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.