I am Staring into the Fridge Mum

Mammy spends much time planning the weekly eating.

Not because Mammy is a super organised Mammy. More because Mammy loves food so much that Mammy likes to know what is for each meal, every day. Mammy is the sort who when she is eating one meal, she’s already planning and thinking about what shall be next.

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The Him first realised this about Mammy when he, as newly acquired Friendboy Him, accompanied Mammy and her bestie, Nickers, on holiday.

You see, whilst Mammy and Nickers sat on the Portugese balcony, munching on watermelon and sweet toast and local sardine paste, the conversation would not be so much about what we would do or where we would go that day, but more along the lines of:

“What do you fancy for lunch?”

“Fish”

“We’ll try that seafood restaurant on the beach so?”

“K”.

“Mmmmmmm shhhhhcallops” drool Mammy and Nickers in unison.

Then, whilst munching on shhhcallops and sipping cold Pinot at said seaside restaurant, the conversation would be primarily about which restaurant we’d eat in that night.

“Do you two just eat your way around Portugal?” asked a bemused Friendboy Him.

“Eh… obviously?” came the reply from both of us.

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And yet he stayed and despite Mammy’s obsession with food and planning all holidays and days out around what food we can eat and where we shall be eating it, and despite Mammy’s love of eating all things weird and wonderful and having to try the strangest thing on the menu, just because, he stayed.

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And so now. Mammy puts lots of effort into the purchasing of good healthy food for her minions. On becoming a mother, Mammy had intended to ensure that they shall eat only nutritious and healthy colourful and varied dishes every evening. Mammy also spends a lot of time staring into the fridge, wondering

1: how there is nothing to eat when I’ve just bought aisle 3 in Aldi-everything and

2: what the chances are of something having prepared and cooked itself while I was at work.

3: Why the hell I bother, because Mammy has also realised a few things.

  1. Children are twats
  2. Children don’t give a shite how much money Mammy spent on food
  3. Children don’t give a shite how much time Mammy spends cooking
  4. Children who “don’t eat chucken”, only mean that they don’t eat fresh chicken. Chicken nuggets, chicken burgers and chicken goujons are perfectly acceptable.
  5. Children who don’t like spuds, only mean that they dont like Mammy’s spuds. Granny’s are perfectly acceptable.
  6. Children are twats.
  7. Regardless of how much effort you put into presenting their food, most of it ends up on the floor anyway.
  8. Children will eat pasta, but only specific shapes… but buy ALL shapes as their favourite shape changes approximately 3 times per week.
  9. Children who don’t eat what Mammy gives them, will HAPPILY eat EVERYTHING that is put in front of them in Afterschool.
  10. Children who “aren’t hungry” will always forget this if sweets or chocolate are presented to them.

In fairness, my children are not too fussy…

As long as it’s from the freezer, is battered and is some variation of the colour beige, they’ll devour it. See? Not fussy at all.

 

And so Mammy can plan and dream all she wants, but really, she’d be better dreaming of that Portugese Balcony and shhhcallops and Sauvignon and sunshine.

Because there’s more chance of that happening, than of these two just eating what’s cooked for them.

Mammy x

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Derry Journal Features The S-Mum Blog

I was very grateful to Laura and the team at The Derry Journal for running a feature on myself and my Blog last week.

Thank you so much guys.  You can read it here  … or scroll on.

Best Parenting Blog 2018

FEATURE: The S-Mum – ‘If my posts make a parent feel ‘normal’ or better about themselves, good’

by LAURA GLENN

In a social media world, where bad days and negative moments can be expertly edited out, there has been a rise in people who want to ‘tell it like it is.’

Newtowncunningham’s Maria Rushe is one of those people – whose refreshing honesty and humour on her ‘The S-Mum blog’ recently won her a prestigious award.

Maria is mum to two daughters, is Head of English in Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny, and alongside writing her blog, helps run the family business, Rushe Fitness, with her husband, Emmet. She is also Director of Letterkenny Musical Society and describes herself as a ‘foodie and fitness fan’ and a ‘pretty optimistic person.’

She’s a busy woman, but her love of writing and desire to reach out to other mothers and fathers across the North West drives her forward. It is something she does well, as evidenced by her win at the Boots Family Maternity and Infant Awards, where she beat off stiff competition from bloggers across the country to win ‘Best Parenting Blog.’

Speaking to the Journal, Maria revealed she was ‘gobsmacked’ when she was announced as winner. She said: “I made it to the final last year and honestly expected them to tell me it was a mistake and turn me away at the door. To make the final this year again was incredible. I was among my own favourite bloggers, many of whom have a massive following. When my name was called out, you could have knocked me over with a nappy! It really was the best feeling and it was so wonderful to have my followers’ support. And it’s wonderful to have my writing celebrated.”

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Maria with the other finalist at the M&I awards last month

Maria had always wanted to write and in 2015, when editing her friend Liam Porter’s book of poetry, she voiced this to him.

He “threw her words” back at her, asking: “What’s stopping you?” “He was right,” said Maria. “I always tell my students to write what they know. At the time, I had a three year old daughter. I was a busy Mum, so I started writing about being a Mum. The idea for the S-Mum came from a conversation with another Mum where she joked about not being a Supermum. The S stands for something different in every post; Sobbing Mum, Suncream Mum, Silly Mum, Sh*tty Mum…and sometimes Super!”

Maria told how the blog began as ‘Secrets of S-Mum’ and was anonymous. But, when people began to figure out her identity, it became ‘The S-Mum.’ The blog is now four and Maria has another little girl, “so there’s plenty of inspiration.”

On the blog, she calls the girls ‘Mini-Me and Princess’ and her husband is ‘The Him.’ The blog is “mostly based on reality, but sometimes fictional or inspired by conversations.”

On ‘The S-Mum,’ Maria tells of day-to-day life as a mammy, showing both the “highs and the lows.” She stressed how it is important “we don’t fall into the trap of portraying parenthood as 24/7 hell” but it is also “so, so,so,so important” to represent real life, outside the Instagram and social media posts which depict it as “100% perfect.”

She said: “ I think that for years we were bombarded by images on TV and adverts of calm, shiny, polished and smiling Mums who were in control of everything and who made it look easy. And while parenting is indeed wonderful and it’s a gift and it’s something that parents do of course cherish and enjoy, sometimes it is hard.

Sometimes, life is difficult. Sometimes, parents are simply tired and tested. Because being a parent is hard. It is absolutely the most difficult job in the world; no training, no handbook and no boss to guide you. The fear and worry and terror that accompanies that joy, is overwhelming for everyone.

And that is OK.

“Social Media platforms do still show Instamums; the glossy and edited versions of family life. That will never go away. And there is little wrong with it as long as we can recognise what’s real and what’s not. If you find that a certain account is making you feel any negativity about your parenting, unfollow them.

Behind every perfect ‘Instamum’ image is a tantrum or tears or another 32 shots to choose. It’s not real life. “I show both. I show the highs and joys. But I also show the realities; the fears, the struggles, the tears and the pressures.

I include a lot of humour too, which really isn’t hard as my life is a comedy most days. That’s what Mums and Dads enjoy. They see someone else dealing with the daily realities of being a busy parent. If my posts make a parent feel ‘normal’ or better about themselves, good.”

Maria also promotes positive mental health, something around which “great discussions are happening.” She told how she also personally enjoys how more fathers are becoming vocal about their parenting roles, too. She said: “For so many years, Dads have been seen as the ‘other’ parent. Everyone’s circumstance is different obviously, but there are many incredible Dads around and they are as much parents as Mums. I like that the notion of Daddy’s ‘babysitting’ is being challenged.”

She added: “The conversation around maternal mental health (and all mental health) is wonderful and must continue. Parents need to be able to say when they’re not OK and to know where to go for help if it’s needed. There are so many wonderful services and supports available.”

Another aspect of parenting is that no two people parent the same and there will always be someone who disagrees with the way you raise your child. But, as Maria said: “People will always judge, but thankfully, their opinion is not a fact.” She added: “The fact is that if you are doing your best and what you feel is right for your family, that’s good enough.

How other people parent is none of your business. Parenting is hard. But it’s also wonderful and rewarding and fun…sometimes.”

Maria is currently compiling her favourite ‘The S-Mum’ posts into book form. She revealed: “It’s called ‘The Mammy Memoirs’ and is based on my tagline ‘Being Mammy, Being Me.’ It very much attempts to bust the ‘InstaMummy’ notions and advocates that fact that while we are Mums, we can and should still be ourselves.”

She concluded: “The Blog will continue as it is. It’s my hobby; one of my creative outlets and it’s therapy for me to write! It’s not my full-time job and so I don’t feel under pressure to please people or companies. I’m also able to fully control what goes onto it. I say what I want, in my own style and if people read, I am grateful. They don’t have to agree. I do collaborations, but only if they fit my family and my followers. I’ll write until I have nothing left to say.”

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I am Seasons Fecking Greetings Mum

“Hello my two minions. How are we at 5.30pm on this Friday evening after a full week of school and routine and mayhem? Shall we go to town and watch the Christmas lights being switched on? It is after all the season of glitter and Santa and smiles and joy. Let us go among the throngs of people and celebrate the official start of the festivities. Oh Joy! Oh Rapture! Let us not consider bedtime and the fact that Daddy is working. Let us girlies go anyway, to make memories and be blessed and potter around the atmospheric street. Mammy is a strong and adventurous Mammy, more than capable of taking you, my little cherubs, in to experience the joyous atmosphere and twinkling lights and seasonal songing from other local children. Let us go-ho-ho!”🎅

Mammy is the biggest Christmas Fairy walking and so my children must have obviously inherited my enthusiasm for all things Santaful… 🎅🎅
Mammy is also a Twat. 🙄

Having allowed one “OOOOOOOH!” at the lights outside the Voodon’t, and permitted me to find a “perfect spot” where we could all see Mr MC and the amazing snow, with a bench for them to stand on and room for Mammy to move, they decided that 3 minutes of chilltime was more than enough for Me.

“I’s cold”
“I can’t see!”
“Where IS Santa?”
“I don’t see any lights!”
“Stop singing Mammy!”
“I don’t wike it.”
“It’s too loud!”
“I need a peeeee”
(I had never intended to have my daughters in a pub toilet. Funnily enough, I never noticed how small the cubicles were. Probably because I haven’t ever had another person clinging to my knees and screaming “My Bum is soaking” in there. Well… if you don’t count that…never mind!)😂😜

Having lost the perfect spot because of the sudden need to peepee, Mammy and her minions struggle through the crowds to find another spot where we can safely stand without Princess being stepped on, or Mini-Me being hit in the face by a flashing fucking glowstick.

Mammy is insistent that we shall smile and grin and be merry and fucking bright, but Mammy forgets that despite the pintsize of the youngest Mini, when she decides she’s DONE with something, she is DONE.

Mammy can smile and grin and be merry and fucking bright all she wants, Mammy is not really in charge.

Mammy makes promises. Mammy makes promises through gritted teeth. Mammy makes threats through same teeth. Mammy allows her laugh to tinkle over the head of the tantruming threenager… Mammy hopes it does not sound as hysterical as it feels.

Princess Demonica takes every ounce of Christmas spirit from Mammy, throws it on the ground and stomps all over it. She then takes her Skye teddy from the handbag…Skye, her most beloved and revered teddy…and FLINGS it onto the ground, so hard I think I hear the teddy cry a little. Perhaps it is my poor self whose cry I hear. She then combusts into hysterics because “Skye is on da gwouuuuuuund!”

The other Doll is channeling her inner teenager, shoulders hunched, hair over her face, bored pout perfected. “Any chance you’d smile?” asks Mammy, desperate for some comeradierie. “I am smiling” she answers, rolling her eyes…

Mammy decides that nothing will ruin our fucking Memory making.

Mammy smiles and dances.
Mammy takes some photos.
Mammy videos the countdown and the faces of her two cherubs, who abandon their crusade to break Mammy for 20 seconds…

Mammy glances around at the other festive fuckers. All the families and children and flashing lights and smilings for the camera and wonders what she did in a past life to have children who are intent on testing the limits of twattery every time Mammy tried to ‘make fucking memories.

And then Mammy sees the other kids who are also protesting at being up past bedtime, or out in the dark, or cold. She sees the other Mammies and Daddies, struggling to carry little people and bags while pushing buggies.

She sees all of the adults who are determined to create a festive atmosphere and make memories for their children, despite the fact that the children give not one shit and would be quite happy at home watching Paw Patrol.

And so Mammy takes a breath, remembers that she is not alone in her deluded notions of festivity, that very few families are actually “pottering” happily around the street, or singing the carols in unison, or being Hallmark worthy… and then Mammy does something incredibly clever.

Mammy bribes the children with promises of Happy Meals and does the side-shoe-shuffle down the street to the car, just before the Santa arrives to add anymore drama to the Llamas.

And so we are in the car, through the Drive-Thru and back in Chez Rushe by the time the other knackered parents and their little Darlings have even thought about moving.

While the rest of the town are sitting in traffic, Mammy is jingling all the way home to do the Bedtime dance with two feral wagons. But despite the stress and #fml moments of the evening, Mammy is glad she insisted. Because thankfully, the only person who remembers any of those, is Mammy.

All they remembered as Mammy tucked them in were the lights and the songs. And really, it’s not MY #memories that are important. It’s theirs.

Because, now I come to think of it, Mammy doesn’t remember anything other than fun and festivities when I think of things MY parents brought me to. I must ask Mum how SHE remembers them! 🤣😂😘

Festive Tea at Harvey’s Point

Last Saturday, I was invited to join a handful of Donegal Bloggers at the official launch of the Festive Afternoon Tea at Harvey’s Point.

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It is available there from Saturday 1st of December, right through to January 6th and Oh My WORD guys, it is beautiful.

We were met with a Prosecco reception by an open fire.  From the first moment, the staff were friendly and attentive.  We then met the formidable lady behind this incredible gem, Deirdre McGlone,  whose passion for the hotel is infectious.   She is a lady and the love story which brought her to Harvey’s is deserving of its own book.  (Let me know if you’d like it written Deirdre!)

Carina and Sheila gave us an informative and fun history of the hotel, before taking us on a tour of it.

Ladies.  The Him and I have been lucky to stay in some of the loveliest and most celebrated hotels, both at home, and abroad. We do like our luxury every so often. We’ve done most of the 4 & 5 star “must sees” of London and paid the extra for some luxury in NYC.  But nowhere, have I seen the spacious luxury of Harvey’s Point.  Even the corridors are huge.

And the rooms? We saw both the basic suite and the Premium…each of which are approximately the same size as the downstairs of most houses.  They are beautiful. Massive mahogany framed beds and plush carpets, with the most spectacular bathrooms.

I can see myself sipping bubbles in one of the giant bathtubs very very soon. (And there are robes, which if you know me, you’ll know how important that is!)

The Festive Tea was then served to us in the main dining room.  The table was beautifully laid out and injected the first little flourish of Christmas Spirit into us.  We were greeted by the waiters who were looking after us, our napkins were flourished individually onto our knees (I love things like this!) and then they brought us our mulled wine.

It was divine; not too sweet and very mild. Then we had little cups of soup, before the main tea displays were carried to us.  I’ve never seen such a beautiful bundle of happiness inducing delights.  Sandwiches; egg and watercress and turkey, stuffing and cranberry – and I’m not talking a finger of one sandwich each.  Scones with clotted cream and fresh jam, Christmas pudding, Mince pies, Santa mousse bites, little cupcakes, smoked salmon bites, duck paté… Each bite nicer than the last.

Tea or coffee was topped up frequently.  The coffee was superb, unlike most hotel coffees which leave me longing for an Americano on the way home. This was smooth and perfectly roasted.

As bloggers most of us know the others from our online presence.  Some of us had met briefly at different events or launches, but had never really had the chance to speak properly.  I being of the geriatric blogger/Mammy variety, who invariably has to rush off from everything to collect kids, was delighted to meet and actually have time to sit and chat with these ladies.  It was a wonderfully unexpected perk to the day. The ladies were lovely; all ages, all styles of creator and yet all genuinely delighted to get to share a lovely afternoon tea.

The tea is €26 per person (€36 with Bubbles) but as Afternoon Teas go, I have never experienced one as beautiful as this.  The most impressive thing for me was the amount of food and the array of flavours; from sweet to savoury, but all delicious.

Carina and Sheila really did look after us and every member of staff that we met, seemed genuinely happy to be there.  Harvey’s Point might be constantly expanding and growing, but I can predict that the ideas of family and home which formed the hotel in the first place, will never be far from its heart.

Now, off I go to pencil in a Roseymantic Mammy and Daddy time with my Him.  I’m sure I have a weekend free in 2019.

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Mammy was an invited guest to tea in Harvey’s Point.  As always, my review is honest and my own.  I was under no obligation to post or write about the event or the hotel.  My views as my own. 

I am Singing Your Song Mum

IT’S JOHN LEWIS AD DAY!!

It’s here!  The ad has been released online with the first TV screening expected at 9.15pm tonight.

I LOVE the John Lewis ads.  I get excited and all of my teaching plans are paused every year.  I shall spend the day watching it and analysing it with my students and being happy happy happy in my job; its cinematography, its soundtrack, its narrative structure, its messages…

And this year’s homage to Elton John ticks all of these boxes.

It’s not as immediately Christmassy as I would have liked.  It begins as what seems like simply a tribute to the legend that is Elton John, but as the flashback structure becomes clear and we can begin to anticipate what’s coming, the emotions kick in.

And at the end, it is indeed Christmassy.  In fact, there is so much Christmas and so many feels concentrated into the last 20 seconds, that you’ll feel like you’ve been hit by a Christmas Pudding.

If the face on the little Elton doesn’t melt you into a thousand pieces as he bounces into the Living Room of his home on a Christmas Morning in the 1950s, then I don’t know what will.  He is every child.  He is all of us, full of joy and hope and anticipation.

And the message?

“Some gifts are more than just a gift”

Well, it’s more than that.

This is not just a hat tip to Elton John.

Actually, this advert is NOT about Elton John; it’s a tribute to his Mother. TO ALL mothers.  (And to his Grandmother!)

How?

Because it is his Mother who sees his potential, who encourages his talent, who feeds his ability.  It is his mother who watches with tears of pride in her eyes.  It is his mother to whom he looks when his nerves fail him as a young boy at a school recital, who has given him all that he needed to succeed in life… And succeed he did (and does).

And it is no doubt his Mother that he is thinking of in that final scene, where his smile is sad, but full of memory.

In fact, when we see the clip of a young Elton in a recording studio, the music becomes almost inaudible as he sings “My gift is my song and my song’s for you.”  His Mother gave him the gift of music.  He returns the gift to her by dedicating his song to her.

Because, without his Mother, where would he be?

Now, I’m off to show my babbies this beautiful piece of Christmas magic and to make sure they all recognise the message in this ad… and that they all go home this evening and thank their parents for giving them all of the gifts that they have…

And then, I’m going to price Pianos for my little superstars…