Sometimes my juggle is ridiculous.
I run the undies and nightwear brand british-boxers.com, I have 2 kids (my eldest has Williams Syndrome and needs a lot of medical attention and social care) and my husband Darren has run for parliament twice… the last time (just before Christmas) I managed his campaign for him too.
I think I’ve done it through some sort of mash-up of gritty determination, exhausting hard work and heaps of love, but there's something else too. Something that I think is easy to overlook and something I realised when I sat having lunch with my mum today. She's a writer, and she'd been down to my youngest's school to read a chapter of her book “Star of Wonder” to the classes there. She's an amazing inspiration and listening to her talk about her morning over our sandwiches I realised that other thing I've got is privilege.
The word privilege sounds a bit up itself doesn't it, so maybe good fortune or luck might be better suited to what I'm trying to say because I hope that what I'm saying isn't up itself at all. It's the fact that whilst I acknowledge that what I've achieved and strived for isn't easy, I'm also aware that I'm not sure I could have done it half as well if I hadn't had great teachers at school, if my mum and dad hadn't given me a secure loving home and if my childhood hadn't been one of stories and music and love and my marriage and home life happy. I had layer upon layer of security and good experiences behind me to draw upon when things got really tough. There it all was. My privilege.
But what of people who haven't had that security and love? Or women who have faced abuse, domestic or sexual violence or exploitation. How do they help themselves?
Last week someone on Twitter introduced me to a small London based charity called foundationforchange.org.uk and the wonderful way that they are aiming to teach women who have faced some of these extreme issues to help themselves by gaining access to free courses often in psychology, philosophy or even feminism so that the women can understand why they feel the way they do and what has happened to them in the context of a wider society. This education helps women to develop deeper emotional relationships and understand more about the world around them and I was so inspired by this.
It's exactly what all of us women need to do. We need to help others. Some women have absolutely no one to turn to, and I've always been a strong believer that people need a helping hand up rather than a metaphorical or actual kick in the teeth.
Foundation for Change's aim is to raise just £10,000 to enable them to run these courses for women. My aim is to double it for them. So for International Women's Day 2020, let’s do whatever we can to help these women to help themselves.
If you'd like to donate you can do so via this link.
To those who can, please donate. To them and to others please share the story. And to those who are having a difficult time please know there is hope.