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May 12, 2015 by benmblackman

Last night a stupid man who lives in Lancashire (hi, that’s me) was looking after The Calpol Kid and The Boss for the first time overnight because Mrs B was away for the first time, like, everrrrr.

I'm the big one

I’m the big one.

I actually loved doing this because I don’t always get to spend as much time with them as I’d like. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’m SO very lucky to be at home every morning and every night – and see them awake both of those times for a good while but – I’ve missed doing things like the school runs and pick ups since I’ve been working with a commute from October last year.

Anyway, this is not the point but is there to set up my subject. I picked up the girls safely – one from Judo Club (hiiiiii-ya – as if she needs any encouragement in the self preservation stakes) and the other from nursery – she was SO pleased to see us.

After having a fun time snacking, playing, eating tea and then bath-timing I got down to the business end of proceedings. Bedtime. Now, to say The Boss likes her Mum is an understatement. Those two are inseparable so I had my work cut out. But we did it! She drank a bottle, she found it all VERY exciting because I was there and not Mummy for once but finally I got her to sleep. The Calpol Kid had promised me faithfully that if I let her watch half of Peter Pan she would go to bed with no stories and no fuss. To be fair she did the no fuss bit but conned a story and stayed awake reading until 8pm – what ya-gunna-do? Reading is fine by me.

Which brings me on to my main point…

…Once they were miraculously both asleep at the same time I raced round the house tidying and cleaning as quick as I could, lest they wake up. But not a murmur. So I sat down to do some work.

And whilst doing this, listening out to the baby monitor for when the inevitable stirs occurred, I also had my twitter app open in the background. Keenly watching #BIA2015 – The Book Seller Industry Awards.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 22.37.23From 9pm I eagerly awaited news of THE award we all wanted @mushenska to win. I wanted to see her win something and get recognised for something I think she, and know many others agree, so well deserves. I wanted to say, YAY JULE! (Jule is not her name by the way in case you are ever writing to her formally.)

But then it came.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 22.36.39I mean – I know highly commended is, like, totes good n all that so Jule should be very proud but, man she deserved to win it. She is the PEOPLES CHAMPION.

Originally I was typing this all out as an email to Jule but then I thought – I think we can make a wider point here – why not blog it out. To me, the fact a man in Lancashire was sat watching to see the results of these awards, for no real reason at all from 9pm-10pm – refresh…click…refresh…click…refresh…oh – shows the impact this one lady has had on the literary sector from a writers point of view as well as in so many other ways. She wins for me. High 5 Mushens!

So here’s my point. Life is full of winners. People who make a positive impact on other peoples lives. Juliet (that’s her real name) has done that for me. One of the reasons I keep writing these blogs is because of something she said to me once upon a time. So many other people have positive impacts on peoples lives every day too.

quiditchYou don’t need to win an award to be a winner.

Sure, it would be nice to stand up there and get the trophy and do the speech but life ain’t all about trophies and speeches is it? It’s about the real day in, day out achievements and inspiration people give us each and every day.

So, here’s to @mushenska, and here’s to all the single parents too I say. I was one for, like, 17.5 hours and I take my hat off to those guys who do it every day. Not in a patronising way. I hope you take this in the way it’s intended – just a hat tilt to you all – fair play, ‘I don’t know how you do it’. The whole world thinks they’re busy but you guys do everything for yourself and those kids, somehow. Now that DOES sound patronising doesn’t it?

And whilst we’re thinking along those lines – let’s hear it for the Carers too can we? The UNPAID Carers I mean. You think it’s hard looking after a couple of healthy kids? Try looking after a loved one who has a long-term illness or disability every single day. People say 24/7 a lot these days – now being a Carer is a proper 24/7 service and, do you know what – nobody does enough for them.

carers trustThere was a lot of talk this election about politics (good – I like the fact everyone is interested right now) – but I’ll tell you this – no government has ever championed the cause of Carers even a quarter as much as they should. 6 million people were Carers last time I looked (that’s 1 in 10) so you’ll know one or be one. If you are one – this is for you. Sorry it’s not an award but it’s me saying – high 5 dude. I was lucky enough to work with thousands of Carers for a long part of my working life so I have seen first hand what you do every day – I really can’t respect you enough for it. For what that’s worth. Why am I still writing this guff? Is it guff? Does it sound patronising? If you read to this point I will have decided these are all points worth making so, ignore the guff and appreciate the sentiment I hope.

And if you’re not a Carer then you’ll certainly know one. Think about them, appreciate them, help them. Do something caring for them will you? They do that every single day for someone else and I know you’re all uber great people who read my blogs. You can’t give them an award but you can give them something – so what are you still doing here?

Call round for a cuppa, send them a text, flowers, a pint. Give them a break. Go out somewhere for the day. Talk to them about them. Help them re-acquaint themselves with an old hobbie or interest. Do whatever you can and think they’d appreciate.

And then you too will be a winner in life.

Juliet Mushens is a literary agent at The Agency Group where she represents a bestselling and critically acclaimed list. She has been shortlisted and highly commended for Literary Agent of the Year at the Bookseller Industry Awards, has been previously picked as a Bookseller Rising Star and shortlisted for the Kim Sctoo Walwyn Prize for excellence in young women in publishing. Her first book, on writing Young Adult fiction, will be published by Hooder in June 2015.

Carers Trust is the UKs biggest charity for, with and about carers. They work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.

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