Friday, 22 August 2014

Housework: Who will give first?

My house is a mess.

It's embarrassing to admit; this isn't the first time I've written this.  In fact, it's a recurring theme.

I'd like to say I'm house proud and that my home is warm and welcoming and smells of freshly baked bread.  I'd be lying.  It is warm and welcoming, but smells of stale plates and craziness.

However nobody other than me every does anything.  And I work full time too - so I'd argue it's not just my job.

True, it's summer holidays right now, so I could be a perfect housewife during this time.  But I didn't spend years at uni and years at work to then spend my well-earned time off cooking and cleaning for everyone else.

Also, I write in my holidays, so it's not exactly 'time off'.

I have asked and asked and asked.  Both my kids and my OH just walk away thinking they're too important to help.  And it's always me who relents when I find the house unbearable.

How do I get them to help?

Do I have to hold out?  Just leave the stinking mess until one of them takes over?  Do I stubbornly just act the same as them?

I know one thing: I've had enough.

Darel Pace is the bestselling author of BROKEN DREAMS & BOTTOM LINES available on Amazon and in bookshops world wide.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Women, feminism, rights and the 21st Century

Yesterday I found a hashtag trend called 'women against feminism'; I choked on my coffee.

Don't get me wrong; I am no militant, dungaree wearing, tie-dyed, burned my bra, man hater.  I don't want revenge on men.  I don't want special treatment.  However I also don't believe that's what feminism means other than to the same kind of people who believe all Muslims are bad, free health care is stupid, and that God really can have watched us for the last uncountable amount of years and hasn't got upset enough to intervene.

But then, perhaps he got bored and wandered off because there was far too much idiocy down here.

This kind of attitude scares me.  What women believe that equal rights are NOT worth fighting for?  Are these women that know already they're too shit to be equal and they're scared someone might notice if they actually take some responsibility?  Are these women too stupid to know what the word feminism means and have accidentally got it confused with an illness?  Or do they actually want other people to decide what they are meant to be like?

I clicked and read some of the Tweets, and found even more than I expected.

So the first is a girl with her tits out and who cannot spell 'young' who is criticising three women who declare on their t-shirts, 'this is what feminism looks like'.   I would say this is evidence that she is a bigger problem for women's rights than most men.  This shows women of all races, sizes and looks are feminist - but if she's only going to judge on attractiveness perhaps she needs to start with herself.  I feel sorry for her; she's obviously confused.  Somehow she has got the impression that ALL feminists don't care about appearance. Perhaps if she stopped doing her make up and read more widely she would learn differently.

This one sounds better - until I read the linked file!  She argues that men fix cars and women do the laundry and that's what makes the world go around.  That seems to be a very simple and childish view of the world.  I like the principle of sharing, but surely that should be less about gender and more about personal, individual skills?  What about all those female military engineers?  Should they hand their cars to their house husbands for mending and head straight to the laundry when they get home?

I have only one thing to say about this one: So feminism must be working then as we could say the same about men with unlimited power...

Finally, well put!  I think I might follow @notofeminism.  Beautiful sarcasm at its best!

Darel Pace is the bestselling author of BROKEN DREAMS AND BOTTOM LINES, available on Amazon and in bookshops.  

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Real Women's Bodies exposed

Stumbling round on the internet yesterday, I found an article on the Huffpost about a photography exhibition of women's bodies.  But these are not models, and nor are the airbrushed.  They are real women's bodies simply shot in all their beauty.  It is definitely worth sharing!

Huffpost Women

The photography is part of an exhibition called Expose: Shedding Light on Collective Beauty.

Photographer Liora K explained on Huffpost:

What I really wanted the women to get out of our time (how ever brief) together was that they were IMPORTANT. That their bodies deserved to be seen, that what they perceive as faults are simply THEM, and are neither right nor wrong. That showing their bodies won’t innately cause them harm. That their breasts won’t cause damage to those around them, or their bellies or thighs either. That their nudity, while making them vulnerable, does not make them at fault. And that lastly, their bodies are their vehicles through life, and to treat them with kindness. I hope that came across.

I thought all these pictures were beautiful and the women looked happy.  That makes this a great exhibition I wanted to share.  After my daughter ratted me out recently by saying, "How can you expect me to love my body if you don't love yours." I intend fully to love all my womanliness.

Check out the full Expose: Shedding Light on Collective Beauty exhibition.

There's last years exhibition too.

Darel Pace (The New Cinders) is the best selling author of Broken Dreams and Bottom Lines, available on Amazon and in some bookshops.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Kutcher or Kunis? Which one is CRAZY? Dispelling the myths of childbirth

Parentdish have an article today about how Ashton Kutcher (swoon) wants to protect Mila Kunis's small frame from too much pain in childbirth.  Okay - he's sounding perfect, I know.

Associated with this article are loads of quotes from other celeb-mums who proclaim amazing, awesome, zen-like experiences during childbirth.


Now, I don't want to destroy the impression that women's bodies are amazing; they are.  We can grow a baby around 1/10 of our size and push it out through a small hole designed to dilate when the key moment (eh hem, hours) comes.  Seriously unbelievable stuff.

And I might be wrong, but for me it wasn't amazing.  It was a war-like experience in a day.  My body was torn inside out by another human being fighting to escape it.  Haven't you seen Alien?  There's nothing easy about this.

I feel proud to have managed this.  I am in awe of my body and my babies.  I would love to do it again.  It was a lot of things, but words relating to pleasure don't measure up in my experience.

The pain was unlike anything I can describe; it felt like my insides were being wrung out by a mangle.  It went on and on (and on and on) like the final torturous sequence of The Clockwork Orange.  I was more tired than if I'd managed three Glastonbury Festivals back to back.   I was beaten up and broken by the end of it and ready to be nursed back to health.

That's when the real work started.

The truth is I don't want to put anyone off; having a family is a privilege and it is special beyond anything else.  But I do believe women should be more careful how they describe their experience as it makes new mums feel inadequate and under prepared.  We need to remove the competition from mothering and introduce some friendly support.  After all, we have survived something we have in common, and some team spirit would help us all through the tough times.

Darel Pace is the author of bestselling novel, Broken Dreams and Bottom Lines, available on Amazon and in some book shops.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Summer swimwear: How to find the perfect bikini, or, how to not die of embarrassment

In a few days' time I will be lying on the beach on holiday.  Or by the pool.  In my mind I will look like one of the women from Sex and The City; I will be elegant, with flowing chiffon and a bronzed body in my bikini.

In reality I will look like a sausage which has been wrapped in patterned lycra.

And it was this thought which had me in floods of tears in the Top Shop changing room last week.  In fact, the moment was soooooo traumatic, it has taken till now to find the courage to write about it.  I looked in the mirror wearing a high waisted 50s style bikini recommended for my curvy body type and sobbed.  I had curves where there was meant to be smooths and smooths where there was meant to be curves.

How is it that the lycra is strong enough to flatten my chest but so weak it cannot hold in my tummy or hip pouches?

I needed a double dose of Gok Wan to get me through the fiasco.  My daughter was happily trying on clothes in the cubicle next to me; there was no way I could let her know I was crying.  So I changed back, put my sunnies on, and left the shop without buying anything.

My daughter then had a go at me for being a bad role model: "How can you expect me to love my body when you don't love yours?"

And she's right.

And more importantly, why does it matter?

I am not the world's best housewife, but knowing that does not make me cry.

I am rubbish at gardening, but this also doesn't make me cry.

I am clever, funny, successful in my career, and yet a small lycra garment will make me cry.

I am loved by family, friends, my OH - all of whom love me for who I am - yet that stupid lilac lycra made me feel worthless.

What is it with us women that our body image is more powerful than any other kind of self-judgement?

My stubborn streak has now kicked in.  I will be wearing my new Matalan bikini with pride on the beach.  My stretch marks will be on show, as will my tanned legs and my smile so not all is bad.  I will NOT be wearing the recommended style bikini - I will be wearing one which I like and feels comfortable.  I will not be judging myself by my thinness or my style - neither of those things have got me my friends, loved ones, family or my job.

Instead I will judge myself by how much I enjoy each day, my friend's company, and the learning experience of travelling somewhere new; a place with culture, beauty and adventure.

And I will judge myself by how much I am missed by those who await my safe return.

Darel Pace is the author of Broken Dreams and Bottom Lines available now on Amazon.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Weddings: Tradition or True Love?

The storms on Saturday were a fitting metaphor for the day.  My OH and I went to his friend's wedding.  It was a pretty ceremony, the dress was beautiful and the company was fun.

In fact, I think it was perhaps too fun - my early hours of the morning fall-into-bed wasn't without the knowledge that it had all gone too far; wayyyyy toooo far.  I couldn't speak anymore; the taxi drive was a moment of mentally holding on for fear of not being able to sit up without assistance and I was already aware that Sunday was going to hurt really badly.

But as pretty and fun as it was, it wasn't without incident or comment.

I'm not going to share here.  Honestly, I'm not.  She's a great friend to OH and I am not going to wash her laundry without her permission.  But it has got me thinking.  My next novel has a lot of wedding related moments and I wonder whether we (women) really want them to be romantic?

Should these moments be the gushy, fairytale like moments?  Or should they be filled with raucous relatives not seen in decades until they smash the cake with a drunken dance move gone wrong?  Should the wedding be filled with true love or cynicism that it was too fast?  To cover insecurities?  For money?  Or all the other rumours we hear in the run up to such occasions?

It is just me who doesn't like weddings?  Or do others feel the same?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Cleaning and decorating or TV?

It's the Easter holidays; I've been waiting for this for ages.  Fucking ages. Well - six weeks actually; but I have worked really hard.  Really hard.

And now it's the holidays and I have lots to do:
-Cleaning the house
-Packing up boxes for storage, charity or the tip
-Admin for school, writing and home
-Catching up with friends and family
-Trips with my children

And that's the list without even thinking about the amount of writing I want to do.

But as I sit here, I'm wondering how much I will really get done.  Will I round off the holidays in a tidy and beautiful home, typing away happily and well rested for the term ahead?

Or will I round off the holidays sat on this sofa, still in my onesie, worrying abut all the jobs I need to do and not having done any of them?

Bet now.