039: The Mother of all Journeys; Warts and All | Bee Rowlatt

I do not wish [women] to have power over men; but over themselves

[Mary Wollstonecraft]

In today’s episode of Mum-to-Mum Monday, we’re going on an adventure. Back in time to the 18th Century where we follow the extraordinary story of a mother of yesteryear. If Mary Wollstonecraft was around today, she would be considered a pretty normal mum. But back then her actions and choices caused plenty of tut-tutting and twitching curtains, and her bad reputation preceded her.

My guest today is SuperMum Bee Rowlatt.

Bee is a writer, journalist and broadcaster who has worked for the BBC for over two decades. She’s a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph, and the author of several books including ‘In Search of Mary’ which we’ll be talking about today. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, she also has four children aged between 6 and 15. Bee, her husband and four kids moved from London to New Delhi a couple of years ago in search of their next life-experience.

In a moment of ‘mum-life crisis’ and sick of the endless piles of laundry, Bee whisked up her 10 month old son and set off on an extraordinary adventure in search of the life and legacy of Mary Wollstonecraft, the first celebrity feminist.

In her quest to find a new balance between careers and babies, Bee also discovered the importance of celebrating the radiant power of love in all our lives.

In discussing motherhood in the 1790’s, Bee brings the joys, challenges and craziness of being a mum right back into the 21st Century. We talk about ‘having it all’ as a mum; the influence of culture on your experience as a mum; and creating adventure in your life despite the restrictions of motherhood.

Bee is the most down-to-earth, tell-it-like-it-is, frank, honest and open mum I’ve had on the show, and I know you’re gonna love her. So hold on to your hats, we’re going on an adventure!

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In this episode, you’ll find out:

  • Why a mother from the 18th Century is relevant to you as a mum in the 21st Century
  • How mums who love being homemakers and care-givers, fit in the world of feminism
  • Why Bee was a ‘slow and reluctant adapter’ to motherhood
  • Why, when the laundry kept piling up, Bee felt the need to seek out some adventure
  • Why finding yourself as a woman often becomes easier the more children you have
  • How you can combine being a great mum with having a great career
  • The differences – and similarities – of mothers from different countries and different cultures
  • The pros and cons of offering your children stability verses offering them adventure


 Hope you enjoy todays show!

Tell me what you think?

If you have a question or want some advice from an adventure-seeking mum of four, ask away.

And let us know in the comments. What next adventure do you want to embark on? Do you believe you can take time out from your piles of laundry to seek some excitement?

Bee and I can’t wait to hear from you.

Now, Go Conquer Motherhood!

Lisa York x

Show Notes:

BEE’S WEBSITE: Bee Rowlatt

BEE ON TWITTER: @beerowlatt


ARTICLE: In Search of Mary: The Mother of All Journeys, by Bee Rowlatt – Book Review

BBC DOCUMENTARY: Make Me a German 

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark by Mary Wollstonecraft

WOLLSTONECRAFT MEMORIAL: Mary on the Green Campaign

FIND TODAY’S SHOW AT: www.Lisa-York.com/039


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Lisa York

Lisa believes a happy mum brings up happy kids who become happy adults. With four children aged 7, 6, 4 and 2, being kind to herself is an ongoing challenge. But she’s trying.

Lisa lives with her family in Canberra, Australia.

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3 replies
  1. Lisa York | SuperMum
    Lisa York | SuperMum says:

    Thank you too, Melissa and Debby. I really appreciate how you handled such a difficult topic in a practical yet sensitive way. I know from the feedback, that our mum listeners have found it to be very useful, Lisa x

  2. Melissa and Debby
    Melissa and Debby says:

    Lisa, we wanted to thank you for having us on your Podcast – it was truly an enjoyable experience. We so appreciated your insightful questions that enabled us to share more about how to heal after a difficult or traumatic birth. And thank you for caring so much about mums – it really shows in your podcasts, and we feel very grateful to have this opportunity to reach more women and share the message that birth trauma is real…AND that it is possible to heal. Much love, Melissa and Debby xx

  3. Lisa York
    Lisa York says:

    I hope you enjoyed this very open and honest episode with Melissa and Debby. Did you feel supported and listened to while giving birth? Let me know in the comments! Lisa x

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