This growing crisis in care for all ages is having a huge impact on working families, many of whom are facing the cost squeeze from all directions. It will be some time before most families feel their household coffers seem more than half empty.
I have read a few negative articles in the press recently regarding surrogacy. Allow me to tell you my story, in the hope of leaving you with a fuller heart. Infertility is still a fairly taboo topic. Yet the reality is that many people need help to have a baby. It is a serious issue, and it was for me too.
The other day, I found myself checking my weather app to confirm that it was actually raining - despite the fact I could clearly see raindrops falling on the window. "But it's not going to rain 'til 3 o'clock!" I cried, before swiftly cancelling my park plans via Facebook Messenger. Then the sun came out. But everyone had already made other plans, in the beat of an email. Sound familiar?
I am a feminist. Of course I am. The OED defines feminism as the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. So how could I not be? Do I think women and men are equal? Well, obviously. Do I think legal rights and social norms should reflect that equality? Well, again, yes, of course I do. As, surely, do the vast, vast majority of men and women.
On my 43rd birthday I gave myself an unusual birthday present. I decided to freeze my eggs. İn the weeks leading up to this I'd been talking to people including doctors and women who'd frozen their eggs to help me make up my mind...
For politicians seeking to raise the pay at the bottom, by all means celebrate those firms that embrace a Living Wage, but don't forget to focus on these structural issues.
Going back to work after maternity leave is a time of mixed emotions for many mothers - for some it's a worry, for some, it's exciting. And for most, it's a lot from column A and a little from column B.
It's been over a year now and, as I hoped and feared, it's been the most fun/interesting/terrifying year I've had for a few decades. On the whole, it would have been cheaper to buy a sportscar and less time-consuming to have an affair with a 25 year old, but, as I can't drive and am happy with my fella, this 45 year old's mid-life crisis is a "follow your dream" business startup.
During the last decade, authorities and agencies across the country have found it increasingly hard to find permanent, loving families for children in care in a timely way. The government's plan to speed up adoptions, announced by Michael Gove in 2012, briefly reversed that trend. But it looks as though there has now been a dramatic loss of nerve by many in the social care sector...
Making a teeny-tiny human is the greatest thing your brother/sister ever did. They didn't do it for you, obviously. But sometimes, in a perfect moment with your niece/nephew on your lap, it feels like maybe they kind-of did.When my nephew, Charlie, puts his little hand in mine, the whole world makes sense. His existence is joy.
For the first time in my life, I find myself putting family before (or at least on the same level as) work. It's a truly uncomfortable feeling. At first, there's the realisation that things will never be the same again, and then there's the even more awkward, mid-life crisis-inducing emotion that for the past 15 years, I've likely had my priorities wrong.
To make sense of this the government needs to understand that caring does not function like the money economy. Time spent on it is not a cost to society, but a vital benefit, and the more of it a society can do, the richer it becomes.
The problem with Emin's statements is that they propagate damaging myths: about what it is to be an artist, a mother, a woman. And as Virginia Woolf tells us, it far harder to kill a phantom than a reality. It's like looking for nits, or searching for proof for jealousy: resolution can only be reached by discovering what we don't want to be true and in the absence of that we are condemned to continue the search.
Mums and adopters will have real choice about when they return to work, dads will have more time to bond with their children, children will have better outcomes, while employers will benefit from lower staff turnover and having a workforce that is more flexible and motivated. And who wouldn't want that?
Last week a colleague and I travelled to Greece to the annual EECERA Conference. I like to attend such conferences because I believe that if we do not work to connect practitioners, policy makers and academics then we will never gain the coherence we need to ensure policies and practice are effective and actually support children and families in a way that also supports social justice.
Times goes at a different rate in the country. It seems only yesterday that we drove out beyond the M25, and the cat pooped on my lap, and we began our new life in a house of flies and dirt and no door-handles. It was actually ten months ago.