02 August, 2021

Microblog Monday Miscellany

I read some comments on Fbk this morning, and thought, "that's what I'm going to post about." Now I either cannot find the post or when I read it, completely failed to get the inspiration that came to me about 12 hours ago! Sorry. 

I've seen that in the last week it has been International Auntie's Day, International Childfree Day, and International Friendship Day. Pick one or all of those, and celebrate yourself, and everyone here. Yay, you!  Aunties are awesome, coming to acceptance of a No Kidding or childfree life is awesome, and friendship is what keeps us all going. I thank you for that.

Yesterday, one of NZ's athletes won her fourth consecutive Olympic medal in her event in her fourth or maybe fifth Olympics. I was thrilled for her. But between the Rio Olympics and now Tokyo, she has had two children. And she's been away from them training. So of course, everything she spoke about was about her kids. She then mentioned though that her bronze medal was so much more special than either of her two golds or her silver from previous Olympics. Personally, I doubt she'd have preferred a bronze if she hadn't already had two golds (and a silver!). I understand that the effort required to get back to international standards, whilst raising two children, would have been huge. Enormous. I know that. And even when she said that before she had children, she was 100% selfish, I knew that she probably meant that she had been single-minded on her sport. That's how she won her golds. But I really wish she'd used the phrase "single-minded" rather than "totally selfish." Because her use of "selfish" just criticises or demeans all those athletes who aren't parents. More than half her Olympic team-mates. And really, aren't all high-achieving athletes single-minded? They have to be to reach their very high standards. It is what the rest of us expect of them. So it's not a negative thing. It is something we praise - at least during the Olympics. I just really wish people wouldn't fall back on the old trope that not having children means you must be selfish. It's lazy, it's unkind, and it doesn't tell the full story. Grrrr.

On the bright side, another team of NZ women won a gold medal, and delighted everyone by not only their skill and hard work, but their sincerity, their humour, and their camaraderie. They showed the very best of a group of women working together, they loved each other and each other's families (with children and without), they and reminded everyone that women don't have to be on one side or the other of the "mother divide." That made me smile.


  1. Attempting a comment again after many unsuccessful attempts. Totally agree with your assessment that words matter. Single minded is the much more appropriate terminology…

    fingers crossed this comment makes it through..

  2. What a difference word choice can make. "Single minded" is such a better description of her previous focus on sports compared to "totally selfish." Using "single minded" to describe oneself doesn't throw judgement at other groups.

    I really hate anything that perpetuates the idea that having kids is selfless and not having kids is selfish, especially since my experience with so many people has been just the opposite!

  3. Ugh... that "S" word! Lots of chatter and questions by the TV commentators about various athletes recently having babies and "how has that changed you?" Damian Warner, who won the decathlon, said there was no doubt that having his son completely changed his motivation and helped him to focus better. They showed his son wearing a onesie that said "I'm Daddy's Gold Medal." He WAS cute, but it got pretty monotonous after a while...!

    1. I watched him (with admiration)in the decathlon, but thankfully didn't have to hear all of that!

  4. I really hate the word "selfish." Because it's so subjective, you know? LOVE your last paragraph. I love women supporting women and the idea of leaving the "mother divide" behind.