So this is the New Year/And I don’t feel any different.

Hello! My it’s been a while hasn’t it? I’m never going to be a proper ‘blogger’ who updates regularly, but not writing anything since August is pretty poor. Time just sort of happens doesn’t it? Anyway, I thought I would make an effort to write something today. I haven’t really made any New Years Resolutions (I never keep them). I’d love to say this will be the year I finally write my novel (my magnificent octopus), but I’m a bit time-poor for that. I guess making a bit more of an effort to at least write a blog semi-occasionally is a step in the right direction.

2017 should hopefully be an exciting year for us. I don’t want to tempt fate, as it’s still not all the way through yet, but we’re in the process of buying a new house and are hoping to move early this year. Whilst I haven’t made any specific resolutions, I do have some goals for the year. Yes, I know we’re already a week into the year, but when was I ever not late to the party? (I’ll tell you when actually: EVERY PARTY EVER when I was a teenager and lived at home if I got a lift from my parents, as my Dad was genetically incapabale of understanding the concept of being late to something. ‘It says it starts at 8, why would you want to get there at quarter past? We’ll leave with a good 10 minute safety net incase of a pile up or zombie attack on the way there.’ I was always the first to arrive like some kind of sad little lemon.)

Where was I? Ah yes. Goals for the year:

1. Run more

There’s obviously a lot of health and fitness stuff out there at the moment, and yes I do want to get fitter, but honestly, just because running makes me feel good when I do it No time for all this morality about food and fitness. Are you happy? OK. If it’s not for you that’s FINE. I’m not that good at running, I’m not looking to do a marathon, I just like to take a bit of time, when I can and go and have a run. My awesome work, P3 Charity are doing ‘Jumpstart January’ for anyone who wants to try and get running, and it’s got me back into it again which is great. I was only out for 20 minutes or so this morning, but it’s set me off on a nice start to the day.

2. Less takeaway coffees

Not less coffee in general. That would be CRAZY. I’m guilty of often buying coffee in a disposable cup thus wasting money, and contributing to landfill. I’m going to try and take my own cup out with me more often.

3. Read more

I used to read around 50 books a year pre-child. Which now I write it down doesn’t sound that impressive, but I was working full time and studying part time. Last year I think I read 12. I’m never going to have the time to sit and read for hours on end anymore, but I spend way too much time of an evening messing about on my phone not really looking at anything in particular. I get into bed and do the same again. I’m going to try and swap that time for reading a few pages of my book.

4. Be engaged. Resist.

This is the most important one. If you know anything about me at all, you’ll know how upset I was by Brexit, and by Trump’s win in America. We’ve done a lot of lamenting 2016, and it was good to see the back of what was a personally and politically difficult year for me at times. But this is the year the consequences of those decisions begin to unfold. If you’re appalled by the platform on which Brexit was won, on which Trump ended up in the White House, then don’t give in. If we allow them to say the things they say unchalleged, it becomes legitimate. Foreigners aren’t ruining our countries. Refugees aren’t cockroaches. Women are not pussies to be grabbed. It’s easy to feel powerless, but I plan to be braver and challenge people more.

So there you go. Into 2017 we go. My bright, cheeky ball of energy turned 2 just three days into the New Year. It’s his world I’m watching unfold right now, and that makes me want to do whatever I can to make it better than it is now.

Happy New Year y’all.

Very Boring Post Part I

I haven’t posted on here for a while have I? It’s roasting hot today, but my garden is lovely and shady so I have set up the small person with some chalks and he is happily drawing on the ‘patio’ and wall while I attempt to write something interesting.

We have had some nice adventures recently, and I did think about trying to write a post about my experience of visiting some touristy places with a toddler in tow, but to be honest lessons learned can be summed up as:

-Be prepared to listen to them whinge while you are trying to read a love letter from Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII

– When it gets too much find the café and purchase sausage, beans and chips. They will be temporarily happy and so therefore you will be too.

Not much of a thriller is it? In more contemporary news, nappy free time in the garden has been swiftly terminated after I just watched him do a big piddle on one of his chalk drawings, examine it carefully for a minute and then splash about in it like we were going puddle jumping. Again, this is not going to set the world alight. So like the sleep-deprived, unoriginal charlatan that I am, I crowd-sourced a blog post topic from some friends the other day. For some inexplicable reason the consensus was that people were interested in how I became involved in politics, and becoming a councillor. I’d like to start by advising you that this is even less interesting than it sounds, but I shall have a bash at fashioning ‘well it kind of just happened, I don’t really know’ into a post of some kind.

Today I’ll talk about when I joined the party and how I got involved to begin with, and leave the council elections for another day!

I joined the Labour Party in 2010, a few days after the general election when Labour lost and we suddenly had the first Tory government for a long time. I had just started secondary school when Labour won in 1997 and so I don’t really remember much of life under the Tories. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to sit on my hands, moan and do nothing, so myself and my then boyfriend (now long-suffering husband) decided to join. This was almost certainly a horse and stable door scenario, but there you have it. I had moved to Milton Keynes mere days before the election and didn’t know anyone apart from Robert, so joining seemed a good way to try and get involved as well as meet some like-minded people.

There’s always something you can do to help out on a local level, often this is delivering leaflets to help get the word out there about what your councillors are doing, or campaigns you are running. We were put in touch with Pauline, who was standing as Labour candidate in our local area, and before too long we were delivering leaflets and helping to knock on doors to speak to residents. What no one had warned me was if you offer to do something then our local organiser Kevin is incredibly skilled at getting you to do something else, then come along to this, then deliver that, then do this campaign, then come to this meeting…you catch my drift.

After around  a year as a member, I stood for our local Executive Committee as Women’s Officer. This is a role that not everyone felt was necessary, and not everyone agreed with all of our campaigns. All Women’s Shortlists can be controversial (I guess some people remain under the optimistic impression we actually live in a meritocracy and sexism isn’t deeply ingrained in society). ANYWAY. I loved being the Women’s Officer. When I first joined the party I went along to a Women’s group meeting and found this a really good ‘way in’ to feeling comfortable in the party.

One of my favourite campaigns as Women’s Officer was our ‘Don’t Turn Back Time’ campaign where we held a street stall dressed in 1950s clothes to highlight the regressive agenda of welfare reform and the disproportionate impact cuts to the welfare system have on women. The fact we were all dressed up got a lot of people coming over to talk to us. Campaigning plus wearing  a cool dress? That’s my kind of campaign. We also organised a petition to call on the (then Tory run) council to pledge to protect Domestic Violence support services for women and this was then provided for in their budget.

I was the delegate for my constituency at the Labour Party conference in Mancheter during my time as Women’s Officer while the domestic violence campaign was running. I asked Ed Miliband a question about this in his ‘Ask the Leader’ session, which was a first that year at conference. I then ended up getting interviewed by BBC News about my question and what I thought about Ed! I remember after the interview getting an absolutely blinding headache and having to go into a back room with some paramedics and sign a whole load of forms and have a full health check just to get 2 paracetamol. By the time I came out of the room I had loads of messages from people saying they had seen me on TV! It was pretty surreal.

I’m not sure I have actually answered how I got into all of this. It really did just somehow happen! I don’t think you have to join a political party to get involved in activism or campaigning. The Labour Party also feels like a very different place than when I first joined. I’m not going to get into an ill-advised debate about the current leadership contest, but I will passionately stick up for the achievements and hard work of a huge number of people during the last Labour government and our time in opposition since. The chances are, if you feel passionately about something, there will be a party or an organisation that would love you to get involved. If you don’t know what you can do, go along and speak to them and find out!

Anyway, my chalk covered hooligan is climbing all over me and I have rambled on long enough so will leave it there for now. Well done if you made it to the end and I am sorry I am such a tedious human being.

 

 

 

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)

It’s been a while since I have updated this blog. Life has been ticking along as usual on a personal level, while all around the world appears to be collapsing in on itself, and I haven’t really had much to say for myself. A lot of Mumblogs out there seem to have a theme or a ‘thing’ and I don’t really know what mine is or would even be. I got an email the other day offering to help me develop my ‘brand’. After sniggering and deleting the email, I wondered how much help you need to develop food smeared trousers, eyebags and absent mindeness. That said, I did have a quick sift through this blog, and so far it seems to largely be me musing on where politics and motherhood meet. Which is hardly a laugh a minute. Perhaps I need some new material? Oh well, afraid I am not going to be deviating today.

The past couple of weeks have been quite busy with work, family, and also council meetings and business. At a meeting of the full council a couple of weeks ago we were ‘debating’ a motion on Hate Crime, specifically ensuring that condemnation of post Brexit racism and racist abuse generally is on record, and looking at how to pro-actively tackle this. I was very keen to speak on this, at is something I feel passionately about, and all week I thought to myself: I’ll write my speech when Jonathan has his nap. HA! Obviously that didn’t happen. Life admin and nap refusal got in the way, and when it came to it on the day of the meeting I stuck CBeebies on, scribbled some half-formed thoughts on a scrap of paper and just went for it. Similarly, last week when speaking on a motion about the future of Milton Keynes, and the ‘renaissance’ of the city centre, the area I represent; I scribbled down some thoughts about half an hour before we went into the meeting, not having had time at any point before. Turns out, if you speak from the heart it doesn’t matter if you haven’t prepared days in advance, you’ll probably do an OK job.

I made my speech about Central Milton Keynes, felt it went well and sat down happy to get some applause. I then instantly realised that my left boob (always the lefties huh) had quite dramatically leaked and there was a big wet patch on my dress! If anyone had noticed they were too polite to say anything, but I couldn’t help but think hashtag mum problems.

I guess I could have turned that story into an amusing post but SUCKS TO BE YOU. Because it actually set me off thinking about how I have spent 18 months trying to compartmentalise all these parts of my life. Being a Mum, being at work, being a councillor. But they aren’t separate at all. A few people came up to me after my speech last week to say they had thought it was good. OK I’m not going to win an oratory prize, and we are talking about ‘connecting’ with councillors and people in the audience who are interested in municipal affairs. Essentially I am the Leslie Knope of Milton Keynes. I accept this. (Not a humblebrag, I have a point, I’m getting to it, I swear)Where was I? Ah yes:  It seemed the thing that had connected with people was the bit where I talked about walking around the area with my son, and what it will look like to him in the future. Leaky bosoms, and total lack of preparation aside, I carry Jonathan with me into that council chamber. I care about what we are doing more than I did before, because of him.

Of course I don’t mean life only has this deep *meaning* you can only understand if you have borne children, I guess I was just never really prepared for how much it would change everything. I’ve spent a lot of the past year feeling like motherhood was making me worse at some of the other things I care about. I wasn’t doing a good enough job because I was too busy battling tiredness, absent mindedness, lack of time. When I was struggling to feel on top of things, it felt like I wasn’t doing any of them well enough, including the Mum stuff. Maybe, in spite of all of those challenges, it has made me better, knocked some of the cynicism out of me, opened my heart.

Next time I just need to remember to pack breast pads.

What I know now


This blog post is partly inspired by the @tattooedtealady Instagram challenge from a week or so ago, which asked what you wish you had known before becoming a Mum. I’m going to do a list because everyone loves lists. Well, I love them anyway. Also because I feel like I spend half my life counting now, since Jonathan developed an obsession with reciting the numbers one to ten. Seriously, the other day I woke him up from a mega nap by whispering ‘Eight’ to him, and he sat bolt upright, grinned and shouted ‘NINE!’. My child is weird. Eight is definitely his favourite though, so on that note:

8 Things I wish I had known before I became responsible for my Tiny Human:

  1. You will find your child endlessly fascinating and your capacity to talk about them will be limitless. You will say you won’t do this, but you will. Someone will tell you about something super interesting they did at work, or an amusing anecdote from the pub, and you will reply with something along the lines of ‘Jonathan can say keys. We went to the park. He climbed up the slide. Look! Here are some photos!’.
  2. Breastfeeding will not ‘save you money’ if you buy every sodding thing you see a cooler mum than you wearing on Instagram. I was so bad for shopping during late night cluster feeds. Things I have seen on Instagram and now own: Saltwater sandals, a cloud mobile, a Peter Pan print for the nursery, half of the Mere Souer store, a Mama bracelet, Mama chain, and probably a bunch of other things I have since forgotten.
  3. You can function on a lot less sleep than you think you can. Yes it is shit. Yes you are allowed to moan. Yes, your fantasies about king size beds will change from anything vaguely X-Rated to something more like Sleeping Beauty minus the bit where that dolt turns up and wakes you up. BUT you will manage. Some days will be better than others, but don’t beat yourself up about the laundry, the dust, the fact you ate biscuits and cold toast and nothing else all day. You’re still standing, your kid is still alive. You conquered today!
  4. Baby fingernails grow at a rate incompatible with what a total ballache cutting them is.
  5. Toddlers like to put things in places they are not supposed to go. Last month we left about 2 hours late for a trip to Stratford Upon Avon because the car keys were nowhere to be found. Eventually I found them at the bottom of the bin. Thanks kiddo.
  6. You will develop STRONG FEELINGS about CBeebies shows and presenters. Some of these will be very negative. I have shared many an early morning rant with some Mum friends about whiny Bing Bunny before the caffeine has hit my bloodstream. I’ve also not been able to get over the fact that Andy looks like Fatima Whitbread since someone pointed this out to me. Hey Duggee and Sarah & Duck on the other hand get a big thumbs up. Also Teletubbies is obviously made by some creepy child hypnotist who I officially love because it means I can drink my tea while it is still hot before I get dragged into the IKEA circus tent yet again.
  7. I refer you to point 6. You will do most if not all of the things you told yourself you wouldn’t do. Stick your child in front of the TV for five minutes peace? Check. Do stupid baby talk in an annoying voice? Check. Pile up the annoying noisy plastic toys while the beautiful wooden ones gather dust? Check. Let them play with the remote/your phone/your keys? Check. If you don’t do any of these things well done, you are a stronger woman than I.
  8. Your child will have an innate sense of when you are at breaking point, and lift you straight back up again. When you are more exhausted than you ever thought you could be after weeks of cluster feeding, there comes that first smile. When you have spent all afternoon dealing with tooth related whinging and toddler tantrums, there they are snuggling into your chest and saying ‘Mummeee’. You’ll wonder what the hell you have let yourself in for half the time, but my goodness your heart will be full.

A letter to my son

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Dear Jonathan,

You are not quite 18 months old, and as I write this letter you are sleeping in your room, after a battle to get you down because you wanted to keep shouting numbers at me. Today, on the 24th June 2016 the result came through that 52% of voters chose to leave the European Union. David Cameron, our Prime Minister has resigned, and a motion of no confidence in the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been tabled. The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants another referendum on Scottish Independence. One day you will study this at school, and I expect you will come home and ask us about it. I wanted to be able to tell you honestly what it felt like for us to live through today. This won’t be what it felt like across the country, as some people will be very happy today as they got the result they wanted. That isn’t how me and your Dad feel, and I wanted to be able to tell you about how we found out, and how we feel. When you do learn about this the dust will have settled. You’ll know if we even have a United Kingdom anymore, and the passage of time will likely mean I forget to tell you that when you woke up this morning and I picked you up out of your bed, that I cried.

You are a terrible sleeper Jonathan, but the last 3 nights in a row you have slept through. Your Dad and I were up at 4.30am in spite of this, worried about the result. Not long after, the BBC forecast that it was no longer possible for the Remain campaign to win, and that the vote would be for Britain to leave the European Union. We were in shock, and knew we wouldn’t sleep, so we got up and sat in front of the TV uncomprehending, angry, sad. I tried my best to sit on the floor and play with you as you piled up your alphabet blocks on my lap, but I couldn’t tear myself away from the news. We got you dressed, and your Dad went to work, worried about what this would mean for his company. I had the day off work today, and waited a bit to take you to nursery so I could watch the Prime Minster make a statement. He resigned. I thought about the options of people to replace him, and despaired a little bit more.

I’m sad for you that Nigel Farage will be in your history books. He claimed a victory for ‘decent’ people, I guess dismissing about half of the country as ‘indecent’. He claimed victory without a single bullet being fired, a week after the murder of Jo Cox,  a left wing, pro Remain MP who was shot and stabbed on the day he unveiled a campaign poster frightening in its similarity to a piece of Nazi propaganda. This is why I cried this morning baby boy. When you’re old enough to read this letter, we’ll know how this massive gamble paid off. But today, you woke up in a world which wanted to blame and ostracize foreigners; which saw them as enemies, not as friends; which turned inward. I worry about who the next scapegoat will be when the EU isn’t there to blame anymore. I worry history will repeat itself as we face further recession and a rise in nationalism.

I hope that my fears are unfounded, and that if you ever read this letter you are able to roll your eyes and say ‘well that was an over-reaction hey Mum?’ but if not, I want you to know that we took you to the polling station on 23rd June 2016, and we voted thinking about you and your future, and today we got angry and worried, thinking about you and your future.

I’m sorry kid. We’ll keep on fighting the good fight.

Love

Mum

Jo Cox

This is a post I have been trying to write since Thursday. I feel like maybe I should start with some sort of ridiculous disclaimer about this. I wanted to try and write something about how I feel about the murder of Jo Cox last week, but the words just don’t seem to come out right, and I have decided to try anyway. I don’t really have anything to say that won’t have been said by someone else already, and likely more articulately at that.

On Thursday evening when I got home from work, I sat glued to BBC News with tears pouring down my face, trying but failing to play with my toddler who was handing me his blocks and telling me all the numbers on them. It was like I was frozen in horror in front of the TV set; grieving for someone I had never even met. It’s taken me days to not cry when I think about Jo, and even now writing this I can feel tears springing into my eyes.

It feels horribly self indulgent to wonder why this has affected me so much. Is it because I am a Mum of a young child? A young woman involved in politics? A Labour Party colleague? Not that you have to be any of those things to reel in shock from a young woman gunned down and stabbed at her constituency surgery. People are (sometimes justifiably) very cynical about politics and politicians in this country, but Jo was clearly a woman of conviction, compassion, and commitment. Many of us probably didn’t really know who she was until we heard of her shocking death.

Twitter is a funny place to spend time when a tragedy occurs. It initially feels comforting to see others reacting, just purely reacting. An echo chamber for the shock and horror you are feeling. Then the analysis starts, the retweeting of objectionable responses, and before you know it, a young woman’s death and the reasons why is a debate. I’m not going to try and do that. It is hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that someone went to work, to serve their local community, and then that night two young children no longer had a mother to tuck them into bed and kiss them goodnight. What I do feel is worried about the climate of fear, of judgement and of hatred that passes for politics in some corners of this country. Whatever way you feel about the referendum on Thursday, the campaign has stirred up ugliness. A poster was launched the same day of Jo’s murder, with a queue of people, desperate refugees leaving their homes in a long line, and the slogan BREAKING POINT. Violent extremism does not exist in a vacuum. Whipping up fear and mistrust, making people think this country will somehow go back to a colonial paradise if we just shut the door…I don’t think any of us saw this coming, but something was going to break. I reject the idea not to ‘politicize’ this horrific event. There is a difference between exploiting Jo’s murder for a campaign, and acknowledging that a man who gave his name in court as ‘Death to Traitors, Freedom for Britain’ was politically motivated.

In a couple of weeks time I have a local surgery in my ward in Milton Keynes. It’s hard not to think about the safety of the empty community centre I will be sitting in, until residents arrive if they have any issues they want help with. My husband insists he will come with me, but that means bringing our young son with us. My little boy has been out on the campaign trail for general and local elections, he comes with me to surgeries, but I don’t want my response to be fear. I’m going to vote Remain on Thursday, because I believe isolating ourselves is the wrong thing to do. I will continue to work in my local community. I will continue to stand up for what I believe in, in fact sometimes I think I can be too quiet. I will do more to challenge others when immigration is used as a smokescreen for racism. Instead of worry about how bad things are getting, I will do more. When I hear ‘I Want My Country Back’ I will say: ‘No. I want my country back.’ I want a country of tolerance for my son to grow up in.

To that end, you can donate here to a Go Fund Me page set up in Jo’s memory. The money raised will be divided between The Royal Voluntary Service, HOPE not Hate, and The White Helmets (search and rescue workers in Syria).

I haven’t really said what I set out to. I still don’t really have the words to describe how I felt on Thursday night when my son fell asleep and I held him close and thought about Jo and her family. What better way to end than with Jo’s own words then:

jo cox

 

 

Warpaint

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I had a really terrible night of sleep (well, lack thereof) last night, coming off the back of 2 or 3 similarly terrible nights, and almost 17 months of mostly broken nights, some worse than others. I really struggled to drag myself out of bed this morning when J’s cheery babbling and smacking of my face indicated he was ready to get up and play. (On that note this is much less good than the lovely Jeeves alarm clock I used to have). After a massive cup of tea in a mug which more closely resembles a bowl, and taking out some of the grump by bitching about Bing and his latest mishap, I decided I should probably get dressed.

Jonathan was happily reading, OK playing with his books in his cot so I had the time this morning to slather on some industrial strength makeup. My husband often trots out the ‘you don’t need to wear make up’ line, and while it is always nice to hear that the person you love thinks you’re beautiful, it’s a little wide of the mark. Sure, I’m not wearing it to make myself look *worse* but it’s not about it being a mask to hide behind so much as a coat of armour helping me face today.

The me on the left was feeling washed out, cried this morning, and doubted herself about continuing to co-sleep when her son’s sleep has been so bad lately. She felt irritated about having lots of meetings to go to this week, wished it wasn’t Sing & Sign, and thought about how there aren’t enough hours in the day.

The me  on the right decided she was off to Waitrose before Sing & Sign to buy some cake for a playdate later, and to get a nice coffee. She was looking forward to hanging out with some new friends later, and watching J pace the church hall at our class like a caged lion, every now and then deigning to clap the grown ups singing. She felt proud of managing work, council duties and motherhood.

She just didn’t fancy showing the world those struggles and worries today.Some days she goes out with no makeup, avocado in her hair, and snot which is somehow on the back of her top. Others it’s the nice uncreased clothes and a bit of lippy.

A makeup bag might not seem like an arsenal to some people, and it’s not one that everyone needs, but for me my Warpaint gives me confidence. Obviously it’s an over-simplification to suggest that 5 minutes putting on some slap resulted in a complete turnaround in my mood. Caffeine and WhatsApp chats were also at play. I guess what I am trying to say is that on the days when motherhood feels like a battle, remember you are actually a Badass Warrior and arm yourself however you choose.

 

Won’t somebody think of the children?

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There’s a rumour going around that the nasty government are trying to take money away from CBeebies, which would put it (and CBBC) at risk, and see programming given over to commercial channels. How likely this is, I’m not actually certain, but as soon as I heard I had a ‘Fetch me my pen of RAGE’ moment, so here is my letter to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale,

To the Right Hon. Mr John Whittingdale,

Sir. WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING? You can’t have CBeebies. You can’t take it away from us. I’ll be upfront here, I support the Red Team, and don’t like most of what your lot are up to, but really, this is too far. We need CBeebies. Do you not realise how important those ten minutes of the Teletubbies at 7am are? I get to drink my only hot cup of tea of the day in those ten minutes, while my 16 month old stands, probably too close to the TV, transfixed. 

I know you seem to have it out for the BBC, and I don’t know why. Maybe they dissed your mum one time or something, but just lay off Andy, Mr Bloom and The Octonauts OK? Only the other day I saw Flop, forced to impersonate a human, having to leave that poor helpless Bing Bunny, to go onto the BAFTAs declaring ‘woe unto’ whoever messes with The Beeb. This was most un-Flop, and all a bit Thomas Cromwell if you ask me. Heaven knows how many of his possessions Bing broke and had to put in the box of broken shit while he was away, and Hoppitty almost certainly got lost.

And that’s all on your head Mr Whittingdale. I hope you can live with that. 

Really though. Watch half an hour of preschool TV on Channel 5, or Nickelodeon, and then switch over to CBeebies, and you’ll realise what a good thing you’ve got going on there. Educational, diverse, often charming. OK, there’s also Kate and Mim Mim, but no one said it was perfect.

I thank you for your time and look forward to your swift response (you can send it over in Mr Tumble’s magic spotty bag to ensure instant delivery) confirming you’re going to back off.

Yours sincerely

Mrs. S. Betteley

PS. If you happen to run into Jeremy Hunt I’d be ever so grateful if you’d stick a banana skin on the floor in front of him. Preferably on an evening or weekend so if he ends up in an NHS hospital he can see for himself that people are at work.

 

 

For anyone interested, the petition can be found here

Teaching ’em young

voting

Even if you aren’t into politics, it probably hadn’t escaped your attention that there were some elections across the UK last week. As a Labour Party member, activist, and councillor, I concede that I probably take more of an interest in this than some, but I really do bloody love an election.

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I am slipping through, into the airwaves

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Music is a funny old thing isn’t it? I walked into town from our house this morning to buy a couple of bits. It’s an absolutely glorious morning, the sun is shining and the air is fresh. I was by myself because J was having a nap, and Robert is home. I don’t have the widest selection of music on my phone at the moment, and decided to put on Jack’s Mannequin. Is this an admission that will lose me cool points? I don’t even care. I loved Something Corporate so hard back in my sixth form days, and transferred that on to Jack’s Mannequin a couple of years later.

As I walked I had to really fight the urge to sing along out loud at the top of my lungs, as I thought I might get some funny looks bellowing ‘THIS MIX COULD BURN A WHOLE IN ANYONE BUT IT WAS YOU I WAS THINKING OF’. It was just one of those perfect moments of sun, music, and a boatload of nostalgia combined, and it got me thinking. I wonder if I am alone in this, but sometimes I feel the most like *me* when I am alone, in moments like that. When asked to introduce myself on an Instagram meme earlier, I noticed I chose to define myself as being a wife and mother, then my job, then my role as a councillor. Those things are all really important, and all make up me, but sometimes I feel a bit of a pang for the me who was just me. I don’t for one minute believe you have to lose your identity when you become a mother, nor do I believe you are only *complete* once you have children, but I do believe that motherhood has changed me.

I am stronger than I knew I could be, more patient, but also so much more tired, and more irritable at times too. I appreciate small moments of happiness in a way I didn’t before: how that first cup of tea in the morning tastes; the look on my son’s face when I open my arms and he runs across the room to cuddle me; how blissful a totally quiet room can be.

I took a break from writing this because J woke up from his nap crying. I really enjoyed that sun & nostalgia drenched half hour remembering days gone by when music, friends, drinking & dancing were my world. But when J was crying just now, he sat on my lap with his arms around my neck, nuzzled in for a long cuddle until he felt happier, and it did things to my heart I don’t even know how to explain.

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This post was brought to you by:

Jack’s Mannequin – Everything In Transit

Bank Holiday sunshine

Pret A Manger chocolate covered corn cakes. Yummmm.