Trump Closes the Door on The American Dream

I have refrained from making remarks about Donald Trump. After all as much as I love to rant about things and this is the perfect platform. I almost didn’t want to taint my space with talk of this man. I still can’t believe that America has inflicted Trump on the rest of the world. This years election really has demonstrated huge problems in the American democratic process. But it’s too late now – we have Trump sat the head of one of the most powerful countries in the world. Effectively America is being driven by a pig in a wig…

At HQ we have been debating the finer details of Trump and his fascism for some months now. Marvelling over just how narcissistic one man can be. On occasion we have laughed, like much of the world. We never believed for one second this guy would be the leader of a super-power. We are not laughing now. One week in office and many executive orders later there is a bitter taste in the air and wiped the smirk right off our faces.

http://www.telesurtv.net/__export/1483012770148/sites/telesur/img/news/2016/12/29/women_rights.jpg_1718483346.jpg

The States has to my mind always been a centre of democracy. The Land of the Free apparently. I have to say those freedoms seem to have been quite severely curtailed in the last week. Women’s rights, both in the U.S and across their foreign policy have gone backwards 10 years. But even the Women’s movement doesn’t compare to the treatment of those marked as ‘undesirable’ by Trump.  The middle-east and its citizens have been declared dangerous to Americans. Those from ‘Muslim’ countries have been banned from entering the United States. Thousands were stranded at U.S airports as they were in flight when the decree was enacted. The ban doesn’t differentiate, amongst those effected is two-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, returning to the States where he lives.

I know it’s fear that drives this decision. That Trump has done this in some crazy attempt to protect America and Americans. But the truth of the matter is that in the last 10 years the most violent mass killings in America have been perpetrated by white men. Extremist terrorists are a concern to every citizen in the western world. We all live in fear every single day of another attack. But that is no way to live. Refusing entry to people based on their race and religion is eerily familiar to a time in our history, not that long ago. Have we not learnt our lessons? This kind of act is exactly what radical extremist groups want. Trump has effectively provided propaganda for the recruitment of young jihadist for the next few years. Instead of demonstrating the values that make America the dream and the ideal, he has shown the terrorists his belly.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-W6l-_O8q7uU/T38ofnqItGI/AAAAAAAABFA/worjn3sbvUE/s1600/Quote..jpg

 

Does anyone believe that banning the entry of every man, woman and child from these countries is going to help? Now I am no security expert but I would have said that this makes the entry of potential threatening people harder to track, as they now enter the country covertly. Let’s face it, if your goal is to blow up America a ban to travel to JFK airport is not going to stop you. Trump appears to be woefully advised in the enactment of this executive order. I can only hope that the Supreme Court will vote to over-throw.

In the mean time my heart goes out to all Muslims in America. How frightening it must be to feel so misunderstood and ultimately hated by the leader of your country. Please don’t judge the world by the example set by President Trump. You are not vilified as a religion world-wide. Most people understand that it is only a small percentage of Muslims that have been radicalized against the West. We realise that Muslims generally are peaceful, happy people who are just going about living their day-to-day lives. I am sorry that ones mans woeful ignorance is impacting your life and the lives of the ones you love.

Mummy Bloggers; a 21st Century Feminism Movement?

Feminism is a word that I have found on the tip of my tongue recently. I read more stories of women treated unfairly during pregnancy. More reports about the ongoing debate around the gender pay gap. Yet as I look around there is a shift in political power towards women. With Theresa May in the top government seat, Angela Merkel leading the way in Germany and high hopes across the pond that Hillary Clinton will be the first female American President. The status of women is changing. It is a brave new world for women everywhere and we need to stand up and grab it with both hands.

jill111 / Pixabay

Never would I have labelled myself a feminist. Certainly not the bra burning images that sprung to mind when I first thought of feminism. But on closer inspection of the true definition of feminism I can state proudly that I am firmly in that camp. Equal opportunities for all, no one gender or race above any other. Unsurprisingly I find many of my blogger friends hold my beliefs.

Feminism is the belief that all people are entitled to the same civil rights and liberties and can be intellectual equals regardless of gender. However, you should still hold the door for a feminist; this is known as respect or politeness and need have nothing whatever to do with gender discrimination. – by The Thinker-Writer January 31, 2010

Blogging has provided an excellent platform for women to share ideas as well as the highs and lows of raising a family. It has given Mum’s everywhere a voice. Advice flows freely, bad days are shared and good days are triumphed. Communities are built online providing support for both personal and professional issues. Letting all mums know they aren’t alone, that whatever they are going through someone has been there. I have received fierce and loyal encouragement from my fellow bloggers.

The rise in ‘mummy bloggers’ has increased dramatically in the last few years. Although not many are well-known outside of their own sphere many are taking on the tough feminist questions and providing new ideas and concepts. Some have developed into business owners and flourished as entrepreneurs. Proving that women can be just as successful as men on a level playing field.

The few headline successes have inspired others to take to a keyboard and add their own voices to the collective. Demanding the attention of the world to look at women’s every day struggles to have children, to raise children, to work and to mother. Highlighting the shortcomings of childcare in supporting mothers to return to work and to help change the perception of stay at home mums. Mummy bloggers everywhere have climbed on their virtual pedestal to shout: ‘Hey its not all roses over here! We need support from the government and employers to achieve our full potential. We need to be recognised for the sterling job we are doing raising the next generation’.

I know that many people are fed up of hearing the same old rhetoric from Mummy Bloggers. Hearing people say that there is a limitation in the content we can write irritates me. Most of us realise that we are never going to be superstar bloggers. That’s not why we do it. We do it to be heard, to know that we can say what we need to. Because no one can change the world overnight. But if enough people can stand up and say this needs changing then eventually it will be.

I would like to think that my daughter has been born into a world where she will believe there is no difference in what men and women can achieve. That she can reach for the stars and they can be hers. Whether she wishes to be an astronaut or a stay at home mum. Anything is achievable for her.

100 years ago no one would have believed that a woman would hold the office of Prime Minister, let alone potentially be President of The United States. Here we are on the cusp of amazing things for women and although Mummy Bloggers may not be leading the charge they are definitely giving it some momentum.

Pregnancy Discrmination: Know Your Rights

I was subject to what I felt was discriminatory action during my pregnancy with Pudding. It wasn’t done openly but in a covert way I felt I was being punished. You see when I applied and accepted a new job, I wasn’t pregnant. I wasn’t even trying to get pregnant. But lo and behold when I turned up on the first day I felt decidedly queasy. I put it down to being nervous. It wasn’t nerves, I was in fact pregnant, just pregnant enough to show in a test. Oh how I struggled with the dilemma of telling my new boss. But tell them I must because I knew I would need to make some alterations to my work patterns.

Initially they took it reasonably well. They didn’t sing from the roof tops obviously. I could kind of understand where they were coming from, after all that had just employed a young vibrant woman full of potential. Having her go off on maternity leave in a few short months was not in their plan (nor mine come to that).

Unsplash / Pixabay

The discrimination started with small things. I was suffering with sickness, not in the morning but in the evening. So I requested to swap my night shifts for days so that I could continue working. This was met with a less than helpful attitude. Despite giving them a weeks notice, my manager advised that I would have to find people to swap myself. If I could find no one then I would have to take the time as holiday. I ended up having to use a  chunk of my annual leave because they were unable to accommodate me.

On inspection of the new rota, I realised that for the next 9 weeks I was only on nights. Despite having told them that I was not coping well with night shifts. I did the best I could but after a few weeks of nights I couldn’t continue. My head was pounding and I felt sick all the time. I called into work to tell them I was unwell. There was no sympathy or well wishes. I ended up at the doctors who signed me off for two weeks.

Work requested I sent the certificate to them but no one called to see how I was. I eventually ended up in hospital, having to undertake a scan of my head to check that I wasn’t suffering from a blood clot on my brain due to the continuous nature of the headaches. When work finally called to ask if I was coming there was no concern for what I had endured.

Skitterphoto / Pixabay

I did return to work after being signed off for 3 weeks. My meeting with the manager was less than pleasant. Blamed for being unwell and told that it was my fault for picking up an extra 7 hour shift somewhere else. I was then informed that I would be subject to a sickness review for the period of time I had off and that any further episodes of sickness would be monitored.

So upset with how I had been treated that I decided I know longer wished to work their. I made the difficult decision to find alternative employment at 25 weeks pregnant. To my surprise I was offered two positions and I jumped ship without looking back. The experience left me feeling very vulnerable and I spent some time researching my rights as a mother to be.

Here are some of the most important things to remember if you are being discriminated against at work.

  • You are allowed to request time off for antenatal appointments – you should not have to make the time up afterwards
  • Your employer must conduct a health and safety review once you advise them of your pregnancy and your working conditions must be adapted where possible to ensure the safety of you and your unborn child
  • If you require time off for pregnancy related conditions these should not be subject to any disciplinary proceedings in line with the usual sickness policy. (In short you should not be penalised for being pregnant)
  • The date for enforced maternity leave is now 36 weeks – you cannot be forced to take maternity leave any earlier than then. Even if you are unwell during your pregnancy.

Women have a right to be able to work whilst pregnant in a way that does not put either ourselves or our unborn child at risk. If you feel that you are being discriminated against or unfairly treated at work due to your pregnancy, then speak out. Know your rights.

Equality for Women: Is it all about the money?

I was invited this week to talk on BBC radio about equal pay for women. It was an interesting experience hearing myself on the radio. It also made me think. Until the question was raised by Nick Robinson about the difference in mine and my husbands pay I had never really thought about it. You see Mr Pud and I work in the same field so it’s easy to make a comparison between our wages. Obviously I don’t make as much as he does as I work part-time following the birth of our two children. It doesn’t worry me that he makes more than I do. After all he shoulders the majority of the bills and its ‘our’ money. But it did get me thinking.

Having our children was a joint decision. As was me reducing my hours at work to take on my new mothering role. However, I never really contemplated the effect going part-time would have on my career. It’s not just my monthly income. Being part-time means I am often overlooked for extra opportunities, such as training or extending my role into management. Almost like I am not considered a valuable member of the team. Not worth investing in because I am too involved in raising my kids. I can see that this is why my husbands role has far outstripped my own. The opportunities he has had would never be offered to a part-time employee. Don’t get me wrong he has worked so hard and deserves to be where he is. But what now for me?

Men and women have rols (1)

I love my children, they are my world. But it does feel as though they are now the only world I am allowed to have. Labelled a part-timer and a mother. A label that on closer inspection is holding my career back. Perhaps I am to blame. In all honesty I don’t want to have to be out of the house longer than my contracted hours. Equally so I don’t want to stagnate in my role. Or to lose my passion and drive in a career that I have worked so hard to achieve.

For me it’s not about the gender pay gap. Of course my husband earns more than me, he works more hours than I do. But this feeling of being a lesser member of the team because of my reduced hours is damaging. I can feel my lack of confidence growing at work. The anxiety I have begun to feel about my job has made me reconsider my decision to work at all. Some days it feels that despite my best efforts I am failing. Failing at my career, failing as a mother and failing myself. I always dreamed that I would achieve great things. That one day I would be Chief Nurse in a forward thinking innovative NHS. I can’t even imagine that now.

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do or achieve. Do what you want to do and be who you want to be. Just en

It is not just the gender pay gap that is holding women back. How can we reach true equality for women when we cannot support part-time employees in the work place? I know myself that working part-time does not mean that a woman lacks passion or ambition. The biggest hurdle for gender equality is providing equal opportunities. Offering career pathways that include flexible training around reduced hours. Realising that part-time doesn’t mean less dedication.   Equality is not all about the money, it’s about feeling equally valued in the workplace.

What a World We are Bringing Our Children Into

I woke this morning to read of the horrific events in Nice. Yet more death and destruction. People wiped out, not due to a natural disaster, but an unmitigated act of evil perpetrated by man. I look at my children this morning and I can’t help but wonder what a world I have brought them into.

I still remember exactly where I was when the planes hit the Twin Towers. I know what I was doing when the tube was bombed in London. I can still feel that twist in my stomach reading about the shooting in Paris. The level of utter disbelief, the overwhelming empathy for the families. And the question. Why? Why would anyone do this to some one else?

tpsdave / Pixabay

I have heard it said that this is a ‘religious war’. I have to profess that I know nothing of religion. I have a basic understanding of the different faiths and cultures. But for me religion has never been part of my life. Therefore I can’t understand why anyone could believe that their ‘God’ would want to kill others. Surely religion is there to guide people to a better way of life. How can that possibly lead people to want to murder innocent people in the name of faith?

If this is a war fought on ‘religious ideology’ who is the enemy? The attacks are not specifically targeted. But aimed at maximum impact. Not the sharp point of a blade. But a brutal massacre of men, women and children.

Of course I understand that these individuals are not the majority. That religion can be a force for good. But as an individual who doesn’t feel the need to turn to faith it’s difficult to understand the fervour that drives extremism. Yet our young people are risking everything to travel to ISIS regions and join them. Maybe we are failing to teach our children morality. Perhaps we have instilled this ideology unknowingly.

History doesn’t appear to have taught us anything. The human race continues to destroy itself. Thousands of wars fought in the name of one ‘God’ or another. Each more violent than the last. All the fighters believing they are on the side of the righteous. Ready to die for a cause that they believe in.

Can we teach our children to learn from our mistakes? Unlikely it seems. We didn’t learn from our fathers and grandfathers. The generation that lived through 2 world wars are fading fast. Unable to impart the wisdom first hand. I doubt it would even help. How far the world has moved on since WWII. With technology the world now feels smaller than ever. Yet more dangerous in many respects. Thousands of threats to our children every day. Various factions plotting against each other. Bringing about the downfall of innocent people going about everyday life.

I don’t know how to protect my children. I can’t even protect myself. The word terrorism is apt. I know we shouldn’t let them scare us into holding back. It’s what they want. To stamp us into submission by these grotesque acts. But I can’t help it. I find myself thinking twice about attending crowded places. Stepping on the Tube with my two beautiful children makes my pulse quicken.

bykst / Pixabay

 

I don’t want to live like this. Pretending to the terrorists that I am not living in fear. Because I am. One crazy act of violence could strip away everything I hold dear. Just like 9/11, London 7/7, Paris and now Nice. How many times do we have to stand up, square our shoulders and tell these people we are not scared? It is harder each time.

We can’t let this war on terror destroy everything we cherish. I can only hope that people cleverer than me have a battle plan. Because at the moment terrorism is tearing us down piece by piece. I don’t want to imagine a world where my children are no longer free to be who they want to be. Afraid to speak out, afraid to gather in communities, to travel and to experience life. Living in fear of a constant invisible threat. That is not the world I want them to live in.

Diary of an imperfect mum
Hot Pink Wellingtons