Do it NOW and you’ll thank yourself (and me) later…

By Scarlett McKenna

Here’s the thing. I care not if you are a young twenty something ,a fabulous forty or approaching your sexy sixties , here’s five things I want you to do NOW ( ok so maybe not right now, maybe after you’ve read this , but right after …ok ?).

Get a clean bill of health for your minky

Yeah I cringed a bit at the word minky too but I’ve yet to find a word all women are comfortable with , vagina is still a little “ biology class formal “ foo foo is what my 11 year old uses and all the other words I can think of I reserve for when I’m in a mood –( that’s another column for another day). But here’s the thing – cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women under the age of 35. In the UK, around 3000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed every year and about 900 women die from it. That’s 900 mums, aunties, sisters, best friends or daughters. It’s a test that takes 5 mins out of your day , so I really have no interest to hear how busy you ladies say you are , its 5 mins – that’s about as much time it takes you to put a Facebook status up. In fact make that your Facebook status! “I’ve been for my smear today #whysomuchlube”

I read a survey in March that over 17% of women felt “ embarrassed “ to show their genital’s to another person and so therefore put off their smear this year . READ THAT AGAIN, there women in 2018 are too embarrassed to show their bits to a professional. A professional who has seen 10000000s of vaginas (there I said it vagina) big ones small ones , hairy ones , ones with landing strips, Brazilians, you name it THEY HAVE SEEN IT . And let’s face it unless you can see pictures of the baby Jesus in yours it is probably as normal and boring as they get. What the actual……. Have we become THAT insecure in our own bodies that an essential lifesaving health test can be delayed or worst still cancelled ,for good , incase our labia’s aren’t as cute as the Kardashians ? (That suggests ive seen the Kardashians labia by the way , ive not -although I do fully expect channel 5 to make that their next series – call it “ Kimmys Klutey “, there they can have that )

So if you have not had that appointment in the past three years and you are one of the ones a little put off, too busy , too embarrassed , too scared do it , do it now , get off your backside ,literally, and book it . If you have had a test recently then I beg you to call your mum, best friend ,Auntie Sylvia neighbour, sister ,daughter and ask them when their last one was and if it is over three years harass them to book one now . Cancer is the worst most vile disease, I and it doesn’t care how cute your minky is.

Sort out your pension

A ‘staggering’ 47% of adult British women have no pension plan in place, workplace or other, according to research by Barings. Instead they will be completely reliant on their state pension entitlement. If Barings’ suggestion is correct it works out at approximately 8.7m women across the UK do not have a private pension .Is this you? Now you may well be well off now, your partner may be loaded, you may have a great job. But at a blink of an eye your situation can change. And women now need to know that their retirement is secure, that if you want to give up work in your sixties or seventies and you want to see your last decades out without worrying about mortgage or rent or you want to be able to buy inappropriate clothing and gin by the bucket load (the last two may just be me) you need to sort that nest egg out now. If you are a working hard stay at home mother or a business owner, a hairdresser or an airplane pilot and you don’t have a pension, call an independent advisor now and get it sorted. Nothing is promised, state pensions may be a thing of the past in 20 years and your partner could run off with the milkman or you could lose your job tomorrow. Add up your monthly expenses now,

the fuel bill, rent / mortgage / food – will you have that income promised when you’re 67? Are you 100% sure? Do this one thing for YOU or rather your future you. Gin isn’t cheap. It 2018 , we women should rely on no one but ourselves . 67 year old you will thankyou , in between gin toasts .

Call your Mum ( if you still can )

I lost my mum in 2012 . I didn’t speak to her every day . I didn’t tell her I loved her every time we spoke . She was a great mum but we weren’t in each other’s pockets. But if I could call her right now id give my left arm. Now I realise all those times where missed opportunities. Wish I could have told her what a great role mode she was , what a great mum she was ( she always used to say she knew she wasn’t a perfect mum but she always tried id have told her, her best was good enough ) now I’ve got a daughter on the cusp of adolescence id love to hear her reassure me that I was the same stroppy mare at “ that age “ . I wish we had spoken more about her childhood, her teenage years . I knew what her favourite song is but I don’t know why? , I’ve no idea if she dated before meeting my dad. I don’t know who her mates where when she started going out .It wasn’t a perfect relationship , we rowed, we fell out for a few weeks once , she was a little critical about my choice of partners ( she was nearly always right ) and she was disappointed I didn’t try as hard in college as maybe I should .I was ( am) a dreadful housekeeper , her home was bleached to within an inch of its life, these things were the causes of many a , wasted , heated debate .

And I’m not suggesting that if you and your mum have a toxic or abusive relationship you should pick up the phone, I’m aware we all didn’t grow up in a secure happy family, but since my mother died I’m left with this ; I’ve no idea if she knew how much I looked to her for advice , how grateful I was when she gave it . I’ve no idea if she died knowing how loved she was.

Don’t miss that opportunity. Don’t leave any doubt. And for those in the same boat as me, and your mum has gone , I hope you realise my sentiment behind this post , it sucks doesn’t it?

Get your own money

Yes I realise this echoes my “ get a pension “ rant but this is for the here and now . Get your own finances, rely on no one else for financial independence. Joint bank accounts are fab, for joint bills.

I despair when I hear women in relationships talk about “his money is my money and we don’t know where his ends and mine starts “REALLY? Unless you live in an actual Romanic Comedy movie in the 90s and you’ve married Hugh Grant this kind of talk really riles me .So if ,god forbid, he leaves you, or you need to walk out on him where will that leave you? Sorting out joint finances after a relationship break down is never a walk in the park and can only add to the hurt already caused.

And what about buying stuff for you? Are you really in that much of a amazing relationship that you are both ok if you buy a new pair of shoes ( or a motorbike helmet im not playing the sexist card here ) or he uses 90% of it for his lads trip to Prague or a new lipstick ( nod to any trans community ) without a full in depth interrogation and discussion ? Are you? Really? Yes? You win best relationship, well done, move on.

If however you’re an average real life person who may feel they have to run past your partner every time you want to buy something for yourself out of the joint then sit him or her down and have an adult conversation . It doesn’t have to be negative , or used to start a row , it’s a positive

thing to have your own cash for the both of you. Financial abuse is a form of control and is classed as domestic violence . If you live with someone who is uncomfortable with you having your own money , or worse still thinks “ you may not be able to handle money yourself” ,or you work at home looking after the kids therefore “don’t contribute to finances “ ( grrrr don’t get me started on that or ill use one of my alternative words to minky) then you need to look at ways you can get your own bank account and pay into it , because that’s not healthy – on line credit unions are a great starter if you are struggling to have this conversation , they can be opened immediately and you can open them with as little as £1.

Learn to do all the jobs

Remember that conversation about “girl jobs and boy jobs “? Bollix wasn’t it?

Im sorry if you disagree but in the 21st century a women should be all things and do all things. I’m reminded of a local school putting up a sign only last year ,to all the “Dads and Grandads” who may have some spare time, could they possibly help with putting together some new tables and chairs for the school? (Just those with penises please, maybe the mums and nannas can make the tea?) So that’s great isn’t it? The message that sent out to the girls who attend that school is that only men can do those jobs and to the boys that’s the expectation.

Can you change a tyre? A plug? Put up a shelf or an ikea coffee table? Do you know what to do if the fuse box goes or if your radiators need bleeding? If not learn. Rely on no man for nothing, you’ll feel so much better knowing if stuff starts leaking, deflating or collapsing you can sort it yourself. Your kids will admire you and your partner will start to see you as an equal .If you are a mother it will send out the right signal that women can do it all and that boys shouldn’t have to think that’s their domain.

( While we are at it Mums out there stop saying stuff like “ man up “ to your boys and “ stop crying like a girl “ girls are the toughest species around and whilst boys are taught that showing emotions is unmanly we need not question or worry why male suicide is up every year? If you hear this being said challenge it)

There are YouTube video tutorials for EVERYTHING I mean everything. Once you’ve sorted out your pension, your smear, your bank account and called your mum, buy a tools box and watch them. With a gin.

Till next time!

Scarlett McKenna

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