I am Safety First, Logic Later Mum

What Mammy sees vs What Daddy sees…

mememumdad

Yesterday, we were exploring our beautiful county, as we love to do.

We were on beaches, we found the Boardwalk, we drove off the main roads and over mountains. And as we passed Loch Salt, Mammy said to Daddy “Let’s pull in and have a look over the Glen.”

Silly Mammy.

We got out, jacketed up and started to wander.

Himself and Mini-Me took off up the hill, their big long legs like deer, bouncing over the wild landscape.

Myself and Short-Bum had to move a bit more slowly, with her taking a bit more care on the uneven and new floor below her.

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Me and Princess

I looked up to see Himself and Mini-Me standing on the horizon, in the distance, FAR too far away from me for my liking.

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They weren’t as far away as it looks, but in my head? MILES!

From where I stood, it looked like they were on a cliff, standing perilously close to the edge of a sharp cliff which obviously, they were going to fall off… In reality, there was lots of ground around them and of course they were in absolutely NO danger, whatsoever.

Still, Mamma Bear felt that unwelcome surge of Mamma-Bear-dom where I needed to get closer.

“Hi Mammy, Look at us!” shouts Mini-Me.

“Hi Darling. Be careful!” singsongs Mammy

I am inwardly screaming “GETDOWN GETDOWNGETDOWNGETDOWN!” and wondering why many long years of marriage hasn’t yet qualified us for psychic abilities so he can hear me threatening in my brain “HUSBAND, I WILL KILL YOU IF YOU DON’T GET MY CHILD OFF THAT FECKING NON-CLIFF IMMEDIATELY!”

Instead, myself and Princess make our way over to them where yes, I can see and confirm that they are perfectly safe.  I even managed to stop my inner shaking to snap some truly beautiful photographs.

“OK it’s time to come down now!” says Me, hoping the panic and fear isn’t obvious to the girls.

“Not at all! Come up so you can see this properly” says Twat boy, clearly oblivious to the utter panic that, (for no real reason) is seeping through my pores.

“It’s time to come down please. NOW!” says Me. (Frantic eyebrows not being observed)

“Pass Princess up to me so I can let HER see!” says HIM.

ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? NOOOOOOOOOO! NOT HAPPENING. FECK OFF DADDY BEAR…

“No. She’s fine here with me thanks.”

It was bad enough watching the big girl up there, out of my reach.   I’m aware that I can not pass my dislike of heights on to my girls, so I can stay quiet knowing that she has a bit of sense and knows to stay close to Daddy, holding his hand and that she won’t go too close to the edge.

The Threenager who thinks she’s a Ninja however?  No.  She is not stepping even one inch away from me.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the exchange.  There may have been expletives and growls and a short argument about me being ridiculous and him being a twat, but soon, we started back down the mountain, both cubs perfectly safe and Mammy seething like a she-witch at Daddy’s inability to see what the problem was.

Yes, I WAS being completely irrational and completely ridiculous.

NO, of COURSE Daddy would never put them in any danger or in harm’s way.

They were both perfectly safe and in absolutely NO DANGER whatsoever.  They were with their Daddy, who would never let anything happen them.

But the long and the short of it is, I wasn’t comfortable with my babies being out of my reach.  I have an overactive imagination at the best of times. While he saw a fun opportunity for #makingmemories with his girls on top of a mountain, I saw a full on, slow-motion trauma play out, as my imagination foresaw them plummeting off said mountain in my mind.

I’m also a big believer in following your gut.

While things like this never usually bother me, (I’m quite adventurous usually and I encourage them to do things that I wouldn’t do) for some reason, yesterday, it did.  It didn’t only bother me.  It absolutely TERRIFIED me. I had genuine FEAR. And when a Mamma Bear gets THAT level of fear in her belly, she must act on it.

A few Mums replied to my instastory last night by sending me similar snaps of THEIR Hims with their minions in similar situations.  So it seems that it’s a thing? Maybe it’s confidence that Daddy knows he can protect them. Maybe it’s just logic and rationale. Maybe it’s just MEN!

But I don’t think it means that we’re cowards or silly or chicken or anything else.  I think that we are Mammas and we just see things a bit differently, especially when it comes to our wee cubs.

The journey home was quiet. 🙂 We got home safely and everyone had a wonderful day. But even looking at the snaps last night, I don’t feel like I over-reacted. Because keeping them safe is all that matters and if I have to throw an absolute strop on top of a mountain, indeed I shall.

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I cwimbed a mountain Daddy!

 

I am Same Clothes Forever Mum

“We won’t get much longer dressing them in matching outfits” says Me to He as we walked along the promenade in Salou.  We were on the last night of our holidays and the girls had been wearing beautifully matching outfits every evening for the full week.

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With 4 years age difference, I’ve been becoming aware that Mini-Me will soon protest at  being dressed identically to her 3 year old sister.  And I was OK with that.

But then, something happened that has ensured and concreted the plan in my head, that while we are away in strange places, they shall be wearing matching clothes, until they are AT LEAST 35 years old.

Princess went missing.

Ladybelles.  She ran out of our sight and literally disappeared. In an EMPTY FOYER.

She was gone for about 7 minutes. 7 Loooooooooooong minutes. And I can honestly tell you they were the longest, most painfully dreadful 7 minutes of my life.  While trying to remain composed to FIND her, my brain had already jumped ahead to what would need to happen to get her found.

We were walking back to our rooms after the entertainment had finished.  A friend and his kids were along with us, and as we all waked through the hall to head towards the lifts, I made a MASSIVE mistake.  I caught the glint in her eye and said “Wait for Mammy please” which she heard as “Run Princess RUN!”

She scuttled off ahead of us, no more than 20 feet into what we knew was an empty foyer and when we all turned the half corner, there she was…gone.

We started calling.  Him belted up the stairs and started running through the halls on each floor, roaring her name.  The friend ran straight to the main door to ensure she hadn’t gone outside.  I started hitting the buttons for the lifts, automatically all assuming that she’d gone into one of the lifts and that it had gone up with her inside. (Fast closing wee buggers those lifts.)

Mini-Me started to roar and cry and Friend’s kids didn’t know what to do,  Wee pets.

She wasn’t outside.

She wasn’t in the lifts.

Every 20 seconds Him stuck his head over another balcony, roaring “Did you get her?” before taking off to the next floor.

Within 1 minute, the hotel staff had locked all the main doors and maybe 5 other dads had joined in the running.

Why will they always be dressing the same? Because every time someone else joined us to help, I was able to point at Mini-Me and say “She’s wearing the same outfit” and off they ran…

Just when I thought it was beyond a case of her innocently getting lost, and was about to step Mental Mammy up a notch, a big bald English guy stuck his head over the balcony and asked “Are you guys playing Hide n Seek with a little girl?”

The poor fecker was greeted with a herd of people running at him and some sort of gutteral wail that I’m pretty sure was coming from my mouth, even though I had no real control at that point.

I took those steps 5 at a time and met Himself on the corner of the big long corridor and there, peeking her curly little fecker head out from behind an corner, was Princess.  Half laughing, half terrified and by the time I reached her to scoop her into my arms, half sobbing.

We thanked everyone, went to the room, tucked them in and then did what all parents would do… sat on the balcony like two weins and cried for an hour.

But the scariest thing was that she was with a gang of adults, in a safe place, with no crowds and she still went missing right in front of our eyes.

Next morning, Mini-Me scolded her at breakfast.

“You shouldn’t go into the lift on your own.  It’s not funny.”

Princess looked at her as if she were absolutely insulted.

“I did NOT go in the lift” she admonished. “I went up the stairs.” before continuing to eat her porridge as if THAT made it all alright.

Oh well that’s OK then I suppose… Seriously.

Lessons learned? We only think we’re in charge, kids are fast, other parents are incredibly fast at helping when you need it… and matching clothes should be worn at all times, for the foreseeable forever.

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I am Shopping Mum

When did shopping turn into such a gauntlet?
 
I’ve never been a huge shopping fan, but recent experiences have confirmed to me that I actually HATE it.
 
I hate, hate, hatey McHaterson it. 
 
Last week I was lucky enough to have a few hours to wander around huge shopping centres in both Dublin and Belfast. 
 
Imagine the novelty for Mammy-Amazon here, whose clothes shopping generally consists of sportsgear or the odd binge buy in Dunnes-of-the-fablis, (usually on pay day before the Direct Debit Bandits have hit and I descend back into brokedom.) 
 
“I am in the city. I shall shop”, think I.
 
“I shall shop like the Fashionable Bloggers do.  I shall purchase cool and quirky stuffs which I might even share by doing one of those terrifying Haul things that they all do.”
 
But then, I laugh at the sillyfullness of such a thought.  Who wants to see what Mammy picks up in shops?  
 
In go I to the Debbienems… the mothership of mothershops in all corners of the civilised world. 
 
My eyes hurt instantly.  The lights…Christ alive!  Am I in surgery or a shop?
 
The evil yellow glare lights used to be only reserved for changing rooms and hairdressers.  Now it seems that they are par-for-the-course in every corner on every floor of these big bright shops… perhaps a way to highlight the few of us who still dare to enter such establishments with nout but mascara on our faces? 
 
I catch a glimpse of my naked face and tracksuit in one of the mirrors and I feel instantly less confident in my own skin than I did leaving the hotel. 
I thought I looked rather comfy-chic. I thought my swinging pony tail and make up free skin made me look slightly Yummy-Mummiful…
shopping

The OPPOSITE of how I look when shopping

 
Turns out that even in my spensive leeeeezure wear, I actually look like a knackered, sleep-deprived, hungover SkankQueen.  I’d look more at home on Jeremy Kyle’s sofa truth be told.  
 
I am now convinced that I look like I’m about to shop lift the entire contents of the Benefit counter and I’m pretty sure that the shop assistants (perfectly preened and practically perfect in every way) are clustering closer to me as their Radar for criminal cretins goes off.  They’re watching me.  I know they are.
 
Then I realize, they want to torment me.  On every corner, another eyebrow asks me “Can I help you Dear?”  or “Do you need any help today Luv?”  It’s like being at home.  There’s a little person on every corner talking AT me and asking me pointless questions.  One even shoves a little pink basket in my hand, for heaven forbid I might only want ONE THING in the muck up section.  I know they’re only doing their job but Dear Jacinta, I just want to BROWSE!
 
Remember when you used to be able to wander aimlessly around the shops, browsing, looking, buying…not buying?
 
Remember when you could go to the checkout and simply pay for your purchase with nothing more than a polite smile and a thank you? 
 
And then you could leave, swinging the bag with your purchase and simply continue on your shopping…or not shopping?
 
Yeah.  Those days are gone my Darlings. 
 
And then…the WEIRDEST part.  It’s been creeping in to the shops at home too.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I find it a little invasive if I’m honest.  
 
“Do you have an email address?” 
 
“I do yeah.”
 
“Can I have it?”
 
“Oh…why?”
 
“So I can send you your receipt? Because of the environment and all?”
 
“Oh of course…” is what I SAY, before rhyming off the suddenly very hard to fecking spell email address.  (Seriously, none of us EVER considered that we’d be standing at tills in Debbieneems spelling OUT the feckin things when we created them.  We thought they’d always be, well, TYPED!)
 
What I want to say is “And what about GDPR? How can I be sure that YOU are not the reason that I get so many weird marketing emails from companies to which I’m pretty sure I NEVER subscribed? Can you not just print me off my receipt like a normal shop assistant so I can throw it into the bag or the car where it will lay for many months creating a tiny thesis of how and why I am always broke,  Little physical REMINDERS of what money USED to look like.”
 
  I swear to Granny, between Tap machines and Virtual receipts, I don’t even think it COUNTS as spending money any more.  There is NO evidence really…
 
And so I decide that I shall set up a NEW email address, just for the very PURPOSE of shopping.  It shall be emailaddress@ihateshopping.com   That’d be fun…
 
HAH!
 
Moral of the story?  
 
I HATE SHOPPING.
(I’m glad my laptop doesn’t yet have eyebrows to raise.
 
 
 

I am Some Packy Hackies Mum

It’s almost Holibop Season!

Hurrah!

Packing is something that I am good at.  I enjoy it and generally once I have my lists done, it doesn’t take long.  I’m a light packer.  I can pack myself and Himself into one case for a week away.  If we’re doing a weekend trip, one small bag is plenty.  And I can do a trip alone with tiny carry on.  I have been known to arrive in London with my toothbrush, clean knickers and a tee-shirt tucked into my handbag.

Packing for the four of us to go on holidays has never been hard either.  Simply because we’ve never ventured beyond Ireland, and so we’ve had the luxury of the boot of the car and as much space as we need.

hols

 

So last year, going on our first sun holiday as a family,  presented Mammy with a new challenge.  And I must say that thanks to the Mammies on my blog, I  gathered some super tips to add to my own packy-hacks:  Each of these worked a charm, and I’ll be doing the exact same this year.

  • Lists: Plan ahead.  I write down what will be worn/needed by everyone for the number of nights we’re away.  Then I add a spare outfit for the girls, just incase.
  • Mix up the bags: I had planned on a case for us and a case for the girls. We have one each, but I’m not lugging 4 cases through the airports.  Loads of Mums told me to mix all of the clothes between the cases, and if one gets lost or delayed, at least everyone still has clothes when we arrive.
  • Check-in? If you arrive at your resort early, your room/apartment might not be ready. Pack swimming gear and sun cream in one of the carry on bags so that you can go straight to the pool while you wait for your check-in.
  • Ziplock bags: THIS has changed my life Ladybelles.  Thanks to Davina from Jim for this one. She advised me to pack the kids clothes into these.  So for each evening, I have their dresses, underwear, socks etc that they’ll need for going out for dinner in little bags. It will avoid the suitcases turning into chaotic pits of “I can’t find it!”  I have their shorts and Tees and Swimmers and PJs labeled in their bags too, so The Him will be able to easily find things too.  (I’ve since been directed to little sets of case organisers that can be bought in different colours and have it on good authority that they are super.  I never did get around to buying them however!)
  • Pop-up tent:  My mate is a serial beach goer.  This is her tip. Bring a little pop up tent. We have a little wigwam in the hall. It cost a tenner. It folds down to nothing and if it fits, it’s going into one of the cases. It’ll provide shade for the girls, means they can play in it if it gets too hot on the beach and it was perfect last year for changing nappies!  Genius.
  •  Backpacks:  Now, my girls have flown a few times, but only short flights.  I’ve always packed little colouring books and some snacks into their bags to keep them occupied.  This time, I’ve packed a few more and have a few wee surprises for them for emergency distractions! (Euroshops are Wicked for this kind of stuff.)
  • Downloads:  Did you know that you can download from your Netflix account? I have my tablet stocked up with episodes of Paw Patrol and a few movies.
  • Snack packs:  Now this one I initially scoffed at, but let’s face it, children eat ALL DAY and snacks are expensive.  So, I have done up a snack pack for each day; popcorn, raisins, pops, Haribo, Biscuits; their favourites.  And while of course we’ll be able to get this stuff there, to know that I have the bags ready to pop into the buggy each morning is great.  And the whole lot cost me €7.  So we’ll save our money for drinks and ice-creams.
  • Lollipops and chewy sweets:  Life saver for the ears of the Minions on take-off and landing.
  • Travel sized stuff:  Who doesn’t love mini-stuff?  Over the past few weeks, I’ve picked up my moisturiser and some of my makeup bits simply by asking for samples at the counters. There’s enough suncream to carry without jars and pots.  I even got a lovely face mask from one lovely lady.   I tend to leave the makeup at home on hols, opting instead for basic concealer, bronzer and mascara. And I decant my shampoo and conditioner into the little plastic bottles too.
  • Keep hand luggage minimal. The girls have their little bags, I have my handbag, and Him will have a small carry on with a change of clothes for both girls, calpol and more snacks… and ALWAYS, the Babywipes!
  • Midnight Flit?  If you are lifting your minions out of bed to travel, either put them to bed in their tracksuits or comfies. (If you can!)
  • Pillow Cases:  Pack 2 pillowcases.  Use them as laundry bags; one for lights, one for darks/colours.  Easier to carry the washing home and easier to unpack. (I swear by this one. Works a treat.)
  • Beds:  Before we go, I’ll change the beds. Pain in the posterier as you try to get out the door, but just think of how lovely it is to get back into your own nice, clean bed after a week away. I’ll be glad of it when we return.

 

These are only a few of the many, many I got sent.  I’m sure there are many more you would add.   Some might tut at my over preparation, but I’m one of those people who needs my shit to be together, for my mind to stay together.

I’ll relax more knowing that I have the essentials sorted. And anything that we forgot can be bought there.  Mammies tend to do all the sorting don’t we? But this Mammy believes that preparation is key and I know that when we get there, I WILL relax, because I’ve put in the work at home!

All I need to do now is to make sure there’s a few beers in the fridge for the Big Wee Brother who’s moving in to babysit the Furbaby. And get there!

Happy Holidays to you if you’re going away. Share away at your own packing-hacks!

 

Mammy in Training…

My journey through the jungle of Mammyhood so far has many things. I am always learning and yet it feels like I never learn! 😅

Regardless of how you become a Mamma: pregnancy, IVF, adoption, fostering, marriage… if you are responsible for loving a child, you’re a Mammy.

And it’s quite a job.  A career.  A vocation even!

Let’s face it.  If I want to embark on any career, I generally need to spend 3-5 years being educated to qualify me properly to attempt it.  Being a Mammy (and indeed a Daddy!) doesn’t require a degree, and yet it is the most challenging career in the world.

As parents, we become educated in life and often hilariously terrifying ways of the world that no university could ever teach…
but if they did…IF there was a degree in parenting, here is what I imagine it would look like:

“Bachelor of the art of Perfect Parenting”

* Pregnancy and Parenting: A beginner’s guide

* Preparing for your new arrival – Required equipment

* Food preparation for the healthy family
* Techniques for sleep and Behaviour

* Planning your child’s play and Sensory Scenarios

 * First aid for Mummies

*Relationships; maintaining healthy romantic and familial relationships

*Positivity, Mindfulness and Sleep Deprivation – How to deal with it.

*Language and Speech Development.

And at the end, you would be a QUALIFIED parent.  You would have folders of notes, and a brain bursting with facts and figures, and lesson plans and medical references.
You’d be sorted. 😉

But as a Real Mammy, who knows that most of the above is utter crap, and that these headings only SCRATCH the surface of parenting, let ME suggest what a parenting degree outline should look like!
“Bachelorette of Thoroughly Modern Mammyness.”

Module 101 – Pregnancy and Parenting: A beginner’s guide – Life as you know it, ends here.  You only think you know what pain, fear and exhaustion are now.  Pregnancy is like a “One size” bra.  It fits some women better than others. Mine fit like a 4 man tent.  You may glow, or you may puke.  It’s great fun.  But at the end of it, there’s a wonderful thing.  And there’s  also the Love. I won’t even try to prepare you for that. I can’t. 💗💙💗💙💗💙💗

Module 102 – Change everything – The house, the layout of your rooms, the car.  Everything.  And enjoy your magazine perfect showhouse with your fancy candles and FengShui… That shit ends once your minion is able to move about on your once-but-never-again-clean rug.  All ornaments and valuables should be put up on a high shelf, or locked away for approximately 15 years.  Actually, just sell them.  You’re going to need the cash for the Stuff. 👇

Module 103 – All the Stuff.  Get your list of Baby Essentials.  Got it? Now, rip it up.  You do not need 250 steriswabs, or 5 pairs of scratch mittens.  The only thing on those lists that isn’t exaggerated, is the quantity of industrial sized sanitary nappies, sorry, towels.  Buy ALL of those bad boys.  And then buy extra.

And as for the list of furniture, equipment and travel accessories?  Get your basics.  Car seat, cot, baby bath, changing mat.  Depending on YOUR own house and YOUR own situation, you’ll know what you need as you need it.  Do not buy all the everything!  Trust  me, you’ll end up with a house that looks like a Baby shop has puked on it and, in approximately 8 months time, as you put the only-used-once-stuff in the attic, you’ll wonder why the hell you bought it in the first place.

Oh! And those lovely nursing chairs that we all want for our idealistic moments of feeding baby in the nursery?  They are the most glorified clothes storage devices in the world.  Your baby will more than likely be in your room for the first 6 years…sorry months… anyway, and when you ARE doing night feeds, you’re more than likely going to want to do them in the heat of your bed,  rather than in an empty room.  Yes, they’re lovely and I’m sure someone will disagree here, but that’s how I see them… A clothes horse.

Module 201 – Techniques for Sleep and Behaviour  –  Pray, wing it and go with your gut.  You can’t control your baby’s sleep.  You can’t control your baby’s behaviour.  You can only go with what you get on a daily basis and trust me, often, as cliched as it is, it IS just a phase.  And if you do find yourself genuinely struggling with either of these issue, ask for help.  There are brilliant (and actually qualified with real degrees) professionals in our community and there are SO MANY brilliant resources that Mums and Dads can access easily.

Google Parent Hub. Parent Hub, Donegal

You’ll be amazed at what they offer. Or talk to your PHN or GP.

Module 202 – Planning your child’s play   – Buy toys.  Watch child play with boxes, lunchboxes, remote controls and ANYTHING they shouldn’t have that could pose danger to them.  Shake head at the amount of educational crap in the toy corner and get out the saucepans and wooden spoons.  Oh and get down on your knees and play! 😅

Module 203 – First aid for Mummies – Have a meltdown everytime they cut themselves, bump their head, break a sweat, have a strange poo or get a temperature.  Slowly learn to recognise your own baby’s physical reactions and signs.  Google symptoms, freak out…ask on a Mammy forum…freak out…

But seriously, we’re mums.  Unless you ARE a Doctor, if you’re concerned about Baby, GO TO A DOCTOR!  And follow your gut.  While it may be sick with worry, Mamma’s gut is always right.

Optional Modules 

Relationships – learning how NOT to murder your partner at 3am

Sex – You will want to think about it again some day… 😈😉😈

Alcohol – It shall be frowned upon, but some days, even the most Sanctimonious of Sanctimommies thinks about gin at 11am.  They just won’t admit it.

Swearing control – Any parent who has never sworn behind the back of their child, or at least mouthed a profanity when they hear “Mammy” for the 387th time that day, is either sedated or a liar…

Disney lyrics – because you will need to know them.
And so there you go. I hereby declare the Bachelorette of the Thoroughly Modern Mammyness open for application.

**No previous experience or qualifications required. 

It’s a tight course, but the end result is something that no amount of paper or letters after your name can measure.  But if you really want to show off your qualifications, just start signing off like this…
S-Mum (Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum…)
Suggestions for extra optional modules on a postcard please. 😙😙😙

How do you measure up? 😂😂😂