I’ll tell you the best thing about having a blog, and it’s not the re-usable sandwich bags that a nice lady once sent me FOR FREE. No: it’s the parents that I’ve met along the way. Every time I think about packing in this silly little blog and getting on with my silly little life, I remember the people that I’ve met, and keep on keeping on.
Through my blog, I’ve met the most incredible mothers. Women who – in the face of absolute adversity, hardship and heartbreak – keep smiling, keep laughing, and keep on keeping on. I’ve met women who are truly struggling – by which I don’t mean that their kids have head lice that they can’t be arsed treating, or shitty nappies that they can’t be arsed changing. That’s not a fucking struggle. It’s a pain in the arse, yes, and a parenting inconvenience, but that’s not a struggle – not compared with what some women are going through.
The problem, of course, is that I can’t give a voice to all these women. I want to help each and every one of them – my heart breaks for each and every one of them – but it’s really fucking hard, because I can’t help everyone. I just can’t.
Last week, I got an email from a fucking rock-star of a human – a woman who writes so well that she makes me want to hang up my Bic – who’d met another struggling mum called Kelly. My rock-star friend told me about Kelly. Kelly is 32 years old. Kelly has three children. Kelly also has incurable stage 4b cervical cancer. My rock-star friend made me cry. I cried for Kelly, for her kids, for her husband, and for the fact that I can’t do more to help.
Here’s the thing though: my rock-star friend wasn’t asking me for money. She wasn’t even asking me to share the GoFundMe page that she’d set up on Kelly’s behalf. She just wanted to tell me about the Facebook community that she’s set up, for ALL struggling mothers. The Facebook page is called Mumma Do Good, and it’s a place to tell the stories of struggling mothers, and call on other mothers to help, however they can. That might be money, yes, but it’s just as likely to be love, support and a shoulder to cry on.
I’m going to let my rock-star friend take over now, ‘cos like I said, she can explain it far better than I ever could:
“There's so much negativity in this world, there's so much bullshit, and unfortunately a lot of it can come from mums. I've never understood that, because WE ARE THE BEST PEOPLE! Being a mother has shown me the best of myself; it has tapped into a well of patience and love I never knew I had. I think that mums have so much to offer, but in our society's shitty climate of pitting woman against woman we're channelling it in the worst ways.
“I've been volunteering for the past decade and it’s shown me that people genuinely want to help but they don't know where to start. We're bombarded with ads from World Vision, see dozens of GoFundMe pages on our social media, told to buy THIS ethical non-profit coffee (no, buy THIS one!), we do our shopping and get grabbed by an Oxfam fundraiser, we head out for dinner and the homeless are asking for change. There's nothing wrong with any of these things but it's so overwhelming. Its easy to slip into a mindset of ‘I can't help them all so I won't help any’. It's the paradox of choice, it’s compassion fatigue; both are understandable and they don't mean people don't care.
“I want Mumma Do Good to be an opportunity for women like Kelly, and those you know, to get their stories out there. To have them told in a way that forces people to pay attention. I want to show that you can make the world a bit nicer without a huge amount of work or money. I want to help women discover ways of helping that aren't merely financial: volunteering, donating goods or handmade crafts, listening, just giving a shit in general. I want to narrow down those overwhelming, guilt-inducing choices to something achievable. I want to do it in a way that isn't preachy or sanctimonious. I want to make people laugh, I want to be inclusive.”
Far out, it gives me goosebumps just cutting and pasting those words.
Gang, I need you to get behind Mumma Do Good. I want us to change the world, together. I want to tell the stories of so many of you who’ve shared your struggles with me, and who desperately need help (although many of you would never fucking admit it). I want us to support each other in whichever way possible.
You will join me, yes? You can find the Facebook page here, and if you want to share your story – or the story of someone you know – please send me a message. And if you can help Kelly and her family, that would also be wonderful. Click here for the GoFundMe link.
Go forth and change the world, you wonderful humans you.