I was warned that motherhood has the tendency to make you cry. I didn’t think I would be crying at an Oxfam email. I only went online to do a small grocery shop, thought maybe I should sort through my emails beforehand and there it sat, all unread and glowing.
‘Saltwater and Empty Pots’ sang the subject, it lured me in to read the email and there, in black and white it read:
I’ve just returned from a trip to Chad in West Africa with Oxfam. I saw and heard so much there that shocked me. But it’s the mothers I spoke to whose words have stayed with me the most.
That’s it, I didn’t need to read more to know that by the end of the email I would be in tears. This isn’t me; I don’t cry at emails unless I need to start stocking up on the Feminax. It is not that Oxfam campaigns haven’t pulled at my heart strings before motherhood, I’ve been smacked with the realisation that the world is a crappy place at times. This is diferent though, this is a story about motherhood and children.
In fact, any news story about children tends to have me in tears. This coming from the cynic who avoids all Children In Need tele-thons and spent pregnancy hiding from people with kids less they felt the need to hand them over to me. Like I suddenly had more of an interest now I was growing one. I had nothing against mass fundraising either, just against bad telly with patronising overtones.
This evening was my epiphany; I can no longer pass a charity raising to help out children without giving. I can just about deal with the crying at the stories, I cannot deal with the guilt that I didn’t do anything as well. Which brings me to tonight’s realisation: I need to do more.
I have a reasonably switched on social conscious but I always talk about volunteering, I never actually fill out the form and send it off, committing my time. Which is ironic as I had an abundance of time before I was a mother, I just didn’t realise it. I don’t have an abundance of money and everyone is doing a sponsored run, climb, fart-athon these days.
There has to be a better way to contribute, something more than giving money on the spur of the moment or through a tear-soaked keyboard. To actually DO something, something of value that directly impacts the lives of other people.
For a long time I have been apoplectic about the uncontrolled private rental market and felt that something needs to be done. I know the big homeless charities are campaigning to improve the situation but it feels like that should be a starting point.
First some research and then firm action. No more crying.