Seriously Awkward: Ask your MP to get involved!

Friday, 25 March 2016

If you haven't read my previous posts about The Children's Society's Seriously Awkward campaign, please check them out here and here!

There is an important event coming up for The Children's Society that I want to tell you about. On the 13th of April, they are holding an event with both young people and expert practitioners in order for MPs to find out more about the campaign.

It is really important that as many MPs attend this meeting as possible. It is a chance for The Children's Society to explain how the law is failing our young people and it comes at a critical time in the campaign. They are pushing for the Policing and Crime Bill to be amended to include the following:

- More powers to intervene early early to stop sexual exploitation of vulnerable 16 to 17 year olds before it happens

- Better access to mental health support for children who have been sexually abused

- A new offense for those who use drugs and alcohol to threaten, coerce and groom children

- More consistent data collection by the police, to ensure children get the same police protection no matter what police authority they live in

The Children's Society's Seriously Awkward campaign is raising awareness for the lack of protection by law that 16-17 year olds have. During a vital transitional phase in their lives, they are given less protection by law than younger children, but this needs to change.

Please consider clicking here to inform your MP of the meeting. There needs to be as many MPs there as possible to hear the very real issue of young people falling through the gap between childhood and adulthood. All it takes is to fill in a quick form: if you have five minutes, please do it - it could make a huge difference.

Click here to find out more about The Children's Society and the amazing work that they do.

The unglamorous everyday. (And what happens when you tip bubble mixture on a laptop)

Sunday, 20 March 2016

A few weeks ago our laptop died a tragic, premature death. Drowning by bubble mixture.

I reacted in a calm and collected way.

First, I said a lot of unrepeatable words loudly in my head and bit my lip to stop them from escaping my mouth. (I try not to swear as a general rule but feel that the sudden breakage of expensive equipment might be one of those scenarios where it is a bit more acceptable, along with stubbing your toe, and accidentally straightening your finger instead of your hair. Unfortunately my tiny daughter is at the stage where she copies every single thing I say and has bat-like hearing).

Then, I grabbed a towel, mopped it up, and switched it off.

Then I tried turning it on again.

Then I repeated the last step about a thousand times in a row whilst muttering darkly.

Then I burst into tears.

I know it's only a laptop, but you know, that's a fairly big chunk of money for us that we can't afford right now. Luckily, a lovely family member is going to give us their spare one, which is amazing. So while I wait, I've been scribbling my thoughts into a notebook. And now I am borrowing my father-in-law's computer whilst trying to decipher my own mad handwriting.

So what's been happening with you?

Life is ticking along as normal with us. There are exciting things coming up, potentially, but nothing I could put into words yet, and nothing to do with jobs or work. I am still a stay-at-home Mum. And for a while I struggled with this, as I'm sure I've written about before. I love being at home with Jellybean, and feel very privileged to get to spend so much time with her, but leaving work does mean leaving a large chunk of your identity behind. You start to worry that you haven't got anything of worth to give people anymore, except your tiny child.

In a world that judges you by how much knowledge you can retain, or how many certificates you have on your wall, or how many places you've seen, how many followers you have, or how much money you have in the bank, being a stay at home parent can feel small and insignificant.

But it's not. Because the same way a working parent provides for her family, and expresses their love and commitment for their children that way, so a stay home parent expresses love in their own way, in the small, repeated acts of kindness and service each day.

***

'There are only small things being done over and over with great love, as Mother Teresa said. With great faith. With great obedience. With great joy or suffering or forgiving on a daily basis ... I do want to take my life's work right now, today - whether it's a book I'm writing or a phone call I'm making or a meal I'm cooking - and I want to hold it all in my open hand with a Spirit-breathed prayer and intention.' - Sarah Bessey, Jesus Feminist


***

Really, I am fed up of the idea of pitting working mothers against stay-at-home mothers, not least because it is ridiculously sexist to both women and men (how often do you see the media fanning the flames of rivalry between working fathers and stay at home fathers? Not often as far as I know. But then stay at home Dads are not exactly well represented in our culture anyway). It goes beyond that. Life - if you're a parent or not - can feel unglamorous sometimes. Repetitive. Same stuff, different day. I'm starting to realise that it's important to embrace my own lack of importance and learn to live with it - as well as realising the importance of the small, every day things that I do.

There is beauty in it. All of it. Whether you are wrangling three squealing children into the car in the pouring rain again (because as a general rule it always rains in England between 8.30-9.00am, and 2.30-3.00pm), or answering emails, or hoovering the stairs, or whatever - if your intent is to make life for other people better, to make things easier for your loved ones and indeed everyone around you - then the end result is beautiful.

Grounding, occasionally draining, everyday work. But don't be fooled into thinking it doesn't count. That if it goes without applause, or fanfare, or admiration, that it doesn't count: it does. Your heart behind what you do matters.

And that is all from me. For now. I can't WAIT to get back into blogging, partly because I type way faster than I write by hand and I find thoughts escaping my brain as my hand struggles to keep up (hence the horrific handwriting). But also because I have exciting things coming up. Exciting to me at least ...

See you soon!
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