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Tuesday 12th February 2013 | 15:37
Every working parent knows how difficult it can be to juggle a career with family life.
And after years of being neglected, the issue is very much on the political agenda and so it is no surprise to see Yvette Cooper raise it in an interview with Grazia*.
The mag has an arresting headline too:
In the piece, Cooper talks about a range of topics including a campaign to tackle sexual violence among teenagers. But she also reveals her own 'I Don't Know How She Does It!' moments.
"We have a leaking roof, so we had a builder come to check it out at exactly the same time that we had to get our youngest to school, and I was also trying to agree a quote on the police reforms announced this morning, and Ed, in the middle of it, was trying to do his piano practice. You get those moments when you think, “It’s just not possible for all these things to happen at once”.’
‘If you can manage with a certain level of chaos and accept you’re not going to get everything right, you cope. You probably can’t do as much if you try to do everything perfectly.’
It may only be a matter of time, of course, before George Osborne jibes the Shadow Chancellor for not 'fixing the roof while the sun shines'. But the Shadow Home Secretary reveals that her husband at least does ‘more tidying up and cleaning than I do'.
"Whereas I panic about “How come they need a Spanish costume for school tomorrow?” and rummage through old clothes to find something.’ If she’d married a traditional husband demanding dinner at six, she admits, ‘I think he’d have starved.’
Good job he can rustle up a lasagne. Horsemeat-free.
*FOOTNOTE: It's not online folks, you'll have to buy a copy for the full interview.
But it does also have another line from Ms Cooper that suggests she takes a different approach to some MPs on helping teenagers handle issues like 'sexting':
“I think having greater control on access to the internet is sensible, but I also know as a parent of teens that my kids will always be able to outmanoeuvre me. As teenagers grow they have to be able to take responsibility for themselves, and we have to give them the skills to do that. Just as you know you can’t be with them as they walk to school, you can’t be with them every step.’...Children have got to develop the confidence to be able to discriminate themselves between what’s rubbish, what’s unfair and what’s fantastic.”‘I worry about my children in exactly the same way my mum will have worried about me and her mum will have worried. We have to be honest with ourselves: we mustn’t exaggerate things just because we’re worried as parents"
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