Rushe to Raise from Home!

It’s that time of year again. Rushe to Raise is back!

Everything might be different this year, but Emmet and I are still running their annual Christmas Movie fundraiser… However this year, we are moving it online, with all proceeds going to the Jack and Jill Foundation. 

Usually, hundreds of families and friends meet at Century Cinema to ring in the festive season with the our wee family.  Over the last three years, we’ve shown The Polar Express, Santa Claus The Movie and last year, who could forget the rascality of The Grinch?

But this year, we are simply asking that you join us, VIRTUALLY, to watch your favourite Christmas movie, from the comfort of your own home.

 Anyone anywhere can join in. 

 Simply choose YOUR favourite Christmas movie, donate, take a photo/selfie and post it on your social media using the hashtag #rushetoraise.  Remember to tell us what you are watching too! 

 The photo can be of your family/housemates, of your telly, of the hot chocolate you’re drinking… as long as it’s Christmassy!  

And of course, you can also take part and donate without sharing on social media.  Every little helps.

We are gutted that we can’t meet as usual this year to enjoy the atmosphere, but obviously, an event is impossible.  So instead, we are hoping to flood social media with images of smiling faces and in doing so, to raise much needed funds and awareness for the Jack and Jill Foundation. 

Jack and Jill provides families with nursing care, support and end of life care, to babies and young children.  So many families around Ireland and indeed here in Donegal, have needed, currently need and unfortunately will need the services of this incredible charity. We only hope that we can help them, even in a small way, in the amazing and important work they do.

  Rushe to Raise is always a wonderful family occasion and many people see it as part of their annual tradition now.  We can’t wait for 2021 to bring it back to the town and to celebrate together, but this year, we will celebrate together, apart.

Usually, tickets to our event are €10 per person.  Obviously in the current climate, we could never specify an amount. It’s been a tough year for everyone.  Every donation, no matter how much, will help.  €16 provides ONE HOUR of care to a family, so that might be a guide to people who can donate.   We truly will be grateful to everyone who joins in.

Rushe to Raise will take place on Sunday 29th November and you can post and tag anytime that day. 

 Make it an occasion. 

Dress up. Stay in your Pjs. Have popcorn and hot chocolate. Light the fire.

But most importantly,  enjoy!

We can’t wait to see your smiles and movie choices on the 29th.  Don’t forget the #RushetoRaise

Lots of Love,

Maria, Emmet and our girls.

Teenagers – Thank You.

“HOW do you work with teenagers?”

I get asked this quite a bit.

My answer?
Very easily actually.

Because ‘teenagers’ are wicked.

And let me tell you, since schools reopened, they’ve proven themselves one-million-fold…and then some.

I’m not sure I even have the words to do them justice if I’m honest. Not only are their whole worlds changed, they now sit up to 7 hours a day in one seat, behind a mask. 

Going back to school was tough for them. Everything has changed. No more moving every 40 minutes. No more whispered conversations at lunchtime… social distancing doesn’t allow for whispers.  It doesn’t allow for dance classes, or usual training sessions, or hobbies or fun.

It doesn’t allow for much really, especially if you’re a teenager.

And yet, the teenagers I know are getting on with things. They’re wearing their masks. They’re wiping their tables. They’re following all the rules.

They’re brilliant.

In the current situation, they’re brilliant.

In every situation,  they’re brilliant.  And yet they rarely get the credit they deserve.

They have SO much to offer society and they have so much brilliance in them, if we’d only stop sometimes to listen.

Teenagers are in limbo; stuck in the chaotic chasm between childhood and adulthood; trying not to be children, trying desperately to be adults, and landing somewhere in the middle.

They are brilliant. They are intelligent. They are fun and they are inspiring. They are kind and empathetic and sensitive and brave.

Surely there are moods and hormones and stomps and grumps and huffs and eye rolls and attitude; but guess what?

They were huffy and stubborn as toddlers and children too.

And as adults, we’re pretty partial to the odd huff or eyeroll or attitude too, are we not?

Being a teenager is hard. And I wouldn’t return to that period of my life for all the tea in China. (Well, maybe for an hour to give myself some advice.)

We expect them to act grown up but then criticise them if they do anything “adulty”

We expect them to stop acting like children and yet, can treat them like children in the next breath.

We often assume that they are moody and grumpy just because of their age, rather than asking them what is actually bothering them.

We assume that they are all addicted to computer games and incapable of doing anything for themselves, when actually, so many of them are creative and capable.

We brand them impossible and useless and tut at their inability to make decisions or solve problems.

And in so many cases, the things that we complain that they can not or will not do for them, are because we didn’t show them how to do it, or trust that they could.

Now listen, I know that some parents get it incredibly difficult with their little Sweetums-turned-Satan, and as a teacher believe me, I have been on the receiving end of some teenage angst and attitude in my time.

But I have also learned that often, the behaviour that is causing the adults to eye roll and stomp feet, is not a result of ‘bad’ kids, but often a result of frustration.

New emotions, new feelings, new situations, new relationships, new friends, new worries, new realisations, new expectations, new disappointments… everything is new.

The level of overwhelm on a daily basis is unreal for many.

Add our friend Covid to the mix and you have a whole big explosive pile of  torture.
And don’t even start me on the kids who are dealing with all sorts of chaos at home before they even get to school in the morning.

Why the hell would a young person who has spent the night listening to rows, or who hasn’t eaten properly in 2 days, give a continental shite about right angles, or Shakespeare’s soliloquies, or that you are “so disappointed“ in them for not having homework done again or for being late.

Why would the student who is terrified of being Covid home to Granny, or who’s all too aware of the current stresses faced by their parents whose business is closed, give a hoot about theorems or learning definitions?

Some teenagers are going through things that most of us, as adults, wouldn’t have a clue how to start dealing with.

Sometimes we need to cut them some slack.
Sometimes we need to ask how they are.
Sometimes we need to ignore the attitude and continue to be pleasant and nice to them.
Sometimes we need to NOT respond how they expect us to when they kick off.
Sometimes, we need to trust them.

For many young adults, all they want is trust. To feel trusted and to be given some responsibility to try, and to prove themselves. They need to know that failing at something is not as important as having TRIED it in the first place.

And again, guess what?

The magical 18th birthday does NOT with it bring the key to all things adulty. I’m a long-time, “experienced” adult and I’m still experiencing all of the NEW things I listed above. And sometimes I feel like a teenager who needs an adult to show me how to fix or deal with things.

Life doesn’t change. We get on with adulting and being adulty and we continue to deal with new problems and fears and worries and people.
Adults just don’t get criticised so much when they make mistakes or get overwhelmed.

We need to give teenagers some credit.

They are wonderful.
They are brilliant.
They are kind and they are caring.

And most of them are playing a bloody BLINDER throughout the current pandemic. They’re doing their best.

If you trust them, or let them use their own initiative, it’s incredible what they can do.
If you let them express their emotions, they might just learn to understand them.
If you tell them things are going to be OK, they might just believe you.
And if you tell them you believe in them, they might just start to believe in themselves.

Because if they think we don’t like them or believe in them, how can we expect them to like themselves?
And while sometimes, we want to give them the proverbial kick up the *&^%, they’d probably do a whole lot better, if we gave them a smile or a hug.

Because sometimes a hug is all we need. Teenagers and adults alike.

So back to the question “How do I work with teenagers?”


Quite happily thank you. And with a proud and grateful smile on my face, even though they can’t see it behind my mask.

Dumping the Notions…

It is midterm.

Mammy knows that she needs to try to decompress and relax while one has time off the job job.

And so one does the equivalent of booking a spa day for Mammy… one demands a skip from the husband.

No, this is not a euphemism.

A lovely big skip arrived today.

Mammy started with the kitchen. Just a long overdue “spring clean”… nothing major.

And yet 3 hours in, Mammy is questioning why, in fucking fact, one started this… and Mammy is really quite exhausted from the physical exertion of hauling all but the kitchen sink outside.

But therapeutic it is.

So much so, that Mammy has actually learned quite a few things about oneself today; I doubt I’d have had such revelations after an hour of essential oil infused meditation goat yoga in an outdoor tub…

Mammy reconnected with younger Mammy and realised/recognized/comprehended…that pre-C Mammy was actually a naive and ridiculous twatgurl who was full of NOTIONS.

(And Pre-C is Pre-children, not Pre-Covid… that’s a whole other post.😂)

Mammy dumped eleventy squillion tiny little pretentious shot flutes, which were bought on the Portstewart promenade 20+ years ago, when Mammy was not a Mammy, and before Mammy had an actual house to fill with such shitery.

Said pretentious little shot flutes were fablis you see. They were used to serve dainty and delicate desserts and sweet sherry to the very fanciful folks Mammy served in the super posh restaurant Mammy worked in at the time.

They were required, you see, to fulfil Mammy’s notions of throwing dinner parties if and when Mammy ever owned a kitchen.

And they have sat in the glassy glass fronted glass presses of both of Mammy’s houses for the past 20 years.

What have they been used for?

Dust.
Holding dust.
Looking fancy holding dust.

Mocking and scoffing at Mammy’s notions and dreams of being a Domestic-fucking-Goddess…

Until today.

Mammy took great joy in smashing those little feckers. They were too dusty and dainty to pass on to someone else, and in truth, they’d simply have taken up someone ELSE’S notiony notions and humbled them in 20 odd years time as they realised that actually, they never DID get used for those dinner parties that never happened.

And then, Mammy found the scallop shells, which were OBVIOUSLY necessary for all of the seafood delicacies and scallopy starters which Mammy NEVER actually cooks or serves, even on the very rare occasion that Mammy does have/did have actual adult people around for dinner.

Add to said scallop shells, countless ramekins and glass trifle bowls…even though the only trifle Mammy EVER eats is in GannyGanda’s on Christmas day… and one had a very literal representation of one’s utter fucking NOTIONS laid out on the kitchen counter today.

And don’t even START me on the pestle & mortar choppy sets. What was I going to do? Grind my own fucking pesto?
Mash my own ketchup?

Cop my own on more like.

And so yes, Mammy has been humbled and taken down from her domestic goddess pre-C notions.

Mammy is quite content however that these accoutrements are no longer required for Mammy to KNOW that she is in fact, a dinner party Queen.

And Mammy is MORE than happy to admit that since the arrival of my cherubs, any “dinner party” occasion that HAS happened in our house, usually required someone to collect it from the Chilli Shaker.

But you’ve never seen ANYONE set out a takeaway as fabulousitified as Mammy.
And that’s WITHOUT the never used fancy shot flutes or scallop shells.

Notions I tell you.

Same Storm, Different Boats…

Aren’t you lucky you have a job?
Aren’t you lucky you have your health?
Aren’t you lucky you can work from home?
Aren’t you lucky you don’t have to…fill in the blank…

Oh how lucky indeed. 

These days, we really are counting blessings.  The turmoil of the past 7 months has seen us face challenges and fears daily.  And we have all tuned into our own gratitude.  We’re being reminded each day on social media, in staffrooms, in conversations with loved ones, of the things that we should be grateful for. 

I’ve done it myself. 
I’ve bounced the usual cliches around in conversations.
 “Sure aren’t we lucky we have a job” in the staffroom. 
 “Aren’t you lucky you can work from home?” to a friend on the phone.  
“Aren’t you lucky you can still go to college?” to one of the sisters. 
 “Aren’t we lucky we still have a business?” to the husband. 
 “Aren’t you lucky you can go to school to see your friends?” to my daughters.  
“Aren’t you lucky you have family to worry about?” to myself in the mirror.

And indeed we are.
Jesus I do not need anyone to tell me how lucky I am.  I’m fully aware and I’m grateful everyday. 

We all have things in our lives that we are grateful for and appreciative of. 
We are all able to know that we have much to be thankful for. 

I’ve watched people I know and care about lose loved ones and deal with the worst imaginable pain over the past few months.
I feel heart-break for people who are dealing with so very much right now.  
I feel enraged for those who are facing injustices and hardships. 

Some of my friends who are facing incredibly difficult times, seem to be more grateful than I can imagine myself being if I walked in their shoes.  They amaze me every day. I don’t know if I could ever be as positive as they are. 

And I never will, because I do NOT walk in their shoes.

And here is my point.  
The current climate is a difficult one.  It’s more difficult for some than for others. 
And yet it is difficult for all. 
I love the quotation of “We’re not all in the same boat, but we’re in the same storm”. I don’t know who said it first, but I absolutely agree. 

Over the past week, I’ve faltered.  My smile was more forced.  My positivity plummeted.  My rage soared and my frustration got to the point where I cried constantly for more than a few hours. I’ve been trucking on, focusing on all of the reasons that I’m “lucky”, and yet suddenly, MY little boat was rocked with a tsunami of grief and sadness and overwhelm and anger and fear.  We have all lost out.  We all miss people.  We all feel sadness about what we can no longer do.

I spoke to my husband. (well, spoke…sobbed at…same thing right?)
I spoke to my brother. 
I spoke to my sister. 
I spoke to my friend.


And each and every one of them, was able to empathise and comfort me.  In fact, most of the people I’ve spoken to have felt the same over the past few weeks; some more than once. 

So what is it?  How is it that I, who really and truly do know that I’m “lucky” and in the grand scheme of things, fell apart and raged at the world for a few days?

Because I’m human, that’s how.

You might have “nothing to complain about”. 
You might have few financial worries. 
You might be blessed that those you live are in good health. 
You might have so far avoided the virus. 
You might be quite content with your work arrangements.

But you, like the rest of us, are still existing in a new world, where there is a constant undercurrent of stress and anxiety.  


We are all on high alert.  We are all living in that adrenalin buzz of being ready for the next twist or drama that the headlines hurl at us. We are all in fight or flight mode at all times. Even if we haven’t yet realised it. 


Even those of us who think we’re fine and proclaim that we’re not paying attention to it, are entitled to have days where it all seems a bit bleak. 

None of us can claim to be immune from the social anxiety that holds hands with the virus. 


We are all perfectly within our rights to be angry and frustrated and upset at the personal losses and grievances that we are facing. 


And just because the person next to you seems “lucky” and doesn’t seem to have anything to complain about, doesn’t mean that they aren’t feeling the weight of this pandemic.

There is no monopoly on overwhelm.  We must all try to have empathy for each other and look out for each other.

We must never get to a place where “Sure what do YOU have to be stressed about?” becomes acceptable…because we are all entitled to feel ALL the emotions. 

We are indeed all in different boats and we are all simply trying to keep our own boat afloat. 

And everyone’s boat will float a little better through this blasted storm,  if we worry about our own boats.

Check in on your friends.  Check in on your family.  Check in on the last person you would think you need to check upon.

  They might just be glad that you do. And so will you. 

Plan B and Banana Bread?

Banana bread; I never actually did get around to baking one.

I did eat a slice that someone else baked, but that was the height of my lockdown success.

Lockdown as we know it has passed, thankfully, and yet there is a new type of lockdown coming at us tonight.

It seems to be a steam train that we can’t stop… maybe using trains as a metaphor is futile here in Donegal. A big bus? A huge tractor… whichever you use, it’s coming at us and the brakes aren’t working.

But as always, with every cloud, we can look for a silver lining. Can’t we? For me, that silver lining is school.

This time, hopefully, lockdown won’t include homeschooling, and with all the luck in the world, will not be as restrictive as the first one. At least with the kids still in school, those of us who work from home can ACTUALLY work, as opposed to trying to work between feeding the kids and you know, parenting?

And those of us with kids of school going age, might actually be able to GO to work as our children will be continuing with school.
Hopefully.

But most importantly, our kids won’t have to go through as much upheaval as we will this time around. And that can only be a positive.

For me, trying to teach from home was the highest height of lows in my almost 20 year career. I hated every single sorry minute of it, and while I did my very best to teach from home for the months of April through to June, I am absolutely not afraid to admit that it almost broke me. Almost.

Despite what some will have you believe, teachers did our best. Damn it we did a good job, but my own children were pretty much ignored for chunks of the day and homeschooling of my OWN daughter did not happen as I tried to keep providing education for my other babbies.

But hey. I’m not complaining. I’m really not. I just don’t ever want to go back to that again. I love being back in school, and as difficult as it is, (and by God it is difficult), being back in classrooms with young people is good for the soul. It’s what teachers AND students need. Teaching is never just about passing knowledge and hitting curriculums. It’s about so much more than that. Masks and all.

So even with the impending restrictions that we face again tonight, hopefully, we’ll be able to keep the constant of school going for everyone.

There was a camaraderie about the last lockdown wasn’t there? All in this together and finding our way through the “New Normal” and all that zoomyjazz?
I wonder however, how much of that is lost.

Because this time is different. We’re all fed up.

We’re all scundered as we say here in Donegal. We’re all disappointed that it’s come to this.
The novelty of Lockdown has well and truly worn off.
And people’s patience is thin.

The seeming contradictions of the plans and restrictions are not helping. If anything, they’re pitching people against each other. And that is the main difference this time.

Why can he do that but I can’t do that?
How is she allowed to do that , but I have to do this?

The list of questions like this is pretty endless right now.

And yet, on we must go. Once more into the abyss I suppose.

The next few weeks will determine the next few months. We all need to buckle down and try to keep the chins up.

We might not have the lovely weather or same sense of newness that wound us together last time round. But we do still have each other and this time, thankfully, our kids will have some semblance of normality.

And if we can all keep that going, and try to remember that we’re all facing this shitstorm together, who knows, we might actually get things back under some control.

I probably still won’t bother baking a banana bread however… I don’t even like banana bread.

But I’ll happily cheer you on as you bake yours.
Because that is how we are going to get past this.
By cheering each other on.

And by letting each other do what we have to do, whether we agree with them or not.

Chins up Chickies.
We’ve got this.

#holdfirm