I have had panic attacks: does this mean I had a 'mental health issue'?
Is it because these women know that, if we can imagine them at home, cutting the crusts off their kids’ sandwiches and arguing over how many carrots constitutes a full portion, it somehow neutralises their power and makes them more palatable to the voting public? That might explain why, in her speech at last week’s Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama managed to tell her whole life story without mentioning that she’d had her own career.
It would also explain why the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been described by an opposition senator as unfit for office because she is “deliberately barren” – as though her choice not to have children is somehow an affront on a par with, say, stealing handbags from old ladies.
As a woman who also happens to be a mother, as opposed to a mother for whom everything else is secondary, I wish we could agree to stop this mythologising of motherhood. It’s not doing any of us any favours.
Ireland's limbo generation
A REPORT this week warned first-time buyers that they face a stark choice: have a house, or a baby. But don’t try to do both at the same time.
After this grim message to consumers from Irish Mortgage Brokers (“Hold off having kids if you want a mortgage . . . Go for the house first”), the Irish Banking Federation denied that its members were discriminating against people with children. And I hope they’re not. But the warning does raise the spectre of a generation for whom major life decisions have to be put on hold, or bypassed altogether, because of the economic crisis.
The New York Times has dubbed the generation just coming of age in the US the “Limbo Generation” – and the way the banks are making Ireland’s twentysomethings bend over backwards to get a loan, that may not be a bad term for our lot either.
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