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So I’m going away on my own for a few days and the husband will be left with the children. While I lounge about in bed at my cousin’s house before pootling round museums and art galleries, he will be (trying) to get three children dressed, washed, fed and ready for school. Ha ha ha ha ha.

While I’m away wet towels will fester on the bathroom floor, teeth brushing will be forgotten, as will bath time. I have to force the husband to wash, enticing him into the shower with a sexy dance then quickly turning on the spray and hosing him down before he can run off shouting ‘My hair! My hair will go all fluffy!”

There’s no chance he’ll wash while I’m away, let alone encourage the kids. The children’s hair will remain in the plaits I put them in before I went. Crisp packets will lay forlorn and flapping in the hallway and on bedroom floors. Crushed Oreos will be trodden into the posh white rug and there will be a lot of family computer time and energetic bundles which will only end when something precious gets broken (hopefully not a child). All in all they’re going to have a perfectly nice time, in a perfectly messy house that reflects the fact people actually live in it.

I’m told I have OCD because my house is so tidy all the time. A backhanded compliment if ever I heard one. To look at me you’d never know I cared about neatness or order. I never brush my unruly hair, my jeans are always ripped, trainers muddy and t-shirt stained. I spend so much time cleaning, I don’t leave myself time to look presentable. I just walk through a cloud of perfume and dash out the house.

I don’t get my cleanliness from my mother. No offence mum, but we both know you are curled up in bed reading this, cobwebs dangling over your cup of tea and dust mites rolling across the floor. I’m not judging you. When I’m retired I’ll probably be the same (and I’ll do your cobwebs myself when I come over in the summer as part of my holiday-deep-clean).

I might get it from my dad, who I’m pretty sure drew round all the tools in his spotless garage so he knows where they ‘live’. That there is my problem. How can I ever be free when I think everything has to live somewhere? I’m constantly shouting “The shoes live in the hall! The milk lives in the fridge, wee lives down the loo!”

So this time a couple of weeks ago we were celebrating 100 years since women got the vote, (subjective to their class and status of course. Women had to be over 30, and occupiers of property or married to occupiers). Did the women who tied themselves to lamp posts and threw themselves under this Kings horse do it for this, a female Prime Minister bribing MP’s to vote against free school meals? 

Her DUP party made sure they were exempt from the new law which will affect a million children. They kept their own were safe, then voted against the rest. The whole situation is so unfair it’s laughable it’s allowed. There should be an Office of Fair Government that oversees biased decisions.

I don’t know how Teresa May can look at herself in the mirror. Has she ever been hungry? Has she ever had to go to her boss and beg for an advance on her wages, or put back shopping at the till because she didn’t have enough money? How, until she has experienced disadvantage or poverty, can she make an informed decision about what is best for people who live it every day? I’ve been too poor for food. I told people I was on a diet, but actually, cereal was all I could afford, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I know what pity looks like and it’s not pretty.

An article in the Guardian written by a secret teacher heartbreakingly read; “Friends in nearby schools report that they’ve joined the Brushing Buddies initiative, teaching children to brush their teeth, as their parents see toothbrushes and toothpaste as an expense they don’t need. Others tell of pupils who have to take school stationery home to do their homework, where they share beds with siblings or sleep on mattresses on the floor. A school in Lancashire recently made the news because it’s washing clothes for parents almost every day, and giving many of them breakfast, as well as their children.”

The teachers doing this are no doubt facing cuts to their schools and wages, digging deep into empty pockets to try and improve the life of their pupils.

Pressure is starting to mount about where to send the eldest after primary school. Fundamentally, my beliefs are simple. I don’t think people with money should be entitled to a better education than those without. Children should go to the schools closest to them. If your local community is good enough to live in, then the community school should be good enough for you children. If your local school isn’t performing well, how will it ever get better if us parents do not invest in it?

Going to school with a mix of children from other ethnic and social backgrounds will help prepare kids for life. It’s important they see, and learn alongside people better off and indeed worse off, than themselves.

I don’t think any secondary school in the south east will provide a ‘bad education’. We don’t live in a third world country, nor do I believe secondary school is the only chance to get an education.

How many of us knew what we wanted to do and be when we were 11?
When I was 11 I wanted to be a helper in the local old people’s home because I used to visit an elderly relative there and got to push the tea trolley..

I didn’t know myself, what I wanted to do, or have the confidence to pursue it until I was 26 and pregnant. It took multiple dead-end jobs I hated for me to realise I needed to claw myself out the rut I was in. I saved up, went back to school, got my NCTJ journalist qualification and now I do a job I love.

My eldest daughter wants to be an artist. She’s quirky, but she’s no Bob Ross. People have spoken to me about getting her an art scholarship at a private school, but the very idea repels me. Can you imagine a kid of mine among privileged princesses?

Unsurprisingly, I went to the local school. At the time it was not doing that well. Kids from the ‘undesirable estates’ promised to ‘flush your head down the bog’ and the teachers didn’t seem to notice if you were there or not. They were old and jaded, doling out the same worksheets each week, and the staff room stank of fags and stale booze. Unless you were incredibly self-motivated (AKA a swot) then school was a chance to catch up with friends, flirt with boys, and make weekend plans.

Yes we rolled our skirts up, but under our shirts were padded training bras. There was one girl who’d flash her bits for a Mars bar, and admittedly she was quite popular, (and quite chubby) but it didn’t make inspire me to copy her. I was more of a Snickers girl. I left school with a handful of GCSE’s and my virginity intact. I deemed it a success.

SO Thursday 8th March 2018 is International Women’s Day. It’s also the one day of the year when I feel part of a ‘sisterhood’. I never had a sister and I don’t even have enough friends to book a bowling lane, but on International Women’s Day I get to align myself with better women doing great things and feel a kinship due to the fact I have a vagina. Go vaginas!

I’m lucky enough to have a platform to raise awareness of awesome women, so on international women’s day 2018, I give kudos to the following females, rocking in a world that’s still not free from sexual discrimination.

I salute you, shaven-headed 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez, for speaking out after the valentine’s day shooting in Florida. Your elegant, passionate speech stirred hearts and turned heads. Your shaming of Trump was perfect when you said:

“I am going to happily ask [US President Trump] how much money he received from the National Rifle Association [NRA],", adding, "OK. You want to know something? It doesn't matter because I already know," she proclaimed.

"$30 million!", she went on. "And divided by the number of gunshot victims in the United States, in the one and one-half months in 2018 alone, that comes out to being $5,800 [per victim]. Is that how much these people are worth to you, Trump?"

Here’s to you, Tarana Burke, an America civil rights activist and the first person to use the hastag #metoo to raise awareness of the widespread sexual abuse and assault in society. You first used it 12 years before Alyssa Milano stumbled on it. Your #metoo hashtag was used more than 12 million times as women round the world shared their pain and was responsible for a handful of high profile men losing their jobs. Thank you.

Hand claps to Christine Jardine, a Liberal Democrat demanding the House of Lords be renamed House of Peers. You pulled no punches when you said: “The current gender-specific House of Lords title is no longer appropriate. It feeds into an outdated and unacceptable narrative that political decision-making is a man’s job. In this centenary year of female voting and election rights, it is surely time to recognise that our upper chamber is not a male preserve.”


Sometimes I wonder why I thought having children was a good idea. It’s not them, they’re great, it’s me. I constantly feel guilty for being such a poor role model and even more guilty for bringing children into a world where kids get shot down in schools, terrorist attacks are commonplace, university degrees don’t ensure employment ( but do promise debt), and getting on the property ladder will probably be impossible. Your best hope for debt-free home ownership is if your parents die and leave you cash.
Is having a child a selfish thing to do?
More’s to the point, what do I do now? Ultimately, my job as parent, is to prepare my daughters for life. I’ve been trying to navigate the maze for 36 years and I’ve learned you only ever get more and more lost. Further down the rabbit hole, until it’s harder and harder to get back to the place where amusement can be found in raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. You start life weightless, but inevitably, over the years you’ll have to carry insecurities, financial worries, relationships and responsibilities.
I want my daughters to have the best experience of life possible, to find the joys I found and a map to avoid the painful pitfalls, but it’s not possible.
I can cover their peachy skin in soft vests from Marks and Spencers, and warm their socks by the fire, but at some point they’ll have to go out into the big unknown and learn what life is about. For that they’ll need thick skin, tough enough for words and rejections to not hurt.
I don’t want them to grow up thinking life is going to magically unfold like a yellow brick road because at some point they’ll discover the Emerald City is only green though tinted glasses and magic is just an illusion. Do I wait for someone else to break their bubble or start telling them now, that life is often unfair, unfun and unfulfilling.?
I spend my days tidying up after the morning rush and preparing for the evening. I resent it and try to get them to help make beds and load dishwashers but it’s a battle. I don’t want to shout at them all the time, nor do I want them to grow up thinking it’s fine to sit idly while someone else sweeps the toast crumbs from under their feet. I need them to know life will bring them to their knees and they’ll have to get back up, dust themselves off and carry on.
When they come home and tell me someone rubbed slime in their hair and called them a snitch for telling the teacher, I’m torn between telling them they did the right thing and making a vat of hideous gloop, so they can get their own back. You can imagine what I’d have done in their shoes, but the chip on my shoulder has gotten me fired more times than I can count - and I've more fingers than friends.
My youngest always asks me for a bedtime story about ‘when I was a little girl’. This week I told her about the time my parents took me to Whipsnade Zoo. My brothers went on all the rides but I was too small, so my dad took me to the gift shop and let me pick a teddy. I choose a lion, called him Lenny and loved him with all the passion a kid can love fake fur with plastic eyes. I took that stinky lion everywhere.
Years later, on a camping trip to Weymouth, we stopped at a pub and in a moment of childish forgetfulness, I left Lenny sitting by the sink in the toilets, not realising until we were miles down the road.
I begged my parents to go back but they assured me he would still be there in a week and they’d stop on the way home. They were wrong and Lenny was gone.
My moral to the story was hold close to what you hold dear, but Bliss started sobbing, for the seven-year-old me who’d lost her best teddy. She hugged me tightly and her hot little tears fell on my cheeks. I felt so guilty for upsetting her I told her when I got home Lenny had been posted back to me.
I lied to her to make her feel better. Life is not going to do this to her, but maybe my job isn’t to tell her that chocolate is a minute on the lips and a lifetime on the hips, and boys will break her heart. Perhaps I shouldn’t warn her that girls can be cruel, periods are painful and the best friends she’ll ever have are her sisters, because they’re stuck with her. Perhaps I’ll let her find that out for herself and just be there to hold her when she cries.