I am Schoolbags, Nelly and Polly Mum

Some days are disastrous.

Some days, it’s hard to be Positive Polly.

All it takes is ONE little thing to start a sequence of events that push us down the hill like a big, crazy snowball…gaining momentum and strength as they roll. And it’s so easy for us to suddenly be out of control, losing direction and heading for a crash.

This morning, I snowballed. And I don’t mean a fluffy, fablis, functioning one.

I’m still sick. I know that, and honestly, I should probably stay in bed for few days, but there’s little time to be lying down when life has to keep going on for everyone else in the house, isn’t there? (And I’m sure there’ll be a Blue Peter badge in the post one of these days, won’t there?)

It was one of those mornings where time seemed to go faster than me, where everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and where my Positive Polly faltered and my Negative Nelly won.

Finally getting into the car and starting our already late journey, I realised that we’d left Mini-Me’s school bag in the house. Now the Positive Polly in me says “Sure at least you realised when you did, only 300 yards down the road.” I hear her now, but at the time, the Negative Nelly in me was screaming ‘FFS’ and ‘FML’ and ‘Are you fecking kidding me’ and all sorts, while trying to do a 3 point turn on a one-car wide laneway.

At that moment, Nelly wanted to fight Polly… And trust me, Nelly would have won. This morning, Nelly would have battered McGregor.

Then as I tried to get us to the bus on time, every dumbass driver in the area pulled out in front of me and of course it was THEIR faults that I was later and later and later.

I cursed some more, genuinely stressed more than I have been in a long time, balancing the need to be cross at Mini-Me for walking PAST her fecking schoolbag on her way to the car again, and the need to make her feel loved and fecking secure before leaving Mammy for the day. I lost at this too.

I tried to start conversations.

“Are you looking forward to PE?”

She refused to answer me. She glared out the window, ignoring me. Positive Polly whispered, ‘Leave her be. She’s upset too’. Nelly however roared “Answer me when I’m speaking to you!” Herself got thicker with every mile and Mammy got more and more upset.

Leaving her off, I got a half-arsed hug. Her usual smiling and repeating “Bye Mammy” and excessive waving off, was replaced by the back of her head storming into the room. Mammy tried to make her smile by sticking out my tongue and winking at her. Nope. Her Negative Nelly was winning too and she glared at me like a teenager who’s just been grounded for a month…

The other one gave me a big tight hug, for all her-not-even-threeness, knowing that Mammy needed a cuddle and making me feel a bit better.

I got back into my car and drove out the gate. Mini-Me always runs out to wave as I pass. I toot the horn and wave back and I always leave for school with a smiling face etched in my mind.

This morning? Well, she came out alright, but only to punish me more by NOT waving.

She then turned her back on me as I tooted and waved like a demented Twatso… at the back of her thick wee head.

Negative Nelly was just bitchslapped into her box and this Mammy drove to work in an absolute state.

The guilt. The anger (at myself). The shame.

My daughter went to school upset. I fucked up royally, all over a school bag and my own general shittiness.

There was no one to make Mammy feel better and Mini-Me certainly didn’t give a damn if Mammy felt loved and secure as she started her day. Why would she? That’s not her job.

But if punishing me and making sure I berate myself all day is her job, she’s CEO there already. A child’s ability to punish and destroy its mother, is a skill that can only be matched by the mother herself.

It lingered in me all day. I had to teach a poem about a mother’s love for her child first thing. I just about got through that. Thankfully, my pal at work could smell that I was stressed and a quick hug and a wee tear later, I was less mental and more able to function. But still. When I think of the emotional wreck I have been today, it makes me worse again as I can’t imagine what she was like.

Negative Nelly doesn’t rear her ugly head much with me in fairness. And after today, she can piss away off. Tomorrow is another day and it’ll be so much nicer with Polly. As will I.

And as it happens, she still loves me and a hot chocolate and a cuddle can solve all the problems of the world, for both Nelly AND Polly.

My Book Heroes – Review and Offer

Mini-Me is strong little lady.

She is determined and outspoken and incredibly bossy… but it’s been recently bothering us that her “leadership” skills are tending towards dictatorship.

In fairness, she’s grown up in a house where both parents are usually leading situations.  She sees The Him in charge in the gym, throwing out instructions and routines.  She sees Mammy in rehearsals, either calling out dance routines or directing the cast.  She sees us in charge of events we run and so maybe, our “get up and do it” example to her has been misunderstood.

Of course I want her to be a leader, but leadership has to be earned.  It doesn’t just happen over night.

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So I found this book at just the right time.

My Book Heroes allows you to created personalized story books where the main themes are Leadership, Courage and Determination.  You choose your own avatar for your child and can write your own dedication.

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Their own dedication reads “We hope every child sees the hero in themselves and we promise to bring you beautiful stories that inspire all kids to be the best version of themselves.”

Mini-Me LOVES it.   It goes through a lovely story where the main character has to help others solve problems.  It promotes taking steps to solve problems, inspiring others, communicating clearly and having fun as the key to being a good leader.

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It also shows how all of the characters have very different skills and talents and how their goal will only be achieved, if they all work together.

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Gorgeous messages throughout

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Lovely illustration

It’s nicely written, rhythmic and rhyming; and the illustrations are lovely.  Mini-Me loves having it read to her and she loves that it has herself as the main character.

These are lovely books and are available on their website. It’s easy to use and delivery was quick.  The quality of the book is lovely and it is fast becoming a favourite bedtime story here.

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I am working with My Book Heroes and so have a lovely 10% discount for anyone who orders through this link.

Just use the code SMUM10 at checkout and you’ll receive your discount.

#af

#reading

I am Still Laughing at these Leggings Mum

Two words.
NEVER AGAIN!

“Oooooooooh Lookit!” thinks Mammy in local chainstore for disposable clothing which shall remain nameless.

“Look at the spacey, funky, pinkly-purply gym bottoms that are fablis and reduced! Oh my! Down to €5? What a bargain. Oh indeed Mammy shall have to have these. Mammy is indeed still uber-cool and chic and young enough to carry these off. Mammy SHALL be fablis and fearless in Jim in these bad boys. What a bargain!”

Silly Mammy.
Silly Silly Mammy.

Off Mammy trots to Jim, rather excited about the wearing of the rocket-fuel bottoms. Mammy is so excited in fact, that it never crosses her silly mind to try them on at home first.

“Should you not try these on first Mammy?” says Mammy’s inside voice.
“Pahah! DESIST, you annoying wench! I know what size my arse is and these leggins shall look spectacular on it” answers poor, deluded Mammy.

When Mammy gets to Jim, she pulls on the bottoms. They go up to her knees before the bottom of the legs on the leggings decide that they shall not move. In fact, they will not budge above Mammy’s ankles. And any hope Mammy has of getting the material to cover her calves, is left wittering on the changing room floor, beside Mammy’s dignity and confidence.

When Mammy does get the top part of the bottoms to go over her arse, she is suddenly aware that while yes, her legs and nether regions may in fact be covered, she still has two problems.
1. The bottoms are so beautifully stuck to her calves, that the crotch part of them is NEVER going to make the journey to HER crotch.
2. When Mammy moves, the fablis pinky purply space pattern DISAPPEARS, being replaced by wonderful see-through white!

FAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK! thinks Mammy as she continues to bounce the bottoms up, trying and failing to get the crotches to align.

“FAAAAAAAACK!” shouts Mammy aloud as it dawns on her that this is as high as they will go. Thankfully, there is a drawstring on the top of the bottoms, (which were OBVIOUSLY designed for a giraffe with no ankles or calves and the leg circumference of a fricken table leg), and so Mammy ties it tight around her belly in the hope that at least the trousers will NOT fall off.

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And so off Mammy toddles into Jim, where OF COURSE, Mr Fucking Motivator has a lovely circuit of Squats, lunges and Bear Crawls lined up for us. YES. I said BEAR CRAWLS… where Mammy and her Jimbuddies have to channel their inner Bear Cub and crawl like fecking MOWGLI through Jim, arses in the air!

“Ooooooooh, cool leggings Mrs R” coos one of the lovely proper-legging-wearing wenches.
“Oooooooooh nooooooooo!” answers Me. “I apologise in advance for the certain showing of my Hoohaa at some point during the next hour Ladies” announces Mammy. (Better to pre-empt the disaster eh? At least then, I can look like I MEANT for my table-leg/giraffe leggings to split along the pathetic seam on my unfortunate arse and offer heart failure to my training buddy half way through my squat jump.)

“3,2,1… Go!

I swear to God Ladybelles, I honestly thought that with every lunge I would hear the rip. When we were stretching, I could HEAR the material screaming. I could see the colour disappearing from every part of my legs that were moving. I could only IMAGINE what see-through catastrophe was happening on my arse. My calves were crying by the end of the session as the fecking material was trying so hard to merge into my skin that I truly feared that I might live the rest of my life with the awful, suddenly not so cool pattern, embedded onto my corned-beef skin.

Surprisingly, the bastarding Leggings DID survive the wrath of Jim.
Not so surprisingly, they did NOT survive Mammy REMOVING them from her poor suffocated legs. In fact, they had to be scissored off when she got home. Yes. I had to cut them off my calves.

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Yes. I had to cut them off.

Lesson?

When you see leggings on sale seeming too good to be true, walk on by Mammy. They are indeed too good to be true.
And the next time I’m feeling guilty for spending money on proper gym bottoms, I shall remember that I am doing so for the good of my fellow Jimgoers, my nerves and my dignity.
And leave the funky, spacey, pinky purply leggings for the giraffes.

Traumatised I tell you.

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My Random Musings

Failing to Fail

Why are we so determined to make sure our little darlings never know what it’s like to fail?

Why do we expect everyone to be a high flying “success” at everything?

When did failing at something become so terrible?

I grew up failing.  I failed plenty. I’m still failing.  And yet, each and every one of those failings was, and is, a learning.

Sometimes, no matter how many times I try and try and try at something, I fail.  Maybe I’m not meant to do it.  Maybe I’m not good enough at it.  Maybe, it’s not within my skill-set.

If it’s not happening, I have two choices;  I can keep going until I (maybe) do succeed. Or I can be proud that I tried but move on to another project, accepting that it’s just not going to happen

But either way, I’ve learned something.  I’ve either learned the right or successful way to do something, or I’ve learned something about ME; about my abilities and my limitations. Because, it’s OK to have limitations. And shock horror, it’s OK to know what YOUR Limitations are.  It actually helps.

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If they don’t run, they won’t fall… so how will they learn not to?

There is a massive problem in our society and it’s not just with our children.  There is and has been for many years,  a mistaken perception that we should teach our children that they “can do anything”; that they “can be anything”; that they can not lose or fail at anything.   That failure is not an option.

Well actually it is.  And I’d go so far as to say that failure is necessary.

 

The fear of failure is everywhere. None of us want our children to experience rejection or failure.  It’s evident at the school sports days, where we make them “race” and “compete” but then give them ALL a certificate or medal.  We see it in dance classes or drama groups, where they audition but ALL get onstage anyway.  We see it at football training,  or where the only options are “win” or “a tie”, so that no one has to lose.

Of course,  equality and inclusion are inherently important  in schools and clubs.  And most of these societies and organisations have individualized and tailored policies and programes in place to include everyone.  And so they should. Inclusion is not what I am talking about here.

But when in general, we are not rewarding the “winners” for fear of upsetting the person in 2nd place, or indeed 24th place, what we are creating is a generation who feel entitled.

We need to stop telling our kids that they can be “anything they want to be”.  We should be encouraging our children to try and try.  We should be telling them they can be what they want to be… IF they have that ability and are willing to work for it.

What is wrong with encouraging them to learn what their strengths and passions are?

What is wrong with encouraging them to try and to work to earn and to deserve the end goal, may that be a degree in medicine or a place on the football team?

What is wrong with our children knowing what they are good at and recognising what they are not so good at?

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How are they supposed to work towards improving and learning if they simply think they are entitled to an ‘A’ in an exam, or to the place on the team, or to a certain job because they’ve always been told they can be anything or do anything they want to do?

We do not all have the same skills.  We do not all have the same strengths. I can teach Shakespeare to a brick, but I couldn’t be a math teacher for all the tea in China, no matter HOW much I work for it.  And I wouldn’t be able to be a Doctor or surgeon, because I am way too emotional for such a job (and I’m probably not that academically able!)

Does that mean I am a failure?

Eh no.

Every Irish dancing feis I didn’t win, was a lesson.  It spurned me on. Every time I saw that a certain ‘Leah’ or ‘Clare’ was there, I knew that I most likely hadn’t a chance of anything higher than 3rd place. Did that mean I couldn’t dance? NO.  It just meant that those girls were better than me. They trained harder.  They had more talent. They deserved every medal and cup they won. They inspired me to push harder. Sometimes I won, sometimes I didn’t. It’s called life.

When I tried gymnastics, the day that I gave myself a black eye with my own knee was the day that I decided I was done.  Funnily enough Mum agreed.  Did I fail? No.  I was just shite at gymnastics!

When I got average results in my Junior and Leaving Cert, did I feel like a failure?  No.  I got what I deserved and I got out what I put in.  I had done my best.  And as long as I did my best, that was enough for my parents and it was enough for me.

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However, when I have won, or achieved or succeeded, it was celebrated.  Because I bust myself and try and graft and work and any other synonym you can imagine. And if I do succeed, I am proud of it, because it is mine and I have probably failed ten times before managing it.   If you burn the omelette and don’t try to make it again, how do you eat?

Every failed friendship I have, (and there are many), while heartbreaking to deal with, have all been for the best.

Every failed romance (yup many of those too!) teaches us something else important about ourselves and the person who is not right for us.

Every failed job or project or application or interview teaches us something.

For me, every time I auditioned, and was rejected, for a part in a show, , broke my heart a little.  Of course it did (and does). Let’s be honest, if I didn’t want the part, why would I go for it?  But rather than stomp my foot and think myself too good to return, I pulled up my big girl knickers and still joined the group; may it be to a smaller role or into the chorus.  Because I love it.  I don’t have to be the leading lady to have fun.

And our children need to understand that they don’t have to always win to be winners.  That they don’t always have to score the goals to be important to the team.  That even though they are doing their best, sometimes the person beside them is just a little bit better.  And sometimes, THEY will be that person and someone else will lose to them.

When we started to walk, we all fell…

And then we learned how NOT to fall. And eventually we walked, all by ourselves. (And sometimes, we still fall!) If we keep carrying our kids and our young people over every obstacle, how can we expect them to learn how NOT to fall?

Direct them, encourage them, support them.  But let them feel disappointment sometimes.  Let them learn to accept the success of others. And when they DO succeed, celebrate with them.

We have to sometimes fail to really appreciate succeeding.  We’re not entitled to anything.  We have to work and try and earn things.  Life will not simply give you things because you think you deserve it.  You get out what you put in.

And while we don’t want our kids to repeat our mistakes, we have to let them make their own, so that they walk by themselves.

Who knows, they might even fly.

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I am Sucking the Dodee Mum

Mammy is chancing her arm tonight and going with the flow…or maybe making a HUGE mistake?
 
Mammy has been aware recently of some tuts and raised eyebrows recently about the fact that her almost-Threenager Beast-Baby still has not only ONE dodee, but THREE of them, attached to her “Dodee-cow”. (the adorable cow head with four weird tags onto which the precious dodees are attached and adored.)
 
And despite Mammy’s usual “not-giving-a-singular-fuck” attitude towards what others think of her parenting style and choices, Mammy has recently heard herself making excuses and explaining that they’ll be “going shortly”.
 
Why?
 
Fuck knows. Because let’s be honest, she won’t still be sucking at them and carrying them around when she’s 11, will she?
And really, they’re doing her NO harm whatsoever. They provide her with comfort. She rubs one on her cheek while the other one hangs out of her mouth like the fag (cigarette) of a 75 year old Popeye-type, and the third hangs as an emergency back-up at her belly.
 
I try not to give them to her during the day. And we’re down to “in the car” (if I want her to sleep) and “bedtime”. because I like to sleep…)
At playschool she doesn’t have them at all. In Granny’s, she doesn’t even ask. But when her lovely teacher tells me that she caught her over at the shelf they sit on, having a wee sneaky suck, I’m reminded that she is still a baby and if she gets comfort from the blasted thing whe I’m not there, if only for a few seconds, what-the-feck-ever.
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And so I HAD decided not to panic about taking them off her just yet. I HAD decided that she can hold on to them until she turns 3 anyway, and if they’re not gone before then, I’ll use some clever Modern-Mammy technique (lie) like Elf on the Shelf or the Dodee fairy and they WILL be gone by Christmas.
 
But then tonight, we left them in Granny’s. (Well, I THINK they’re in the car, but I’m sticking with my story…) And so rather than a heavy, dirty, taggy-toy with 3 dodees hanging off them, (one of which is split so she uses that one for her cheek), she has gone to bed with only ONE tiny, solitary, lonely, pathetic little doddee.
 
And so far so good.
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So while yes, I am not worrying about it too much, I’m also doing what we Mummies do best… I am IMPROVISING and hoping and praying that maybe this might just work and that maybe I shall get rid of the dodees without any real forethought or planning or stress.
 
Because sometimes, (OK rarely, ) but still, sometimes, shit works without us trying and we get little Mammy wins handed to us…
 
But tomorrow is a long way off and I might not be as smug in the morning…