I am Such a Royal No-No Mum

(Today’s Thoroughly Modern Mammy column
“When are you going again?”
The Royal NO NO!)

So the royal family are expecting another Baby.
Good for them.


I’m as happy for Kate as I would be to hear of ANY pregnancy, but Holy Gemima, if I see ONE more headline or comment about how she’s “completing her family” or she’s now got “the magic number”, I shall scream.

Now, of course as an international celebrity, she will have every moment of her pregnancy and birth and life scrutinized and spread over the interweb and newspapers. That’s part of the job she signed up to isn’t it? And I don’t mind the reports of her pregnancy. It IS a matter of interest to our neighbours in the UK, and I’ll bet the Fashion bloggers and maternity shops are rubbing their hands in glee at the guaranteed content for the foreseeable future.

But like all things Mammy related, people are far too quick to jump to assumptions and conclusions, assuming to know inside information and writing anything to gain clicks and sales. To the journalists who wrote such rubbish as “Her family will be complete” and “Three is the magic number”, I ask some questions.

Will it really? Will her family REALLY be complete with 3 kids? Says who? How do you know that she will only have one more child? How can you guarantee that this little child will even be born? How do you know that she isn’t carrying twins? How will you cash in on this theory is suddenly her magic number is 4!? How do you know that she planned this one? For all you know, little Prince/Princess was a little heart attack for poor Willy and Lovely Kate.

Such statements and assumptions beg other questions too.

Why do people insist on telling you that you should “be going again” or “getting a move on”?
Why do people think it’s OK to assume that everyone wants to have more Babies? Or actually, even A baby for that matter.
Why, oh WHY, do people think that it’s OK to ASK why a couple aren’t “going for number 3, or 4, or 8?

Here are 6 reasons to NOT comment on a couple’s NON pregnant state:
1. It’s none of your business.

2. You don’t know their situation. You don’t know if they’ve had a miscarriage recently. People don’t generally go around announcing that do they? In fact, we good Irish still fall into the trap of thinking that we aren’t allowed to tell anyone until the sacred 12 week mark, and so when things go wrong, couples often have no one to share their grief or help them through it.

3. 1 in 6 Irish couples currently struggle with fertility. How do you know if the person you are innocently teasing about “going for another one” or “getting a move on” isn’t one of those couples? You don’t know if they’re trying everything and being constantly heartbroken. You don’t know if she’s injecting herself to try to help matters. You don’t know if he’s struggling with the fact that his sperm count is low. You don’t know if they’ve put every penny they have (and don’t have) into rounds of treatment, over and over again. You don’t.

4. Not EVERY couple WANTS to have a baby, or another Baby. For their own reasons. That they don’t have to explain to you.

5. Maybe that couple are in the process of adoption, or surrogacy. Maybe that couple are at breaking point, physically and emotionally and maybe…

6. …it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

Of course people mean no harm when we joke about “filling that big house” or “getting them a wee brother”, but like all things Parent related, innocent comments and harmless questions can cut through people like a bolt of lightning. We shouldn’t comment. End of.

So when the headlines tell us that because the Princess, (or Duchess or whatever she is), is now perfect because she’s having another child, we should try not to let them convince us that what they think is perfect, is right.
Because it’s not. YOU know what is right for YOUR family.

I like Kate’s style and her hair and her shoes… but will I be following suit and having number 3 to make my family “perfect” or “complete”?
Eh, no.
We’re “practically perfect in every way” already thank you very much, not that it’s anyone’s business! 😂

I am Some Mammy Poppins Hacks Mum

So we have survived the first week of normality and reality with everyone back to School, Childcare and work. I don’t know how you other Mammies are feeling this morning, but I for one am exhaustipated. Even though the girls have been up around 7am most mornings over the summer, suddenly having to have everyone out the door, fully dressed and even partially fed, has been a challenge.

It will take a few weeks to get back into the swing of it, but here are a few things that I did this week which helped, if only a little bit.

  1. Meal plan: I did out a plan for the week of what meals we’d be eating and then based the shopping list on what I needed for these. Mini-Me’s lunch tends to be the same every day, so that is handy and I’ll get back into the habit of making extra dinner for me to have as lunch the next day too. It’s now Sunday morning and the list worked so well, that there is NOTHING left in the fridge and so we might just have to go out for Brunch.

2. All hail the Slowcooker: Unfortunately, with The Him and Jim working 482 hours per week, family dinners are only a weekend thing here, so yes I usually end up cooking twice a day. When I’m off, this is not a problem, but now back at work, where you have to condense your whole day into 2 hours, it becomes one. And so my trusty slowcooker will be returned to regular use.

3. Get up early: Yeah yeah, cliched I know, but it is so true. I’m an early bird; not because I like getting out of bed. No. I LOVE my bed. But I also love having an uninterrupted shower and a full hot cup of coffee. If I’m not up at least 40 minutes before the girls, morning melts into mayhem. But if I can be up, washed, caffeinated, muck-uped and have the lunches packed BEFORE the babylink starts to flash, things are a whole lot more peaceful. If all I have to do is to focus on getting THEM ready, we can do it with a LOT less stress than if we all fall out of bed at the same time.

  1. Daily Drawers: I introduced this little trick when Mini-Me was in Naionra and it’s working a treat again already. I bought this stack of drawers and labeled the front. Every Sunday, I put clean pants and socks into the drawers. Her PE gear goes into the day she has PE and her shoes go into the bottom drawer every evening when she takes them off and the uniform hangs beside it. She loves it and it means we don’t have the “Wherethefeckareyourshoesforgodssakewewillbelate” debachle every morning! It’s also great for encouraging them to dress themselves.

5. Clean on a Thursday night: Since I have been working, even before I had the girls, I have always tried to be in the habit of cleaning on a Thursday. I do whatever washing needs done, clean the bathrooms, hoover and mop, and give the kitchen a once over. It means that when we get home on a Friday evening, the house is more pleasant than usual. And while the breakfast dishes and mess from Friday morning might be waiting for us, the house itself is generally clean and so apart from throwing uniforms and work clothes in the machine on Friday night, Mammy can focus on important things when they go to bed on Friday night… like what I’m going to watch and whether I want red or white!

Now, do NOT get me wrong. Mary Poppins I am not, but these are 5 things that are GENERALLY easy to turn into habits. Apart from the odd week, I’ll manage to maintain most of these goals and therefore, most of my sanity!

If you have any other tricks of #parentingwin hacks, please share them in the comments.

I am Sad Mum

It’s here. It’s the end of the summer holidays and the night before Workmas. I’m a bit of a wreck today if I’m honest Ladies.

It’s as if Princess knows too. She’s climbed up on me for cuddles 43 times, and run to me to be lifted 83 times. It’s as if she has a sixth sense. Little skitter. 😅😣 And Mini-Me has been the PERFECT child today. Perfect. I shit you not. I didn’t have to raise my voice once today. She told me she loved me 3 times, did EVERYTHING I asked her to, AND she ASKED if she could dust the telly. (Now, this might have been because it hasn’t been cleaned in eleventy squillion months and she couldn’t SEE it, but I’ll take it.) 😅

I’ve spent the day organising wardrobes and drawers, because let’s be honest, it’s easier to get everyone out the door when you actually KNOW where clothes are. 😅(Is it bad that I sometimes consider going to Penneysbest and just BUYING new clothes for them instead of facing the pit that is my tiddilyday room? )

I stopped short of rearranging all the furniture in the house for two reasons:

1. I prefer to keep THAT trick for when The Him’s not expecting it. And today, he’s expecting it. He knows what I’m like!😈😈

2. I didn’t have time between all the laundry and cuddles.😣

I’ve loved being off with my girls.💖 The summer has been good to us. I have a heart full of memories and a phone full of photographs.

Yes, I hate the thought of dropping them off tomorrow and I’m dreading how long I’m going to be away from them each day, but don’t we all? 😥

Don’t get me wrong, a part of me is actually looking forward to going back to my other job, but after 2 years of being off or part-time, Me going back to work full-time is going to be a serious shock to everyone’s system. Has to be done though. It’s time to pull up the big girl knickers, dig out my teacher clothes and put on makeup every day again! (The thought of it!) 😣😣

But for tonight, I’m going to finish the summer with a large G&T and try to finally finish my blog post on our trip to NYC. I figure if I spend tonight looking back on summer, I don’t have to deal with it being over…until the morning!

Cheers Supermums xxx

I am Starving the Minions Mum

Is Mammy the ONLY Mammy whose minions spend the entire day either with their nappies sticking out of the fridge, or raiding through the cupboards?

This Fudgemonster currently eats 12 meals a day, not counting snacks hidden in secret stashes or cereal eaten off the floor. This was taken 20 minutes after her SECOND breakfast this morning. 😂

I’ve had to take the safety lock OFF the press which contains the bleach and chemicals. It is now on the fridge…

And it seems that there is a limbo or vortex of some sort between our house and next door. No matter how much they eat here, from the second they walk through the door of Granny’s, they EAT. Not only do they eat, they actually BEG. They whine as if they’re STARVING and scobe the food offered into them so fast, that the Grandparents most certainly exchange eyebrow raises over their starved little heads and genuinely wonder if I actually feed them AT ALL over in the torture pit of child hell that is my own house.

Poor unfed, unloved minions. Bad Mammy who never feed them. 😂

So now, with them going back to school and playschool for 5 full days a week, my biggest fear is NOT how they’ll adapt, or settle in, or survive without me… nope. I am seriously concerned that they won’t manage to ONLY eat at breaktimes and lunchtimes. I fear that they shall fade away without the constant drip of food from my poor, knackered cupboards. I expect the childcare facility to send me extra bills for all the EXTRA food that this doll will insist on eating every day.

I wonder if I should smuggle in some extra snacks in their bags? 😂😂😂😂

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 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 So I took a week off Mum

So, as you’ll have noticed, I took a week off.  I deleted the FB app from my phone and took a long overdue trip with the love of my life, sans kiddies. 

This time last week, I was swinging off a lampost in central Park in 30° sunshine, 👇👇 singing “Singing in the rain” at the top of my voice and not giving a continental who heard me.  I’m going to spend the next 5 days starting sentences with “This time last week…” 😂😂 

We spent 5 glorious days in NYC, just me and The Him. (I’ll post properly about it during the week.)  Suffice to say, it was AMAZEBALLS and we really did have the time of our lives.🍏 But today, while it CERTAINLY was NOT 30°, we were back in our FAVOURITE park in the world with our favourite little people. Central Park doesn’t hold a candle to Glenveagh with our wee buddies. 💗💗

Oh how we missed Mini-Me and Princess, and we are so glad to be home safe and sound to them, but taking a few days to be Mammy and Daddy again, (or rather Maria and Emmet), was invaluable. When you’re busy parents, it’s hard to find yourselves in the mayhem.  Every conversation tends to be about the kids. Every phonecall or text message revolves around them. Each thought you have has something to do with the act of parenting. Your daily interactions are mostly about or for the kids. Your entire focus in day-to-day life, is the kids… 

And so it must be,  but to have had 5 full days and nights of just being US, did our little family unit absolutely no harm at all. 

Sometimes, a Mammy and Daddy need to find each other in the midst of all the madness, may it be simply for a dinner date or a movie night, or a trip away.  Yes, we spent much of our time talking about and missing the girls, but we also had fun together, laughed together, drank beer at 2pm, ate our bodyweight, and enjoyed being tourists in a ridiculously fun place.

  We finished conversations without being interrupted 167 times. We did what WE wanted to do when it suited us, just like we used to. We were spontaneous, not thinking about anything but us, and we remembered all the things we actually like about being The Him and The Her. 💗💙

So while the biggest challenge for me was to STOP referring to him as “Daddy” (and no it is NOT kinky! WTF like? 😂😂), we managed to have the holiday of our lives. 

 In fact the only thing that made us look forward to getting home, was the thought of getting squeezes and snuggles from the two Dollies. Their reactions were priceless when we got back. 
Mini-Me has announced that we are “never going on holidays again, ever!” and Princess seems to have doubled in size and has learned to use “Noooooooo” quite impressively.  They were spoiled rotten by Ganny and Gwanda.  Of course they were! 
I must admit that I did miss the daily craic here with you all,💗 but I think the week off from writing did me the world of good.   

And how is Jim I hear you ask? Poor Jim, was abandoned by The Him for the Her, for the 1st time in 3 years. Poor Jim my arse.  Jim is probably rocking in the corner waiting for Him’s Daddy back at 6am tomorrow.  
But did we miss him? Not one feckin bit! 😂😂😂