“After all this is over, all that will really matter is how we treated each other”
It doesn’t take much to be kind.
A smile to someone you don’t know, a simple ‘good morning’ to a passing stranger, a surprise bag of home-baked goods from a friend (seriously, thanks Fran, those blondies were amazing!)
So why is it, in today’s society, people choose to be so unkind to each other? Not all the time, don’t get me wrong, since I started blogging I’ve come across some utterly wonderful people who I have got to know (albeit virtually) but it’s so empowering to find these amazing, talented ‘normal’ people and connect with them. But sadly, I’ve also come across some complete and utter twonks.
Twonks (a socially acceptable way of calling someone a complete dickhead) are everywhere. They lurk around every street corner, they congregate in every town centre, they comment on social media, and they do my head in.
I came across a new twonk this week. A woman called, Meghann Foye. If you haven’t heard of her yet, you soon will do. And brace yourselves, she is already featuring on my twonk scale.
Miss Foye, from the US of A, has been in the papers for the last few days because she has apparently, ‘said the unsayable’.
She has come out and said that women without children should be allowed to take time off work for “ME-ternity” leave in order to “avoid burnout”, after she viewed mothers coming back to work after having children as having “a renewed, fresh sense of confidence”…and that has really annoyed her.
I told you she was a Twonk.
Miss Foye, who I shall now refer to as Miss Twonk, was a magazine editor at the time she had this eureka moment. She became annoyed with fellow co-workers who left the office at 6pm so that they could spend time with their children, while she was left in the office to pick up the slack without a ‘valid excuse’ as to why she needed to leave. Because of this, her friend told her she needed some “ME-ternity Leave”, so she took this idea, and ran with it. Then shoved it in our faces. Thanks love.
I think what Miss Twonk is missing here is the fact that once said parent gets home to their child, they then have another job waiting for them. That of being a parent. A 24/7, 365 day a year, no holiday or overtime bonus, job. Whereas Miss Twonk can leave work, take a leisurely stroll to the train station, have a peruse around the shops at the station, pick up a wine/meal deal, and then get on her train home, her parenting work colleague has had to move like shit off a shovel to catch the only train that gets them back home on time so they don’t miss the nursery closing and get a huge bill from them for being late (as well as having a distressed child as everyone else’s has been picked up), or worse still, a black mark against their name and the fear of further repercussions for not picking their child up on time.
I understand that having children is a choice, and it’s not one that everyone chooses to make, or is able to make due to reasons beyond their control, but that doesn’t mean we should be made to feel bad about it. For goodness sake, parenting comes with enough guilt as it is without this woman adding another arguement as to why we should be ashamed of ourselves into the mix.
Miss Twonk has a new book out all about it (what publicity she is getting eh?! The cynic in me would say it’s almost like she has had it all planned like this…) entitled, METERNITY. It’s fictional, but based on her thoughts and experiences. A writer from the New York Times called Emily Giffin has said, “METERNITY is guarenteed to surprise and delight” – well she has done that first bit alright Emily…not so sure about the second.
It is said by Miss Twonk (yes, I was serious, I shall be calling her that for the rest of my rant) that it is unfair that expecting women (ones who are preggers) get to take a break from work, only to return with a clearer idea of what they wanted in life. I don’t know about you guys, but that first year zooms past in a blur of crying (baby and parents), sick, milk, poo, bathing, exhaustion and delirium. I certainly don’t think parents use it as a way to sit and contemplate life or find it in any way catchartic. Yes, it is a time of joy, and they are precious moments in life which are required in order to form that bond with your child and to make sense of your new life as a family, but to suggest that it’s a holiday, a way to plot a new career path, is just ludicrous.
In a piece entitled, “I want all the perks of Maternity leave – without having any kids”, for the NY Post, Miss Twonk wrote that having a child seemed to be, ‘the only path that provided a modicum of flexibility’ in an age where people are expected to be on call every minute of the day. I don’t know what parents she is reffering to, but I can tell you know Miss T, plenty of working parents I know have to put in the hours elsewhere to make up for the fact they need to leave early, whether that be in the evening once they’ve got their kids to bed, or at the weekend. They don’t just swan home, switch off and think, ‘oh well, I’ll let someone else sort that out’, they are probably wracked with guilt that they didn’t read a bedtime story that night because they didn’t have time, or they’re stressed out because even after a full day at work, plus sorting their family out, their days work still isn’t finished.
Life is tough.
Most people I know, with and without kids, are stretching themselves to breaking point. In that sense, and that sense alone, Miss Twonk may have a point.
They don’t have enough time to do ‘fun stuff’. Couples are not spending enough quality time together because they’re working different shifts to each other around life commitments, the kids, their families, to make ends meet. We are all in the same boat, and I think it is really unfair of Miss Twonk to try and divide us in the way she has. She needs to take a step back and think about exactly what it is she is trying to say.
The work/life imbalance is wrong for almost everyone.
We live in a world where we are almost constantly reachable. Social media, the internet, phones, emails, the list goes on. It is so hard to switch off. The world is a smaller place, you can talk to someone on the other side of the world within seconds, and it has become the ‘new normal’ for people to work as soon as someone tells them to, even if it is out of normal working hours and it disrupts their life. Their time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent or not, there is that same expectation.
I’d also like to say how much this has annoyed me from a man’s perspective. I’m not a man, I’ve checked, but if I was a chap and I was reading this, it would have me pretty peeved.
The majority of Men, whether Dad’s or not, work their butts off. You see stories all the time in the news of men, pushed to the brink who only see one way out of a situation. It’s an all too common occurance. The mere mention of a gender disparity here is just unforgivable. Why shouldn’t men have a year out from work to comtemplate their next steps and to reduce stress? Why shouldn’t anyone?! Miss Twonk was lucky enough to do just that, take a year off to compose herself (oh, and write a book which she plans to make a tidy sum of money from, did she mention that?) – most normal people don’t have that luxury. They have bills to pay, a mortgage to maintain, dependants. They can’t just take a year out, as much as they would like to. This notion infuriated me. In fact, she should probably be higher up my twonk scale.
Most ‘stay at home Mum’s’ didn’t choose to be there. It probably made little financial sense for them to go back to work. Don’t get me wrong, many mums choose to stay home to raise their kids, and that’s amazing, that’s the reason most people have kids, but I’m sure if you ask, most of them will say they feel guilt (that word again) at the fact their partners have to go to work and carry that financial burden alone. That said, us stay at home mums are doing a rather important job ourselves that’s all too easy to forget about because it’s not seen as a ‘real job’. Trust me, if all stay at home mums stopped doing their ‘not-real jobs’, we would have a bit of a situation on our hands…and it wouldn’t be pretty.
Once again, someone has managed to pit woman against woman, sister against sister, women against men, and quite frankly, I’m sick of it.
It’s been said many different ways, so many times, and I’m done with hearing it.
Why can’t we all just just get along and be kind to each other? Be accepting? Understand?
Life isn’t a competition.
And as for Miss Twonk, I hope she has ‘found her happiness’. Because she sure as hell ruined mine this week.
Do me a favour this week, take a moment to be kind to someone.
No matter how small the sentiment, you’ll be amazed how it can make you feel.
(I’ll have a G&T in a can please…) 😉