For a start, I don't make New Year's resolutions. Why would I set myself up for a failure so early in the year? No chance. That said, I've had an interesting month. A month that's made me stop and think a bit. I generally I feel I have to get my head down and get on with the grind of work and kids and if I'm really lucky, I get the odd catch up with mates. I'm not complaining. I love the balance - I really do.
This month, a couple of things made me stop and think. Back in May, I was asked to strip naked. I was pregnant with my youngest and it was for a very good cause - the National Autism Society. Kids with autism don't like being touched and the exhibition was all about being happy in your own skin. Whilst I was a little nervous about having no kit on - especially pregnant and at my most vulnerable - it feels good to do something to help other people. It may sound trite but it genuinely does and we get so caught up in our own hand-to-mouth existence, it's often difficult to even contemplate that others have it so much worse. I was explaining to a friend about the difficulties autistic kids have being held and was met with; "Duh Wendy, I have seen Rainman." It is not always that extreme, as anyone who comes into contact with autistic kids will tell you; there is a spectrum of autism, which makes it so difficult to diagnose.
There was a phone-in on a TV show this week, and one of the callers was a mother of two autistic children who spoke very eloquently about the pain involved bringing up kids that other people look at and assume are just badly behaved. It must be terrible to feel the pressure of trying to make your babies content and happy whilst feeling the judgement of the world on your shoulders. The caller was saying that when her boys are screaming sometimes she feels the need to stop and explain that they're not being badly behaved, they're autistic. This in no way impairs the love she feels for them, but being a parent is exhausting enough without having to explain yourself or feeling you have to.
This month was also the UK soft launch of Wie: Inspiration & Enterprise. I went along to find out more about it. It's an organisation that aims to empower and inspire women. Dee Poku and June Sarpong set up Wie. They feel that as women, we should be doing more for each other, to help and encourage each other. This ranges from a sympathetic phone-call to a friend at the end of the day, to symposiums to deal with women's issues. There were the most extraordinary women present: Jo Malone talked about her struggle, Arianna Huffington spoke about our fear of failure and Emma Freud, Noreena Hertz and Baroness Scotland were all there.
The main thrust of the organisation seems to be that however hard we work to get ourselves in the position we want to be in, we don't then look back and say; "I'm fine. Who cares about you?" Women have so much to deal with in the workplace: The pay gap, the glass-ceiling, childcare issues, sexism and so on. How I wish there was a tribunal for female comics to deal with sexism. A comedy club seems to be the last place it's acceptable. That said, I do feel bad for the female guests of panel shows who don't have to deal with snide remarks day in, day out. No wonder they don't come off so well alongside professional male comics who train on the job to come back at heckles. The pop star or presenter just sits there, smiles and takes it. What else is she going to do? If there were a tribunal for sexism in comedy clubs we'd all spend so much time there we'd never get to any gigs.
The Wie Network aims to get us to help each other.
Yes, it's easy to say: "Silly Cow. Who does she think she is?"
We need to train ourselves to be a bit more compassionate. Us girls seem to be brought up to be competitive with each other. Do we really need to be? We can achieve much more when we're not. When we break through the glass ceiling we should be helping each other get up there too. At the launch, June Sarpong said: "Talk to each other, go on, you know what woman are like!" Yes I do know what women are like and we can be very hard on each other.
My month finished at BBC London. I went on Jeni Barnett's show and we talked about everything - both on and off air. We looked at the papers and chatted about everything from Christmas to gay footballers. She is a fantastic lady and again, a woman I can learn more from and hope to.
This month has left me with a real desire to be a better woman. To shut my mouth when I'm thinking something negative and to try to be more understanding to what everyone else is going through. Hmmm. Alarming. That sounds almost like a New Year's Resolution.
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