Is the rest of the world still working from home?

Scout’s honour Thousands of teenagers were evacuated from the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea as flooding, a heatwave and then the threat of a typhoon affected the event. What exactly is a ‘jamboree’? – Lord Baden-Powell adopted the word for the first gathering of scouts at Kensington Olympia in 1920. But the word itself can be traced back to the mid-19th-century American West, when it was used for a drunken revel – presumably not what Baden-Powell nor subsequent heads of the scouting movement would encourage. – The first documentary evidence for use of the word is in the report of a murder trial in the New York Herald in

The word ‘mother’ isn’t offensive. The Catholic church should say so

I’m used to waiting for the Catholic church to make sense. I’m a convert to Catholicism, and Catholic ideas sometimes take a while to become clear. I start from a position of suspicious distaste, but if I sit tight, I’ve found, the strangest things come right. It’s in this spirit of patient confusion that, since the beginning of the year, I’ve been waiting for the Catholic bishops of England and Wales to speak out in defence of the word ‘mother’, and to state the simple, unremarkable fact that only biological women give birth. Out of America, out of universities, from the HR department of every big business has come this

The many contradictions of modern motherhood

There are few certainties in life. Death and taxes are the ones regularly trotted out. However, there is another that rarely gets mentioned: the fact that every single human who has ever existed has come out of a woman’s body. This act of creation, while being a marvel, has also become banal. In Motherhood, Eliane Glaser deftly juggles the wonder and boredom, the joy and pain and the many profound contradictions that attend modern motherhood. Philosophers, child psychologists and anthropologists from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Donald Winnicott and Margaret Mead provide cultural and social contexts for how our attitudes towards motherhood have changed throughout history. ‘There is enormous diversity in the

Let’s applaud mothers — the real key workers

Our daughter Clementine, 5, has just decided what she wants to be when she grows up. ‘A cleaner …. and a mother,’ she says, in that order. Her mother, my wife Taffeta, winces at Clemmie’s ambition. Middle-class rules dictate that we should try to knock such traditional notions out of little girls’ brains. It’s not feminist and therefore bad. But why? If this health crisis has taught us anything, it is that cleaning is one of the most important things human beings can do. And even in our horridly secular age, we all know deep down that motherhood is sacred. We need mothers now more than ever. The most key