Niamh Horan seeks to enlighten the Sisterhood

I refer to Niamh Horan’s article in the Sunday Independent on 29 May 2016. I can only assume that Ms. Horan was secretly hoping to court controversy when she wrote this. The title of the article itself ‘The sisterhood don’t like the truth – women can’t have it all’ was a clear indication that she was seeking to, as she said herself, “rile the perpetually offended”. Except really all she did was add to the burden of the perpetually over-burdened; men and women who want to have a family and thus, in Horan’s eyes, want to have it all.

Admittedly I did not see Brendan O’Connor’s show which sparked the initial twitter outburst (though I am now sorry I missed it) but I gathered from a quick google search that Ms. Horan didn’t hold back when launching her tirade on the modern Irish family. This family unit is already struggling with rising rents, disputed water bills and increasing childcare costs. Now it must face a critic who believes such units are a selfish manifestation of parents’ wishes that do not factor in the child’s future well being. Hmm thanks for that.

In my opinion Horan’s article skates too much between self-defence, an attempt to resolve the modern parenting crisis (as she sees it) and a ridiculous suggestion that we modern women go on reproductive strike. It is a bit all over the shop with no one goal in mind except perhaps to continue the online debate she started last Wednesday. Admittedly Horan does make one good point in relation to how we could use technology to “promote flexitime and remote working”. Had she focussed the majority of her article on more sensible suggestions like this I might have listened. Instead I couldn’t hear her more sensible statements underneath all the mud slinging and attacks on parents who are, at the end of the day, just trying to do their best.

Personally I do not believe a woman who chooses not to have a child is selfish. Far from it; it takes a lot of courage to make such a big decision and then the confidence to deal with the know-it-alls who will constantly call your life choices into question. However, neither do I believe it is selfish to have a child. I have a little daughter. I do not think I was selfish to have her. Yes you can argue we have children because we want them but then by that logic almost everything we do is selfish. I ate breakfast this morning because I wanted to because well ultimately I want to live. Yes this seems like ridiculous reasoning but so too is Horan’s suggestion that women go on a “temporary reproductive strike”. An interesting take on the problem of overpopulation.

I feel the real issue here is that Horan just wants to be given the right to live her life without the judgement so often thrown at childless women. She wants the freedom to live her life on her own terms….or perhaps she just wanted to garner some attention in the Twittersphere. Either way I hope Ms. Horan might realise that the best way to be free from judgement is to stop judging others and accept we all make different life choices; one is no better than the other.

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