Thursday, December 6, 2012

Would you ask me that if I was a man?

Kia ora blog followers! I know it has been an insanely long time since I wrote, but big changes have occurred. For one, I am now a PA! I decided to hang up my caregiving crocs (shudder!) and venture forth into the world of Personal Administration and high heeled shoes. I have just started a new job in the past two months at an amazing organisation (which will remain anonymous, but trust me, it is amazing!). With a new job, comes new people and obviously, with new people, comes new attitudes. People generally want to get to know the new person, especially if they are going to have to work closely with them. So the questions began. At first it was just the usual questions, where do you live, are you married (usually by single guys in the office wanting to know if I was an option haha), do you have any kids etc. When I gave my replies, I got some interesting looks and then some interesting questions followed. I thought I would share them with you and get your feedback. Can I ask though, that when you read the questions, you forget that I am a woman and imagine that I am a man and see if this changes your perspective on the questions being asked. DISCLAIMER: I think the people I work with are awesome. They are intelligent people who I am convinced did not have any intention of offending me with their questions. They just wanted to get to know me and my apparently unusual arrangement of my husband staying home with our kids. I have discussed the questions with them and the fact I was going to blog about this and they are in full support of this discussion. Question One: Who looks after your kids when you are at work? What I answered: My husband who largely works from home, however my eldest child is at school and my youngest is at kindy three days a week so they aren’t home that much when I am at work. What I wanted to answer: Well I just lock them in a cupboard with the iPad and some crackers and put a pit bull outside the cupboard to prevent escape. Question Two: But don’t you miss your kids? What I answered: I miss my kids heaps, especially when I miss events at school or kindy or when they are sick but I work so when film work comes up, my husband (the filmmaker) can work on that project without taking leave from a fulltime job. What I wanted to answer: Of course I miss my kids! But I think I would miss them more if Uncle CYFS took them away because I couldn’t feed, house or clothe them. Question Three: But does your husband actually do housework? What I answered: Yes, wait until you see the lunch he cooked for me today. I may give you some What I wanted to answer: What is this, the 50’s? Of course he can do housework! He wasn’t raised by wolves, he was raised by competent parents who taught him to clean up after himself. I am away from home about 63 hours a week for work. If he didn’t do it, then we would all starve or die from diseases brought on by living in filth. Question Four: Don’t you get exhausted by working a 40 hour a week job instead of just being home with your children? What I answered: Trust me, working a 40 hour a week job is nothing compared to staying home with my kids. I’ll bring them to the office one day so you can meet my energetic little ones. They are a hoot (thinking in my head ‘my kids would destroy this office within 30 seconds, I am never bringing them here). What I wanted to answer: Are you freaking serious?! Do you know what stay at home parents DO?! They work way harder than us. We complain if we don’t get our 1 hour lunch break without an interruption. They have kids asking them stuff ALL THE TIME. Stay at home parents are lucky if they get to EAT lunch. Trust me, I get the better deal in the work department. Question Five: But what are you going to do when you want more kids (It was assumed I would want more than two)? Will you just take ALL that maternity leave? What I answered: Our family is complete so that isn’t even an issue for us. What I wanted to answer: I physically can’t have any more children. But even if I could, are you really going to begrudge me 6 weeks paid PARENTAL (because it’s for dads too!) leave? Are we that mean in this country that 6 weeks is too long to be home with a newborn child? I know people that have taken leave longer than that for an overseas holiday. But yet, we can’t spare a parent for this time to be with their newborn?! SERIOUSLY??????? To reiterate, I have nothing against my co-workers for asking these questions because I would rather know what is going on in their heads about me than them not asking. But the question remains, would you ask me that if I was a man? Oh and an interesting point to make, all of these questions have been asked by both men and women, people with and without children. When I asked the question if they would ask me that if I was a man, they said, with looks of horror at the realisation taking over them, ‘Good Lord, I wouldn’t even think to ask a man those questions!’. What triggers us to ask only mothers these questions? Do we assume as a society that only women miss their kids while they are away working? Do working women still do far more than their share of housework? Is there an expectation that only women should stay home with their kids if one parent is able to stay home? As New Zealanders, we like to assume that we are an equal opportunities country, where all families and the way they operate is accepted with open arms. Clearly this isn’t true in a number of areas (which I will be blogging about at a later date), but I thought we had moved on as a country from thinking it was weird that a woman would work while a man was at home with the children. The main reason for this blog is to trigger discussion (along with the usual reason of needing to get it out of my head and onto a laptop). Do you think people would ask these questions if I was a man? Do you think New Zealand needs to move away from the idea that only women can stay home with children? Have you been asked any questions you think wouldn’t have been asked if you were another gender? Tell me what you think!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Marriage for all

I'm a big believer in marriage. I haven't always been, but after growing up an awful lot and realising the true meaning of marriage I became a convert. In August I got married to the most incredible person and it has solidified my belief. Marriage is awesome and it has deepened the commitment that I have for my husband and the family we have created together.

It has not escaped my notice that in some parts of the world, my marriage would have been considered wrong on a few counts. Firstly, I have been married before which in some cultures means I would not be allowed to marry again. Also, my husband is part Indian and there are still places out there that consider a person marrying someone who isn't from the same ethnic group wrong. There are also people out there in the world who believe a Christian marrying a non Christian is wrong. Luckily I live in a country where these things are generally not considered a big deal. Sure, there are pockets of society that believe that my marriage is wrong, but we generally don't experience any of that in our daily lives. It seems crazy to me that people would care who I married. It's none of their business. I am of an age where I am considered an adult, I'm not related to the person and I'm not already married to someone else so what is the big deal. I am grateful I live in a country that allows me to get married with barely any effort or rules at all.

Then I remember my gay friends and family and hang my head in shame.


I live in a society which believes a law forbidding gay people from getting married is justified. I live in a society where we deny a group of people rights which the rest of the population can have without question. And I am guessing you too live in a society just like mine.

What does this teach our children? When we as a society say that gay people getting married is wrong, we are saying that being gay is wrong and thus the person is somehow wrong. I have two children. I want them to know that persecuting someone because of who they are is unacceptable. I want them to grow up in a society where it is okay to be who God made them. I want them to be able to marry whoever they want. I don't want them to feel like less of a person because of who they are. I have spoken with parents who have gay children. They have the same dreams for their children that I have for mine. And yet, their children are persecuted for being who God made them and they can't get married to the loves of their lives. As a parent, this makes me so sad. As a human being, this makes me even sadder.

Why do we allow this to go on in our country? We do allow it, don't be mistaken. We could change it if we wanted to. Think for a moment, those of you who are married, if you woke up tomorrow and you discovered your marriage was no longer valid. That the marriage you had worked on and nurtured and fought for was suddenly taken from you and considered by society to be wrong. Wouldn't it make you mad? Wouldn't you just wonder why? Wouldn't you fight to keep it?

My name is Natasha Sharp and I believe in marriage. It's not about supporting gay marriage, it's about supporting marriage between two people who love each other and want to commit to each other for the rest of their lives, regardless if they are straight or gay. There is an election soon. There are candidates vying for your votes. Your vote can make a difference so think about who you are voting for and what they stand for. If this is an issue for you, then study which parties are prepared to do something about this. If you can't find out, call your electoral offices around the country and ask. We as a society are in charge of what laws we have. That's the whole point of democracy. We as a society have made gay marriage illegal. Only we can change it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

From guest writer Chris!

My friend Chris volunteered to write a blog for me. It has triggered me to think about what I am planning to do in regards to this election and I urge you to have a read of this before you vote!

Also if anyone else is feeling like blogging, drop me a line!

I have always been of the opinion that there are two topics that are off limits at social occasions – religion and politics – but recently I feel the both are becoming more accepted as legitimate topics to discuss at a BBQ or even a wedding. I’m not sure that I am comfortable discussing these topics with acquaintances or people I am meeting for the first time, particularly when their approach is the hard sell as to why all other political parties (or religions for that matter) are wrong. At the earliest pause in the conversation I’ll slip away “to grab another drink” and may just happen to bump into someone else.
So why then do you think it is a good idea to blog about this, you may be thinking. Well yesterday my wife forwarded me an excerpt from an agribusiness consultant’s newsletter which berated the Labour and Green parties by announcing their “terrible” policies. After being taken aghast by the bigoted comments contained in the email, I had strong feeling that the comments lacked any links to the policies of those two political parties. I did have to concede though, that I wasn’t familiar enough with the policies of the parties to be able to send a snotty self-righteous email to this consultant pointing out the short-comings in his research.
At that point, the light bulb came on and I had to stop and ask myself ‘why do I vote the way I do, if I don’t know the policies of the party/ies I support?’ Where do our ideas about democracy come from? Presumably when you are an impressionable teenager who has just turned 18, you vote the same way your parents do (if you get on well with them, or you vote for a party at the far end of the political spectrum to spite them, if relationships are strained). As we become more independent and more aware of the way the world turns isn’t it time we re-examine some of our fore drawn conclusions?
With that in mind I set about reading the key policies of the political parties I support (and some of the ones I don’t) establishing in greater detail the lay of the political landscape. Now, I admit it is not a quick process – nor would I expect something as complex as determining the economic and social policies of a country to be – but it was a useful one.
As I sit here writing this blog there are only 33 days until the election. I urge you to take a look at the policies of the party you are considering voting for, and perhaps some of the others. Make sure you believe in the policies that your party is proposing; this isn’t high school – it’s not a popularity contest. If all New Zealanders were informed voters and actively engaged in the political process New Zealand would certainly be a key player on the global stage.
So by channelling my anger at the consultant who shall not be named, into a more constructive outlet I now know what I am voting for. The added bonus is that if someone bails me up about politics as I am grabbing another beer out of the chilly bin I have some strong arguments and rebuttals at the ready – approach with care!

Monday, October 10, 2011

What your wife wishes you knew

I have been conducting an informal survey of wives and what they wish they could tell their husbands. This was triggered by a follower of my blog asking me to write on this topic. I asked a variety of wives from different ages, backgrounds and who have been married for various lengths of time and then collated the results. So this is for you and every other wife out there.

1. We get dressed up to go to the grocery store because sometimes that's the first time we have been out of the house in days.
This is particularly true for wives with small children. This time of our lives features a lot of t shirts, jeans, trackpants and pyjamas. Oh and body fluids that aren't our own. Sometimes we just want to feel pretty and for the rest of the world to view us as such. So yeah, we may take a while to get ready, and you might not mind going to the store in your crusty clothes, but we will feel better if you just let it happen without complaining.

2. Don't ask us where something is unless you have actually looked for it.
This was a comment made by almost every wife surveyed. There is nothing more irritating than having you ask us where something is when you haven't even looked. And not a man look, when you just open the fridge and expect it to jump out and bite you. Move things.

3. 'I invited people around and they will be here in an hour' makes us stressed.
This triggers a stress switch in our brains. There are key parts of our house that need to be cleaned before people show up, even if they are already clean by your standards. Also we will have to feed them which generally means cooking. And we will need to make ourselves look presentable. It doesn't matter who they are, these things need to happen and they take time. An hour is not enough time. Especially if you are arriving with them!

4.Comparing us to your mother is unfair.
According to the mothers surveyed this also annoys them. We are not your mother. Your mother is not us. It may result in us saying 'then move back with your mother'. But I have it on good authority they don't want you back.

5. Pick up after yourself.
Funnily enough, your socks magically making it back into your drawer clean and folded has many steps. Leaving them on the floor is not one of these steps. If you need to know the steps, ask by all means but learn fast.

6. Appreciate us.
This isn't about grand gestures or even giving us stuff (although stuff is good) this is just about telling us you appreciate what we do. It may seem small to you, but it's big to us. We are compliment vampires that can continue to do mundane things purely if we are appreciated.

These are just the common ones that I have heard from the surveyed wives. Please tell me ones you think should be included. I'll add them here if you comment on Facebook (where most of the commenting takes place!). Also if there is a husband who would like to contribute a blog about what husbands wish they could tell their wives let me know!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

There is a new sheriff in town

In every household there are rules. They may vary, but everyone lives by some sort of guidelines. I have been thinking about the rules in our household after a day of complete mutiny carried out by my two little monkeys. They are both at that stage where they have realised they have free will. Oh it is exciting times in the Sharp household (she says while twitching involuntarily). There are rules I never thought would be needed but oh how naive I was. So here are some of the unusual guidelines of my household for your entertainment. By the way, these are also rules for the adults in the household too.

1. Whinging will not get you what you want. In fact it is going to make me dig in my heels and definitely say no because whinging will not be rewarded. You are more likely to get something if you ask nicely and say please.

2. We eat food. Not sand, paint, dirt, rocks, paper or anything else that is not food. When I have lovingly cooked you dinner and you are full on sand, it makes me twitch.

3. The cat has fur and does not need clothes regardless of what they portray on Shrek. After I have warned you about this more than once, if you get scratched, that's on you.

4. Rubbish goes in the bin. This is not a Viking dining room where things are thrown over the shoulder with great merriment. It makes me feel anything but merry.

5. Please keep your clothes on during daylight hours. It freaks people out when they arrive for a cup of coffee or to drop off something and there are half naked people running around.

6. When you go to my work, it is impolite to ask my boss if she is 'one of the old people'. It is also impolite to refer to an old lady in a wheelchair as the 'lady in the buggy'.

7. When I am on the phone, don't bug me with things that can wait. I am talking to someone else and it is rude to interrupt for things that are not important. It will be quicker if I can say what I need to say without interruption.

8. The supermarket is not a free for all. Whatever you put in the trolley needs to be paid for and we can't have everything. If we don't pay, we get in trouble. And I am not running from the law over a pack of chips.

9. When we need to be somewhere at a certain time, that time is not a guideline. So when I tell you to be ready by a certain time, HAVE EVERYTHING READY and HELP EACH OTHER GET READY. People always judge the mother if you are late or shoeless.

10. No matter what your father says, waking me up by jumping on me screaming 'MUMMY MUMMY MUMMY' is not endearing. In fact it may result in crazy Mum appearing.

What are some weird and wacky rules you have in your household?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That's PARANOIA!

I probably should admit two things at the beginning of this blog.

Firstly, I am writing to avoid doing the housework. There seems to be a never ending amount of cleaning and tidying that needs to be done and right now I am choosing to ignore it because the thought of having to tidy the house for the 10th time today (no exaggeration) is making me want to scream.

Secondly. I am a rather paranoid person. I know this and I know some of them are weird. But through sharing some of the crazy in my head, maybe I can become a bit less paranoid.

Welcome to the crazy mind of Tasha Sharp. Please fasten your seatbeats and keep all pointing and laughing to a minimum. Here is the weird paranoid section of my crazy brain...

When I work on night shift at the rest home I worry when I am walking around the complex alone that people will break in and I will have to protect everyone. This has resulted in me carrying my torch like a baton and thinking to myself that I will be able to beat them with it. I know this is unrealistic as the place is like Fort Knox and also I am kinda little so chances are I would be as effective as a bikini for an Eskimo, but the fear is there.

When my husband is away overnight, I sleep with a bat next to the bed for similar reasons as stated above. Seriously, where did all this crazy break in paranoia come from?

A man left a bag outside the check in area at the airport and walked away for about 5 minutes and I was SURE he was trying to blow up the airport. It turns out he was just helping his friends with their luggage but still I had considered running and screaming from the building. Not reporting the bag, no that would be embarrassing if I was wrong, but running and screaming seems WAY more logical.

When my sister's credit card didn't work online when we were ordering pizza and the pizza place asked for her credit card over the phone, I freaked out. In fact I had to resist grabbing the phone and yelling at the poor pizza person about WHY they wanted all that information and would we get a receipt and surely they didn't NEED all the details of the card. I know that they just needed us to pay for the pizza and it was way more convenient, but didn't stop me acting like a crazed lady.

I will go for a walk at night by myself around our street but will not go into the garage in the dark in case there is a crazed murderer in there. Because obviously the most logical place for a crazed murderer is in my messy, cold garage. This also goes for public toilets after 5pm. Yes even in summer.

After watching 'Toy story 3' I was so worried that one of my son's toys would feel abandoned that I hunted for two hours for it. And I feel worse if it is one of the toys from the movie. The rational part of my brain knows this is ridiculous but if you have seen that movie you will understand.

And my craziest paranoia?

I have a zombie apocalypse plan. And have had one since 2002. I didn't have a natural disaster plan until after the Christchurch earthquake but am pretty convinced zombies are a real possibility. And we will be ready.

Yes I know I am crazy. But at least I'm not paranoid about that.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

When cellphone users go bad

My cellphone is broken. It had a horrible encounter with a glass of water and my two year old and now is broken. I am getting it repaired but for now I am out of the cellular world. And the funny thing is that I don't actually care. It may be different if I didn't have a landline and Facebook but not having a cellphone is not bothering me in the slightest.

This lack of cellular contact combined with going out and about with various visitors over the past fortnight has allowed me to observe from the outside the crazy places and ways people use their cellphones. So sit back, relax and enjoy.

I was at the airport on Saturday and needed to go to the toilet. Imagine my surprise when a lady walked into the toilets and was talking on her cellphone, then walked into a stall and KEPT TALKING! After I had thrown up a little in my mouth I started laughing so much that people were concerned. WHY WOULD YOU TALK ON YOUR CELLPHONE WHILE GOING TO THE TOILET?! I cannot think of a single instance where a conversation could not wait until I was out of the toilet. And what about the poor person on the other end? There are things you don't need to share with your family and friends!

I was buying coffees on Saturday (before the traumatic toilet incident) and there was a man ordering food while talking on his phone. This was holding up the line and was making me angry. Talking on your phone and treating check out people like crap by using hand gestures and grunts is RUDE! What could be so important that the conversation could not wait while you ordered your food? I'm thinking that if it was that much of an emergency that maybe food should be the last thing on your mind. And think about the other people that are waiting while you talk on your phone! Step aside and let the polite people use their words to order!

I am not sure if this is a new thing or not but why do people scream in their phones? I thought this was just reserved for old people (Nana Ross used to do this and it was endearing) but I have noticed people of all ages doing this. The most annoying places are on public transport because you can't escape. I have learned more about random strangers than I know about my own husband. There are some things that should be texted or not spoken about. Please don't scream down your cellphone about your latest conquest on the bus. Think of the children!

And my personal favourite?

I was at the mall the other day eating McDonalds and saw a group of adults all sitting around a table. The funny part? They were all on their phones! What a way to connect with people! I have an aversion to people talking on their phone while eating. Unless there is an emergency don't talk on your phone while you are meant to be talking with real living people. I'm sure that if I was at that table and wasn't talking on my phone I would feel incredibly left out.

Technology has allowed us to keep in contact with people we would otherwise not be able to contact without a significant time delay. But I wonder if cellphones have actually made us ruder as a people? We seem to have forgotten basic manners (don't talk on the toilet, sharing your personal life with a busload of people is a bit skanky, ignoring people is rude etc) and have become somewhat isolated in our own little technology worlds. Also some things can wait! Instant contact isn't necessary. It is handy if there is an emergency but honestly how many things can't wait until you are somewhere appropriate to be conducting a private conversation?

So let me know what is your craziest cellphone story?