Thursday 27 June 2019

Colette Fitzpatrick: Take it from me, some women drop their babies off at the creche not because they have to, but just because they want to

THE femi-nazis were getting ready to burn her picture, career women were furious that she'd broken ranks and when I read recent comments attributed to Miriam O'Callaghan about the best place for women being at home with their children, I felt betrayed.

She had broken working women's code, I thought, and hit a raw nerve with women like me who drop their babies to the creche before heading to the office.


It turns out that Miriam was misrepresented. She rang TV3's Midday programme to clarify her comments this week as we debated the work/life balance, the ideal situation for children and divisions between women who work in the home and those who work outside the home.

The mother of eight said that acknowledging her kids want her to be there doesn't mean she's going to be there and that even if she was married to a multimillionaire she would work. Not the same thing at all as saying that women should be at home.


But maybe Miriam unwittingly touched on a taboo that working women are all afraid to admit to -- that maybe the best thing for your children when they are small babies IS for a parent to be at home.

Parent, I said. Not mother.

The fact is, sometimes when we, both parents, go out to work and drop babies to a creche or childminder, we do it not for financial reasons or because our children are being socialised. Sometimes we make the decision entirely for ourselves. Entirely for selfish reasons -- putting ourselves first and not our children.

That's the thing about having children. When you have them you are meant to always, always put them first. You are constantly reminded by family, friends and complete strangers that you took the decision to have them and they must now come first.

Frankly, some people would like you to entirely disappear into your children, to become one-dimensional.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to freely admit that it's not that you needed the money or have bills or a mortgage but that you went back to work because you wanted to, even though you would have survived nicely without the income? That you did it knowing that staying at home might have been better for them.

You did it for you.

As the daughter of a mother who didn't work outside the home, I can honestly say I wished she had. I really do.


I think she would have been a really brilliant working mum. By her own admission, she was no domestic goddess. (Sorry, Mum). But maybe it's easy for me to say this because she was always at home and always there for me in a way that I can't honestly say will always be the case with me and my own child.

Admitting that is painful. Maybe that's why they say the truth hurts.

What Miriam did say was that she sees and does things around the house that her hubbie doesn't always see and do. We're all guilty of that one and have no one to blame but ourselves.

So, I promise to make him empty the dishwasher and not just roll my eyes, act the martyr and do it myself.

And, Miriam, you should do the same.

Leave the dishwasher to him.

... and pardon me while I do a massive disservice to women drivers

I AM about to do a massive disservice to women drivers. I confess that I fulfil all the stereotypes about the gender being incompetent behind the wheel and unable to parallel park. Although I can tell my left from my right, my sense of direction has driven my passengers round the bend when that's not where we wanted to go.

I will drive well out of my way to find a space that I can drive into and admit that I have asked strangers to park my car. Just stopped on the road. Just like that. Engine running. And asked a random punter passing by, if he'd mind pulling her between the white lines. More brazen and shameless ineptitude, less damsel in distress.

"Now she's sucking diesel," I'll think. I am ashamed to admit that mostly, I ask men.

Not that I think they can park better than women. But I think women would be more likely to suspect that I am a kidnapper accomplice and the whole denial of the request would be even more embarrassing than not being able to parallel park in the first place.

Men, I think, are more disposed to helping a woman, while at the same time getting to show off that spatial awareness gene. The fact is though, I'm wrong about men and that gene. A survey published this week reveals that it is men who make more mistakes than women behind the wheel.

They say the car you drive says a lot about you. Mine says 'I'm one of the smallest on the road that even a learner driver can get into a tight spot'. It is the car you drive to get where you want to go to, not the one you drive when you get there.

A sports car says 'I'm over 40 and in denial', a hummer says 'I couldn't give a 10- tonne damn what you think this baby says about me, I'm thinking whatever I drive it's about time I got that gizmo that helps you park, beeping the nearer you get to the car behind you. 'Chick parking', my pal calls it.


But fractionally more pleasant than its other demeaning slang name -- Bitch Assist.

Cuts to baby service so low

PREGNANT women and babies didn't cause this recession, yet health service managers have proposed introducing a waiting list for services and capping access to immunisation schemes.

Targeting these people is about as low as you can go.

Any chance they might suggest cutting their own pay, expenses or perks?

Finally, a use for teenagers

TEENAGERS could predict future musical hits. A study has revealed a certain type of brain activity pinpointing potential hits.

Super. We have finally found a use for them. Teenagers, that is.

Missing irony over lesbian

KDID the irony of hiding who you really are and pretending to be someone you're not, not dawn on the man pretending to be the lesbian blogger?

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