What do you do when another woman breastfeeds your toddler, and other dilemmas from the crazy badlands of California parenthood.

It’s hard to believe we’ve been in California for nearly three years.  Come check out my column about some of the loopier aspects of being a parent over here, for new British lifestyle magazine Motherland.  If you like it, why not come and visit me on my new website ruthwhippman.com (and sign up for email updates over there)

California Screaming

“I have a dilemma, and I need your advice” my friend Jennifer confides. We are at her house for a social arrangement that back in London would have been pitched as “come over and we’ll ignore the children,” but over here is known as a “playdate.” The kids are jacked up on organic figs and running round in maniacal circles, screeching. In California this is called ‘self-directed play’.

“What’s up?” I ask.
“I think my daughter’s been breastfed by another woman.”

Read more here

News: My book, Star Spangled Happy, just acquired by St Martin’s Press, Macmillan.

Exciting news!  My book about the American obsession with finding happiness, has just been sold to St Martin’s Press, for publication in late 2015.
Here is the listing from Publishers Marketplace.
July 25, 2014 – STAR SPANGLED HAPPY by Ruth Whippman

Non-fiction: Narrative

Ruth Whippman’s STAR SPANGLED HAPPY: Or How America’s Relentless Pursuit of Happiness is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks, the humorous pilgrimage of a cynical UK transplant who when she moves to the States with her family and encounters a country making itself crazy in its pursuit of contentment, decides to put herself through the paces of the multi-billion dollar American happiness machine; she attends cultish-sounding personal development courses, reads Eckhart Tolle, visits the rafters of Christianity’s mega-churches, explores the lengths to which American parents go to make their children happy, and in the end unveils a startlingly straightforward, rigorously researched, and universal answer to our relentless pursuit that requires no hot yoga and comes absolutely free of charge, to Jennifer Weis at St. Martin’s, in a pre-empt, by Steve Ross at Abrams Artists Agency (NA).

To read the original New York Times article on which the book was based, click below

New York Times:  America the Anxious

It’s Not Just Bossy- Some Other Supposedly Gender Neutral Words That Are Only Ever Used To Describe Women

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Beyonce want to ban the word ‘bossy‘, saying that it is used to undermine girls and women and discourage them from taking on leadership roles.  Instead we should use the word ‘leader.’  But bossy isn’t the only word used to subtly keep women down.  Here are some other examples of words which are almost exclusively used to describe women.







Career orientated






High Maintenance




















Any more?

My interview with Canadian Radio CBC, the anxiety show

This is a link to an interview I did for Canadian Radio for their Tapestry programme about anxiety. It expands on the subject of the book I’m working on: that the relentless search for happiness in America is creating a nation of nervous wrecks. Have a listen. I’m on at about 35 30.

Thank you!

CBC Tapestry: High Anxiety

Guilt Trip

“Guilt is an heirloom emotion, like a moth ridden quilt that no one can quite bring themselves to throw out”

This week I’ve been writing about ‘Guilt’ in the New York Times, and my extraordinary capacity for it. I’d love it if you would check it out, and ideally leave me a comment on the site, Facebook share or tweet it. Thank you so much.

New York Times: Guilt Trip