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Episode 113: The Art of Tending with Penny Wincer 


Penny Wincer is an author, freelance writer, and book coach based in London. She writes about unpaid caring, raising a neurodiverse family, working life, and approaching life’s challenges with curiosity.

Her book, “Tender: The imperfect art of caring” is just brilliant. I’m delighted to have Penny as a guest on Courage + Spice today as we explore her experiences caring for her son and mother, her book, and the thread of compassion that runs through it all.

So what’s this episode really about? 

  • Penny shares the inspiration behind writing Tender: The imperfect art of caring. The reality of caring is just like life – sometimes it’s wonderful, sometimes terrible and often, it’s very ordinary.
  • The cultural notion of who carers should be and that they require extraordinary levels of goodness. It’s a normal part of life to care for people with disability.
  • Why perfectionism is so apparent for many parents and carers and how Penny learned to have self-compassion during intense pressure when her son was young.  
  • Learning to live with grief and difficult emotions and how we can feel these things, accept and let go of the fantasy of the perfect child. 
  • We talk about the privilege many carers feel to care for someone and the paradox of emotions that arise in the midst of their loving act of caring.  
  • Penny shares about caring for her mother who was mentally unwell when she was a teenager and how becoming hyper-independent at a young age impacted her.
  • Our reliance as a society on unpaid care is unsustainable and it systematically needs to change.

Why you should listen

If you are a parent, a carer, or know somebody who is, this episode is a must-listen. Penny’s incredible wisdom and insights into life as a carer will add so much value to your life. Our conversation centres around the need for self-compassion, which is something I think we could all use a little more of in our lives.


Penny’s Website
Penny’s Instagram
‘Not Too Busy To Write’ Podcast

You can quote me on that…

“Living with feelings of grief is about accepting that they do pop up occasionally.” – Penny Wincer

“All we can do is approach our situations with compassion and understand that they’re not going to be tidy.” – Penny Wincer

“Disappointment, I think, is one of the most untalked about difficult emotions.” – Sas Petherick

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