I think it would be fair to say until I had children I was a fairly selfish individual.
Thats not to say that everyone without children is, but for me it was certainly true.
I lived the way I wanted to live, I didn’t worry about debt, I didn’t care about products I used, It didn’t phase me that my actions had consequences in the longer term as in my late teens the future was something that was going to happen but I had forever to wait for it so carried on regardless.
I became a mum fairly young at the tender age of 21 and at that point in my life if truth be told life became the hardest I had ever faced.
After leaving my daughter father for domestic violence I found myself with a 6 month old baby away from my family with no money in my pocket.
One of my lowest days was the day I moved into a homeless shelter and I had to rely on charity for everything as I was counted out one spoon, one fork, one plate, one toilet roll and one bedding pack.
Although we didn’t have much else we did have a suitcase full of clothes and fully functioning limbs and it dawned on me right at that very moment I could let life swallow me whole or I had be proactive.
A few days later we moved into a women aid refuge and I started to put my life back together one small piece at a time.
In the 15 years that have followed I have gone on to have 2 more wonderful children and been lucky enough to marry my husband who is the right to my left, and every day I know just how lucky I have been to be able to pull myself up from that very low ebb.
I have always viewed my time in that refuge as something to be almost proud of, I grew in that place and became the stronger, more determined individual that is now sat here typing this post.
What that time 15 years ago also gave me was the drive to want to live a positive and proactive life and to teach my children the importance of earning a living, working hard to achieve their goals and by making changes where possible to support good causes and campaigns, as not everything in life is about us.
As a family we like to do things for charities and think its important to help where we can.
Over the years I have taken part in some wonderful charity events from the Team Honk Relay and the Team Honk Dancethon but we also try to do things as a family like regularly donate to charity shops, and buy from them too, we recycle whatever we can and we support brands and services to that we know are supporting charities and campaigns that support those that need it more than us by buying those products instead of alternatives if they are available.
This is why I am supporting Unilever’s #brightFuture initiative that focuses on small changes that can make big differences and how we can build a world where everyone lives well and lives sustainably. Since the launch of the Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever has helped 482 million people to improve their health and hygiene, including through hand washing, improving self-esteem and oral hygiene.
This is exemplified in the work undertaken by Domestos that has committed to helping 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020. Access to clean sanitation can protect people from preventable diseases, reduce mortality rates, help reduce school dropout rates and improve quality of life.
Furthermore, Persil has backed a global initiative ‘Learning for Tomorrow’ partnering with UNICEF to help give children in some of the world’s toughest areas the opportunity of a quality education.
Building on the aim to improve lives through small steps, the Dove Self-Esteem Project has worked closely with leading psychologists, academics and experts to create materials and resources that help young people develop a positive relationship with their appearance. The project has now reached over 19 million young lives.
I know by buying some of these everyday products I am supporting changes all over the world not just in my own family and community.
I am so very lucky to be able to give my children a safe, clean and hygienic home and with the help of amazing schools my sons have the world at their feet and can do anything they like with their lives.
All I want for my children is to be happy and healthy and I don’t mind what they do for a living or the lifestyle choices that they make but I do hope they take time out to make small changes in their lives to support others too.
“This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever