Thinking Out Loud

International Women’s Day 2018

It’s International Women’s Day and trawling through Twitter I was reminded about why I took a Twitter break last year. The negativity. The arsewipes asking when International Men’s Day is because that’s real equality innit? Hmm.

I’m late in the day adding my voice to the melee because I’ve been busy doing what I do. Trying to adult. Juggling two jobs, life admin, school trip permission slips and all the rest. Not quite getting there but still trying. Thankfully my track record with children and dogs is better than houseplants. (My cheese plant is terminal I fear – any tips?!) The 3 human males in my house are fed, showered and sleeping. The 2 canine males are snoozing by my side.

I’ve been fortunate to work with strong women, I live close to my sister, mum and grandma, I’ve got awesome female friends who inspire me with their range of careers and achievements. I’ve somehow muddled my way through motherhood with a job (or two). I can see how the world has changed through the generations. That said, I still remember the struggle I had about a decade ago to get working hours that fitted my life.

2018’s IWD is riding in on a wave of high profile activism. Time’s Up. #MeToo got me thinking about moments in my life that were just out of f***ing order, in my teens alone there was the flasher at a gig, the gropers in an alley in the middle of the day, the sleazes in clubs.

Privileged, successful Hollywood superstars sticking to black for their expensive, sophisticated awards ceremony outfits feels so far removed from my life of leggings. I’ve not bought an item of clothing for myself since the end of November. But that doesn’t mean that things shouldn’t change. For all women.

We’ve now had a centenary of women’s suffrage in the UK and Ireland. Yes, we’ve got a female Prime Minister but a “record high” number of female MPs were elected in the 2017 General Election. That’s still only 32% of all MPs. In early February only a quarter of the Cabinet were female. How’s that right when we make up (just over) half of the population? As Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women says “healthy societies have a mix of voices”. We need more varied voices in power. We need to raise our children to be ambitious, to never expect less of someone because of their gender and to not let the twitter arsewipes drag them down.

Thinking Out Loud

In Praise of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital

We’ve been lucky enough to have very healthy children so up until fairly recently my only experience with my offspring at the Heath (or UHW as it’s apparently called (it will always be the Heath to me, much in the way that I insist on calling those gross fruity sweets Opal Fruits not Starburst)) has been getting a bump on the head checked out at A&E. Unlike a lot of their peers, neither son was even born there.

Oh how I wish it had stayed that way. One son has had a couple of outpatient visits there over the past few months getting something sorted for him. He’s been happy with the whole thing, it’s solved a problem for him and each appointment has been calm and expected. He was amazed at the scale of the hospital and delighted by the fish tank, the concept of wards and floors being named after creatures and space and the luxury hot chocolate I treated him to for being such a cool dude about it all.

The youngest gave us a fright this weekend by ending up needing emergency surgery. He’s on the mend now and it all went well, thanks in advance for your concern. I’m not going into any medical detail about either boy’s situation because it’s private and doesn’t bear any relevance to what I want to say about the wonderful place.

Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital is an excellent facility. It’s beautifully designed, well thought out, the tellies are tuned to cbeebies or citv or cbbc (a detail the 8 year old appreciated) and the staff in every department, in every situation have been warm, helpful and made both boys feel safe and cared for. I know there are lots of families who spend a heck of a lot more time there and some who’ll never have to enter those doors and pass fish. The well-stocked play rooms and the stunning children’s outdoor play area all help to make the experience less scary and more child focused.

Sadly, Alex Karev wasn’t around but that’s probably because he’s not real and we were in Cardiff not Seattle. However, on the Grey’s Anatomy side of things, there was a definite Arizona Robbins approach to looking out for the “makers of the tiny humans” with all of the staff being friendly, polite and making sure I knew what was going on at every stage.

Hip hip hooray for our NHS! From NHS Direct to our local GP surgery, from the out of hours service at Barry Hospital to all of the tests, checks, procedures and the operation at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital, it was all free at the point of need. No worrying about how much different options would cost or whether health insurance would cover any aspect. My children had top quality treatment on the NHS. Let’s look after it.

I’ve written this blog to sing their praises and thank the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity for all the hard work and fundraising that has gone into bringing it to life. It hasn’t always been a thing and we really can’t take it for granted. If you’d like to donate or take part in a fundraising event there are plenty of ideas and event details on their website: Noah’s Ark Charity