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

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

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! 😂)

“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.😅)

“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… 😂😂

“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. 😂😂

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 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 “Sneak Peak to a Princess’s Brain” Mum

“Peppa Pig is starting.  I do like Peppa Pig.  Oooooh. What is Mammy doing? I is a clever witto Princess. Look at Mammy.  Mammy is hoovering.  She is trying to make the room nice and tidy and she has lifted all of my toys.  Wait a minute.  Why has she lifted my toys? That is NOT vewy nice of Mammy is it?  How can I let her know I am not a happy Wobbler?  I could scweam and scweam and throw the toys out of the basket, but NO.  I am NOT a cliche.   I is a Pwincess.  I don’t do fings by half.  I am like my Mammy.  I do it ALL.  She will be so proud of me.  Now, let me see.  Oooooh!  Lookit!  Mammy is hoovering over there and she has left the door open over here.  I like to run.  Running is my Fayvwit.  I shall run down the my bedwoom and wrestle Winnie da pooh.  Daddy calls him Winnie da Shit, but my big sister got scolded when she sayd that so Pwincess is NOT going to say dat.  Pwincess is clever.  I like to run.  OOoooooh LOOKIT!  Oh.  My.  DOG!  Mammy left the bafroom door open just for me.  I must swing in to the bafwoom and see what I can do!  What has Mammy left for me to play wif?  Oh look!  There is the white roll of baby wipes that they always put down the toilet.  I shall put it down the toilet.  I shall put ALL of it down the toilet.  I is soooooo clever.  Mammy will be so proud.  Where is Mammy?  Mammy is still hoovering.  I have put all of the white stuff into the toilet.  I will close the lid now and I will go see my Mammy.  Mammy is now hoovering the kitchen.  I come in and she says “Hello Darling. Are you OK?” and I nod and say my favourite word “Mmmmhmmmmm!”  I will play wif my blo…ooooooh da BUM Cweam!  SHE HAS WEFT THE BUM CWEAM ON THE TABLE! Mammy likes to put the bum bweam on her face.  She never puts the bum cweam on MY face.  I shall be just like Mammy.  I shall put the Bum Cweam on my face and Mammy will be so pwoud.  I am putting the bum cweam on my face.  Mammy turns around and I KNOW she is happy because she is smiling.  Oh.  Now she is running.  She must need the bum cweam.  I hold it out to her and she takes it quickly.  Snapping is not nice Mammy.  Silly Mammy.  Mammy is wiping the cweam off my face and she is cross.  That is OK.  It’s just a phase she is going through.  She goes to put the hoover in the cupboard.  I am climbing on to the chair.  Mammy is calling my sister to come up for lunch.  I am climbing onto the table.  The big table.  I am very fast.  I am a big girl.  

Mammy comes in and Mammy seems excited.  She is screaming and saying some new words.  I likes these words.  She lifts me up and I am so high and I LOVE it so I giggle and put the bum cweam that is hiding on my hand all over Mammy’s face.  She asks my Sister to go get her some toilet roll.  She will be sooooo happy when she sees that I have already put it all into the toilet and so now she has less work to do.   I like to run…

  Peppa Pig is over already.  What can I do now?  I like to run.  Time for a Poo.  I am a clever witto Pwincess.  Aren’t I a clever Pwincess?  Isn’t my Mammy a lucky Mammy?  I wonder where she left my Bum Cweam…”

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.  😅
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  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.”  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?  Where is the teenage sister who is throwing “shade” at the Mum?  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.  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!” 😥😥
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?  I really should turn the channel over from the “Has gone to bed. We’ll be back in the morning screen!” 😂😂

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. 😂

“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.. 😂😂
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! 😂😂

“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. 😀

And so you can imagine how the rest of the evening went…
She has brushed her teeth 5 times since 4pm.😂😂
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! 😉😉
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!  Mind you don’t choke on your biscuit there!
AAAAAAAAAAAND smile! 😆😆😆😆😆😆😆
🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪