I am Smile, You ARE Enough Mum

Mammies.

No matter what kind of day you are having right now, remember that You ARE enough.

You have bad days.  You have bad mornings. You have a short temper. You have a sore head. You have a sad heart.  It’s not what you thought it would be. It’s not easy.  You’re exhausted.  You don’t know where to start. You can’t understand how that other Mammy seems so together. You feel terrible for shouting. You promised you wouldn’t shout today.  You were determined not to scold.  You never knew you could love anyone so much.  You never knew you could love someone and dislike them at once. You’ve tried everything. Why won’t she listen?  HER kids do what she asks them.

We all have the inner Mammy Monologue:

I forgot his coat. I haven’t brushed her hair. Why don’t I have time to do her hair like that Mum? How many times do I have to show him this?  Why doesn’t he SEE that that needs done.  I may as well chat to the wall.  No one LISTENS to me. Nothing seems to work.  Maybe I’m doing it all wrong? I can’t remember everything. My head is going to explode.  HOW did I forgot about the fecking party? Surely being this stressed is not right? No one else seems this stressed.  What am I doing wrong? What’s wrong with me?

Nothing.

You’re doing nothing wrong.  Let me tell you a secret… EVERY SINGLE MAMMY thinks one or more of the above statements EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Somedays, it seems like we can think ALL of these things at once.

We all have bad mornings, or bad days, or bad bedtimes.

But guess what?  A bad morning does not make you a bad Mammy.  A screaming bedtime does not mean that you are rubbish at parenting.  We can be as determined as we like about not rising to them, or giving in, or shouting, but some days, our minions seem determined to test every strand of our patience.  We can’t control or predict how our little rascals are going to behave.

Sometimes, we are not in charge.

Now, I am no parenting expert.  I haven’t a clue what I’m doing most of the time.  Sometimes I shout so loudly that I think the neighbours are probably running to their cars or finding their shoes incase the crazy lady across the hill actually gets to number 3.

But as well as knowing that daily stresses and meltdowns are part of parenting, because they’re part of growing up, it’s also important to know that there ARE many experts, qualified experts, and professionals in all areas of parenting that can help.

There are many resources available in Donegal. There are Childcare experts who can advise on behaviour, or bedtime routines, on how we should respond to behaviours, on routine, on difficult or challenging behaviours.

There are no quick fixes and no rule fits all.  What works for my child, might not work for yours.  What I need to change in MY home, might not be happening in yours.

There are some great online support groups and parenting communities (just be aware that often the most vocal on these aren’t actually qualified to be giving advice.)

There are also fabulous counsellors and behavioural experts around who can help with concerns or worries.  I’d be wary of those who promise to change your life forever.  No matter how brilliant a technique or response is, anyone who tells you they can take away all the stresses of parenting, is lying.  So here are a few services and resources that are available to parents in Donegal.

Parent Hub: These guys are amazing. They run courses, provide support and generally know everything about how to get parents the help that they need.  Check them out on:

http://parenthubdonegal.ie/

They’re also on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/parenthubdonegal/

New Beginnings is a counselling service provided by Sarah Barr.  She runs a wellness programme called Minding Mammy which is dedicated to Mammies (and which is fab!).

Starting on November 6th, she is also beginning a monthly Mammy meet up in Letterkenny which is free.  Details of both here:

https://www.facebook.com/NewBeginningsCounsellingService/

Letterkenny Babies is great as a conversation forum to ask advice and get support from other mums on all things Mammy. The admins will always remind you to seek professional or medical advice for more serious queries however.

https://www.facebook.com/letterkennybabies/

If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, or swamped by the negative thoughts I began with; if you get to the point where you know that it’s not JUST a bad day, or a bad week, then ask for help.

I have said it eleventy squillion times… it’s OK to not be OK.  What’s important is to know that there is help available and where to go for it.

Your GP or PHN can signpost where to get support of help for your child, or indeed for yourself, if you are genuinely concerned that a behaviour is more than just the terrible twos, or teenage troubles.

But remember 2 things

  1. You are NOT alone and
  2. You ARE enough.

The S-Mum xxx

I am Stop Body Shaming -Part 2

If you think that the public ownership of your bump disappears after pregnancy, you’re wrong!

Your post-baby belly and bootay may seem to remain public property LONG after your uterus has finally stopped SCREAMING at you and your ladybits have decided to no longer HATE YOU.

HOW and WHEN you get back to your pre-baby shape, is everybody’s business apparently.
In both of my pregnancies, I put on quite a bit of weight (not bump!).
My post Mini-Me BOOTAY in Pregnancy 1 was mostly a result of very hard work… (eating cream buns and hot chocolate, with cream of course, was hard work alright!)
I’d had a tough pregnancy and was put off work very early. Looking back, I was probably struggling a bit and food made me feel better.

It took me 18 months to get back to my pre-bump self.
Pregnancy no 2 was different. I was in better health, eating well, exercised up to 6 months and crammed in pregnancy pilates and reflexology. It was much more enjoyable and much less depressing than first time round, but I still managed to gain a fablis amount of weight.
And both times, it was worth every ounce and I enjoyed every bite!

The LAST thing ANY pregnant lady needs to be worrying about is their weight.
But when Baby is here and you’re getting back into routine, may it be after a few weeks or a few months, or a few years…at some point, we all strive to get back to being US.

For some people, that means getting back to work. For some, it means starting back at a hobby. For some, it means getting back in shape.
Even the fact that as I write this, I am hoping that other Mummies don’t read it and get annoyed because I’m talking about weight, is the perfect example of how bloody sensitive the subject is.

I am writing about me.

Just Me… not you.
It’s all personal.

It’s all about perspective.


(Mini-Me helping me stretch in Jim)

I love to train. I like to hit things with hammers and lift heavy things. I feel good when I’m a certain shape. I keep my mental health in check when I get to train. I find that it falters if I don’t get to train. I’m not particularly vain…I’ll happily go out and about looking like a badger’s nether-regions, (I often do!), but I like to look a certain way so I do my best to do so.

That’s not a reflection on anyone else. It’s just me.

So what has this got to do with Bodyshaming?
Some of the lines I heard after I started training again last May, when Princess was 6 months old.

“What are you doing back at the gym already?” (Look of disapproval.)

I’m sorry, does this offend you? Not that it’s any of your business, but this is my second attempt at starting back because The Him sent me home on my first attempt 2 months earlier, telling me I wasn’t ready yet. ( He was right.)

“Cop yourself on, you’ve just had a BABY!”

Well actually, my Baby is 6 months old and now I feel like I need to get out of the house a few hours a week.

“You’re grand the way you are.”

Thank you. I know you mean well and that is very sweet, but it’s ME who has to feel good about me. Not you.

“You shouldn’t even be THINKING about exercise yet.”

Why exactly? I enjoy it. I miss it. I’m not asking you to do it for me, am I?

“For God’s sake, stop worrying about your weight!”

Maybe, just MAYBE, my weight is NOT the main reason I want to train. People train for exercise, for me-time, for their sanity, for (shock horror) ENJOYMENT!

And WHY the hell does ANYONE think that it’s OK to tell ANYONE to stop worrying about THEIR weight anyway?
You NEVER know who has their own demons to deal with. You have no idea what the person you are talking to sees when they look in the mirror; what they’ve struggled with in the past; what THEY feel is THEIR beautiful. Telling someone to stop worrying about their weight, is akin to telling someone who’s sad to cheer up.

But my favourite one… “Wise up. You should be ENJOYING your Baby.”

Where do I even start with this one? If you dare to leave the baby for an hour to go to the doctor or do the shopping, that’s fine…but the GYM? Well you must not “Enjoy” your Baby…put it back in there why don’t you?

Seriously.

When you’re expecting your baby, you have NO CONTROL over your body. NONE!
AFTER you’ve had your baby, you have even LESS control over your body!
Things are different. Things don’t work. (Other things work WAY too enthusiastically.) Even stepping out of the car too quickly can make you feel like your insides are going to fall out!

It takes time to feel like you’re in charge of YOU again.
So if and when, you decide that you FINALLY feel ready to take a little bit of control back, take it.
Like the Bumps, most of those who comment mean NO HARM WHATSOEVER. In fact, they’re usually trying to make you feel better.

Some comment because they’re uncomfortable that you are training again after a baby and it annoys them for some reason.
But like with the Bumps, the opinion of others is simply that. An opinion and other people’s opinions shouldn’t affect your confidence. They shouldn’t make you doubt yourself. They certainly shouldn’t make you feel the need to explain yourself.
So don’t.

Instead, Love yourself.
Love how you look in all your squishee-belly-ness as your body recovers from cooking that perfect little cupcake.
And if and when you feel like getting back into those jeans, or into that dress, GO FOR IT!

Surround yourself with positive Ladybelles and let the negativity roll off your amazing stretchy skin. (Warwounds, not stretchmarks!)

May it be walking, Slimming World, Exercise classes, Personal Training, pilates… DO WHATEVER YOU ENJOY AND WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU. (Except the Weight loss…sorry “lifestyle” pills, shakes, teas, diets etc. They are BAD no matter HOW they are pitched or advertised.)

And if you DON’T feel like thinking about exercise yet, or ever, good for you too. That’s no one else’s beeswax but your own.

The S-Mum xxx

(Updated post. Always relevant!)

First published 2016.

Last published on http://www.donegalwoman.ie Sept 2017

I am She’s not quite getting it Mum

Mini-Me: Mammy, Did you know Uncle D and Aunty P gotted maawied FREE times?

Mammy: Three times? Why do you say that?

Mini-Me: Sure cos dey have FREE children. Dat means dey gotted maawied free times.

Me: Oh Really? (I’m pretty sure there’s nothung FREE about 3 kids!) And so how many times have Uncle C and Aunty B been married?

Mini-Me: Eh you KNOW dat? DEY have TWO children so TWO times like…

Me: And does that mean me and Daddy got married twice too?

Mini-Me: Yes. You and Daddy gotted maaaaawied twice. Once for me. Once for Fudge. (Her nickname for the littlest shitster 💖😆)

Me: Gosh I don’t remember getting married twice Daddy, do you?
(And I know I’d remember having had a new dress and fab shoes and another hen party… come to think of it, is it time to renew our vows yet? 😂😂)

He laughs. And then…

The Him: So do you have to get married EVERY TIME you get a new baby?

Mini-Me: Yup. (Smugness personified.. 🙃)

The Him: Did YOU know that your Granny M (The Queen Mother of all the world) had TEN Babies?

Mini-Me: 👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇

Speechless

That’s a WHOLE lot of weddings eh? And a WHOLE lot of dresses. 😘

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

#innocence #speechless

I am “Sort out that Bull” Mum

Just another Saturday Morning…

I’m driving along, with Granny Dearest in the passenger seat and the two Minions behind me. Mini-Me has told 32 stories in 3 miles. I’m just about to tune out, glad that Granny Dearest is on with me to answer her. I don’t have to “Mmmmhmmm” and “Really?” and “Very good” like a broken record. Granny Dearest is doing a great job of making all the right sounds. I’m humming along to Despasito, when I hear a new conversation begin.

“Granda needs to move them Bulls out of the field Gwanny,” announces Herself.

“He’ll be bringing them in soon pet” answers Granny.

“No, no, no, no, but He Needs to take the Bull out of the field Right NOW.”

“Why Darling…?” (Oh Jeeeeesus I suddenly know where this is going.)

“Because that Bad Bull HURTED one of my wee Cows.” ( Granny Dearest takes a breath and I know that SHE also now knows where this is going.)

“Buckle Up Granny Bear” I mutter, knowing full well what is about to come out of her mouth and wondering WHEN she saw it, and WHY she is only telling me now?

“You see my wee cow Ellie was scratching her neck at the feeder that Granda weft in the field and that big, bad, black bull pushed her out of his way and he hurted her and it wasn’t very nice. That bad Bull CLIMBED up on Ellie’s BACK… and do you KNOW what he did THEN?”

Oh Sweet Jezabell… WHAT is about to come out of my child’s mouth?

“What Darling?” I just about get the words out. I can’t breathe.

“That Bull started RUNNING Granny! ON HER BACK! He is NOT a very nice Bull.”

That’s it. Granny might need a defibrillator in the passenger seat. I’ve pulled in and stopped at the junction. Trying to drive right now is NOT an option. Granny Dearest is turning a perfect shade of magenta, as she tries and fails to hold in her laughter because Mini-Me can see her face from where she sits on her innocent, self-righteous little throne.

I on the other hand am buckled over the steering wheel, in hysterics laughing, while Granny tries to redirect the conversation to a safer and saner place.

“Oh no. The poor wee cow. Maybe the Bull was just playing?”

“Nope. He was being mean. And poor Ellie couldn’t get away.”

“Was she giving him a piggy back maybe?” I venture through the tears.

“Now Mammy. (teenage eyeroll included here). They are COWS, not Piggies. Granda doesn’t HAVE pigs. You KNOW that…”

And that’s that. Granny explodes and I crack up completely.

“It’s not funny you guys. It’s for REAL LIFE
(This is her new one. Everything is “for real-life”.)

“You’ll have to tell Granda when we get home pet,” Granny has composed herself enough to be coherent. I’m still parked on the side of the road…

“I will. I’ll have to tell him to sort that Bad Bull out!”

(I think Ellie might have already done that. Lucky Bull. I now know how I’ll start my answer whatever day she asks where babies come from. “Well Darling. Do you remember that day the bull and Ellie were… )

#thedonegalmammy #thesmum #bull

I am Slightly Chuffed Mum

Last week was pretty exciting for me and my little old Blog.

On Thursday morning I got an email to say that I have made the SHORTLIST in the V by Very Blog Awards.  The S-Mum is Shortlisted in TWO categories.

  1. Best parenting Blog
  2. Best Blog Post for my post “I am Saying it Out Loud Mum” about my own struggles with “My Little Bitch, Anxiety”  

(Read it here  

https://the-smum.com/2017/06/11/i-am-saying-it-out-loud-mum/

 

V for Very Blog Awards 2017_Judging Round Button_Shortlist

http://blogawardsireland.com/

Then, that VERY evening, I received ANOTHER email from the lovely folk at Maternity and Infant to tell me that I have reached the FINAL in their Boots Maternity and Infant Awards.

https://maternityandinfant.ie/awards/

 

Now, let me explain to you what a HUGE deal this is to me…  Out of the 26 blogs nominated, only 10 make it to the final.  This in itself is exciting and the fact that I made it to the top 10 excites me no end.  But the MOST exciting thing is seeing my little old name up beside the other 9 bloggers, all of whom I follow and many of whom I hold in regard as being Parenting Blogger royalty in Ireland.

I can’t stop looking at the image of the ten Blog names.

And I can’t thank my readers enough for considering my Smumbles to be worth their time and energy and votes.

Should I never win a thing, I honestly don’t care.

I shall go to these ceremonies and meet lovely people and enjoy the fact that somewhere on the interweb, my words are being recognized as not being complete and utter waffle!

SO thank you to V by Very and the Bloggies and Thank you to Maternity and Infant and to everyone who is in any small way responsible for The S-Mum getting onto these wonderful lists.FB_IMG_1505424273626.jpg

I am “Sense or Superstition?” Mum

“Don’t tell anyone until you’re past the 12 weeks”

This statement has begun to bother me.  Of course, there are many reasons for such traditional views as these.  It’s a social norm that couples are supposed to keep their big news to themselves until the 12 week mark, just incase.

Why? Well I honestly don’t know.  I suppose it was because the scan could determine that everything is OK so far and that there is actually a Baby in there.  And of course, there is the fact that most miscarriages (80% according to a reputable site for all things Babyful) happen before the 12 week mark.  

Maybe we SHOULD heed this advice.  Or maybe, like so many other aspects of pregnancy and parenting, we are holding ourselves ransom to old notions, afraid to break the norm…just incase.

When I was expecting Mini-Me, we did keep it to ourselves until we were 12 weeks.  I’ve grown up listening to this mantra and I accepted it to be “right”.  If it was good enough for every woman before me, it’s good enough for me.

 

While pregnant with Princess however, we found ourselves having to admit our “secret” at only 9 weeks, quite simply because I could no longer hide the bump or pass my belly off as having eaten too much.  I showed early and so I told early.  Older family members reacted identically…

“Oh congratulations guys! Great news! How far along are you? 9 weeks?” (raise eyebrows and inhale sharply)

“Jeepers you’re not safe yet. I wouldn’t be telling people yet.”

 

Yup.  Pop our bubble why don’t ye?!

 

Some of us CAN hide our little secrets better than others too.  Physically, some Mammies can get to 20+ weeks before the bump becomes obvious.  My 2 bumps appeared early. I managed to cover Mini-Me’s with flowy tops until 11 weeks.  Princess? From the second I peed on the stick, the belly bumped!

 

I tried and failed to hide it and eventually just told people. But for some reason, we think that by announcing a pregnancy early, we are tempting fate.  


Well here’s what I think about that.

 

At only 6 weeks pregnant, I had a scare with Princess. I then had to ring my parents/sister to come mind Mini-Me and inform them in one phone call that I was both pregnant (Yay!)…but maybe not for long.  Thankfully, it was only a scare, but had that scare ended in miscarriage, as so many do, who was I going to share my grief with? And why should a couple have to deal with such devastation alone? So many mums (and Dads) return to work only a few days later, and carry with them a sadness so great.  

 

It doesn’t matter how early it happens, a pregnancy is a pregnancy and a loss is a loss.  Is a lost baby any less your Baby? No. I don’t think so.  If you have begun to love the idea of the little person inside, your grief at 10 weeks is just as valid as the grief of someone who loses at 13 weeks.  But we’re expected to accept it and get on with it because it was early. And of course, some people can and do, but it must be allowed to be grieved and our Paddy Irish Way of keeping it quiet like a dirty little secret must change.  Why is miscarriage always hushed and whispered about? There is nothing shameful about it. Miscarriage IS a big deal, so why is it deemed something that shouldn’t be talked about?

slippers-2423994_1920

For most people, (and I say “most people” because let’s call a spade a spade, not everyone is happy to find out that they are expecting. It’s not all glows and Miracles and joyeous raptures but that’s a WHOLE different conversation), for most people, the second you find out you are pregnant, you are a Mammy and you begin to love. Getting to the 12 week mark is a relief of course.  But so is hitting 13 weeks and 14 weeks and so on. Every day is a relief.  But to think that you are safe after the 12 week mark is wrong.  Unfortunately, we all know this. A pregnancy can end at any time. Until your Baby is in your arms, there is no relief.  And even then, nothing is certain.

 

Now, of course there are many shaking their heads and tutting as they read this. “I wouldn’t be telling anyone before 12 weeks.”  That’s OK. I’m not saying that you should. I’m simply writing my OWN thoughts on it. I don’t assume to be right, but I do like to question things that Mammies and Daddies face.  I’m not asking you to agree, and if I were ever pregnant again, I don’t know WHEN I would announce it.  I don’t have to know.  There are no rules. There are no laws.

 

I’m not saying that hiding your pregnancy until 12 weeks is wrong.  It’s like EVERYTHING in pregnancy and Parenting.  Do what is right for you.  If you want to keep your happy news to yourself until you’re heading to the Labour ward, good for you.  You do just that. You don’t HAVE to announce anything.  

 

And if you want to sing it from the rooftops once you find out, DO!  

Your Body, Your call…

 

But we do need to stop letting our personal situations be dictated by old fashioned notions and remember that there are no rules.  Things like this are a personal choice.  If someone choses to tell you their happy news at 5 weeks, accept that that is their decision and don’t dismiss them because YOU wouldn’t tell so early.  And likewise, if someone keeps their news a secret until 20 weeks or later, that’s OK too.  Because unless it is YOUR BUMP, your opinion on when the news is announced, is really not that important.

 

I am She’s Punishing Me Mum

Smile and Nod.
Mammy must smile and nod…
Mammy is very good at the smiling and the nodding. 😆😶

“She’s the best girl. There’s not a bother with her.” 💕

Every day I hear this. And the lovely Ladybelles who say it, mean it 100%.❤
And I smile and I nod and I agree, but as I do, my inner Mammy voice is laughing.
She is laughing hard.
So very hard.

On the outside, I Smile and Nod…
What I’m THINKING however, is “Let me tell you, as a Mammy with previous experience of a “Street Angel, House Devil”, that while she is indeed being ‘the Best Girl’ and giving you ‘Not a bother’ here all day, she is simply saving all of her energy for the Wilderbeastial Demonic Darling that she will morph into when I get her into the car.” 😈

It begins with her luring Mammy into a false sense of security with her displays of excitement as she runs into my arms when I arrive to collect her. Cue “Ooooooohs” and “Aaaaaaaahs” from all with ovaries in the room. She hugs and kisses and answers “Uhhuuuuu” in her adorable little husky voice as I carry her little Koala Bear Butt 🐨to the car. I breathe her in and sniff her sticky hair and coo at her, knowing full well that I may enjoy it while it lasts. 😂

Once in the car (maybe even before I get her strapped in if she’s feeling particularly thick with Mammy), her demeanour changes. Sometimes, it’s gradual, building up as we approach home, revving up with every gear change. Sometimes it’s instantaneous, spontaneous combustion because I’ve looked at her wrong, or asked her a question, or you know, breathed.

It escalates with a simple “No”.
Not just an utterance of negativity or disagreement. A proper, teenage “NO”, complete with attitude and challenge. When the “NO” is accompanied by the furrow of the brows, we know we are entering the beginning of the tantrum. 😣

By the time we reach home, my excitement at the thought of an evening at home with my Baby has been replaced by a devastation of the reality that ONCE AGAIN, I have NO control over the moods of my minion. Any notions I had of a picture perfect evening of #Mammywins have been left at the creche. And once again I remember, that I have NO idea what the hell I am doing.
I am winging this Mammy craic, 100fricken%. I’m scrambling my brain for tricks and clever Mammyisms that might avert the direction of the storm that is brewing in the back seat.

I throw promises around like a Politician before an Election.
“We’re going to have pizza for tea!”
“NO!”
“Will we play jigsaws when we get home?”
“NO!”
“I can’t wait to get snuggles when we get home!”
“NO!”
and eventually (yes always) “Will we watch Peppa?”
(Hold breath…)

Princess “YEEEEEEAH!”
Mini-Me “Aw Maaaaaaaaaammy, not again!” (insert eye roll here)
Me “FML” (Probably under my breath. Maybe… Maybe SLIGHTLY audible. Bad Mammy.)😐😂

Parenting experts and friends with kids have explained to me many times in the past, that such behaviour is normal and that the child acting in such a manner is a “compliment” because she feels that she can finally release her frustrations and confusion at the world, in the arms of her favourite person. That I am her safe place and that it all means that she loves me.😶

SOME days, I buy this. Other days, I prefer to see it that she is a little wagon who actually HATES me and is determined to PUNISH her evil Mammy for abandoning her cute, bad-tempered little fudgeybutt to go to work. She sees me coming, smells the Mammy-guilt off me. After her initial “Oh there’s my Mammy” excitement, her mind goes straight to “Hang on a second. WHERE do you think YOU were all day Woman? Did you DARE to drink warm coffee and have adult conversations? Do you not know that YOU ARE MY SLAVE?” 😐

She has to fit 8 hours of reminding Mammy who is the BOSS, into a very short evening. And she must make sure that Mammy PAYS for leaving her at the Fablis and fun-filled creche, where she spends her days being loved and played with and fed and stimulated without the tellybox, and where she is the “best girl” and gives them all “not a bother”. She nevers bites or screams NOoooooooooooooo or kicks or throws custard or cries or scratches the lovely girls.

No,
She saves that for Mammy Bear.
Because she loves me and I am special.
And apparently because I am her safe place. 😍😆

Right now, she is playing with sudocrem…but she’s no longer screeching at me, so we’ll roll with it.

Smiles and nods. 😙

#fml
#mammyguilt
#yessheistheboss