• Niamh O'Reilly

Beyoncé Was Right... Men Make The Rules As They Go...


Beyoncé was right. About what you might ask? Well, let’s be honest all of it really, but specifically her song ‘If I was a Boy.’ Have you ever really listened to the lyrics of that song? Because to me, especially since I’ve become a mother, it’s a very accurate portrait of how men live in a completely different world to us.


‘I'd put myself first


And make the rules as I go…’


True that. Okay no I’m not cool enough to go there, but what I’m saying is she’s right.


Men often put themselves first and live by a different set of rules. I’m not saying all men are selfish gits, but I am saying that often, whether they mean to or not, men put themselves at the top of the food chain.

How many women give up their sports or sacrifice personal interests or hobbies after becoming a mum, while many men still continue with the gym or sports?


How many women get called out of work when their child is sick instead of their other halves?


How many women bear the mindful load of the family worry and stresses, while her significant other snores beside her every night?


I’m going to give you some examples from my own life. I must preface by saying my husband is a good person and I love him, but he also drives me insane at times and especially over this last year of lockdown, our relationship has been tested to the limit.


I’m also going to guess that some of these may even sound familiar to you too.

When we’re eating a meal, it’s always me who has to cut up the boys’ food, help them eat and generally notice things like when the baby is asking for a drink of milk etc. He always feeds himself first. Most nights of the week my dinner is either cold, picked through by the kids or eaten with such speed I get indigestion for the night.


I’m always the one who organises vaccinations, doctors’ appointments or is called if there’s an issue in school or crèche. It’s just assumed that’s my area. If it was left to him neither kid would have had any jabs.


I’m the one who knows which clothes fit, when shoes need replacing, when the baby is moaning and asking for a particular toy… all of which seems to just go over his head, as does the amount of sheer work I do every day in terms of constant cleaning up, physical work running after the kids, playing, feeding, etc.


I’m the one, who has to think ahead to the boy’s needs, who carries the worries, stresses and anxieties on my shoulders. I’m the one who carries that mental load each and every day.


Yes, I’m their ‘primary carer,’ but I also work part time as a freelance writer and have no choice but to fit it in wherever I can. I’m their mum, but I’m also one half of a relationship where the scales are supposed to me equal and yet they are often stacked against me.


It’s as though there’s a general air of causal disregard for the blatantly obvious.

Like if I drop a sock from a pile of laundry to bring upstairs, that sock will stay on the ground until either I pick it up or doomsday happens. And that is not just a wild exaggeration. There was a baby sock in our hall for two months and I eventually picked it up because I just couldn’t stand it any more.


Why am I the only one who puts bleach in the sink or removes the little food particles from the plug? These are perfectly obvious things that need to be done, yet never are.


I could have the baby literally hanging out of my legs and the little dude driving in circles around me on his beep beep, while I try and get the dinner on and I have to say in the most passive aggressive tone ever ‘maybe YOUR daddy could play with you for five minutes while I finish making dinner????’


I’m very aware that I’m a mum of two boys, but I truly believe that men are a different species to women and while I’ve thrown a lot of gender stereotypes in here, I’m going to remind you of two things.


1. Most stereotypes are based in an element of truth


2. Beyoncé was right

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