an evening alone in a quiet hotel room), but that is a different emotion from guilt.

      And for the record, I have no issues with Kate's decision to focus on her children. I would equally have no issue if she chose to devote more time to work. There would be benefits and lessons for George and Charlotte under either scenario.

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    8. Nobody said one had to feel guilty to be a good mother. Nobody said feeling guilty was being guilty. Why should a women be shamed because she says she feels guilty at leaving her child? Saying she implies by that statement that working mothers are bad mothers is twisting her words and simply shaming her for what she didn't say, and what's more, for sharing a personal feeling. I think we should be allowed to express our feelings whichever they are without being judged because other don't share them. I have children and a career. At times it has been rewarding, at times it has been simply awful. I am not ashamed of sometimes feeling guilty, and I can relate to those who do. I don't feel offended because others manage it differently.

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    9. And there are mums who choose to stay with her children and throws it in their face for ever...and other person might have done it better...Giving birth doesn't
      Not everybody enjoy kids...

      Anon2

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    10. H @ 1.37 - there is no shame in feeling guilty, and every mother should feel she can express her personal feelings about being a mother. *However* when people make blanket statements with the assumption that *all* mothers feel guilt whenever they leave their children with someone else (for whatever reason) that is not sharing a personal feeling, and whether intentional or not statements the pronounce how all mother feel do convey an element of judgment against mothers who do not recognize that feeling as her own. Guilt in particular is a very "judge-y" feeling because it implies that someone feels (or should feel) bad because her actions are somehow wrong - and to me it's very different than general statements such as the ones Kate made about how becoming a mother transforms your identity in unexpected and complex ways.

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    11. Absolutely correct, Anon2. That's why I said some children might prefer Granny or Nanny. Not all people are temperamentally suited to make homemaking and child raising a full time job. Any more than all people are suited to work outside the home. It takes a certain set of talents and mental/emotional make-up. Some people choose not to have children because of knowing this. They should be praised not labeled un-natural or selfish. Some of them are doing important work that would be compromised by the distractions of raising children. On another note----I think some commenters have continued with defensive comments after supportive comments have been made, as though they had not read or acknowledged that support. SUPPORTIVE COMMENT: I will repeat-working outside the home is not always a matter of choice. Whether it is choice or not, children will usually adapt and accept the situation if the parent does. Children will sense when a parent is conflicted: that is where the problems start-not just in the fact that the parent is away from home. The same for the parent who stays home but would feel more comfortable in working away from home.----Something I forgot to include-some children will adapt better to a parent being away than another child, even within the same family. I think talking about those feelings with the children might help. -----I have personally experienced in my family just about every permutation of parenting and non-parenting available: choice and no choice; stay at home and outside career; with children and without children and without children by choice and by chance. I am giving my opinion on this subject based on my personal experience, not some psycho-babble or even a couple of college degrees related to the subject.----I firmly believe there is a place and a purpose for all of us. We just need to work out what that is for ourselves. For the most part, the opinion of one that counts the most is the opinion one has of himself.

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    12. I understand that you are trying to be supportive anon 1, but by wading into the "some women just shouldn't be mothers" territory you reinforce judgments of mothers who do not perfectly match a certain ideal - or as you put it those without "a certain set of talents and mental/emotional make-up." You are perfectly entitled to your belief, but such a viewpoint can be very offensive to mothers who love being mothers but don't quite "pass the test" for possessing whatever talents and/or temperment are supposedly required.

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    13. PS- who commented that "ALL" mothers feel guilt? I must have missed that. This is such an emotionally-laden topic it is easy to read into a remark something it did not say.

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    14. 11:57-that would be a valid point if I had actually said that, anonymous. My remark also applies to "people who work outside the home." Which leads to my 12:28 remark. I can't help how you interpreted my remark. I did include my last three sentences in summary in case there was any question of my meaning. In the end, it is a personal choice. I said that many times. I am starting to have the feeling that no matter what I said, you would have objected. And that's fine. Just don't mis-quote me.

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  17. While I do think the addition of the line acknowledging that Catherine has help that most women do not was a good move, I'm not sure I agree that the two lines mentioned were as thought out as this. Especially since the line about putting the children first is a sentiment that is spoken about by almost all mothers.

    I do think this was Catherine's best speech so far, and I like that she opened up a tad bit more and included lines about herself, but I don't think the speech was meant to say as much as has been construed from it here.

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    1. Agreed. I was thinking exactly the same.

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    2. I agree too. It was a nice speech and I think Kate was trying to identify with mothers by her acknowledgement that she was more help than most women. Also, the line about her identifying as a mother primarily - again, I took that as her saying that she understands how a new mother feels and transitions - from being responsible only for yourself to then being responsible for the new being you brought into the world. I don't think her speech was meant to be more than that. I do hope she does more speeches like this however. It was nice to see how she looks at motherhood.

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    3. I agree with these thoughts about the speech.

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  18. Bravo Jane. Wonderfull post. I've read it from first word to tje last one. I have to admit when I heard Kate saying "However, at times it has also been a huge challenge-even for me who has support at home that most mothers do not" I just wanted to applaud. Kate is a wonderful person who is perfectly conscious of her special role in society and she doesn't take it for granted. Wonderfull speach.

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  19. I think her speech sort of confirmed what we've thought about Kate experiencing a personal rough patch following the birth of George. Then again, that speculation had always been a bit of an obvious conclusion, as I don't know any young mothers who haven't experienced a personal rough patch after their first pregnancy and birthing experience.

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  20. Thank so very much for that well written and need I say "spot on" analysis of the Duchess. Granted we don't know her private persona but we can make an educated guess from her public persona about the type of person she is: and in this case, the type of mother she most likely is to her babies. Having said that, what we can also do, which I think you have done so well, is to analyze and to a certain degree, given what we have observed, speculate about certain aspects of her personality. I think your insights in both instances were quite astute. And may I be forward and suggest, that if her Prince were to read this post he might be nodding his head in agreement. I have only one point in your analysis that I don't agree with fully and that is the degree to which Diana was successful or not successful at raising her boys. To the extent that she had much say in how her boys were raised, considering of course, the time in which they were raised, I do feel that based upon the type of men they are today, and the choice of wife, William in particular has chosen,she was indeed successful. Granted she passed away early in their lives, but I think, judging from what we see now, her success is even more evident.

    Regards,

    RW.

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  21. Agreed, this was a good speech, and from the heart.

    I too thought the school announcement was interesting. Change happens slowly in the British royal family, but it happens. I think the most significant part is that George (and possibly Charlotte) are going co-ed, at least for primary school. They will still be around other very privileged children (although Battersea is gentrifying, it was a working class area only a generation ago), but they will be exposed to a broader mix of people and learn from an early age to socialise and work across gender lines.

    This is a particularly British problem, because the 'old boys' networks are very entrenched in British politics and elite society and it reinforces not only class hierarchies but gender ones. The effect of the 'toxic masculinity' culture of a place like Gourdonston was very evident on the sensitive and creative Prince Charles, and by choosing co-education (and Montessori), William and Kate are helping their kids to become more well-rounded.

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  22. From the day you become a mother -your life is never the same - Kate is spot on in that regard - I often think (drawing on my own experience) how it must have been hard for her to don a sparkly (albeit Jenny Packham) dress some 7 or 8 weeks after the birth of George and plaster on a smile at a public function - I know as a ordinary person, I wouldn't have been up to that challenge so soon after the birth of my daughter -similarly standing on the steps of the Lindo wing both times in full glare of the media, having just undergone the most overwhelming experience a woman can go through, emotionally and physically, still blows my mind - it's nice to know that even she is not super human - I hope we get more than the occasional snippet and insight into her experience as a mother - I would especially like to have heard her mention her experience with hg to bring awareness to the condition ..but we will have to be happy for now with what we have.

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