Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The reality check

It is the eve of Christmas Eve and I am back on form writing after midnight. I have delivered all the cardboard houses (a mad idea which is it's own story!), wrapped nearly all the presents, its just the butcher, the baker, the Asian supermarket and the co-op for David's whisky tomorrow and I am done for Christmas. I have tied up the loose ends I can at work and the rest will just have to wait until after Christmas.

And I finally got our Christmas letter (the special Christmas edition of the Allerton Bugle) ready for publication. And then I sat there and read 3 journals: - one the local 'Streets Ahead' newsletter - which made me feel guilty that I am not more involved in my local community, the second, the Christian Socialist Movement's Christmas edition of Common Purpose - which made me feel guilty about not being more involved in national and party politics to change things! Finally the November edition of the AIMS journal. And there I found my speech at the Sheffield Homebirth Conference in print! I had forgotton about that. Well yes, I am doing something I thought - but of what real worth is that? And I read some of the fantastic articles and stories there of women doing so much where they are - and women who know so much as well. Oh how I wish I had read the NICE guidelines, Maternity Matters, Maternity Doesn't Matter, the local tPCT strategy - I really want to, I really should.

At this point I took a reality check. I have five children between 14 and 4 years, I have no parents or relatives nearby to share regular childcare, just a fantastic hubby. Not do I/we have the luxury of a private income or a hubby who goes out to work leaving me relatively free to pursue my mission - we both work really hard, fulltime, on our small business building it up. I do 40 plus hours on the business and then there are the children.

This is not a get out, this is not an excuse - it is a hard look at the reality - the gifts and limitations of my current position. It is about saying 'I am doing what I can, where I can. I am making a difference and doing it on a limited budget of time and resource. And that is OK.'

And for anyone out there reading this, my litany of limitations and achievement is not a stick to beat yourself up with. It is a reflection on the limitations and gifts we bring. I reckon there are women out there with the time and knowledge to read NICE guidelines etc when I can't and decant them into manageable bite-sized pieces for people like me - if this is your gift please contact me! But maybe speaking at events, asking questions at meetings, running a social enterprise is not. It is about doing what we can, when we can; not doing (or worrying about) what we can't.

And of course the best we bring to this campaign is passion and enthusiasm and the love of life, life in all its fulness. And as mothers we have bags of that - you can see it in our children.

Have a wonderful yuletide if you can - and celebrate the life we have given birth to.


p.s. thankyou to those lovely people who have sent comments. Technology is one of my limitations (or rather the time to spend on understanding it, I suppose) and I have not yet worked how to respond to them successfully. But thank you and keep them coming, sisters!

The journal contacts are as follows:

Streets Ahead in Allerton has been read and used for kindling by my hubby, so can give no more info!