One life

I thought today about all the opportunities that we choose to turn our backs on in favour of a particular route. We have to make these decisions early on in life, then…around about middle-age…you start to question some of those decisions. It is a completely pointless exercise, since nothing can be changed and a bit depressing as reflections and decisions taken in middle age no longer have the flexibility of youth to give them room to grow. 

There are many things in life you only get one hit at. Taking that hit while you are young carries less risk and gives longevity. When you are older it’s much more of a gamble and success is minimal. 

On reflecting on those things you can no longer achieve, it’s a bit sobering to think you will go to your grave having never experienced them. My bucket list will start when I am 40.

It sounds cliched but if fundamental decisions in life are led with the heart, the outcome will eventually be the happiest even if it wasn’t intended. At 36, it’s the unexpected that has revealed the most exciting, fulfilling and happiest moments in life to date.

In summary, I didn’t plan to have children, yet now I have two……enough said.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

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Interesting lives

Life becomes more interesting when you meet people that make you think. 

Sometimes they make you think in a positive way, others negative. Either way they rock our little bubble of existence with a different perspective. 

Today I met an inspirational person whose life had been transformed by a guide dog. She talked about how her dog had sensed things ahead that could have put her in harms way, yet if alone she would never have guessed what was round the next corner. Animals have a level of sensitivity that we are barely capable of. 

I met a guy the other day who has six children, yet he still finds the time to volunteer to teach children in his spare time – sharing knowledge of a sport that he loves and inspiring a generation.

Then I see mums who are bringing up children on low incomes, with the capacity to love and cope despite the struggle, because parenthood is a struggle, even more so when money isn’t easy to come by.

Lots of people doing things against the odds. So next time you overcome something, achieve something, or just get through the day – give yourself a pat on the back.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Thanks goodness for the NSPCC

The NSPCC sent me an email regarding child safeguarding campaigns inviting me to contact all police and crime commissioner contacts calling on them to prove what they would do to react. The NSPCC did all the donkey work for me and i received two responses – one from the conservatives and one from labour – 2 out of 7 candidates. I am aware that they probably had the staff yo man their inbox but both email responses were good and timely. It’s great when you feel democracy works. Let’s just see what happens after the elections. 

Today I also reported an incident of child abuse to the NSPCC. I had observed a couple of incidents over the past month on my way in to school and I witnessed the same mother again not caring for her son, this time when he fell and cut his head open. She seemed to be accusing him of causing himself the injury – a 6 year old. This was a busy school run with lots of people about but she was aggressive and antagonistic towards her young child. I wondered if she is like this in public then what is she like behind closed doors? It is tempting to look the other way and many people do. But how many children could have been saved if less people had turned their backs? 

My children are growing up too fast and I feel like I should be filming every minute to savour this time. My son now says water instead of mortar. But he still has a brilliant alternative to difficult (diccifult) and certificate (I can’t even type it). 

My daughter is at that wonderful age where she is still loving playing and being a child but has a growing maturity that means you get to have some fantastic and interesting conversations. Every day I am thankful that I am a parent, even on the bad days. So to witness the consistent abuse and neglect of a child in a world which does not tolerate such behaviour is incredibly saddening. 

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Boatateering begins again!

It’s Spring and for boat lovers, the faint whiff of anti-foul paint, oil and the sound of freshly unfurled sails heralds the start of the new season.

For me, I become ‘the bad wife’. The annual boat ‘lift in’ (the water) date happened to clash with my BFF’s birthday and childcare was already planned to make way for a day if indulgence. This  included a drive in a Jag F Type followed by spa. What more could a lady want?

I was not one of the mothers at the quayside chasing her young children around in between getting a boat habitable while hubby has his head in an inboard engine. No, I had better things to do with the breath in my body (neither do I feel particularly valuable staring at my husband’s back while he curses at some boat related issue that I can offer no assistance with…..I look up to see another woman standing in the cockpit looking down towards the cabin while her hubby also bangs and curses …. We both give each other a knowing look).

On my return, my hubby does the usual threat of ‘selling her’ as I am not doing enough to help him ( he means the boat not me….at least I think that is the case) – a threat that my children don’t even pay any attention to as he has threatened it so many times. I call his bluff and then I have his boating balls in my hand.

Already looking forward to another summer on the Isle of Wight. Yippee!

I love it really…..

This blog is for UNICEF and their work to protect children and families in crises – from Syria to Burundi.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Considering Social Entrepreneurship? – Here’s your inspiration

My friend Alexis is the epitome of awesome. She’s the kind of person you simply just want to be around. I knew Alexis in a former life as we worked together at an agency in New York, and we both found ourselves on the west coast, living by the beach and cultivating quiet and perspective. […]

via guest post: alexis farah, random acts of lipstick — love.life.eat

An ideal solution for working parents?

I have been plunged into a scenario that most working mums dream of – the chance to genuinely have a work life balance through a home-working ob – that also pays the bills – and you don’t have to be self-employed.

I jumped at this chance, turning my back on a career move that would have helped me climb the ladder, but at the expense of my family. Its a choice I made with my head as well as my heart and a choice I was very grateful to receive. It took hard work and perseverance to get to this point though – 5 months of job-hunting, application forms and interviews – to whittle down to the jobs that were actually going to be achievable without your family self imploding.

I know the feminist part of me says that guys dont have those considerations – they just go for it and expect the other half to pick up the pieces of school runs, bedtime routines etc. But my hubby would be happy for me to go for the job with the longer ladder – we just cant afford the childcare costs at the moment (and I do still want to be a part of their daily lives before they become teens and wish to disown me out of embarrassment).

Childcare is still a big issue for Mums on middle to low incomes. The fact of the matter is that if you have a preschooler, work just doesnt pay. Have 5 years off and you have an awful loy of catching up to do – and best of luck getting flexible working around school hours. There are still many schools who do not offer breakfast clubs and frequent after school clubs, so even once they are at school age there are still a number of hours to cover if you want to fit in a 9-5 plus commute time.

So I am so delighted to have found a forward thinking organisation willing to invest in home working. They recognise that people can be just as productive, if not more so, when they are given the chance to be parents too and spend more time working rather than commuting.

I will let you know how it goes – just need to sort out my new ‘she shed’.

This blog is for Unicef – thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Begging for the truth

The reports of the desperation of Syrian refugees and the suffering they continue to endure as they seek a safe haven concerns us all. 

Yet it is difficult sometimes to prove concern is genuine when walking by a homeless person in London begging on the side of the street. I acknowledge their existence with an apologetic smile knowing that I havent got much in my purse to give, mainly because most of it has gone on childcare and commuting and food – but at least I have the money to start with. 

A couple of the people sleeping rough looked like they could be asylum seekers. It made me wonder if they too had travelled a long and perilous journey to survive only to end up on the side of a cold wet street collecting coins with a coffee cup. I wanted to give but I couldn’t, so I joined the many walking past one person in need. If we can’t help one person then what chance do thousands of migrants have?

It is a sad and lonely thought about the real truth of being human – there is only so much we can do beyond our own needs and that of our family. 

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.