It is perhaps not a coincidence that as becoming a mother has become an unattainable option for many women and couples, the trappings of motherhood have become fetishized.
From the designer buggies (a Range Rover buggy anyone?) to the cult of the yummy mummy and her yoga-flat tummy (what a ridiculous pressure to put on a woman who’s just given birth to a new human being!) to the mini-me designer clothes ranges and babyccinos (cappuccino without coffee, if you were wondering), children are treated like precious and breakable artefacts and motherhood has become a competitive and rarified sport. This is tough on mothers, tough on their partners and tough on all women. I hope it’s good for the kids.
There are parts of London, and in every middle-class district of every town in the UK, that have become, in a sense, ghettos for middle-class mothers and their highly prized offspring. In the UK, these districts usually get the nickname of ‘Nappy Valley’ by the locals because of the sheer number of young families that move into a usually run-down part of town (often near a park or within proximity to good state schools), transforming the culture, demographic and economics of the area.
If a volcanic eruption were to freeze one of these areas in time like Pompeii, future anthropologists might conclude that it was a society dominated by a fertility cult, one in which men over the age of forty were either banished or sacrificed.
In reality, a great many of the men over forty are out of these areas during in the day working in financial services or the media to bring in the income to pay for the fetishized offerings to the child deity. Any men left under forty work in the local service industries like coffee bars, organic food stores, delivery services and building renovation projects. However, the rising cost of living has meant that the what would have been a fairly normal middle-class upbringing for these parents when they were kids is now a luxury that has to be strived for. It’s a prize out of the reach of most young professionals as it requires a dual-income, or one stonking income and an early lucky investment in a rising property market (which is in itself become something that young professionals cannot afford to do unless they have financial help with their deposit).
And the mothers? Well, many of them were professional working women and a good deal of them would have had their own property before they married, the equity in which, combined with that of their partner, has enabled them together to be able to buy one of the down-at-heel ‘family homes’ in the area to ‘do it up’. And most of them, unless their partner is exceptionally ‘high-status’ (ie: an investment banker or very successful entrepreneur) will return to work when their children are safely launched into their school career, or maybe a bit earlier. This is considered to be an undesirable outcome, which may come as a surprise to many of their mothers who longed to train for a ‘serious’ profession and work outside the home.
But what kind of work will they return to? Well, unless they can afford the usurously high-cost of childcare (and cope with endless Daily Mail style brickbats on how they are ‘ruining’ their children’s life by doing so), they’ll try to work from home, perhaps by starting an online or local family-oriented business such as an organic clothing line, a music lesson agency or artisan-made products such as soap or cupcakes. These businesses are bankrolled by rising property values and underwritten by their partner’s salaries and rarely contribute back to society in ways that these highly educated and experienced professional woman are capable of, or perhaps might prefer to ‘choose’ if there were other options available. In Britain, we call them the Mumpreneurs.
But their ‘choices’, like many of women’s ‘choices’ around having children or raising them are severely limited by our current social and economic set up. Until we have high-quality state-subsidised childcare for all as they do in Sweden, women’s choices will remain curtailed. The ‘social norm’ is now that being a ‘stay at home Mum’ is ‘fun’… yet surely there must be many highly trained professional women who long to stretch their intellectual and economic muscles again and get back out into the professional world but who have to ‘fake’ their reluctance to do so, less the furies of the Daily Mail descend upon them?
It is not the actual choices women make that I am trying to illuminate here, but the reality that many of those ‘choices’ are in fact constrained by an economic, social and political reality which many people barely realise is there. It’s like asking a fish whether they like the water: “What’s water?” says the fish.
And don’t even get me started on cupcakes… a cultural fetish par-excellence containing so many mixed messages I’m surprised the ovens don’t explode with the effort of combining them!
As a celebratory icon of the repressed, housebound and economically dependent 1950s woman (did you learn nothing from MadMen?) cupcakes have become a fetish accessory of the new ‘stay at home’ mother, or those women that yearn to be her. Who’d have thought that for all the advances we’ve made as women since the 60s, competitive baking would ever come back into fashion!
The doyenne of 1950’s domestic style (and with an MBE from the Queen to prove it) and an icon for the wannabe stay at home mother is Cath Kidston, whose floral accessories and Enid Blyton throwback designs hark to an pre-feminist era when mothering was all women were really ‘allowed’ to do unless they were infertile or radically counter-cultural. It would seem that Kidston herself is childless by circumstance, but like most women who are in the public eye and don’t have children, she doesn’t explain exactly why. Fair enough – such things are a private matter. I did hear her interviewed on Desert Island Discs on 24 April 2011, and she was a little more forthcoming on the matter, but I can find nothing in print.
Knowing the pain of involuntary childlessness myself, I can quite understand why Kidston’s considerable talent as a designer and businesswoman found its niche with a nostalgic look inspired by the ‘glory days’ of fifties childhood and motherhood (Kidston herself was born in 1958 and speaks often of her very happy childhood). In the latter years of my own marriage, desperately unhappy (yet quite unaware of how much), and after almost a decade of trying to conceive, I nested neurotically, developing a major fixation on bed linen from The White Company (another home lifestyle brand that presents an ideal image of a life where everyone seems to ‘have it together’). Recently, unpacking some stuff from storage ten-years on from my divorce, I was astonished to find neatly-ironed and razor-sharp folded bedlinen ‘sets’ tied together with ribbon and labelled with hand-written brown parcel labels. These days I can count on one hand the number of times a year I get the ironing board out, and it certainly isn’t for bedlinen. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I smiled wryly instead. And I still love the bedlinen.
Reading interviews with Kidston, her life story contains factors that many circumstantial childlessness women can sympathise and identify with: the death of her much-loved father when she was a teenager, a job that turned into a career (perhaps partly because she didn’t have children and therefore was able to put in the insane hours that it takes to get a business off the ground, although she is also a step-mother to her partner Hugh’s daughter), watching her own mother die of breast cancer at 62 and then being diagnosed with the same at 36. The kinds of events that make ‘choice’ a little more complicated when it comes to becoming a mother.
Similar motherhood-fetish stores and brands also exist in the US and the reason I wanted to bring them to your attention is not to rub motherhood in your face (although that can be how it feels if you live, or stray into, a district with ‘Nappy Valley’ qualities and are feeling in a vulnerable place about your childlessness) but to make a point. One of the dictionary definitions of fetish is ‘an object of unreasonably excessive attention or reverence’, and also ‘an object that is believed to have magical or spiritual powers’.
Motherhood, children and the trappings of both have become a fetish.
And this is very odd, very telling and a sign of our times.
I send my love to all the mothers in all the ‘Nappy Valley’s’ of the world, and wish them, their partners and their offspring happy and fulfilling lives. I just wish that the opportunity to mother wasn’t denied to so many women I meet because, perhaps like Kidson, too many unlucky breaks got in the way.
And cupcakes? Well they’re just children’s cakes in Sweden. It’s the only European country that reversed its declining birth rates through the introduction of state subsidised childcare with a result that 50% of the workforce are women, it has the highest proportion of women on the boards of top companies and men and women share domestic and childrearing duties in and out of the home. The personal still is, political.
Booking is still open for two new Gateway Women Groups starting this September in London. Still Hopeful (Wednesdays from 5th September) is for women who are still able to have a child and are being gripped by the silent misery and toxic shame of thwarted motherhood; Reignite! (Mondays from 10th September) is for post-fertile women who are ready to create their Plan B for a meaningful and happy life without children. Both groups last 12 weeks and follow a structured series of steps to arrive at a new way of dealing with your situation.
Jody Day is the Founder of Gateway Women(UK): an organization she founded to support, inspire and empower childless-by-circumstance women to live fertile, passionate, meaningful lives. A qualified counsellor and trainee integrative psychotherapist, Jody runs groups & workshops for Gateway Women, and also offers one-to-ones for women looking to explore issues around identity, maternity & fertility. She speaks regularly at events and is always looking to share her empowering message with new audiences. If you would like Jody to speak at one of your events, or to write for your blog or magazine, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
For priority booking for all future Gateway Women events, please join our mailing list by clicking here.
I’m somewhat late reading this, but it\’s been fascinating to read both the article and all the comments. Some of this really gets to the heart, doesn\’t it? For me it touches on that bitter little challenge, of how my emotions can sometimes really swing between feeling mildly smug that I don’t have to navigate all that childrearing / nappy valley dangerzone and the envy of wanting to be a mother and the ability to choose how badly or not to steer through the whole damn thing and to choose just how high to pipe that icing. Sigh.
It’s so true that it’s tough for mothers too. I was doing the aunt thing the other day, and in chatting to my sister realised the financial straightjacket that at least I wasn’t bound into. So I’m going to work on paying off a bit more of the mortgage, and take that month long travel trip that I’ve been wanting to do for at least 15 years, and hunt down those silver-linings where I can.
Thank you for this thoughtful comment about motherhood and its trappings becoming a fetish. I came across this idea today on the glorious Feminist Ryan Gosling blog and had to search for more info about this idea.
As a mother of three who sought out all these trappings, spent 10 years in the business of mothering and did just about every element you point to (just in NZ instead of UK) I was struck by your insight. I went through a divorce 2 years ago and walked away from it all. I’ve shut the organic business, I’m selling the gentrified house, and I spend regular time at the dole office now. Though I love my children, I hate the labels and expectation that seems to abound around this picture of the perfect woman who puts child rearing as the highest level of achievement. Mothering is hard. As I heard the other day, it’s painful to grow up but it’s more painful to watch your children grow up. But I still don’t believe that motherhood deserves veneration or felishizing. It doesn’t define who you are anymore than being a mammal.
Also in this vein I’d say that I notice a high level of Fetishizing Fatherhood going on. My ex-husband seems to be obsessed with “correct” fathering. He seems to be falling down the rabbit hole of perfection in parenting (as if that is remotely possible). And I see it at the school gate, loads of fathers using flexitime to pick up the kids. Though that sounds really nice and helpful it feels a lot like the external validation of the yummy mummy.
Well I pick fatherhood being the next domain of the obsessed.
Thank you and good luck with supporting childless women. They need support in this culture.
Hello everyone! I am very happy to have found this website in which one can reflect in the issue of life without children. I am currently writing my Master´s Dissertation. My focus is to analyse how common notions of feminism work and make it difficult not to be a mother. I am really interested in spaces, like Gateway Women, that promote a life without children as a valuable and positive identity. I would welcome all your contributions and comments!!
I am not 100% sure whether motherhood is fetishized by society or whether as childless women we are more sensitive to the bumps and the buggies. It’s hardly surprising that we would be given how much pain is involved in not being able to have our own children and far reaching the effects of involuntary childlessness are in so many aspects of life.
I wonder if the yummy mummy ideal is the product of a celebrity obsessed consumer society where everything is a marketing opportunity including childbirth and motherhood. The media drip feeds us images of the “perfect life”, which are unobtainable to most if us. I think the yummy mummy and designer baby image is hard on women per se. If you aren’t a mother then why aren’t you? If you are then you’re never quite good enough. Many of my friends are mothers and they aren’t all having what woman aptly dubbed “the Laura Ashley” experience.
I do think this article and many of the comments raise some pertinent points for women with regard childbearing. For those who are lucky enough to have a career and children there are still the issues of crippling childcare costs and limited career advancement. One woman I know frequently talks about how she feels forced to choose between her career and her children in a way that men are never expected to. The myth of having it all seeming to be just that- a myth! Another friend says her salary doesn’t cover her childcare costs so she is out of pocket for working, but doesn’t want to lose the identity that having a career gives her and even more so she doesn’t want to lose her skills should her marriage break down.
And there are those of us for whom it hasn’t worked out or hasn’t worked out in time for whom the die is cast. Our choice is in how we deal with that.
But there is another group of women whose plight is only touched on and they are the twenty some things. On the one hand we have fertility doctors telling us we should conceive in our twenties if we want to minimise our chances of having problems. I’m not going to argue with biology. But socially and economically how does this happen? With a record number of qualified young people unable to find employment, deposits for first homes almost impossible to find and housing benefit for under-25s scrapped how and where do they start a family….at home with their parents??
Current social and economic conditions force many women into delaying childbearing until they are well into their thirties and for some that is too late.
I think that Jody is on to something here. As Susan Sontag once wrote, as a particular thing becomes less common in society (in this case, a traditional nuclear family with a stay at home mom who has time to bake cupcakes and whip herself back into shape after having a baby), images of that particular thing will proliferate (http://thebitterbabe.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/theory/).
Personally, I appreciate the way in which Gateway Women Daily covers numerous perspectives, as motherhood has become such a complex topic. We now have childfree women who don’t want children at all; some of those women like children, some don’t. There is a larger percentage (I think) of childless women who want children but are unable to have them, some due to infertility (which has it’s own psychological blowback), others due to inability to afford them or find a partner (which touches on social and economic issues and frankly, there’s some justifiable anger there, getting into the whole 1% issue and the disappearance of the middle class). Some of these women enjoy playing the “auntie” role, others don’t. Some women go ahead and do it alone, others feel that would be impossible. For all these women, there is, I feel, justifiable anger at being marginalized.
To further complicate the issue, I think we would all benefit with more time away from work, not to bake cupcakes per se, but to cook more and take up, for instance, the art of sewing again (I just finished reading the book “Overdressed” about the social and environmental impacts of cheap, disposable clothing). When careers require being worked to death, however, that is unlikely.
I’m so pleased that the article touched a chord for you! I am fascinated by your link to Susan Sontag’s work – I followed the link to your blog but would love a more detailed reference to Sontag if you can recall it. I agree that the debate around motherhood / childless / childfree is extremely complex, and that it’s worth exploring and understanding, even if it does ruffle a few feathers. Exploring why the status quo is the status quo is always likely to be provocative, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to try.
And for any of my readers here at Gateway Women, “Gateway Women Daily” referred to here is an online newspaper that I curate made up of articles that arrive in my @GatewayWomen Twitter feed and which have certain keywords in them. If you’d like to subscribe to it, or take a look, you can find it at http://paper.li/gatewaywomen/1312655044
Also, if any of you aren’t familiar with Rantywoman’s own superb blog “The Bitter Babe” I highly recommend it. The woman has a reading list that would make Susan Sontag weep and she writes from the heart (and with the benefit of anonymity) about being, as she puts it “Never Married. Over Forty. Slightly Bitter.” http://thebitterbabe.wordpress.com/
Thank you to everyone who has commented on this article – all of the viewpoints are interesting, valid and helpful in understanding what is going on with our societies that something as ‘normal’ as wanting to be a mother (and motherhood itself) has become such a hot potato. It’s too late for me to have children, but it has become increasingly clear to me that until we bring all this out into the open, we are not going to be able to get to the heart of the social, economic, political and ideological roots of it, and thus start making change happen. A society that makes it so difficult for women to have children if they want them, and then makes it so hard for mothers and families to balance their work and family lives is not one that makes any sense – economically or humanely. Something’s broken and we need to fix it.
I think it’s important to talk about the role society plays in making it difficult for us women to have kids. Though it is very difficult to find the balance and not just “blame someone else”.
Another viewpoint which i think should be considered but which has the same problem is how are MEN making it difficult for us. And how does society make it difficult for men. And I’m not just talking about the career pressure but yes, that’s one more reason why men wait to father children – until it’s too late for their female partners. Makes us sometimes wish the times came back when an 18 year old woman and a 40 year old man were considered an appropriate match…. or does it?
But there are other points to be considered. Like why is every teenage girl being dragged to see a gynaecologist regularly once she has her first period all to keep her organs necessary for procreation “in good shape”. When sperm quality in men keeps decreasing all the time, but noone considers dishing advice out to young boys or their parents, some of the damage to those sperms is already done when they are very small children, or submitting boys and young men to regular checks and treatements for the slightes problem…. and i would love to see the numbers compared of money that goes into research about fertility/infertility in women vs in men.
Why is that so? Well i guess because we are talking about….MEN….
I can’t remember where I read that Sontag theory but it did really strike me. I’m guessing it was in her book “On Photography.” I’ll see if I can figure it out. Thanks for the blog endorsement!
I got a hold of a copy of Sontag’s “On Photography” but couldn’t find the quote I mentioned here. I did however find these two interesting passages:
p. 9 “As that claustrophobic unit, the nuclear family, was being carved out of a much larger family aggregate, photography came along to memorialize, to restate symbolically, the imperiled continuity and vanishing extendedness of family life. Those ghostly traces, photographs, supply the token presence of the dispersed relatives. A family’s photograph album is generally about the extended family– and, often, is all that remains of it.”
p. 15 “Cameras began duplicating the world at that moment when the human landscape started to undergo a vertiginous rate of change: while an untold number of forms of biological and social life are being destroyed in a brief span of time, a device is available to record what is disappearing… Like the dead relatives and friends preserved in the family album, whose presence in photographs exorcises some of the anxiety and remorse prompted by their disappearance, so the photographs of neighborhoods now torn down, rural places disfigured and made barren, supply our pocket relation to the past.”
one thing i really appreciate about Jody’s writing is that she takes it further than “talk about ourselves and our feelings” compared to many blogs and writes from a perspective including social and political policy. The private is political as we say in German, one of the basis of feminism really. I am a social worker (so not completely clueless either when it comes to a professional view on emotions) and a social scientist and i just can’t accept that some things happening to me as a childless-by-circumstance woman are just my individual problem and nothing to do with things happening in society. it really helps me to have this outlook too. At the same time its important to see which parts of my own feelings and the processes I am going to are just that, my own individual challenge. But seeing both aspects is actually helping me not to be so bitter.
I see what you mean about the danger of becoming vitriolic but i am with Jody when it comes to pointing out certain things in our society i sometimes think we as childless by circumstance people can see with more clarity than people with children or those without children but who never wished for them.
Sorry if this is a bit garbled it’s late, i’m tired and English isn’t my first language. I hope you get what i mean and am looking forward to more discussions with you all.
Are we? By using words like the “Yummy Mummy” are we denigrating them because we are childfree? It seems to me that a wide variety of media sources use those terms, and I don’t see them all as being angry.
I’m not angry that some people have children and I don’t, and I still use those terms. I also make remarks on people who drive yacht-sized SUVs and live in 3,000 squarefoot houses. It seems a wasteful, shallow and consumeristic way to live, whether you have children or not.
We do fetish-ize motherhood and child rearing. it’s not particularly nice to watch (and feel left out of). It must be equally terrible to live. I don’t think stating that is passing judgement, being angry or bitter.
Hi Mrs Split
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’m very glad that you didn’t think I was being judgemental, angry or bitter, but rather using terms that are in current use. What I’d really like to see discussed here is what is going on with the whole ‘fetishization of motherhood’ – I find your comment that “it’s not particularly nice to watch” very interesting. Can you explain a little more?
Thanks again – lovely to hear your voice here
When I look at what I want for not just all women, but the young women who are particularly precious to me, I want them to be so much more than one identity. I want them to have a job they love, but not be only, for example, a lawyer. I want them to be in a relationship that makes them happy, but not only be a wife. I want them to have children (if they desire, and I may be the only Aunt in my family who says “You can not have children if you don’t care too. That’s a valid choice too”).
When I say it’s not nice to look at, mostly what I think of is the waste. These were women who have educations and minds, and what they seem to settle for, by the whole cupcake mentality as you have aptly put it, is heart wrenching.
It’s artificial, but more than that, it’s often so much less than they could be. I see some of these women and I think “doesn’t preserving that level of perfection, totally altering your personality and your interests to be what you think you should be, well, doesn’t it just hurt at your core?”
I’ve really enjoyed finding this website and finding a community of women who find themselves in the same ‘without children’ boat as myself. My only concern is that acknowledging the difficulties of being childless-through-circumstance does not become an aggressive rant against women who are mothers. I keep coming back to the site to read various articles and blogs and find myself feeling uncomfortable with the tone. I’d like to be proved wrong but I sense a thread of something rather vitriolic against women who have managed to have children. Surely a position of strength comes from within, not from negating others?
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It’s interesting that you find a tone of vitriol against mothers within Gateway Women, which is not intended and does not reflect my views at all. However, I do try to represent the way many women feel before they have found their way through the grief of involuntarily childlessness, and one of those stages is anger.
Finding oneself childless by circumstance brings up a lot of feelings, and a lot of them aren’t ‘pretty’. It’s only by being honest about this that we are able to get beyond them and to a place of acceptance with how life has worked out for us. Repressing it doesn’t work, it just comes out sideways in our lives through overeating, addictions, bitterness, illness, depression and unhappiness. This is what ‘unprocessed grief’ does. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with anger, or even being pissed off for a bit that ‘she got what I wanted’ – it passes. But getting chronically stuck in an angry place is a problem.
There are a few ‘militantly childfree’ sites out where you will find anti-mother points of view (the clue is that they use the term ‘breeder’), but as far as I know, Gateway Women is one of the few sites that is welcoming and positive about all of the various choices (and non-choices) women experience in their reproductive life – whether it be childless, childfree or motherhood.
I believe in building bridges between women, not putting up more obstacles, and it sounds like you do too, so I’m very happy to meet you.
With warmest wishes
I work in the field of therapy and personal development and understand the place that anger has for all of us, whether childless or not. For example, there is a woman I know who is angry at her loss of freedom now she is a mother, although she loves her children dearly. I am simply at a loss to understand why we cannot talk more on this site about ourselves and our feelings (whatever those feelings may be) as women-without-children, and less of ourselves as social commentators of women who are mothers. Phrases such as the ‘cult of the yummy mummy’ or ‘range rover buggies’ seem unnecessarily harsh. Yes, let’s be angry. Bitter, even! But we don’t need to pass judgement on how others (mothers) live their lives. Do we?
I’ve amended the article a little since you read it, as I cut it from a longer piece I am working on, and so therefore took out some of the references to social and political policy – I’ve put a little of that back in, and hopefully the tone now feels a little ‘kinder’ without taking away the ‘bite’ of the article. I hope you agree, and thanks for your feedback.
With regard to Gateway Women being a place to share our feelings – absolutely! I share a great deal of painful personal material and feelings in many of my posts, and those women who are generous enough to take the time to comment do too.
There is a place too for a little ‘social commentary’ and, like Mrs Split says, this doesn’t have to be taken as ‘passing judgement’.
Room for everyone on this bus!
I agree with Chez – I read this blog and recommended it (and still do) but find it can veer in the wrong direction. It comes up in my email and when new articles appear I am slightly wary. I am also not your target audience so no longer feel I should read or comment. But this article today is troubling. The issue here is that as Women we should be supportive of one another – this is the only way to move positively though issues like childlessness (by choice or not) being single etc. Views like “yummy mummy” etc – are – except when mentioned by moronic women such as Mr Blair totally lacking. It’s the equivalent of saying all single women are this of that. It doesn’t help the conversation one iota. It also diminishes choice. I read words like “yummy mummy” and I am – quite honestly left bemused and confused. Who are these women? I suspect that apart from women in certain postcodes who Want to be known by labels like that and actively encourage it – it does not exist. I have 4 kids and I know probably about 60 moms – here, in Europe and the US and I don’t know Any who fit into this idea of “yummy mummy” or who define themselves as it or some who have even heard the term (even if some I know are gorgeous and have fabulous style). You reduce all women – million of individuals in the West alone – to either struggling or yummy mummy’s. Women with kids are like yourself. They are busy, complex people and I cannot fathom why you feel you can simplify millions of individuals into one tiny label – simply because it helps with your argument. I don’t mean to be unkind but I do have real issues with ideologies that purport to speak for women and in fact, reduce many women and lessen their voice simply because they are on the other side (sometimes, a side of your own making perhaps?)
With regard to women that start companies that have no worth – such as selling cupcakes, a couple of things. 1 – a woman that does this does contribute to society by adding business and emloyment and nice food. 2 – to start, let alone maintain a successful business is no mean feat and is not possible without passion and interest. It would appear therefore, that anyone doing this is doing so because they want to. 3 – how do you know what women are doing or not or why they want to do it? Perhaps have a read of the Power of Moms or Mama PhD to get another perspective. I am truly sorry you cannot have children – although you seem in very fulfilled in other ways – and I think your blog (which I have recommended to women I know) is important and engaging. But – please! don’t use your platform to become a daily mail supporter and in fact add, add to the suppression of women and their choices. I agree here is to better child care options and the like. It is very important I agree – but the use of terms that negatively label women and by relation dimishes all women with kids as unthinking, unengaged individuals (as yummy mummy’s or actively trying to become one) – dimishes us all – including yourself and your desire to highlight women that are childless by circumstance.
Btw – you should also read the atlantic piece “having it all” on issues like this, and the value and role of love towards a child that can replace previous desires for work and which is also a valid choice.
(n.b – asuming I receive vitriol for this comment. Yes I do work. Yes, it is from home. No, I am not doing less work than I would in an office – more in fact. No it’s not making cupcakes)