How is it that right now, a week after the start of term, it feels more exhausting the kids being back to school than it did before? Is it assimilating all the new routines - which day is swimming, PE, library….? Is it finding time to take back the new bag with the split seam or the shoes that prove to be too tight? Is it having enough ears to listen to all the details of new timetables, teachers and friends? Is it coming up with reasons why little Jamie can’t come for tea tonight? Is it developing strategies for cajoling and encouraging the completion of homework?

Whatever it is, I am crawling into bed every night, unable to string a sentence together.

And here we are today, remembering the lives of two amazing superwomen, who fought a cause with determination and passion. Jane Tomlinson who battled with cancer for seventeen years, put herself through gruelling physical training and competition and raised £1.5 million for a range of cancer charities. And then there’s Anita Roddick, who had a vision for ethical toiletries long before it became the live issue it is today. A true female pioneer in a men’s world. And whatever the Body Shop has become, it contributed to putting environmental and fair trade concerns on the consumer map thanks to this one woman’s perseverance. Massive contributions. Incredible lives.
Are they a different breed of woman to the likes of me? The kind that struggles to have everyone clothed in their own uniform, let alone what’s it’s made of and who by and what it’s been washed in? The kind that does well to have defrosted bread for sandwiches and the right change for dinner money, without worrying about organic healthy snacks? Am I missing something? Am I doing something wrong? Are there others out there like me?

I do care, I really care. But I am an ordinary woman with a big family, trying to find an ethical way that works. I’m glad these superwomen exist and am more than happy to celebrate their mindblowing achievements. However, I have officially given up aspiring to be one of them. (Although Mel Young of New Consumer says in his tribute to Anita Roddick if we could all just do 1% of what she did the world would be a better place!).
So I’ll speak for those who can’t find a hairbrush in the morning, whose son occasionally has to get his PE kit out of the washing basket and sprays it with deodorant, whose daughter wears footless tights and black socks pretending they are tights, who drops the kids off at school and then deals with last night’s washing up…..!

We can still do something. We will continue to find our way.

Leave a Reply