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Monday 27 September 2010

I Am A Twitterholic!

Alethea, over at Mom-on-a-Wire has tagged me in the Twitterholic meme, originally created by Kate. You have to answer the questions, then tag other unsuspecting addicts lovely bloggers.

When did you join Twitter?
(You can find the exact date at bwitterday.com)
I actually joined Twitter June 22nd, 2009, but I think it's fair to say that I didn't really actively use it until some point early this year. 

Why did you join Twitter?
I think my main reason was that I had seen so much about it in the media and was curious. Plus, I was drawn in by the promise of celebrities to stalk!

Who is/was your oldest follower? Who did you follow first? Tell me all about them. 
(firstfivefollowers.com will give you this info)
The person I first followed was Stephen Fry (isn't everyone's?)
The first person who followed me is - believe it or not - Gene Hunt

Do you have any celebrities following you or have you ever had a DM from a celeb?
I think the most famous person is John Cleese. I have no idea why, other than I think I may have been the first person to react to a tweet he once sent! I keep the e-mail from Twitter stating that he is following me under my bed. As he is a Comedy God I do wonder what he sees in my mundane witterings about work and children!

If you could follow anyone who is not on Twitter - alive, dead, real or fictional - on Twitter who would it be?
I know it's predictable, but Albert Einstein - I think he'd give good tweet!

Which came first Twitter or the Blog?
Twitter. I detailed why in my first ever post

I would now like to tag: 
Chrissie at Mediocre Mum

To have a go, the rules are:
Nick the badge and mention the person who tagged you.
Answer the questions.
Select some more fab bloggers who tweet to continue the meme.

Friday 24 September 2010

Can We Ditch The Term "Working Mother", Please?

This post was written for the Working Mother's Carnival, hosted by Holly over at It's a Mummy's Life. Once the carnival is closed, I'll post the final link where you can also visit other entries. If you want to participate, post your contribution and then e-mail Holly the link by 15th October.


I am a working mother. No secret there. If I think about it logically, it describes what I spend most of my life doing. For 35 hours a week, I am contracted to serve my employer. Sometimes I even do a little more than that (what can I say, I'm dedicated). The rest of the week I spend with my children. You could even argue that being a mother is not a job, but a status, a fact - I am a mother 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of whether or not I am at work.

This post is not about the rights and wrongs, the pros and cons, the tos and fros of working vs not working when you are a mother. It is, however, about the terminology "working mother". Despite the fact that factually it describes me very well, the phrase itself riles me - for three main reaons. (I am disregarding the fact that it does not encompass all the other things I am/do on a regular basis. I don't even have a problem with labels per se; I acknowledge that they can be a useful shorthand.)

The first thing that bothers me is the inference that by labelling myself a working mother, I am somehow saying that women who are mothers but are not employed in the labour market do not "work". Do Stay At Home Mums (SAHMs) sit around in their pyjamas drinking coffee and watching daytime telly all day? Of course not! I would be the first to argue that being a SAHM can be much harder work than spending time in an office. So why is it automatically assumed that only paid employment is work?

Secondly, according to the latest statistics I could find (dating back to 2008), there is only a gap of 5 percentage points in terms of women with dependent children who work (68%) and women without children that work (73%). Working mothers are therefore a lot more common that the media would sometimes have us believe. Women have worked for centuries - it is not even a new phenomenon. Of course, I appreciate that this statistic does not adequately reflect the different types or hours of work done by different women. It does not, for example, show how many women are in full-time work, vs part-time work etc (the page linked does go into this, if you are interested). However, it does make me wonder; if the majority of mothers are working mothers, why do we therefore even need to specifically pinpoint this group? Does lumping everyone together in a group like this really help anyone?

Finally - how many men do you know that would immediately and without thinking class themselves as "working fathers"? Most men I know would not even consider it, even if they reconise that the label is factually correct. I think they would be more inclined to define themselves more purely by their paid professions. If I were to ask my husband what he was, for example, he would probably just class himself as an "engineer" or "project manager" first and foremost. This does not mean that he does not take his responsibilities to his children any less seriously than I do - it is simply how his DNA has been conditioned to think. Maybe if there was more talk of working fathers I would be happier with the term working mother. One thing that will be interesting to see is if this will change going forwards as more men stay at home to look after the children.

(As a very slight aside, I was intrigued to find that if I Google both the term "working mothers" and "working fathers" there were actually more results (18.6m) for working fathers vs those for working mothers (9.7m), which goes against my argument above. However, the nature of the results was subtly different- if you look at the results, very few of those on the first page for working fathers actually use the term working as an adjective, but more as a verb - e.g. "working with fathers".)

I know I have a tendency to over-analyse things. Maybe that is what I am doing here. When all is said and done, maybe being a working mother is what best defines me - after all, I haven't been able to come up with a viable alternative yet!

Whether you are you a working mum, or a SAHM - does the label bother you, or do you just accept the fact that it is a necessary shorthand?

Monday 20 September 2010

My Life In Numbers

7: hours spent gardening over the weekend
29: number of plants still sitting in pots that need to go into the garden
4: limbs currently aching
2: Blogs I want to update
96: number of unread items currently in my Google Reader (down from 134)
6: number of things I need to make appointments with the doctor about (none of them serious, before you ask)
3: loads of washing waiting to be ironed
5: other things on my "critical to-do" list
8: number of times I have fiddled with my curtains in order to try and get optimal light level

Tuesday 14 September 2010

The Gallery - A Celebration

Bear with me here, I think I'm going to need to explain this one...

This week's Gallery topic is "A Celebration". Now, I could have posted lovely photos of weddings, birthdays, Christmas including lots of happy smiley faces. This left me with a dilemma. Whilst I have been known to share the odd photo or two on the blog, I do generally try and avoid them, and I don't really want to post pictures of friends and family without their knowledge/consent.

Of course, we had the ideal opportunity at the weekend. As I mentioned in my previous post, we spent the weekend at the 40th birthday party of an old friend. Much food, laughter and merriment* ensued. I may or may not have posted a picture on Twitter of myself drinking white wine straight from the bottle. Ahem.

I don't know about you, but there is something about too much alcohol that causes everyone I know to randomly start taking photos of inanimate objects. In the "olden days", i.e. pre-digital, this was the ultimate practical joke. You could guarantee that someone would have pinched your camera during the course of the evening, and you would never quite be sure what you would pick up from the developer (bread rolls, random feet, nostrils...). With digital such photos can easily be erased, which does take some of the fun out of things.

So in the spirit of nostalgia for parties past, this, ladies and gentlemen, is my photo for A Celebration.

I give you - Disco Balls:

Exhibit 1: Drunk Photo

*OK, I mean copious amounts of booze

Monday 13 September 2010

Naughty Step

2010-09-12_15-09-00_663_Little Packington.jpg
The lovely Pants with names has tagged me in the Naughty Step Meme. To be fair - she has probably forgotten this by now; not because she is pregnant, but purely because it is such a terribly LONG TIME AGO - a lifetime in blogging terms. (What can I say - this little baby has been neglected recently in favour of my newborn - I have been a fickle mummy of late. Must. Try. Harder).

So basically I have to tell you who I would like to put on the Naughty Step until they feel suitably chastened and regret their behaviour.

We spent the weekend at the 40th birthday party of an old (literally and figuratively - ha!) friend, and a wonderful time was had by all (more of that some other time, perhaps). We are lucky in that we have a close group of friends that have stuck around for a long time. However, this does mean we seem to spend weekends trundling around the highways and byways from one end of the country to another. Whilst heading "up north" on a motorway this weekend, I was therefore reminded of who I would like to put on the Naughty Step, namely:

Middle-lane hoggers.

There is always one, isn't there? Sitting there in the middle lane, despite the fact that all other lanes are clear ...

I don't understand it. I can only assume that they fall into one of three categories - either:
1) Elderly drivers, deaf, blind and completely oblivious to other people's pain and frustration
2) Total egomaniacs who think the world (and therefore the roads) revolve around them, or
3) American tourists who don't understand that undertaking is not allowed round these parts.

The last group is the only group I will vaguely consider to have a legitimate excuse. So, unless your name is Randy and Jolene from Little Rock, Arkansas - move over!

As this meme has been hanging around for such a long time, I won't pass it on to anyone - if you haven't done it yet, but would like to, consider yourself tagged, and tell us who you'd like to see on the Naughty Step?

Monday 6 September 2010

Arthritis in Childhood

I was approached by Arthritis Research UK to see if I would mind writing a blog post to help raise awareness about Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA, or arthritis in childhood). I agreed mainly due to the very simple fact that my grandmother and other family members suffered quite badly from rheumatoid arthritis and I had (somewhat naively, perhaps) associated the condition with the elderly.

Of course it is not quite as simple as that - juvenile arthritis is the not same as rheumatoid arthritis, and having the former does not necessarily mean you will get the latter. There is also not one single type, but it appears that the most common type is most prevalent in young girls. Thankfully most children will grow out of the condition, but in a small number pain and discomfort will be severe. The most common symptoms include:

- pain and swelling of joints
- morning stiffness
- in very young children, it could cause difficulty in learning to walk. 
-of course as any parent knows, as very young child will not necessarily be able to tell a parent where the pain is coming from, so they might be generally moody and difficult.

however, rarer types might also include symptoms more usually associated with other illnesses (fevers, rashes etc).

If you think your child might be affected, your first step should of course be to contact your GP, but you can also find out more information by checking out the Arthritis Research UK website. 

Arthritis Research UK

Wednesday 1 September 2010

The Gallery - One Day in August

29th August, 2010 - Gl├╝ckstadt, Germany - Probably as far away from Bangladesh as you could imagine.

This post is for this week's Gallery.

The Gallery: Every Wednesday


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