Sinead Ryan: 'It's still way too early for the C-word...'
I only went in to get bread and milk, assiduously avoided the tempting middle aisles in case I emerged with a screwdriver set and a trampoline, only to become enraged standing in the queue for the checkout.
There, bold as brass, were dozens of smiley faces in red hats staring at me. For sale? A box full of chocolate "advent" Santas. IN SEPTEMBER.
Honestly, Lidl, I'm afraid we must part company now until the month begins with a 'D'. In the same week, I have heard a radio ad for Center Parcs extolling its Ch******* wonderland, and the Gaiety Theatre taking bookings for this year's panto.
Look, the kids have literally only just gone back to school. We've enjoyed a brief Indian summer and the flip flops aren't even packed away in our house yet. I'll allow that the heating is on for a bare hour in the evenings, just to heat the water and take the mild chill out of the air, you understand, but honestly and truly, I think it's far too soon even to start discussing Halloween and mid-term breaks, never mind the C-word.
Enough, please. The stress of the school term and financial demands on parents is more than enough without adding further anticipation from children over spending into the mix.
More men should speak up about work-life balance
When a Government minister announces he's stepping aside to 'spend more time with his family', it's usually predicated by a scandal of career-ending proportions. Not so Jim Daly, who actually wants to spend more time with the family he hardly ever sees, given the horrendous hours a rural TD works and travels.
With five young children in Cork and dad in Dublin during the week, it's not fair on anyone, even his constituents who curiously tend to want the man they elected to the Dáil not to be up above in Dublin at all, but down fixing potholes in his local town.
In a refreshing turn of events, Michael O'Leary also announced he's going to be spending less time at his busy job at Ryanair, because of family life, and the demands of small children.
When a business woman or female TD is interviewed, they are inevitably (sigh) asked about their 'struggle' with 'juggling' family and work. Inevitably, their age is usually given in brackets beside their name, and a line or two about how many children they have.
I've never seen this of Jim Daly or Michael O'Leary before they themselves brought it up. Women TDs will sometimes tell you all they're missing is a good wife at home. Since the foundation of the State, most men TDs and top businessmen have been able to leave all the home stuff to a spouse, with an assumption that the child-rearing, laundry and school runs will be looked after.
These days, parenting is a joy and responsibility to both parties on a far more equal footing than before.
Maybe it will also start a conversation about how we manage work flow and functions not only in companies, but at our national legislator. We want more women TDs in Government - perhaps it isn't gender quotas that will achieve this, but men saying #MeToo when it comes to work-life balance.
How pulling a sickie for hangover justified
A court in Germany has ruled that hangovers are proper medical illnesses. This is obviously excellent news for Mondays. The judgment said that anti-hangover cures sold in health food stores were making illegal claims about curing a human illness.
"By illness … even small or temporary disruptions to the normal state or activity of the body" count, even when it's self-inflicted, it stressed. The proper term for your cert is "veisalgia". You're welcome.