Choosing a full-time career does not make us part-time mammies

According to a report I read in several publications last week, young mothers who’re being “forced to give up their careers due to Ireland’s childcare crisis” are not just struggling financially, they’re also struggling emotionally, with the fallout causing them to experience a “loss of identity”.

  How unfair! Why is it that mothers (and not fathers) are being ‘forced’ out of the workplace when a childcare issue arises? Here’s a thought: Why can’t Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman TD devise an incentive whereby mothers can hand over their maternity leave (should they wish) to their babies’ fathers, leaving them (following a period of recovery after giving birth) with a choice of returning to work or not? I mean, wouldn’t that give families more flexibility, and importantly, give women more choice regarding how they balance their dreams and responsibilities?

  Despite the fact that it’s 2022, it seems to me that whenever any references to women’s careers and motherhood are raised, all too often the subject gets framed as a choice we will ‘have’ to make. I don’t know about you ladies, but I find that very degrading! For example, will our maternal instincts kick in making us retire from the workforce to produce baby after baby? Will we try to ‘have it all’ and ‘juggle’ by giving birth and returning to our jobs? Or will we be ‘selfish’ and remain child-free?

  Why does it have to be a choice at all? Why is it that many of us are made to feel we cannot possibly run a home, raise a family, and at the same time, hold down a career? Why does society try to force us to ultimately change our identities and conform to a life we don’t want, as in become a full-time wife/mother as opposed to a professional something-or-other?

  Then again, if we do ‘give in’ and conform, many of us will ultimately struggle with the shift, finding it almost impossible to disengage from what is, and what always has been, our self-definition of being a financially independent working woman to reliant ‘wife’ and ‘mammy’!

  On a personal level, back in the 1980s, it was the latter (being forced to rely on someone for money) that led me to follow my own lifelong ambition, and therefore, despite having insurmountable objects placed in my way,I insisted on having a career as a journalist, TV producer and scriptwriter.

  Don’t get me wrong readers, I have the greatest respect for anyone who is a full-time mother/parent –indeed, they probably work harder than those of us who split our time between our homes and the workplace. As a small child forced to repeatedly babysit my four younger siblings, I knew that when the time came and I had my own children, I’d be one of those tug o’war wives/mothers, constantly being pulled between staying home with my baby, and as I saw it, saving my sanity by following a career!

  Is it just me, or do any other mothers who work outside of the home find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that one day, we’re viewed as being crucial cogs in the workplace wheel, yet the second we announce we’re facing a childcare crisis, our hard-won respect evaporates?

  By the way ladies, can I stress that choosing a full-time career does not make you or me a part-time mother. Being a mother is a 24-hour, seven day a week, 365 days a year commitment. Nor does choosing a career mean that you or I love our children any less. On the contrary, being a working mother makes you and I a bread winner, a provider, and a role model.

  During my first marriage, I fought tooth and nail to maintain my career. Today, my greatest treasure is a Mother’s Day card from my eldest, telling me not only is she enormously proud of me, but by being her mammy and holding down a successful career, I’ve given her the inspiration and the capabilities to care for her own children, and run a successful business! Mission accomplished! Happy Mother’s Day!

Choose your kid’s name wisely, folks!

According to reports, Kylie Jenner (of Keeping up with the Kardashians’ fame) and her partner Travis Scott have announced they’re changing their son’s name from ‘Wolf Webster’ to… well, at the time of writing, they hadn’t quite decided – and to be honest, who really cares? Well folks, apparently the 305 million sheep, sorry people, who follow her on Instagram are interested!

  Choosing your baby’s name is one of the most important decisions a parent will ever make in their lives, so to that end, I wonder what was going through my parents’ minds when they looked into my freshly-born little face and decided to name me Miriam! Look it up – apparently it was recorded in the Bible (the Book of Exodus) and it means ‘bitter’ in Hebrew! Why would you do that to an innocent baby, Mam and Dad? Didn’t you realise I’d be lumbered with being ‘bitter’ for the rest of eternity?

  But I digress… back to the Travis-Jenners and their obvious delusion that names like Wolf for their son and Stormi for their daughter would work! Then again, perhaps it was forward thinking on their part…I mean, if these kids aren’t successful entrepreneurs like mammy and daddy when they grow up, you could say they both have the perfect monikers to become Gladiators on d’telly!

Céad míle fáilte to the wonderful people of Ukraine

I’d like to offer a big, warm, céad míle fáilte to the extremely brave and resilient people of Ukraine who were forced to leave their homes, their lives and their loved ones in a desperate bid to escape the brutal dictatorship of Putin.

  I cannot imagine the fear and sheer terror these poor families must have faced over the past month. However, while it may be of small consolation (because nobody should ever have their entire lives and futures ripped from beneath them), can I assure them that the warm and friendly folk of County Roscommon will, in any way that they can, do all in their power to ease their burden.

Get a clue folks, Covid hasn’t gone away you know…

According to figures released by the HSE, it seems that a total of ‘63,954 cases of Covid were registered between PCR tests and the antigen portal’ on their website since the St Patrick’s Day weekend. OMG! This has got to be having an enormous impact on hospital services, and while I did expect there would be some rise in cases due to the whole mask-wearing protocols being ditched, these statistics are absolutely ridiculous.

  As someone who still wears a mask in crowded indoor spaces (because it’s clear we’re not ready to ditch them), these figures show that public attitude needs to change – and fast!

  People have got to be more responsible. They’ve got to get a clue and they’ve got to understand that the risks regarding contracting Covid and spreading it have not gone away. Mind you, while I’m not pushing the vaccine, I do have to add that those who are double-vaxxed and boosted are less likely to get the virus, and if they are unlucky enough to do so, it’s less likely to be life-threatening.