Looking back; looking forward – #nurture1213

Lovely things that have happened this year…

1) 5yo started school, marched in cheerfully and full of confidence and delighted friends, teachers and playground parents with her funny ways from the get-go. She’ll be fine. (And now that pre-schooler phase of my life is over. And I’m fine too).

2) Did “Go Ape” with 12yo. Such a fun way to spend a morning. Best one-to-one mother/son time of the year. Would go again in a flash.

3) Threw a joint party for 10yo and 7yo that went really well. That’s the kind of mum-stuff I don’t always manage, so it felt really good to pull it off.

4) Really wonderful week away with my DH & children, my parents, brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces & nephews. Took in the Olympic opening ceremony to add to the feel-good factor. Pure joy. More loving laughter in a week than some people get in a year.

5) Elbow at the O2 with DH and pals. Willing/affordable babysitting for four is hard to come by so getting out together is a rarity. To a gig that awesome? We’ve never managed that before.

6) Meeting, matching & partying with Tweetmates, whether cheering the end if Bevan’s Run early in the year, rallying for the NHS in Central Halls or outside Parliament in March, giving @KayGeeUK a send off in the summer, attending an Action for Happiness talk, or marching for A Future that Works in October, it was great to be together.

7) My much-loved baby brother got engaged. He was widowed terrifyingly young (a lesson in gratitude for me for what I have), and has now found love again (a sign of hope for us all: that people who love well will be well-loved in return). I’m full of joy for them both.

8) I started the year covering three jobs, and ended the year only doing my own one. Being able to focus just on my stuff is great. And along the way I acquired a brilliant new colleague to work with and a terrific new staff member to manage. I’m part of a great team and I lead a great team. Going to work is a pleasure.

9) Lovelyboss gave me the space and the support to do what I wanted to do, to transform my service. The impact has been really positive. A real increase in professional confidence within the service, a much more targeted and focused service and better outcomes for the children, families and communities we work with. The incoming thanks and praise letters tell their own story, but the data backs that up and inspectors got a chance to “kick the wheels” too and were happy with what they saw.

10) I’ve taken a personal learning journey this year which has been huge for me. I’ve really invested time in reflective practice and being deliberate in the way I use restorative approaches and coaching skills. It’s paid off in a big way. I feel very ready a for the next challenges; there are good things coming.

11) Putting on a different hat and spending time as a trainer out in
Denmark. This is just a small window of time in my year but it connects me with other activities and values that are important to me. Well worth doing.

12) A vicarious pleasure (though not sure that’s quite the right word) in seeing the issue of school-children who are too hungry to learn getting national attention. Of course, I’d rather no child was going hungry, but I am glad that something which was making me mad as hell in May of this year is now motivating people with more power and influence than I’ll ever have to raise awareness and demand action.

Hopes for next year:

1) That 10yo (who will by then be 11yo) transitions well to secondary school. She’s lovely, but crushable, and the pressures on girls are so great. I want her to feel safe there; to be happy; to shine as I know she can.

2) A whole family summer holiday in Denmark culminating in a Copenhagen wedding. It should be glorious. (I’m hoping for more work out there too, but the wedding is way more important!)

3) I’d like to get better at carving out more focused time for each of the children. In particular, 12yo needs me to pay more attention to his homework ethic, and they ALL need me to read to them more.

4) Lovelyboss and I go our separate ways this year. I think we’ve both been the better for each other’s support and challenge. I hope we stay in touch for occasional “puncture repair”.

5) I’ve got grand plans and huge challenges at work this coming year. Doing “more for less” may be a cliché, but it’s also what’s expected of everyone in the services I’m responsible for. The local government settlement has not been kind. I know we can do what we need to – I just need to carry everyone with me.

6) I’d like to complete my courses of study (I’ve got two on the go) with real concentration and application and not let other demands cause me to accept substandard work from myself.

7) I’d like London Irish to win. Just sometimes.

8) More babysitting, so more nights out with DH? We’re averaging less than once a year since oldest was born, so it doesn’t seem too much to ask.

9) I’d like to meet more Tweetmates. Every opportunity so far has been a pleasure. So to see those Tweetmates again will be great. And more opportunities like that, please. Especially those where we’ve already said that we should get together. Let’s make it so.

10) I must read my book pile! I set myself a challenge to read it by Christmas and have abjectly failed. So I’ll try harder. And if need be, fail better.

11) I’d like my sister-in-law, who is already such a great mum, to have the next baby she and my brother want so much. She has lost so many that it breaks my heart. I want this to be the year for them.

12) And for my parents to stay well. They’re reaching the age where that is less likely to be so. I’d like them to have some more good healthy years ahead of them.

13) I want (*stamps feet*) 2013 to be the year “austerity” breaks because no one listens to the bullshit any more. And I want the politicians who’ve engineered it to be scared out of their wits when they realise everyone can see behind the curtain.

Yes. That would be nice.


Pat’s Debate

Yay! A good thing has happened.

Remember this open letter to Liam Byrne? http://carerwatch.com/reform/?page_id=1188

Well to all those who signed it, there’s good news. Pat of Pat’s Petition contacted me last night to say that Liam Byrne has been in touch and the the Labour Party are getting the issue an Opposition Day Debate in the Commons based around Pat’s Petition. This means the debate will take place in the Chamber at the House of Commons with Ministers and front benchers as well as back benchers.

So fantastic news – Pat’s Petition is moving to Pat’s Debate.

Pat says: “Baubles, Banners and Bagpipes at the ready.” and I agree. It’s about time the Government listened to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Do follow the link to http://carerwatch.com/reform/ to see how the plans for the debate are progressing.

The debate will probably be some time in January and there’s likely only to be a week’s notice so it’s really important for campaigners to get ready for the debate and make sure all the issues Pat’s Petition has been campaigning on get attention.

The theme of the motion to be debated will be the Pat’s Petition demand that the government Stop! and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families. Campaigners will demand a “Cumulative Impact Assessment”.

Bloggers and tweeters and anyone else with something to say on these issues, here is an opportunity to take action.

The Pat’s Petition team (sadly recently reduced in number due to the death of a fellow campaigner) will need our help to ask MPs to speak in this debate. Campaigning blogposts and letters make for good briefing material, if you blog about this, let @Patspetition know. The team can direct MPs to relevant blogposts to show them the kind of messages we all want to see them put across.

Do get behind this campaign.