Wednesday, March 27, 2013
There has been an uproar in Ireland about our banks proposals on insolvency plans for people in mortgage difficulties. Our Transport Minister Leo Varadker got himself in very hot water yesterday for stating that 'Some working women will have to choose between their careers and paying the mortgage if they enter a tough new insolvency regime'
Oh dear, what a very unfortunate way of putting it Mr Varadker, especially as it seems that the proposed new regime doesn't actually specify 'women'. It apparently hints that some 'parents' may have to surrender their jobs if their childcare costs exceeds their income. That hints at the 'second income', (or lower income) and could apply to either spouse, but will most likely refer to women.
Mr Varadker should never have said 'women'. And he definitely shouldn't have said 'working women'.
Because now the argument has become all about women in the work place which, although a huge part of the debate, is not all that it's about.
It's about families and their ability to pay their debts and live their lives in this austere land that is intent on running family life into the ground.
It seems ridiculous that in a country with a 14% unemployment rate, the fourth highest in Europe, national institutions that have been bailed out by it's citizens, are going to suggest that some of said citizens, lucky enough to have a job, should give it up! And it seems absolutely ludicrous that a job would be considered a luxury expense along with pay-to-view-tv and private health insurance when considering a family's ability to pay their debts.
It is 'draconian and short-sighted' as one journalist put it.
But the Bill hasn't even been published yet and not all Government ministers are in agreement with Mr Varadker's interpretation. Just today our Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny assures us that any reference to surrendering ones job will be removed from the guidelines.
Not that I trust the banks, or the Government for that matter, on this issue, they will never lose out on this. The cynic in me wonders if perhaps this a typical drip-fed leak to see what the little people are likely to let them get away with?
Although initially incensed I have given this a lot of thought.
Just so you know: I am a Stay at Home Mum with the Worthy Career (that chose me, due to special circumstances 8 years ago) of staying at home to raise my child. Note: I consider myself a 'working woman' too. I am also a fervent believer in every mother/parent's right to choose whether they go out to work or stay home to raise their children.
And here's where I may land myself in my very own home-brewed pot of boiling uisce..... but please hear me out before you leave me to languish in it!
To me, on face value, this debate is simply about budgeting and reassurances aside, I cannot see how any insolvency regime can ignore the financial black hole that the cost of going out to work may create.This issue would no doubt arise in an Eddie Hobbs-like family financial assessment, surely? This is not new, it's always been an issue and finally we have an opportunity to highlight it again. Let it not get lost in the hysteria over the silly man's bad word choice.
There are hidden issues here.
It is quite conceivable that one spouse could be forced to give up their job. Will that incur a cost to the state? There are some circumstances where jobseekers allowance/benefit may be paid to someone who left work voluntarily but had reasonable cause . Does 'the Bank Manager forced me to' fit that criteria? And are they still considered to be 'available for employment'? Perhaps, if the job comes at a bank approved salary?
And what about the potential job losses in the child care industry?
Any Bank that tells a parent they must give up work because it's more financially viable to stay at home in order to pay their mortgage, whilst possibly claiming state benefits, is treading very dangerous waters indeed.
Banks and insolvency regimes aside, I have no doubt that here are families all over Ireland who have already made this financial change, through necessity to put food on the table. Families who may consist of just one-parent. Families living in council homes with no mortgage payment issues, just subsisting on the bread line.
Some parents may have even turned down a job offer because it cost too much in terms of loss of benefits and child care costs, to make working a viable option.
I'm glad the proposed insolvency regime raised this debate because it highlights an issue that has always been there....the cost of going to work.
That's what needs to be focused on.
That and providing viable financial options for parents who want to work outside the home or choose to work raising their children at home.
And of course, providing a fair and equitable way of implementing an insolvency regime that allows people to stay in their own homes.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Well, our week of shows is now over. Disco Inferno boogied on by in a very fast-beating heartbeat. All that work, fretting, uncontained excitement and like all good things, it comes to a dramatic end. Applause... applause... curtain down - just like that. The end!
And no better day to tell you all about it, what with the rain gods doing some serious off-loading outside. Now that I've had some time to read, breathe and re-boot to recharge my seriously depleted batteries that is!
We sat in the audience on opening night, hearts all a-flutter in mouths, wondering what would happen when the curtain opened. Would the magic Show-Fairy flit along and flick the secret switch that makes everything magically come together, for the first time?! Would they remember their lines, their dance steps and their many scene changes?
Turned out they did, well mostly! Even the dance I had taught only 3 days prior worked out, and they had the common sense to stay on stage in their final pose for the black-out that wasn't- oops! Well impressed.
The audience were well impressed too. It was a fantastic opening night and the show went from strength to strength with each performance.
This cast of mainly 15-17 year olds, just like last year's cast, truly amazed me. Their professionalism on stage and the energy with which they performed everything asked of them bowled me over. Perhaps all the
I loved everything about this fun show, even running the gamut of emotions surrounding putting it all together! Easy to say that now we're on the other side of it eh?! I loved working with the '70's music and watching each number come together bit by bit. I loved watching the teens hang-out and guessing who fancied who! I loved our tradional pre-show moments for every show, like the vocal warm-up....
And our group huddle, to psych ourselves up before each curtain up...
Sunshine, Moonlight, Good Times and....Boogie!!
I loved working with our team.
One member short in this photo..
Most of all I loved nurturing our baby, watching it grow and flourish, finally spreading it's wings and going it alone up there on that stage.
Our Teen Stars ...... + 1 ;-)
So now the show is over and Jazzy mum is back home once more to keep the home fires burning and cook some guilty mum home cooked meals.
Was it worth all the effort? Did my work impress my family?
Well, for the record Teen Boy (who is ill at the moment it must be said) informed me that it was 'grand' but that he prefers the 'acting to all that music and dancing
Nothing like the honesty of your teenage son to keep you grounded after a successful run!
I look forward to our next show, whenever and whatever it will be and will be sure to read back on this post mid-production when things are tough, so that I can remind myself of why I do this and why I love it so much.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
These past few weeks since Christmas has been a flurry of activities. Every moment tightly scheduled into each cram packed day, as I juggle being a mum with housework, show work, rehearsals, essential visiting, social media time, gym time, etc; and all with the military precision an army of well-trained soldiers would do well to emulate. Phew...
Actually, I haven't exactly juggled housework all that well, that ball was constantly dropped. And weekend meal-times have been, well ..... let's just say that frozen pizza, local takeaway fodder and 'pub-for-tea' have become part of the Jazzy household staple diet. Well, something has to give when you're seriously busy, right?
And of course blogging has taken a bit of a back seat too, but I am trying to maintain my presence in the blogosphere while also trying to keep my house off the Housework Police's hit list!
The show work started with the usual excitement of a new project at hand.
Dance fever, of the Disco Inferno variety took over, as dance routines were set at home and on the go in the car or when doing taxi-mum etc; and were taught at rehearsal, bit by bit.
I ran the gamut of emotions of excitement as we got started, terror when it seemed that there simply would not be enough time to get all the numbers done, disappointment when things didn't quite come together as envisaged in my head and am now gingerly heading back towards excitement again - or is that terror? - as slowly but surely things come together as opening night fast approaches. Yikes!
The rehearsals have exhilarated, exhausted, confounded, excited and down-sized me (literally!), wrecked my head and made me smile :-)
I am struck by my total belief in the saying that 'practise makes perfect'. Well, almost perfect will suffice.
I am praying that my belief in that old adage will not fail and that all will indeed be 'alright on the night.'
I am also struck by regular tummy flips whenever I think of opening night, a mere 8 days away.
Oh dear God... major tummy flip!!
However, I am now beginning to see a faint light twinkling at the end of the star-studded tunnel. It may resemble a disco ball (remember them?!) but it's there and it's light shines a teeny bit brighter each day as pockets of time begin to open up for me again.
Suddenly I can now simply drive my car for school pick-ups and sit waiting, playing on my phone or reading my book like a normal Mum. It feels..... good! I now only play the CD of our show, to keep me in the zone and build up the excitement.
Although all sorts of problem solving constantly goes on in my head: changes to make, one final number to be set etc. It comes between me and my sleep at times. Well, it tries to but usually fails, that tired am I. Sometimes I even wake up with dance steps going through my head!
And the weird pre-show dreams have started. I've always had them. The latest one involved a scenario where someone else had taken over and choreographed two of the dance routines! How very dare they!
I've recently even found time to restart some quick catch up coffee mornings with friends. I've missed that. Night time outings however, will have to wait a little while longer.
A day was set aside for housework catch-up too as not even I can put up with the mess any longer.
I also found time to make some mid-week guilty-mum home-cooked meals! The standard weekend fare shall remain the same for two more weeks though!
I even had a night off from rehearsals last week. Well not quite a night off, we switched rehearsal nights, but it felt like a night off! It was so strange. I didn't quite know what to do with myself. I was like a restless cat on a hot tin roof, as I hopped from one activity to another, yet so tired I just wanted to go to bed!
Is this how it will be when the show is over and I have 'tons of time' on my hands?
Experience tells me that I will be bored, sad, happy, restless ..... and that ultimately normal day-to-day living will hoover up all that free time.
And speaking of hoovering....
Maybe I'll just do another show?
The things I'm prepared to do to get out of boring housework, eh?!
But first we must get this show on the road. Our job is not completed until that final curtain falls on that final performance ;-)
Not long now, nearly there......