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. 😂

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. 😂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 (attack😛) 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!😂)

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”. 😂😂

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. 💕

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. 😇 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 Suck it up Mum

Right. Feck it.

I’m doing it.

Before and After Posts… Let’s call out the BS.

This is my first Before and After post. The two photographs were snapped only 3 seconds apart. 😅

So what did I do? What did I take? A magic pill? A Fantabulous Super-shake? A cup of Magic Tea? Nope.

A breath.

I took a breath. 😅

I straightened my back, turned my body slightly and sucked it all in!👇👇👇 You see, yes, I might be back in my favourite jeans, (after 16 months of training in Jim- NOT overnight), but after 2 magnificently STRETCHY pregnancies and two VERY messy C-Sections, my Belly is not what it might APPEAR to be when you meet me in my clothes! 😂

It’s squishy. It’s soft. It’s covered in stretch marks. There is extra skin that sags when I suck in my tummy. If I relax my tummy muscles, it is quite humongous! 💕

Some days I love it. Some days I hate it. Somedays I am so bloated that I look like I’m 6 months pregnant again. But everyday, I look in the mirror and I see a real life miracle. The stretch marks are my war wounds. My skin is stretchy because it made a house to grow my babies in. 💕It’s my Post-Baby Belly and the only person whose opinion on it matters, is ME.

So when your news feed is full of “Weight loss” adverts showing you “before and after” shots of how you can lose “15 stone in a day” if you just sign up to their pyramidic BS shakes, pills, teas, knickers etc, remember that it is likely that the pictures might just be BS. And when you see someone posting their “Look at my abs” pics, telling you how happy they are with their progress, there MIGHT just be another photograph in their camera roll that they HAVEN’T chosen to share.

If I had posted these and said there had been a 6 month gap between photographs, chances are you’d have believed me. (And of course, you WILL see GENUINE “Before and After” photographs of GENUINE weight loss journeys, but they are “JOURNEYS”, with hard work and sweat and determination, NOT miracle products.)😲

And if your body has stretched and changed to grow your minions, be proud of it. It’s yours. It’s a miracle and it’s beautiful, whether you suck it in or let it all hang out. Have a fablis Friday my Lovelies.

(It goes without saying that anyone who feels like writing anything hateful or negative, has my polite invitation to go build themselves and bridge and get over themselves. My body. Not yours.) 😙😙😙

#beattheBS #realityplease #postbabybelly #perspective

I am ‘So here’s the thing’ Mum…

“You will , you know!”

Everyone is the perfect parent…until they have children.”

Who said this first? I have no idea.

Who says it now? Me. Every single day!

I am the proud and enthusiastic Mama bear of a 5-year-old Drama Queen and a 21 month old Dictator. I spend my days winging it through EVERYTHING… breakfast, school runs, work, homework, dinner, bedtime, marriage.

Some days, I feel like I NEARLY have my shit together. Most days, I want to stomp my foot, throw and tantrum and call for my own Mammy! To many, I seem like I hold things together.

Those closest to me, know I’m a fraud.

I don’t know what I’m doing.

I don’t deal with everything in a calm and mature fashion.

I don’t adore my children every single second of every single day.

I don’t always have the schedule sorted.

I don’t always remember everything I’m supposed to.

I don’t always know what’s wrong with the baby, just by her cry.

I don’t always have a sparkly clean house. (Actually, I don’t EVER. Who does?)

I don’t always remember to wash the uniforms.

I don’t always want to get my No Diggity on in the bedroom.

I don’t always feed them homemade meals.

I don’t always give the right answer.

I don’t always say the right thing.

I don’t switch off my brain, even when it’s His turn to get up with them.

I can’t.

Because I “Mammy” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Sometimes, I yell.

Sometimes, I bribe.

Sometimes the fridge is empty.

Sometimes, I’m so exhausted that I let them eat breakfast cereal for dinner.

Sometimes, I pretend I don’t hear the monitor and carefully kick Daddy so he’ll have to get up instead.

Sometimes, I let them watch TV…a lot.

Sometimes, I swear.

Sometimes, I wish it were bedtime at 3pm.

Sometimes, I cry so hard that my Husband doesn’t know what to say.

Sometimes, I like being at work because I get to finish a coffee in peace…and I don’t feel guilty. Sometimes, I get a babysitter and go out for dinner.

Sometimes, I hand the baby to Himself as he comes through the door and go for a run, or a pee. Sometimes, I feel like I’m so utterly useless that someone, somewhere will certainly report me to an authority of some kind.

But ALWAYS, I love. I am NOT a Stepford Mammy. I will never get it ALL right. No one can, because a perfect Mammy doesn’t exist, and as long as I love my girls fiercely, I’m already doing it right.

The moment that a Mammy realises that there is no such thing as “The right way” or “the proper way” of parenting, is light bulb moment. When you recognise that YOUR choices for your family are NO ONE’s business, a giant weight will be lifted off your tired shoulders.

You don’t have to justify your parenting. You don’t have to explain why you breastfeed, or don’t; why you chose this school instead of that one; why you put the baby in their own room at 3 months, or why they still sleep in your room 2 years on.

You don’t have to justify your parenting to ANYONE.

The ONLY people who matter in your home, are YOUR FAMILY. And nothing or nobody outside of that matters. If you are expecting your first Baby and reading this, with your jaw on the floor, thinking “I will NEVER do those things!”, You will you know!?

You will bribe.

You will eat leftovers.

You will survive on 2 hours of broken sleep.

You will use Babywipes for EVERYTHING.

You will hate your partner for sleeping. (Sometimes, you will hate them for breathing! 🙂 )

You will enjoy watching kids’ TV.

You will have a favourite CBeebies presenter.

You will spend your money on the best you can afford for your kids, while wearing a 15-year-old t-shirt yourself.

You will be so excited at the offer of a babysitter, that you cry. Oh, and you will cry; tears of frustration, tears of worry, tears of laughter and tears of pure, unconditional LOVE.

Because being a Mammy is sometimes crap, but it is ALWAYS wonderful.

And if you are wondering if you’ll be a good Mum?

You will, you know. x

I am So not in Galway Mum

Another year, another Ladies’ Day. 🐎🦄🐎🐎🦄🐎

I’ve just scrolled my news feed to see all of the EVERYBODY dressed up and eyebrowed to the hilt, in glorious colours and HUMONGOUS hats. And then I switched over from RTE Jnr to the lovely Ladybelles on Expose, (who succeed daily in EITHER inspiring me to wash my face and put on proper clothes… or hide in my pit eating icecream, depending on the level of hormental), and watched the interviews with all of the Everybody in their shiny perfection.

Every year, I declare that NEXT YEAR, I too will be Glammy Mammied to the ninety-nines, with eyebrows and concrete muckup and AMAZING high hair, quaffing chambubbles in a tent and smiling gaily at all the other Dollybirds. I would be wearing something chic and spensive and fablis and my neck would be sore from a MAHOOSIVE headhat which keeps stabbing The Him when I move, but I would NEVER admit that it is heavy because he would then be able to say “I told you so” and be all “Such a waste of money”, (even though he’d OBVIOUSLY never have been told how much it ACTUALLY cost!😂)

The Him would be beside me, all dapper of course, and my friends and I would clink glasses, admiring the fashionistas and keeping our smiles expertly fitted while we say things like “WTF is she wearing?” and “How can she walk in those?”, without words of course… just using our secret eyebrow code. 😄😘

And then we would have the coveted “FINALIST” sticker stuck on our outfits, and the afternoon would be a whirlwind of camera flashes and sore faces and I’d feel like a feckin Rose (yes, a geriatric rose, but still, it’d be as close as I’ll get.)

And then we’d all pop back to the G Hotel or some such fablis spot, where we’d spend the evening quaffing yet more chambubbles with all the fablis, shiny, eyebrowed Beauties, before rolling into bed, tipsy and still fablis.

Next year… (Coughs) 😄

For tonight however, I shall sit in my messy kitchen, listening to Princess refusing to go to sleep, getting over the fact that my Mini-Me told me she “doesn’t wub you no more” because I asked her lift the blocks before bed, wondering what I’ve eaten that has caused my skin to look like pizza and considering that I should perhaps change out of The Him’s PJs before he gets home.

(Lucky boy Him!😂😂😘)

Then only thing high about my hair, is my Mum bun, but in honour of all the glamour on my news feed, (which YES, I AM going to continue to stalk for the next hour or so), I have decided to glam it up with a big flower so I don’t feel quite so unglam and DOWDY (and slightly grubby if I’m honest!). Probably should shower the smell of lasagne off me too.

Yeah. I’m quite content here.

Who would want to be in Galway eh?

Not me.

Nope.

Noooooo sirreeeeee.

I much prefer watching everyone else being glam. I am however, going to pop a wee cork here and do some quaffing myself, all in honour of the horsies of course. 🐎🦄🐎🦄

Congrats to the winner in Galway, who seems to be getting a mixed reaction, but who I think looked fab. Amazing headpiece. (But I must say, Lisa’s Lust List was my favourite.)

Who was your favourite? #galwayraces #glammymammy

I am Such a GENIUS Mum 😘

Mammy is a genius.

A feckin genius I tell you.

As Mini-Me’s ability to COMPLETELY ignore me becomes increasingly professional, I find myself sometimes wondering HOW the FECK to get her to do even the most simple daily tasks?

My orders, my requests and any other hint of a suggestion of her doing something that might please me, seem to float around her head, never quite making contact with her ears. Usually, it’s only when I SHOUT or SCREAM that she eventually acknowledges that my voice HAS in fact been sending massive soundwaves in her direction.

She’s just chosen NOT to surf them. 😂

And even when she finally acknowledges that I’ve asked her to do something, she still finds 162 ways to procrastinate or forget or simply not be able to do it.

“Put on your Pjs please Darling.”

“Put on your Pjs please Darling.”

“Put on your Pjs please Darling.”

“Put on your Pjs please Darling.”

“Put on your Pjs please Darling.”

“Mini-Me I am not going to ask you again…”

“Whaaaaaaaaat?!” (Add eye roll or exasperated sigh for effect.)

“I’ve asked you to Put on your Pjs. Get them on right now.”

“But where ARE they?” (Still watching Tellybox/making jigsaw/rolling on the floor etc…)

“Wherever you left them. Now go put them on!”😡

“But…” insert random WTF-inducing excuse/problem/comment here.

“PUT ON YOUR PJS NOOOOOOOOOOW!” Screaming BansheeMammy appears.

“Okay! Okay!” Stomps down hall, muttering something about “no need to shout”. (Little twatsickle.)

Mammy sighs in deluded, false victory, before being interrupted by “MAMMEEEEEEE. I can’t FIND them!” or some other shite like that, then stomps down hall, muttering and swearing to find her standing right in FRONT of the fucking Pajamas, which are the ONLY thing lying on the floor, but which are seemingly fucking INVISIBLE to my daughter.

Cue scolding, fighting, retaliation, defiance, huffing, puffing, threatening, snarling, crying and Mammy eventually putting the fecking things ON HER. (It’s that or throw them AT HER. Bad Mammy. No! Terrible thoughts Mammy.)

Different night, same old shite. Until tonight. Tonight, Mammy is a genius. The requesting, finding and putting ON of the fecking PJs took a whole 1 MINUTE AND 37 SECONDS.

I SHIT YOU NOT.

Why?

Because as I was about to ask her for the first time to “Put on your Pjs please Darling”, I opened the cupboard and spotted this👇👇👇 and I had a brainwave.

“Oooooh look what Mammy found! I know, let’s have a race!” (Singsongy voice, think Mary-of-the-poppins.) “I’m going to time you to see how quickly you can put on ypu Pjs. Will we see what number we can get?”

“Yay! I LOVE races!”

“On your marks, get set…GO!” And I swear to God, she slid sideways back into the kitchen, fully dressed in her fricken PJs, a whole minute and a half later…

“Did I beat it?” (Not sure what she’s beating, but when it stops me wanting to beat my head off a brick wall, I’ll roll with it! 😂😂)

“Of course you did, you are AMAZING!” And it was.

Amazing.

And I am a genius.

And I will try it again tomorrow night, but she’ll probably have copped on to me by then.

Ah well, I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. 😂😂😂 How was your day? 😘😘😘

I am Seven Summer Fundays in Donegal Mum


Summer

 

It’s here.  The summer holidays: when routine goes out the window, the fridge seems to have permanent bums waggling out of it, and we find ourselves wondering, once again, how on earth primary teachers deal with up to 30 of our little minions in one room.  Of course the holidays are great, but they also bring their challenges. The biggest one?

 

Boredom.

 

Kids get bored, verrrrrrrry quickly.  Kids need constant entertainment and fun.  Entertainment and fun cost money, and while there are of course hundreds of things you can do with your minions, here are 7 of my favourite things to do right here at home. They range from absolutely free to the not so free but no matter how often we do these things or go to these places, the girls always enjoy them and feel like they’ve been somewhere special.

 

In no particular order:

 

 

Glenveagh – Now those of you who follow my blog, know that Glenveagh National Park is a firm favourite in our little family.  We go there 2 or 3 times a month and myself and The Him love it just as much as the girls do.  It’s only a short drive from Letterkenny, has absolutely NO phone coverage and has THE most stunning landscape in the country.  NOWHERE beats Glenveagh for beauty. The best thing is that entry to the park is absolutely FREE. You can bring a picnic or try some of the insanely good cakes and food in the tearooms there.  We walk the 4k to the castle every and usually take the bus back up as Mini-Me’s legs aren’t quite able for 8K just yet! Bikes are available to hire from Grassroutes in the carpark too and you can get one of the little buggy-trailers for the minions.  The castle grounds are beautiful and while ours are too young to do the full bridal path, there is lots to occupy them (and their imaginations) in the gardens.  (Tell your minions that the gates with the stag heads are the Gates to Santa’s summer house.  Never gets old!)

 

The Beach – We are so blessed to have so many beautiful beaches on our doorsteps. Lisfannon Beach in Fahan is possibly my favourite place in the world.  It’s not only where I often escape for some sneaky Mam-me time, (seriously, some life changing decisions have been made on this beach), it’s also where I take the girls if we want to have some good old fashioned free fun.  It’s only 15 minutes from my house, but the girls feel like they’ve had such a treat, even if we only stop for a 20 minute run-about.  Over the summer, I keep a blanket and buckets in the car, so if we find ourselves nearby, it’s easy to stop here.  I also keep a bag with a change of clothes and a towel in the boot, just incase it’s warm enough for a paddle.  There’s loads of parking and in the summertime, there’s usually an ice-cream van in the carpark.

 

Nature Walks – Mini-Me loves these.  We live in the backend of beyond, so in fairness, even a play in the garden can be a learning curve, but if I really want to occupy them for an hour, I plop Princess in the buggy and off we go.  Mini-Me is beginning to recognise some of the tree types (reminding me  of things that I used to know!) and there’s a gate at the end of our farm where I once told her the fairy kingdom begins, so she loves to visit there.  She stands on the side of the road talking to the gate, but in her head, she’s on a serious adventure! Fun fun fun and FREE FREE FREE!

Parks – We love Ballymacool Park.  Just outside the town, it’s peaceful and quiet, even when busy.  It’s easy to park, has lovely trails for walking and beautiful views. The little playpark is wonderful; clean and full of playthings for kids of all ages.  The best thing about this little area is that it’s fully fenced off, and so no matter what direction Princess runs in, she’s safe (and enclosed!).  

 

Soft Play – Some days, Soft play is the only answer isn’t it? Especially with the summer weather we get here! The most exciting thing about going to soft play, is going to soft play with OTHER minions.  It’s win:win; A catch up for the mums, excitement (and a guaranteed successful bedtime) for the kids.  Arena 7, Dizzy Rascals and Century Play are all wonderful and have different features that the kids love, AND they all serve good coffee.  Keep an eye on their pages for deals and rates.

 

The Happy Camper –  Now.  Here is a secret that every parent in the area should know. The Happy Camper at Cooney’s is probably the ONLY place in Letterkenny where Mammy and Daddy Bear types can get to actually DRINK their cuppa.  Not only are the pancakes incredible, they have a fully childproofed level with a brilliant corner full of toys and chalkboards and books for kids.  There is a stairgate so even your littlest ones are safe to wobble about.  Now that Princess is at the stage of point-blank refusing to sit in a high chair, this spot is perfect for us.  If I meet a mate, we can actually chat.  And if I’m on my own with the girls, I get to drink my coffee and they’re in playtime heaven.  

 

Oakfield Park  –  Again, we LOVE Oakfield Park. It’s only 10 minutes from where we live and great for famiy Sunday-fundays, but also for random afternoons over the holidays. There is a charge to get in of course, but what I love about this place is that every year when they reopen, something new and wonderful has been added to the park. They add to the facility constantly.  The new Buffers Tea rooms are lovely, but you can also bring a picnic along with you. We bought the annual pass this year and it’s great value if you use the park often. The park is stunning, so well kept and beautifully presented.  There’s a play park and the Fairy tree is a favourite of Mini-Me’s.  The steam train is a real novelty.  Again, keep an eye on their page for events and activities coming up over the summer.

😘Their Teddy Bear Picnic is on this Wednesday from 12pm😘

https://www.facebook.com/Oakfield.Park/ 

 

 

So there you go.  These are just my top 7 go-to days out and activities in and around Letterkenny, all year round. I’m sure you could all add your own to this list. 

Here’s to a fun summer and some sort of summer weather! 

You can also read this post on my Thoroughly Modern Mammy column here http://www.donegalwoman.ie/2017/07/02/my-top-7-things-to-do-with-my-minions/ 

Join my daily blog on Bookface https://www.facebook.com/the.s.mum/

Or follow my Instagranny @the.s.mum 

I am Still talking STUFF Mum

The “I am Some Things the Baby Books forget to mention Mum” series.

Instalment #5 – Keeping Stuff

“Keep little momentos in a baby box or book: You and your little one will treasure these and can enjoy looking back on them in years to come.”

What it SHOULD say is,

“For your first Baby, you will try to keep all the everything. You shall fill pages and pages of pregnancy diaries and baby books and the eleventy squillion “Born in 20-whatever” keepsake boxes you received will have first socks, first hats, the bangles you both wore in Maternity, first bib, first babygrow, first dummy, first curl, first tooth, first EVERYTHING bulging out of them. You will remember all the details, the baby’s weight, the baby’s height, the day she first crawled, the date he first walked… Your first baby will look at these boxes one day and either be 1. Incredibly fulfilled by the absolute confirmation that they existed as babies, or 2. Completely freaked out by the human hair and teeth in the shiny silver box.”

By the time Baby#2 and subsequent minions arrive, you will not have the same time, energy or give-a-shit to create such memorable memory books or boxes. If truth be told, you’ll be doing well if you remember the Baby’s name.

Do you know what I have kept from the birth of Princess?

Princess.

I still have her around here somewhere. 😂

 

20170313_180519

I do remember that she weighed 9lb6 even at 10 days early, but not from sentiment, mostly from the absolute relief that my giganticars-aurism was not just due to eating cream buns, that she was INDEED a big baby.

I also remember her name. Most days.

I don’t know what exact age she was when she crawled, or walked, or said her first words, but I know that she did have a first in each of these. I don’t remember the dates of her first jabs (that’s on record in the Nurse’s computer!) but I do remember the screams of each one.

Yes, I’ll keep her first tooth and first curl safe, just like her sister’s, but if you ask me where they are in a few years, I probably won’t have a clue. (The curls, NOT the kids. 😂😂)

Is she any less loved or cared for? Nope. She’s the centre of my world and I love her wee fat head more and more every second of every day, but do I have the need to record every single date and milestone? No. Nor do I have the time.

And anyway, they are recorded where it matters; in her Daddy’s and in my memory… oh and probably on Facebook if I was really stuck.
Sad, but true. #21stcenturyphotoalbums

So should you record everything? Well it’s up to you isn’t it?

For Baby #1, I’d say “Go for it”. You have time. So much time. Use it.

Because unless you are absolutely brilliant and organised, let’s just say that by Babba #2, you’ll be a little more, erm, relaxed*.

*knackered, exhausted, forgetful, disorganised etc 😂😘😂😘