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!

Snowed in

5th December 2008

War weary and battle torn I needed a break and today I got one: We were snowed in. So there was no school, no school run and no office.

We could sit in bed for 2 hours and still be in work for 9am. We had extra 2 hours in the day as we did not have to collect or take kids to school. The children played in the snow (as the primary school children are not allowed to do!) And there were mishaps and tears sometimes but lots of fun as well.

We made Christmas decorations in the afternoon. And we made a fire and kept it running all day so no extra heating. And I crocheted for a couple of hours after answering emails and such. And I got some things done: ordering presents from LLanraeader Post Office, booking February half term break, sorting the invites for the Christmas party, organised some basic stuff for the Christmas service I am doing a week on Sunday, all things I would have not got done otherwise.

Finally in the evening after disappointment at turning up to yoga and there being none I had a cuppa with the friend I had gone with and came home to David. Then I said “Lets go out for a walk in the snow – it is cold and still and clear and fresh.” So we shouted up to Hannah, and went, just half and hour around the block. There were no lovely views, too many lights for the stars, but beautiful, beautiful, nevertheless; with our boots crunching in the snow, the feeling of good strong walking through 6-8 inches in places. Not talking too much – companionability.

And so quiet, peaceful, and thankful for this gift of rest at this time of year I write my blog before retiring to bed. Thankyou God. Ruth