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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why Chivalry is still important

I know that sometimes men will say they aren't sure whether to hold open a door or pull out a seat for their lady, even putting down the toilet seat can be a source for debate or confusion.

I understand where these guys are coming from, some mention women that throw a fit when a door is held open for them, as if they can't do it themselves and they get offended. Now I have personally never done this, nor have I ever witnessed it, but to each their own and if you have experienced this or worry about experiencing this as a man, I understand why you might hesitate on the whole chivalry thing, out of genuine confusion.

Alternatively I also understand the indignant attitude of men that say well you wanted equality, and this is what it looks like... no special treatment here ladies!

I have heard both and get it, and it suddenly occurred to me why actually Chivalry, as a form of thoughtful consideration on behalf of men for women, is still important and needed.

Let me paint you a picture, not to cry about my hard life but to actually show a typical burden for a woman at a similar stage to my life and career.

Currently I am a Mum, working 4 days a week, still breastfeeding a toddler, and trying to stay sane/insane by having my own minimal interests. There are many unseen hurdles in this that a man may not see and that, as well as the need for Chivalry is the point of this post.

Lack of sleep is fairly common for both parents but as a couple that believes that breastfeeding is the right way to go for their toddler, the mum typically must take on the night time duties on a sole basis. This means our sleep is very disrupted, less so than a formula feeding parent, because you don't have to get up to feed the baby, but because the burden falls solely on one parent it kind of ratchets up again to being a good whack of the parenting job. The thing is, I don't mind it, its the right thing for my baby, and therefore the right thing full stop. It does mean however that little courtesies, of all the men I encounter are very much appreciated.

Most women these days, still do the lions share of the housework if the polls are to be believed and yet still work now as hard as a man in their job because, lets face it, nobody can afford to buy a house on a single income these days, or do very much at all in fact.

Is she going to go there folks? Oh no she di-in.... oh yes she did... A lot of women experience pain and mood swings, like clockwork, once a month, We don't talk about it or if we do we feel pressure not to, because it is taboo, and definitely not an experience that can be discussed or shared with the menfolk, so they remain mostly oblivious to the sometimes debilitating pains or fatigue that come part and parcel with the also logistical and expensive nightmare that can be tracking and just dealing with the accompanying flow. I know, I know, wah wah wah right? Big baby crying about something she can't change? Not really, but genuinely wish it was something we could acknowledge, because If I felt that way for any other reason I would take to bed until I felt better.

It is still the woman's responsibility to manage birth control. Need I say more? The day this changes will be the day science reflects a more fair society.

Finally, there are the gaps that women feel all to aware of in their career, when pregnant, on maternity leave or being a working mum and feeling divided between work and kids. We feel pressure, some from ourselves, and some from the job to prove that our families are not holding us back. I know a woman who works in an academic setting and in the upper echelons it is very common to see a man with a family, but not for a woman. Her commitment is questioned immediately if she has kids, this friend does a minimum of a 70 hour week, but is still butting up against a glass ceiling, because this is not enough. It would be for a man, without the scrutiny she is under. Women are trying to 'lean in' (Thanks Sheryl Sandberg) at least I am, but the pressure I put myself under to be better, use my time wiser, do more with less sleep, just makes me feel worse that I am not everything to everyone, in my role as mum, worker, wife. I am not even thinking about being me.

In all, without getting any deeper into all the messiness of being a woman, or equality I think women will at least agree, that the occasional door held open, or considerate 'ladies first' into an elevator is very much appreciated, and in fact needed now more than ever, but not because women are the 'fairer sex' or because we aren't as strong or capable. Merely because we have more to cope with on a regular basis, burdens we must shoulder if we are to take on the role of a woman in today's society and still get enjoyment out of life. It's ALWAYS nice to be appreciated and acknowledged.

It may have sounded like a rant at times but in fact this is an ode to Chivalry, because Chivalry today can be more of an acknowledgement of all the extra things a woman must cope with, as well as a sweet considerate thoughtful expression of recognition for all the hard work. And lads? It is ALWAYS appreciated. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Government, nothing to do with me...? Not Any More. #WhyProtest

I used to feel this way. I would get on with my day to day stuff like anyone else, and all that complicated arguing and running of the country is left up to the people who get paid to deal with it.  

We put up with a lot from them though, because we are trying to get on with our own lives and we don’t want to sacrifice the little bit of free time we get after work and parental responsibilities. And thats the way most of us operate, with no sense of connection to the constitution that governs the standards and rights by which we live. We take it for granted that it will be honoured by those we pay to do the job.

Now I am starting to feel different. I feel a slowly growing sense of responsibility to defend Ireland’s constitution, because it is being trampled on. It is the rights by which I live and it is not being honoured by those tasked to honour it. The only people that can do anything about this is me, and you. Ordinary people.

I realized that when Austerity is planned for at least 2 generations meant that it would directly impact the quality of life for my daughter and her chances of getting a good education or access to decent healthcare.

I realized it also, when the contracting economy started making it directly more difficult for me to get on with living my life, like with a 14% unemployment rate, and property tax and more.

Angry Cynical Pessimists, used to really annoy me. Now I understand them, even though I stay optimistic. They care a lot, and don’t see how standing can change anything.

I can guarantee you though, if we do nothing it will just get worse. The government has proven their main concern is business and not citizens. Their main concern is satisfying EU directives at the direct expense of the people of Ireland. And that is wrong. I am only one person but just as in voting, i have a right and a responsibility to be that one voice, and hope that others join me. If enough of us stand resolutely and unwavering, then we are the living embodiment of our nation, and they have no choice but to listen to us. The only power they have over us is the power we give them, and as we see in Egypt, that power can be taken away, not by force but by solidarity and strength of voice.

That was when I realized that it was time for me to get involved. I will only participate in a way that works with my conscience. I am not a violent protester, and I don’t wish to be confused with terrorism, or looters, or rioters, I am just adamant and stubborn and will not stand down.

I will voice my dissent at the direction this country is being led in. I don’t believe it is merely enough to vote for the other guy, because they are all in a system that is broken. The system can’t change until Irish citizens demand a different one.

The rules at the top don’t have to be complicated. We are the nation and we say enough, no more, the line is drawn. Come in numbers on Wednesday, from 3pm til late. Come after school or work. In front of the Dail, on Kildare Street. Find a Bus, or a Train or even stand with your bike, on the 10th of July, we stand again. And we will stand again after that. This is a movement, and will not quit. Voice your unwavering answer to austerity with a simple stand, we will not budge, there will be no more austerity on our watch... Those committing criminal acts and abusing the power they were entrusted with should face justice and be brought to task, not for revenge but because it is right that they should pay for their crimes.

Follow the movement on Facebook at and Twitter on these 2 accounts and and take a stand. Make time to show that you are through putting up with this and show the TD’s that work for you that you are willing to at least Stand, and hold a book that speaks volumes to you and inspires you to be there.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Game of Thrones - End of Season Three - NO SPOILERS

So I slept early last night without meaning to, putting the baby to bed, and woke up at midnight still in my day clothes. With the baby sound asleep I realized I could watch the final episode of Game of Thrones season 3, before heading to bed at 1am.

Sometimes as an adult we get to glimpse again the excitement and magic of Christmas morning... well ok it wasn't quite that exciting but it was lovely to curl up and with everyone in bed watch my favourite program undisturbed, while polishing off the last of the maltesers. It's the little things in life :)

I have already read the books and know what is going to happen for the most part, but decided recently to watch all the episodes in a row and catch up. Last night was the first time I actually had to wait a week to watch the show. It's great to watch, even if I do know what is going to happen. Peter Dinklage is awesome. I have become used to seeing him and empathizing with him, he's actually quite good looking? Anyone else agree? Anyway...

I just wanted to do a sort of overview of the tone because I was worried that tonights episode would be a let down after the 'red wedding' but it was polar opposite. There were a lot of grim moments last week, almost all the characters had a seismically life altering experience, for the worse, for the most part. I thought the last episode of the 3rd season was the opposite, offering hope for the future for almost ALL of the characters, or at least a way forward, when last week we couldn't imagine the way forward at all.

Now George R. R. Martin just needs to write the next book, because although I appreciate that he is involved in the show and that it must be his involvement that makes it good, I need to know what happens next. The book was due out 2 years ago, and its high time he got on with it.

That is all :) (See no Spoilers)

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