I am “So it’s Results Day” Mum

Although it is many moons ago, Mammy remembers getting her Leaving Cert Results.

Mammy was certain that the contents of the little brown envelope were going to change her life. Had Mammy’s life REALLY depended on the contents of that little brown envelope, quite frankly, I’d be living an utterly dreadful, mediocre and half-arsed attempt at one. πŸ˜‚

Because the results printed on my little scrap of yellow paper were quite awful, if I’m very honest. The only mark I remember (or tell anyone about!) was my A1 in Honours English. Go figure. As for the rest of them? I’d say the examiners only passed me so that they wouldn’t have to read my verbal diahorrea again the following year. πŸ˜‚I’m not exaggerating either.

But the other grades didn’t matter. The A in English was all that mattered to me, both then AND today. Yes, I got into college, but not until I had spent a week back in the brown uniform 😣😣 convincing myself that I needed to repeat. It wasn’t until the second round offers and a trip to meet (attackπŸ˜›) the Dean of the English Department in Coleraine, that I finally got my place on the degree course. (I might have only been 17, but I was a stroppy one!πŸ˜‚)

English was all I loved. It was all that I wanted to study and, as the little brown envelope told me, it was apparently all that I was good at… All that I was good at THEN. At 17. Turns out, I’m good at a whole load of things. I just didn’t get to take exams in singing, dancing, shopping or eating. The Big LC recognised my ability to understand Shakespeare and write stories off the top of my head, but it didn’t (and couldn’t) know how strong I was at things like organisation, being a friend, laughing or pulling pints. So I was crap at French. Biology for me ended after the section on photosynthesis. But although my math grade was dismal, I challenge you to find ANYONE who can work out a % as quickly as me when I see the word “SALE”. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

So there. Now, almost 20 years on, I’m a teacher and of COURSE I value the Leaving Cert. I love teaching the course and I try my best to encourage my Babbies to give it their best shot. But I also know that they are teenagers. That they have a LOT going on. That some of them have things going on in their lives that are a WHOLE lot more important that exams. 😒 That whole some of them will give it their ALL for 2 years, on the day of the exam, it might just not happen. And sometimes, that at 18, they’re just not quite ready for the ridiculousnpressure of the state exam.

For a whole load of reasons, tomorrow is a huge day for our young adults. But that little brown envelope is only that. An envelope. Despite what it is inflated to be, it is NOT the most important piece of paper in the world. Yes, the letters and numbers inside it will have an immediate effect. Yes, some doors will open and yes, some doors will close, but what is written on the page does not define them.

The Leaving Cert does NOT know our children. It doesn’t see the kindness. It doesn’t measure their ability to change things. It can’t recognise their skills as motivators, or thinkers, or makers, or doers. It does not define them, nor should it. And as parents, yes, some of us might be disappointed tomorrow. But mostly we should be proud, because regardless of what is on that page, they are OUR children and they have done their best and we must remind them that they CAN do whatever they want. Because WE know what they can be.

There are ALWAYS options and sometimes, the path that they are so determined to be the ONLY one for them right now, was never the right one for them…it usually takes a few years for them to realise that however. But they will. πŸ’•

So tonight, tell them how brilliant they are. And leave them under NO illusion that no matter what words and letters are on that piece of paper tomorrow, that you are and will always be proud of them and that you will help them to get to where they want to go, may it be straight through the college door or in a longer, roundabout way. But all roads lead ahead. And before they know it, they won’t even remember what was printed on the page!

It might be almost 20 years since I opened my little brown envelope and had my heart broken in a million pieces, but trust me, everything happens for a reason. πŸ˜‡ Tonight, I send love to all of the young people (especially my own Babbies😘😘) and to all you exam parents whose minions face the brown envelope tomorrow.

And remember, that little brown envelope does NOT hold the key to their future. They hold that key already.

It’s right inside them.

And no piece of paper can change that. XXX

I am So not ready for Back-to-School Mum

Mammy is super-organised…

Mammy has started her Christmas Shopping.

Mammy has started thinking about next year’s summer holidays.

Mammy has started making plans for 2 or 3 significant birthdays in the family next year.

Mammy has thought so far ahead, that she has hotels AND Babysitters booked for the 2018 weddings she KNOWS she will be attending.

This is how THIS Super-organised-Mum rolls.

What Mammy HAS NOT started however, is thinking about the dreaded HELL that is “Back-to-school shite”.

Mammy HATES this time of year more than you can ever imagine. The Back-to-school Shite now starts in the middle of MAY… Before ANY school finishes up for summer break. May… As in MAY, the 5th month of the year and 4 whole months BEFORE Septemeber? Wtf?

When we were kids, the grey and navy skirts and shirts and lunchboxes and tin mathematic sets with the map of Ireland didn’t appear in the shops until the end of July. And by then, we’d had our weeks of sunshine, siblings, Zig & Zag and nothingness, and we probably didn’t MIND starting to think about the S word.

But now? NOW, Mammy wants to find the store managers who have signed off on putting Back-to-school shite on the shelves in mid-MAY. I want to find them and I want to HURT them. 😠 I want to poke them in the eyeballs with the metal tools in the tin mathematics case… (they’ll be more useful to me now and they were in 1989.) I want to beat them over the head with a cheap plastic-lasts-until-halloween-lunchbox, Snap their noses with elastic neckties and then lock them in a container with nothing but copies of Ann & Barry and Sugradh…but NO PENCIL. 😈😈

But Mammy is a sane and calm lady who would never entertain such thoughts. Since June 1st, I have been increasingly flummoxed by the status updates appearing on my timeline from other ACTUAL Mums who have the Back-to-school shite done and dusted already. I have hovered my finger over the “unfriend” button in some cases, wondering if Bookface would entertain my proposal for an “unfollow until September 1st” button. πŸ˜›

Now, if YOU have all the stuffs for all the minions sorted already, good for you. I’m not feeling jealous, or inferior or intimidated by your organisation skills AT ALL. πŸ˜‚ (There is a slight chance that a psychologisty person MIGHT argue that my anger towards the aforementioned shop owners, and my annoyance at the Super-organised-Mums, stems from my own insecurities and weaknesses being highlighted to me by the clever forward thinking Back-to-school Experts.)

I would argue that NOPE, my anger and flumoxing are perfectly justified. Maybe it’s because I have had to do the Back-to-school shite for 32 CONSECUTIVE years. Since starting teaching, I have managed to avoid thinking about it until the ACTUAL night before school starts, when I sob into my grapes, knowing that summer is over and I have to now dress in something other than my gymgear and that makeup will have to be used every day.

But now, as a Mammy, I DO need to get everyone else organised a few days earlier than when it was just ME going back to school… But, I MEAN a FEW days earlier. I refuse point blank to go near the dark, bleak section of the store until AT LEAST the final week of her holidays. I convince myself that I am more clever than the Early-Back-to-school-organisers, and I browse through what is left over on the shelves of synthetic smelling geansaΓ­ and pleated skirts, because at least there is no chance of Mini-Me taking a growth spurt between the Back-to-school shite being bought and her putting them on. πŸ˜… #lazymammywin

See. Clever Mammy. (And pleated skirts? The Gobshite who invented those little bitches needs to be locked into the container WITH the shop owners along with 2000 of those skirts, an iron and an ironing board…)

So go on. Sicken me… Hands up who’s all organised already? πŸ˜™

It is Feck-it-up FriYay and Mammy has done a wonderful job of fecking ALL of it up today. πŸ˜‚

Mammy has been asked some very difficult questions today.

In the car, enroute to the paint shop… (because Mammy has realised she is going back to her OTHER full time job in 3 weeks and so doing all of the jobs I have put off for the past 2 years must obviously begin! πŸ˜‚)

“Mammy, When are you going to die?”
Mammy chokes… “Not for a very long time I hope!”

“Are you going to die before me?”
(Christ alive I do hope so!) Erm, yes Baby, because I’m older, but not for a verrrrrrry long time.

“But who will look after me when you die?”
You’ll be all grown up by then pet. Now let’s talk about something else. What will we have for tea?

“Are Rhinocerouses dinosaurs in real life?”
Erm… No, sure the dinosaurs are all extinct and rhinocerouses are still alive…
“Nocerouses do NOT STINK Mammy. Dat is NOT very nice.”

“Where is Heaven?”
(Feck it.) “Do you not think rhinocerouses stink then?”
“Mammy! Answer me. WHERE is Heaven?”
(Fuckitty fuck fuck fuck…)
“Erm… Some people say it’s above the clouds. Some people say it’s all around us. I’m not really sure…”

“Can I bring my stuff wif me when I go?”
“To Granny’s? Of course!” (Phew!)
“No Silly, to HEAVEN!” (I can feel her rolling her eyes in the backseat.πŸ˜…)

“So do you just go to sleep and wake up in heaven then?”
Sometimes… Baby these are very hard questions to answer and you really don’t need to be thinking about thisstuff today. Now, what will we have for tea tonight?”
DISTRACT, DISTRACT, DISTRACT… πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

“Mammy?”
(Oh God get me to the paint shop…)

“How do giraffes lie down?”

Alleluia!
I can’t answer THIS obviously. (Is it even a valid question?) But I CAN revert to my favourite answer “I don’t know, but we can look it up when we get home OK?”

And at least if we DID look it up, there’d probably BE an ACTUAL answer! Unlike the other questions.

Who said we should tell our kids the truth?
WTF do you do when you don’t KNOW the answers?

And even if I DID google them, there’s a pretty good chance I still couldn’t give her answers. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

So yup. Add a “Friday-Fablis-Freezer-dinner” to my USELESS attempts at answering her questions and you’ll see that it wass INDEED a successful Feck-it-up Friday.

Therefore, Mammy feels that it is utterly acceptable and justifiable to pour some grapes… 🍷🍷🍷

How did you Feck-it-up today? 😚😚

Oh and YES I googled it…

http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/784457/April-the-giraffe-how-do-giraffes-sleep-standing-up-lying-down

I am Some Real Mums on the Tellybox Please Mum

Real Mammies lose it sometimes.
Real Mammies do NOT behave like the Mammies on the TellyBox…
Fact. 😢
Real Mammies, while we do indeed have our Mary of the Poppins moments, do not spend our days answering our minions in edumacated and enthusiastic, sing songy voices. Β πŸ˜…
So why do the TV shows aimed at our minions portray only Mammies who would give the authors of the Positive Parenting books the same satisfaction that one gets from polishing off a box of maltesers all by oneself?
Sickeningly sweet, always smiling, perky and positive and always saying the right thing, these Mammies dress head to toe in Marks of the Spensive, have Stepford Mammyesque hair doooos, and would put the most prim and perky primary school teacher to shame, with their well laid out everything and their general competency in all things Mammy.
But riddle me this Ladybelles?
If these shows, (which MUST be applauded for their educational and developmental content and tones), can Β portray the world of a wobbler or a toddler or a minion so well, WHY do they lie to them about what parents should be?
“It’s OK (insert character name here). It’s normal to feel sad/confused/excited.” Β the furry, talking animals tell their owners on our screens, before talking them through their emotions and making the world a wonderful place again.
But WHERE is the Mammy, or Daddy, who is tired? Where is the Mammy who explains firmly that NO, you can’t hit your sister or NO, It’s NOT OK to throw toys? Β Where is the teenage sister who is throwing “shade” at the Mum? Β Where is the Mum wiping yesterday’s yoghurt off the school uniform with a Babywipe as the child goes out the door? Where is the 4 year old crying that they can’t find the shoes that are RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM? 😑😑
Just once, I would LOVE to see Topsy and Tim’s Mum lose her shit. I’d love to see her looking like crap, with bags under her eyes and toast stuck to her arse. Β Just once, I would love to see one of the delightful, BFF twins throwing a complete strop because their beautiful Mammy puts beans too close to the fishfingers.
The Kiddy Channels should do a post watershed episode of Bing where “What would Flopsy do?” is answered by Flopsy “Flopsy will drink 3 glasses of wine when you go to bed Bing…you little prick,” and where we get to SEE Topsy and TIm’s Dad eating the remains of their uneaten dinners before he scrapes them in the bin, while Mammy cries at the table because she’s failing at EVERYTHING and huffing that “NO ONE EVER LISTENS TO MEEEEEEEE!” πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯
THEN, I MIGHT take them seriously, because at least I would possibly get some understanding about MY emotions and MY struggles and I might feel a bit more NORMAL!

 

Now, where is the remote? Β I really should turn the channel over from the “Has gone to bed. We’ll be back in the morning screen!” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

How was your day?

I am Smile for the dentist Mum

“Mammy. MAMMY. Da dentist came to school today.”
“Oh how lovely. Very good darling.”
“I gotted a noo toofbwush and EVERYFING,”
“Excellent!”
“And da dentist says we have to bwush our teef TWICE a day. After Breakfast and JUST before bed so we have fresh mouvs going to sleep…”
(Mmmmmmhmmmmm. Just what Mammy’s been saying for years.)

“Yes Sweetie. That is right!”
“We has to bwush our teef after EVERY time we eat you know. Sh-very important.”
“No sweetheart, you don’t brush them EVERY time you eat” (And considering that you, like your Mammy, have your arse sticking out of the fridge every 5 minutes, we’d have to hang your toothbrush on a necklace and stick a tube of toothpaste up your sleeve.)
“NO MAMMY. DA DENTIST SAID EVERY single TIME. And she is de BOSS of teef.”

Pulling into Granny’s, I have a feeling I’m going to want to hurt this dentist by bedtime.
Granny has a cuppa poured, digestive in her hand…

“Noooooooooo GWANNY STOOOOOOOOP!”
Granny drops the biscuit and almost scalds herself with the tea, such is the ferocity of Mini-Me’s scream. πŸ˜‚

“What is it?” gasps poor Granny.
“No BISCUITS. Biscuits are BAAAAD for your teef!”
I swear to God Ladies. There aren’t enough words to describe that panicked, innocent wee face; the fear and terror that Granny was about to eat a digestive was genuine.. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Enter Granda.

Poor, unsuspecting Granda!

“Ooooh pour me a cuppa” he says, reaching for a biscuit…
“GRANDA NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” She scares the proverbial out of him too! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

“What what what what?”
Biscuits will make your teef fall out. You can NEVER EAT BISCUITS AGAIN.”
Now it’s Granda’s face that is priceless. πŸ˜€

And so you can imagine how the rest of the evening went…
She has brushed her teeth 5 times since 4pm.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
And she refused to do a pee before bed, because apparently da dentist says “Brush your teeth and go STRAIGHT to bed, Mammy, so I don’t have time for a pee. Sowwy.” 😭😭😭
I’m quite unsure about how long this little fad will last…

Possibly until the first time she’s offered some chocolate! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰
Why is it that it takes a complete stranger to get them to believe the stuff WE’VE been telling them everyday since they were born?
I wonder if we sent the school a list of things we need the minions to start doing, would they arrange a series of visitors? You know, like someone who likes to eat vegetables? Or someone who likes to go straight to sleep? Ooooooh, or a waitress? Or a cleaner? Or a laundry Lady?
What profession or job would you ask them to send in?
Let me know.

Oh! Β Mind you don’t choke on your biscuit there!
AAAAAAAAAAAND smile! πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†
πŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸͺπŸͺ

​It’s here.
It’s horrid.

But, like everything, it’s happening whether I like ot or not, so I have to pull up my “Big Girl” knickers and get over it. πŸ˜‚πŸ’—πŸ˜‚
It’s the night before I finally add “outside of the hoouse” work to all the “Stay at home Mum” work I already do.  

Over the past week, more than a few people have said things like “You’ll be glad to get back into routine”, “Sure you’ve been off for AGES,” and even “It’ll give you something to do again”.  It seems to be assumed that being at home with two kids is simply an extended holiday; easy peasy.
What people often forget is that when a Mammy (or Daddy indeed) goes back to work, none of the “SAHM” work goes away.  

It just gets ADDED to. 

The cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping, surviving… It’s simply condensed into LESS TIME.πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯
And that’s before the playing, teaching, growing, reading, and loving that our kids need from us.
Being a SAHM is hard work.

Working AND being a Mum is hard work.

Because, technically, we’re both.  Although we go out to another building to do our jobs for a few hours a day, we’re still also Stay at home Mums, because Mums NEVER switch off! 
My Mum has been a SAHM for 35 years.  She’s the hardest worker I know and her “career” was and still is,  us.  

She never got a sick day. She rarely even gets a “Her day”.  

Her salary?

 Slobbers and smiles and a few successful “Proud Mammy” moments along the way. πŸ˜…πŸ˜πŸ˜

  Each of us owes who we are and what we’re achieving every day, TO HER, WORKING to be everything we needed.  She’s raised 6 of us and is now helping us to raise OUR babies.  She might not have had to answer to a boss or fill out paperwork or wear a uniform, but she left her job to do THE single most important job in the world…full time.
And while I would give ANYTHING to give my girls the same dedication and security, I can’t.

 That’s just life. 
I know from my short maternity leaves from my job, how absolutely heart wrenchingly lonely being a SAHM can sometimes be.  When the only conversation you’ve had in a day was with a grumpy, tantruming toddler or a Babby whose vocabulary stretches only to “Dadada”; when you answer Mr. FECKIN TUMBLE, OUT LOUD; πŸ˜… (admit it Ladybelles, we’ve ALL done it!), then you know the importance of companionship, of colleagues, of friends.
I can’t imagine what it was like for Mums before social media etc. 

 One of the few things I am genuinely looking forward to is spending some time with my colleagues. 

I’m lucky to work with real friends. They’ve stayed in touch and kept me included in the year I’ve been off.  For that alone, I’m blessed.
My biggest fear tonight is how my Brain is going to cope with all the EXTRA stuff: the new routine, the work, the prep, the marking, the stress, the Mini-Me at Big school, the tiredness, the THINKING.  How I’m going to FIT all of that, (even though it’s what I’ve done for 15 years without a thought! ), into my head on top of the mayhem of our Crazy frog lifestyle as it is, I DO NOT KNOW.
And yet I will.

(There may be a grape shortage in the next 6 months, just to warn you! πŸ˜…πŸ·)
By tomorrow night, I’ll feel like I was NEVER away. I know I’ll soon get back into the swing of things. I’ll manage, like every Mummy with a job does.

  I’ll feel guilty every day. I’ll hate leaving.  I’ll have days where I function on no sleep.  I’ll have days where I’m at work wishing I was at home with my girls.  I’ll constantly remind myself that I’m working for THEM; because reality doesn’t allow me to stretch this precious maternity leave for even another day.


So while I spend most of today sobbing like a twat everytime I looked at Princess and Mini-Me, I also had a lovely day with them.  The Him even took a bit of time away from Jim to join us. πŸ•΅ Jim is probably huffing tonight, but SOMETIMES Crazy,  Highly emotional Wife is more important! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
We spent a blissful afternoon at Oakfield Park, visited lovely friends and then I came home and burned the dinner while Princess found a marker and drew ALL OVER HER FECKIN FACE! 😣😣😣


So yes, a significant but pretty normal day really…
Finished obviously with a little tipple, to celebrate having had the chance to be a SAHM for even a while, and to make myself feel a little bit bloody better about going back to my “other job” tomorrow.
Bubbles it is.

Cheers to the working parents, both in the workplace and in the home. 

You’re FABLIS. XXXXX 
SAHM πŸ˜™πŸ˜™

I am Sunday Fun In W5 Belfast Mum. (Review)

Yesterday was the last Sunday of the summer holidays (and indeed of my maternity leave 😣), so we decided to take a spin to Belfast to check out W5.  

Mini-Me is Dinosaur Crazy and I’d seen on their website that they had a Dinosaur themed exhibition. So off we went.

http://www.w5online.co.uk/ 

On a Sunday it opens at 12pm. 

 We arrived at the Odyssey at around 12.20pm and parked close to the door. There were huge bouncy castles and slides in the foyer. Mini-Me wanted to go on the inflatable slide. It was Β£2 for 5 slides.  She did it once then freaked out that it was “too SCAWY!” and the guy supervising it handed the Him back the money, which was unexpected but very kind. So good start!

 There was no queue for W5, the staff were friendly and helpful and Β£32 later, we entered. (In fairness, we are now 3 adults and 2 kids. Our Bloke is 18 on Friday so gone are the days of a family pass into ANYWHERE!πŸ˜…)

Immediately, the kids are entertained. Smoke signals, hot air balloons, lava lamps, interactive screens… it’s interesting from the first room.

The first floor had a brilliant exhibition of sciency stuff.  What was most surprising to me, was how entertaining it all was, even to the adults.  It’s one of those places that really does cater for ALL AGES. Mini-Me and our Bloke were equally intrigued by some of the stands! πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡

We did lots of tests and of course, with S-Mum and The Him involved, it got competitive! πŸ˜‚Balance test, grip test, heart rate, strength etc. And we both lost YEARS on the “What’s your real age?” test! πŸ˜‚ 

The Costa dock on the 2nd floor was clean and the young man was efficient and very polite. The climbing pod for kids there is AMAZING! Seriously, EVERY coffee shop should have one of these! 

There is a brilliant play area for under 8’s with water features, interactive boards and floors, a huge train track, dolls’ house, doctor’s area, play shop and pretend cafe.  Waterproof aprons are available to allow kids to really get their hands stuck into the water feature. Oh, and the toilets in this section are kiddy sized! 

Up on the next floor is the Dinosaur exhibition. The Interactive Screen was FABLIS! Not just for kids…we ALL got in on the action here! 

I did expect a few more models of dinosaurs to be honest, but the two displays there were impressive. There were loads more games and features on this floor too, again, interesting to everyone.

Oh! And the views of Belfast from up there are beautiful.

The venue is clean, well laid out and there are lifts to each floor so it’s accessible to all. Bathrooms and Baby change areas were well sign-posted snd clean. Staff were very helpful and although it was quite busy by the time we were ready to leave, it’s a very safe and family friendly place.

Our ticket was valid until 6pm so if we had wanted to go out to one of the restaurants in the Odyssey, we could have come back in.

We left after 3 hours, but really could have spent another 2 easily. (We realised how close we were to the Disney Shop and so HAD to pop in to the City Centre!)πŸ˜…

So overall, we were impressed.  I think Mini-Me will enjoy it even more as she gets older.  For Princess, there wasn’t much apart from the Under 8 area, but she IS only 9 months old! She was more than entertained looking around her and listening to the sounds.

When we left at 3.15pm, there was a queue of approximately 70 people outside, so it is definitely somewhere to go early.

We enjoyed it.  The kids enjoyed it. We were suitably impressed and we shall indeed be back.

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#SMum #Belfast #W5