The Irish Don’t Do Compliments

I’ve never really considered myself to be patriotic. I don’t have a great understanding of Irish history. I’m not a native speaker. The game of Hurling and the furore that goes with it, is well over my head. I don’t like spuds nor do I drink tea. I couldn’t tell you when lambing season is, having only recently learned that there was even such a thing. I don’t go to mass and I don’t bless myself when an ambulance passes. I’m no expert on the subject but I would consider many of the aforementioned items good indicators of Irishness.

Another well known characteristic of being Irish is our inability to take a compliment.

You see as Irish people we are inherently negative.

Not in a miserable way of course but in a charming way that adds to our unique standing in the world. So when somebody says something good about us we just don’t know how to cope. Whether it’s our appearance, a talent or our parenting, we turn into mortified eejits and play down the nicety as best we can.

So in order to survive the horror that is a compliment there are a few things that you can do.

When someone praises your clothing choice, don’t play it down and pretend that you didn’t spend three weeks planning it. As soon as you knew you were going to an event we all know that you scrutinised your wardrobe. Admit it.

You planned everything out from your knickers to your necklace.

Also don’t go through the cost and the shop that you got everything in. We’ve all responded ‘Oh thanks €12 Penneys sure you can’t go wrong!’. I think the best response is simply Thank You.

When someone wants to compliment you on your appearance the first thing they’ll usually do is ask if you have got something done? So the conversation will begin with.

‘ Did you get your hair cut?’

Please, please resist the urge to be smart and respond with such beauties like.

‘No shit Sherlock?’

‘ No it just fell off!’

‘No I just got into a row with a lawnmower.’

Take a breath and admit to the change, the person will follow with something positive, we hope, and again the simple Thank you works a treat.

Lastly and the most difficult one I find to accept is when someone compliments your parenting or your children.  You see in our Irishness it used to be the case that your children were always divils. This is not the case anymore. People put effort into parenting in this day and age. Now I’m not saying that past generations didn’t, it was just different times and wasn’t so academic. There weren’t studies on controlled crying and co sleeping. You just got on with life and it was physically a tougher time.  There was no social media and the pressures were different.

When someone tells you that you have lovely children or that they have good manners, don’t dive into all the bad things that they did the week before or how many times the middle one has wet the bed.

Be proud as punch.

If a person has taken the time to notice something positive in your children, take credit because some of it may be luck and somewhere, somehow, it may be down to your hard graft. So puff out your chest and feel giddy inside that the parenting skills that you spend the night feeling inadequate about may be not so bad after all. Oh and don’t forget to just say Thank You.

Would You Let Another Woman Breastfeed Your Child?

I wasn’t the world’s most successful breast feeder. I fed all three myself for a while but nowhere near as long as I longed to. I was so adamant that I was breast feeding my first that I didn’t even buy bottles. Continue reading “Would You Let Another Woman Breastfeed Your Child?”

Tom Humphries’ Lenient Sentence Is Shocking

On more than one occasion this week I have had the thought that the world is regressing and not progressing. One occasion was when a senator declared that women shouldn’t play rugby that’s it’s a game more suited to men. I sighed. Another was when a controversial young man returned home after being released from a prison to what seemed like a hero’s welcome? I sighed. The most recent incident was when I watched a television show where a guest remarked that a convicted paedophile deserves compassion and sympathy.  I didn’t sigh.

I was fuming.

Our history of child protection is this country is laughable. In the 18th century children were kidnapped and sold to America, considered a valuable commodity. Orphans who found themselves in Industrial schools were abused. The long term crimes that happened within the Catholic Church have been well publicised. The fact that there are 3000 homeless children in the country speaks volumes.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been shocked all those things considered. Still I wanted to jump down the tube and shake the man speaking to within an inch of his life. The man in question being the notorious Eamonn Dunphy. Not a stranger to being controversial but usually with regards to sporting events which don’t register on my list of things to take seriously.

The subject was the sentencing of Tom Humphries, a former Irish Times journalist, who was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for grooming a teenage girl and sexually abusing her. Dunphy passed comment that the man’s life is essentially over and that he’ll never work again.

‘he has to live with the shame’.

I wanted to scream at the television…… and your point is? Humphries groomed a fourteen year old child over months and months eventually leading to sexual encounters. He deserves to carry that shame and in my opinion deserves to spend more than two-and-a-half years in prison.

Over a three month period he sent that child 16000 text messages after getting her number through a third party. To put that another way that’s just under 200 text messages a day! This wasn’t a lapse in judgement. This was a premeditated, consistent, persistent and predatory hunting of a young girl to satisfy his needs.

The smell of privilege was stifling as I listened to people talk about that man. If this was Billy from Darndale on the dole there would be no such concern for the perpetrator of the crime. The judge spent more time talking about the effects this was going to have on the convict than on the poor girl who had to live through this ordeal.

I cannot fathom how the judge went into a room to make her decision and her mind wandered towards the criminal and not the child.

His life mattered more because he had a greater social standing?

I can’t say that without seething in anger. Our children have been wronged for so long but it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Not when you see results like these coming through the courts. Our children deserved better, they deserve better and I hope the sentence is repealed to highlight the injustice of what has just occurred.