As many of you will know, I have a bad back. It can be really good for a while and then I overdo something and I am back to lying down flat on my back in random places. For the last number of months, it has been great but as of last Sunday the darting pain down my leg is back.

And I am understandably annoyed. I will take some personal responsibility however, I overdid it and caused the flare up.

During the week, with the madness of getting kids to and from school and crèche, breakfasts are rushed, washing piles up, the dog jumps on the couch with muddy paws and ultimately the house gets dirty.

We did have a fantastic cleaner and coming home on the days that she was there were a joy

Children come first, all the drops and collections are organised in advance, so it is the day to day jobs where the ball gets dropped.

We did have a fantastic cleaner and coming home on the days that she was there were a joy. But her back is unfortunately not much better than mine and we lost her. So I am back to my childhood routine of Saturday cleaning and I am saddled with a bad back as a result.

I grew up in an old house which opened onto the yard of the farm and the butchers. Nine people lived there. Nine people who worked with or whose hobbies involved animals and we walked these lives and the dirt that followed into the house every day.

I am not saying that we were happy about this but, as we all contributed to the necessity for cleaning

So on a Saturday my sister Enrika and I cleaned, the younger siblings picking up this mantle, when we got jobs out of home. I am not saying that we were happy about this but, as we all contributed to the necessity for cleaning, there was a personal responsibility to help get it done.

Truthfully, we were not given a choice. My kids are still very young, but as I picked up the second or third clothes change from where it was randomly discarded, I thought, it is definitely time to inject some of this personal responsibility into them. It is important for their development long term and that is part of my role as their parent.

This decision to encourage responsibility in my kids was re-enforced by a radio programme I listened to as I was cleaning on Saturday. Of course the upcoming general election was a topic of discussion. The leaders of the parties were laying out their stall on RTÉ Radio One and there was a vox pop. The researchers were out speaking to young people around the country. The questions: Are you registered to vote? Will you vote? And what were the issues that are important to you?

In my opinion voting is a personal responsibility

I was aghast to hear one 20-year-old man say that he wouldn’t be voting as it wasn’t “relevant” to him. This was a statement I couldn’t understand.

In my opinion voting is a personal responsibility. I wondered how this young man had got to a point where he felt that the housing or health crises that are impacting the country, were irrelevant to his life. These were the things that his compatriots in the vox pop were pointing out as important election issues for them.

We all have a personal responsibility to vote in my view. Where did this come from for me? I am not sure but I would hazard a guess that my father’s pop quizzes when we were kids played a role. For a few weeks after a general election and the announcement of the cabinet, my father would randomly throw the “Who is the minister for such and such?” question at us. Much like cleaning up after ourselves and being responsible in that regard was important to my mother, who ruled the country on our behalf was important to my Dad, and for that reason it was – and still is – important to us.

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