Nobody Gets Everything – But What We Have Is A Lot


Sitting in our little play room (a once dining room that has now been overtaken with toys) on my third cup of a coffee on a grey Monday morning I watched a little girl excitedly get into another fancy dress costume – which she can proudly put on without any help – and a little boy play with cars on the play table that we made him for Christmas. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I sat on the sofa because sometimes life can be overwhelming.

I know what I have – two beautiful, healthy (apart from doing their bit to ensure that they are ill for months on end over the winter), happy children who live in a safe and secure home – shielded from the worries their parents have about how to pay the bills and whether our landlord will serve us notice at any given time. I have a devoted husband and a close family. We have our health. We are alive.

I know I have taken a rare opportunity to start my own charity from my own idea. I know there are lots of people out there who would love to do the same and I am lucky to have been given the chance and had the confidence to take it. The evening job I have pays for the childcare needed to run the charity – but such is life and it won’t be forever.

There are people, some of whom read this blog, who don’t agree with what I’ve done with starting First Days and have made their feelings clear about the fact that we’ve had children before we’ve bought a house. I know that any tiredness or frustration I feel – according to them – should be sucked up: we’ve made our unkempt, whimsical, irresponsible bed and now we must lie in it.

That’s not really how life works though is it? Life to me is about living in community with other humans. It is about making the most of what we’ve all got and have to give. It’s something we can build and grow. It’s about sharing the times that overwhelm and frustrate and upset and in turn delighting in the happy times too. So I sat watching my children play – a rare moment of calm in the house – and reached out to my Facebook friends about how frustrated I felt about my children being ill for weeks and weeks meaning I am behind with work. Almost immediately my lovely friends reached back with the kindest words, true empathy and encouragement. I felt reassured and less lonely. Then two lovely friends turned up with coffee for me (oh how I love coffee) and chatted to me for hours (oh how I love chatting) and my Grandad came and took Joni out for cake and juice to give Wilbur a couple of peaceful hours at home. I know how lucky I am. That is what life is about for me – not about achievements or property or comparing ourselves to others (not easy) but about sharing the good and bad and average times together, as people who strive to be kind and to love one another.

I can’t have everything, that belief we are fed as children that if we get a good education and ‘do the right things’ then life will be ok is a blatant misrepresentation of the truth. The truth, however – that life can be messy, disappointing, brilliant, joyful, happy and sad all once – is far more beautiful and far more fulfilling.

I’m constantly reminded of my favourite quote of all time – that my husband had made into a picture for me (above) and I’m so thankful to the people who are in my community, to whom my life belongs.

So, even if my son pulls my laptop off a table and smashes it in a chicken pox and temperature fuelled rage (as has happened today) and I take to social media to moan/cry please know that I am reminding myself of this: ‘nobody has everything – but what we have is a lot’ and by doing so clawing my way out of my pity party for one.

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13 Responses to Nobody Gets Everything – But What We Have Is A Lot

  1. Jordan says:

    Nail on the head. Eloquently put, as ever x

  2. Mumaleary says:

    Amen to that! a brilliant post. We are incredibly lucky. xx also, I think those that benefit from your charity are incredibly lucky also so I disagree with the others- keep up the brilliant work. xx

  3. Donna says:

    This is a really lovely post.
    In life we make choices and sometimes you aren’t able to do things in the order society and other people may want you to do them. But you make the choices and do the best with what you have. So what if you haven’t bought a house yet?! Having a mortgage doesn’t give people gold stars and a happier, more fulfilled life!
    I’m amazed at all you’ve achieved with First Days so far and the fact you have done it yourself. Working evenings too and juggling that with childcare, children, housework etc. I honestly don’t know how you do it.
    Who needs everything? You are amazing! x

  4. Jem says:

    I can’t believe there are people that you should not have had children before buying a house, that somehow you’re less of a parent for not owning property and that the work you’ve done in getting First Days off the ground is somehow not worthy. Christ people make me angry!

  5. Cathy says:

    Ah Emma. I just love you I do.

    We don’t have a house either. I’ve been obsessing about it for a year or so – must get a house. MUST GET A HOUSE. But in reality, if it wasn’t a house, it’d be something else. A bigger house, probably. There’s no one moment in time when you feel you have everything you ‘should’ have. So just go for what you want. xxx

  6. Someone told me the other day that people shouldn’t have children before they own a home. That’d mean me never having children then and life would be a big puddle of crap. Your life is your life and you can do with it what you wish :).
    It’s only in this stupid country that OWNING A HOUSE is such a massive thing. I’m trying to get over it but it can be hard when society says the way you’re living is the opposite to the way you should be aspiring to live.
    I also agree with Jem completely, she talks sense (most of the time).
    The UK needs First Days and if you hadn’t done it now it may never have happened!
    This is longer than I meant – great post 🙂

  7. mummytries says:

    What an honest, moving post. What you’ve done is something a lot of people could never comprehend, so it’s best not to worry about what they think. Taking any kind of financial risk is often frowned upon, but if you don’t take risks you’ll never have the opportunity of the life you want. I set up a business in 2007, unbeknown to me on the cusp of the worst financial crisis of our time. It didn’t succeed and left me financially destitute, but it was the best year of my career. It hasn’t put me off the idea either, I know I’ll eventually work for myself one day!

    Love your quote, so very true #PoCoLo

  8. Yes. I am fr 3rd world country and.. amnd can i just say that you are really lucky here. of course not a lot of people will agree but i saw poverty in the eye. we are having money problems at our household but at the end of the day I know that we are still lukcy to have a job. I have so many things running in my head from reading your post that I need to sort out. This is what it is a thought provoking post. #pocolo

  9. Katie Clark says:

    This is such a lovely post. I love that quote, ‘Nobody gets everything – but what we have is a lot.’ I can’t believe people would criticise you for having children before buying a house. Idiots! You do whatever is best for you and your family; they sounds like delightful, happy children so you must be doing a great job. #PoCoLo

  10. This is a fabulous post my lovely. If only there were more people in the world like you and lots less critical ones – what do they know anyway?! I think you are doing an amazing job. Keep it going and ignore the ones who know nothing! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

  11. What a touching post you have really made me think about things.
    I can’t believe people have said that because you had children before you owned a property that you had made your bed so sleep in it!! I would personally just try and ignore people like that, im slowly learning to take on board peoples comments and advice that is actually helpful to me and mentally writing off anything that isnt lol. You’re helping those less fortunate, that’s something to be really proud of.
    I’m also reassured that i’m not the only one who’s dining room resembles toys r us!! xx

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