I am Sick of Sanctimammies Mum

Sanctimammy

Noun – A Mammy who believes that her way of parenting is the correct and proper way; judging and dismissing other Mums who do not parent as she parents.

Adj – Sanctimammious     

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‘Live and Let live’ they say.  But once you dip your toe into the world of Parenthood, that seems to change for some people.  It becomes ‘Do as I do, Think as I think’. There is no area in our lives which can cause heightened levels of self-doubt and self-criticism as parenting.  And often, it is the outright self-righteousness and shared opinions of other parents which makes us doubt ourselves.

Have you ever been asked something about your child, only to have an eyebrow raised, or a lip pursed at your reply?  Have you ever been nervous of telling someone how YOU do things, because you know that they do it differently?

We all have.  We’ve all been there.

Parenting styles and beliefs and practices vary, not just in countries, or counties or communities, but within homes.  For twenty houses in an estate or on a road, there will be twenty different parenting styles happening at once. But here’s the thing.

Just because you do things differently, doesn’t make you better.

Just because you work AND have kids, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who is working her ass off at home.

Just because you’re able to stay at home with your Puking minion, doesn’t make you a better Mum than the Mum who had no choice but to leave hers with Granny, because she couldn’t get off work.

Just because you Breastfeed your baby, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who, for WHATEVER reason, has to (or choses to) Bottle feed. You don’t know why they can’t (or don’t) breast feed.  You don’t have to. It’s none of your business.

Just because you use organic, reusable nappies, you are not superior to the Mammy who stocks up on Packets.

Just because your Baby sleeps well, does not mean that the Mum who hasn’t slept for 14 months is less brilliant than you.

Just because you’ve decided to wean your Baby by the guidance of some book, feeding Quinoa and avocado and peppers, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who feeds her kid mashed potato and gravy, or (shock horror!) fishfingers and waffles.

Just because your little Japonica goes to 5 activities a week at 11 months old, does not make you a better Mum than Jacinta next door, who can just about leave the house to do the shopping, because her PND is so crippling that she can’t breath.

Just because you gave birth without drugs, in a calm and wonderful experience, does not make you a better Mum than the lady who has had 3 sections.

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Now, I am NOT saying that you shouldn’t make an effort to do what’s best and what’s healthy for your baby. What I am saying is that what YOU deem right and important, might not be the same as another Mum.  Our priorities are all different. And that’s OK

Every Mum does what SHE has to do for HER family. ANd the only person who knows what is right for your family is YOU.

You don’t know another Mum’s circumstance. You don’t know her. You don’t know if she’s happy, or watching you getting into your car to go to work, longing to be you.

You don’t know if she’s driving to work in tears because her Baby cried again as she was dropping him off.

You don’t know how many times a day the Mammy in the office feels a gutwrenching guilt at being away.

You don’t know how the Mum in her kitchen is longing for a conversation.

You don’t know how much the Mum who has to pay bills rather than pay for Baby swim classes longs to be able to sign her baby up.

You don’t know how much time and effort that Mum, looks fab at the school gate, took to just get out the door this morning because she cried all night.  

You don’t know how much the Mum who seems to have it all, wishes that she had something else.

You don’t know how much the Mum who is mixing up formula berates herself.

You don’t know Jack sh*t.

As long as your children are fed, and loved and looked after, you’re doing great.  

How we parent our children, is nobody’s business but our own.  And what other Mums think of your parenting, is absolutely none of YOUR business.  

And if you EVER hear yourself dismissing or tutting at another Mammy because she’s doing it differently to you, lift your hand, grab a wooden spoon and hit yourself a good hard slap on the arse with it.

No one likes a Sanctimammy.

 

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I am Sun & Fun in Salou Mum

Well we ventured abroad for a week with the girls, and despite my fears and worries, it was fantastic. (So fantastic in fact that we are probably going to book the exact same hotel again for next summer!)

The girls in Atlantic Travel in Letterkenny were brilliant when I went in. I wanted short flights, short transfer, central location and good food. Within a few minutes, I was looking at Family Life Avenida Suites in Costa Dorada in Salou.

Atlantic were able to recommend it, having visited it and from customer reviews, so we booked it, trusting their recommendation.

And it was everything they said it would be.

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We flew from Belfast which is only 80 minutes from our home. Flights were 2.5 hours and transfer was only 20 minutes. We were the first stop for the bus and everything was so easy.

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Arriving at the hotel at 10am meant that rooms were not quite ready for most of the families in front of us. There was no problem with this as they were simply invited to leave cases and the hotel phoned them once their rooms were available. Now, here is where Atlantic Travel impressed me most. When I went to check in, at the end of the queue, our room was ready! Emma had requested “early check-in” on our booking. Ingrid at reception was so lovely and we were delighted to get in to our suite. We were at the poolside by 11am.

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The main foyer

This resort is beautiful. It’s clean, it’s well organised and it’s fully geared towards families. The suites are incredible. A double bed, kitchenette, wardrobe spaces and shelves. (Not one square inch is wasted…shelves everywhere!).

Then a huge bathroom with bath and shower and massive mirror area AND a separate twin bedroom for the girls. We had a double balcony and were on the first floor. Room service made beds and did a quick clean of bathroom each day and on 2 mornings, they changed full beds for us where a nappy incident had occurred. No problem at all.

Now, our room was directly above the bar and while it was noisy at night, the suites are quite well soundproofed. My girls sleep through anything, however if your kids are light sleepers, it might be an idea to request a quieter room, but you might lose the pool view. For us, it was perfect. And everything was quiet by midnight anyway.

Family Life Avenida has everything you could imagine for the kids. There are 2 kids’ clubs, a creche facility, just inside the pool door there was a huge baby changing room, a room with chairs for feeding and cots for napping babies with chairs next to each for parents. Mini-Me joined the @611 club which ran from 10-12 and from 2-4pm each day. She went for 3 of our 7 days and LOVED it.

The resort is exclusive to English and Irish families, and while I missed the lilt of different accents around me, it did mean that Mini-Me and Princess had no problem making friends. There is a huge pool area with a separate baby pool, a bar, a cafe terrace and loads of play areas for the kids. It was only a 5 minute walk from the centre of Salou, where the pier and the fountain are a must see.

The food was exceptional; The breakfast buffet was so impressive, fresh and varied each day. Fruit, breads, cereals, full fry-up, porridge… anything you wanted. (Even bubbles for Buck’s Fizz for Mammy!)

The dinner buffet was also impressive. Again, unlike some resorts I’ve stayed in where Tuesday night’s dinner was a mash up of Monday’s left overs, the spread here was brilliant. So fresh and very tasty. We had the option of booking the a la carte restaurant for one of our nights, but the food was so good in the buffet and the girls were so happy that we didn’t bother. There was a little mini hot plate area for children to get their own food, which the girls just loved.

We were half board so we bought lunch each day. 2 pizzas, 2 chips and some drinks and beers was usually around €32. Ice-creams and drinks were all we had to buy, but with a pint and a wine costing less than €5, we weren’t too badly hit. All inclusive however, would be cost effective if your kids are a bit older. Then, the soft drinks and icecreams are unlimited.

What really makes this hotel however, is the staff.

From the room maintenance, to the front desk, to the restaurant staff, they were second to none. A special mention must go to Ana, the lady who met us at the desk morning and night. She was an absolute lady and gave the girls a coloured straw every time we entered, Might sound silly, but it was one of the little touches which made our girls feel special.

But the TUI staff themselves, what can I say?

Those guys work, work, work, but at no point did we see any one of them without a smile. They remembered names. They high-fived. They stopped to have conversations and their energy was contagious. And their talent? Now, I am not easily starstruck. My ‘theatre’ background means I am critical enough of “talent”, but these guys were phenomenal.

Our first night was a Magic of the Musicals night. We could have been sitting in the West End for some of the scenes. Francis in particular was exceptional. This guy could transform from clown, to chimney sweep to Jean Valjean in the blink of an eye. His voice, his acting and his dancing were superb. Izzy and Taylor were equally as talented. They did the Musicals show, a cabaret show of all TUI staff, and a Disney night which was fantastic.

The schedule of entertainment was varied and fun. At 7.20pm, a few episodes of Paw Patrol are shown on the screen. (Cue every parent sighing as they sup on a glass and breath!) Then the team entertainment starts with ‘Download’, a virtual interactive gameshow where the kids and parents get competitive. Other various pieces were mixed up throughout the week, with outside acts coming in on alternate nights; acrobats, Michael Jackson tributes etc.

The hotel was full of young families, with most kids seemingly under 12. We travelled at the end of June. The hotel was comfortably busy for the first 4 days, but it did become very busy on our last 2 days. The pool and restaurants were much more crowded by the end of the week with the UK hoildays beginning, and there was suddenly a queue for loungers at 8am, which hadn’t been the case on our first days. This is not a complaint by any means, but an observation which has convinced us to travel earlier next year if we can.

We spent most of the holiday in the resort, visiting the main town and promenade a few times, venturing to the beach once, and going to PortAventura World on the Tuesday. This was great, but expensive and tiring for our little kids. They’ll enjoy it more as they get older, but it’s a great day out.

And then, it was suddenly time to start packing up to come home.

Our journey home was as easy as our journey there. Bus pick-up was at 8am for our 10.30am flight. Check in at Ruess airport was incredibly slow and we were worried we’d be late for the flight, but with very little to do and limited seating in the airport, it was fine. Again TUI staff were on hand to assist.

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We’ll be back

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable week of amazing family time. Our fear of sun holidays with the kids has been dispelled forever and I’m going to book our return trip to Avenida Suites as soon as I can.

5 stars from Mammy… a great spot for young families

The S-Mum is an Irish Mammy Blogger and writer. No compensation was received for this review. I write it simply because I was impressed by the Family Life Avenida Suites and the whole TUI experience. These are my own thoughts and I am obliged to nobody.

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I am Some Things You Should Know Mum

Things that no one tells a soon to be Mamma.

Please be aware that this is a NHB (No holding back) post which may contain TMI for some readers! 😂😂

If you read this and wish you hadn’t, too bad really… But you can’t say you weren’t warned!

The Early Days

1. The first visitors to the hospital will be a blur. I was so out of it on adrenaline and whatever horse tranquilisers they’d given me that my first visitors still talk about how “great” I was… And yet I don’t remember a thing about the first day!

If you have other kids, manipulating the visitors so that your kids and then Grandparents are first in, is a military operation! Hopefully it will only be your nearest and dearest who come along initially.

Most people are good at knowing that it’s best to wait until Mamma is settled at home before they visit. There are no rules of course, but in my little rule book, only go to the hospital if it’s one of your closest friends or a close family member.

2. The interruptions: You’ll just have drifted off to snooze after finally getting your little one to nod off and the door of the ward shall swing open and in comes “The Beeper”.

The Beeper is the little Blood Pressure monitor and fancy trolley the lovely nurses push from ward to ward to make sure you and baby are doing OK. It looks like Johnny 5 and has a habit of appearing at the most inconvenient times.

Don’t get me wrong. The nurses have a schedule and have to do their rounds and it’s all in your best interest, but you will learn to loath the Beeper. But it’s only for a few days and it makes going home to your own bed all the sweeter.

3. Your first toilet trip: With Mini-Me, I read all the books. ALL of them! My Darling mother happily answered my questions with brutal honesty. When I found out I’d be having her by section, my amazing friend told me all about hers in her colourful language.

Having grown up on a farm and having helped out, hands on I might add, with MANY C-Sections on Cows, I felt quite prepared. I put my faith, my trust and my vulnerable self in the care of the surgeons and all was right with the world.

But NO ONE prepared me for the first toilet trip…when you go for your first pee, apparently it’s normal to feel like you’re being sliced open again without anaesthetic this time! I swear to God, I thought I was going to die right there on the loo. It was not pretty. The pain almost made me puke.

And as if that wasn’t terrifying enough, the first poo is fecking horrendous! I have it on good authority that it is the same for Mummies who deliver vaginally. Again, I thought my entire insides were falling out.

I roared so loudly that The Him actually called for a nurse and she had to come in to convince me that no, I hadn’t just passed my bowel and no, I wasn’t going to die. But don’t tell anyone. How undignified and ridiculous right?

4. The Boobs: Now, for me, this was a big deal. And I mean Big in every sense of the word. As a woman of the Fried egg club, to wake up on day three with two bald heads in my bra, was quite the trauma. I swear to God I looked like Jordan. I’ve always wondered if I’d like to have boobs… No. No I wouldn’t . Thank you. No. Give me my fried eggs any day.

 

5. The journey home: My memory of this one still makes me laugh. The walk from the ward to the car with your lovely car seat is one of the most surreal experiences of your life. I hadn’t stepped more than 6 foot to the bathroom in 4 days.

Suddenly I had to waddle my way down corridors, into lifts (oooooh that bump takes on a whole new level of weirdness after a section!), through a lobby (carrying balloons to boot!) and out into the car. It was like running 20feet and then thinking you’re ready for a marathon the next day.

Daddy is grinning like a Cheshire cat while you shall be torn between scolding him for swinging the seat too much when he walks, and holding your ladybits in because they feel like they are about to fall the hell out of you with every step!

Getting into the car is a challenge and then there’s the drive home. I dare say The Him didn’t go above 40mph the whole way out to the house, because of the precious cargo and of course because of my delicate state. We both give out about Dooters on the road, but Oh my did he dooter out the road that day!

6. The tears: Oh tears. You unpredictable little feckers… They come in waves. You have NO control over them. They’ll arrive at the worst times. And you’ll possibly laugh at the same time because you will have no idea why the hell you’re crying! But let them flow. It’s completely normal! I’m still crying over anything and my Baby is nearly 3!

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7. The Visitors: While you’ll want nothing more than to see people and introduce your new bundle to your loved ones, bear in mind that your first day or two at home will be exhausting, emotional and terrifying. If I had been able to pay the midwives to come home with me, I would have. I remember getting to the house with The Him and the Car seat and being soooooo frightened. There was no buzzer. There were no nurses down the hall. It was just us. But we were fine.

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8. Newborns aren’t overly interesting:  Ok, they are actually much more interesting than you ever thought they were. But here’s the key. YOUR newborn is interesting. To YOU and your partner . Don’t be offended if your visitors only start at the baby for a few minutes. Yes of course they’re interested and of course they’ll think your baby is gorgeous, but while you can watch this little person doing NOTHING for hours on end, to others, it is exactly that…a little person doing nothing!

They don’t see the miraculous progression from yesterday, or that the baby is holding your focus for a few moments longer… or that her grip seems more purposeful. So don’t get offended that your friends seem to politely stare at the baby for only a few minutes, declaring his cuteness or that she has your eyes, before moving promptly on to some other topic of conversation. It’s normal.

And be honest, you’ve probably done it yourself many times. Because other people’s babies are not that interesting are they?

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9. Lasagne can make you cry: The gifts and parcels and flowers will come and be hugely appreciated. But the most welcomed and remembered offering to the home of the newborn…is food! And the best kind of food is something that can be portioned, reheated, frozen or even eaten cold from the casserole dish. Think curry. Think chilli. Think lasagne. You never realised how good lasagne tastes. It’ll make you so happy that may cry tears of joy.

10. You suddenly won’t care who washes your knickers: Maybe this was just me. Before I had Mini-Me, the thought of someone else doing my washing would have driven me mad with shame. Not because there’s anything wrong with my smalls, No! But I could never have even entertained the thought of my Mum or Mother-in-Law washing them.

And then I got over that VERY quickly. Because the first time I realised that the washing machine was going without me having started it, my initial panic was so overwhelmed by total gratitude that I even surprised myself. Now, I still don’t like the idea of someone washing my knickers, but for the first few weeks after birth, you really shouldn’t give a damn.

So now you’re home. And you could probably add 10 more things to this list. Add away Supermums.

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I am Seeing Her Heart Break Mum

Our holiday was a week of firsts for us all; first time abroad with the girls, first rollercoasters, first time tasting different foods for the girls, first time jumping in water; lots of firsts and lots of memories…
 
But one first that has been tapping at my heart since it happened, was Mini-Me’s first breakup.
 
She met a little girl on the second day. Matilda let’s call her. As little girls do, they went from strangers to BFFs in 3.4 seconds. They spent a full morning playing together, splashing, jumping, laughing and generally having the time of their little lives.
 
And I sat on my lounger, watching them happily. Happy that she’d made a friend. Happy that she has the social skills to make friends. (Never underestimate this Mammies. And that’s the Teacher talking…) Happy that she’d found a wee buddy to play with…
 
And then.
Then, Matilda’s mammy struck.
 
And let me tell you, she was no Miss Honey.
 
“Matiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiildaaaaaaa, get ouvaa hea Noiw!” she screeched at the child.
 
“I’m going for lunch. See you later” said Matilda as she swam off.
 
And Mini-Me came bouncing over to tell us all about her new Best Fwend.
 
We too went for lunch. And a few hours later, back in the pool, Matilda swam by us. Mini-Me of course went ballistic with joy.
But Matilda ignored her.
 
“Go say Hello” I said and stepped back, knowing already what was going to happen, but knowing it had to happen anyway.
 
“Do you want to play?” asks Mini-Me.
“My Mum says I’m not allowed to play with you. Sorry!” answers Matilda, genuinely looking a bit sad, before she swam off again.
 
And there Mammies, is where my baby girl’s wee world shattered down around her.
She turned around, in the middle of the busy blue swimming pool, her big goggled eyes found mine, and she burst into tears…
I swooped her up and brought her to Daddy.
 
He of course thought she’d bust her head off something, she was wailing so hard. “She”s just had her wee heart broken” I whispered to him as I placed her on top of him for Daddy cuddles. Then I did what any calm and rational mother would do…
 
I got my inner Trunchbull on and went searching for Matilda’s Mammy to have it out with her…
Well that’s what I WOULD have done, had the sensible Him not given me the “Sit you down and calm yourself woman” look.
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After 15 minutes wrapped in Daddy’s big strong arms, and an icecream, and lots of conversation about how not everyone will want to be your friend and if someone doesn’t want to play with you, that’s their problem, not yours, Mini-Me was fine. She eventually went back to play, shoulders a bit slouched and heart a bit sore, but within 20 minutes, she had met another BFF.
(Having spoken to THIS BFF’s Mum earlier, I knew that this was their last day, so of course we were destined to another heartbreak that night, but hey!)
 
Heartbreak and rejection will come. And they don’t really get any easier to deal with, they just become less of a big deal. But when you’re 6, the smallest things are the biggest.
 
I’m not really sure whose heart was most broken though if I’m honest? Mini-Me’s for an hour, or Mine? Because thinking about her wee face still makes my tummy flip…and makes me want to swing that other Mammy by her pigtails.
 
Poor wee Matilda spent the rest of the week playing on her own. I shit you not Mammies. My heart was more sore for her by the end of the week than it had been for my own wee Dolly.

I am Still Talking to Myself Mum

I spend much of my life muttering things like “I’ll talk to myself”, “Nobody listens to me” and “Talk to yourself Mammy”.

Actually, if I ever get around to publishing my s-mumblings, my title might just be “Nobody listens to Mammy.”

It makes me want to claw out my own eyeballs sometimes. Sometimes, I actually do answer myself.

But going on holidays last week, I experienced something that has made me feel a whole lot better.

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Lying by the pool one afternoon, I found myself laughing at the tirade of statements floating around in the air above me.  All of them had been said by a Mum or Dad, and ALL of them had been dutifully ignored by their respective Minions.

Here are just a selection of the floating statements that I both heard AND said at least 39 times in one week away.

  • Don’t run!
  • You’re going to fall.
  • Stop running!
  • Japonica I will NOT call you again
  • Where’s your sister?
  • Sit on your seat.
  • Do not lick the water. (This was NOT just me, I assure you!)
  • Mind the lady.
  • Don’t jump!
  • Get over here NOW!
  • Good girl!
  • If I have to come over there…
  • Don’t RUN!
  • You’re going to slip.
  • Let the baby past.
  • Wait your turn.
  • Go ahead now.
  • Don’t let people push you.
  • I don’t want to hear it.
  • Stop fighting.
  • Do you need a pee?
  • Why are you hitting your sister?
  • Lift that unicorn…
  • Well done!
  • Oooooooh you’re a mermaid!
  • Stop splashing people.
  • You need more suncream!
  • Use your legs
  • Watch your head.
  • Hear my voice!
  • Am I talking to myself?

Well actually, that’s just it Mammy Dearest.  You are indeed. And you may get used to it, because it seems to be a universal gift that children have, which transcends borders, nationalities and continents.

A few times, I heard myself.  I heard another Mum saying exactly what I had said 10 minutes previously.  And I returned the favour I’m sure, letting other parents hear ME saying the exact same things that THEY had earlier too.

Lesson learned? Nope.

Because the next day, I still called out the “Mind where you’re going!” and “You are going to FALL!” and “Stop RUNNING!”  Because I like to give out? Because I’m a saddo?

Nooooooooo. Because it’s my instinct to keep my minions safe and even if they’re not LISTENING to me, if there’s at least a chance that they might HEAR me, I’ll keep on talking to myself gladly.

And I’ll answer myself too.

I quite like conversations with myself actually. Good job eh?

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Because these two don’t hear a word I say…

 

 

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