I am So It’s a New Baby Mum

Mammy does love the news of a new babby.

Mammy doesn’t particularly fancy the prospect of having another one herself now, but Mammy still does be smiling when the news of another wrinkly little Squisheeface is announced.

Mammy does be particularly excited when the new babby belongs to someone she knows and cares about. 

And while Mammy couldn’t give a continental contraction about the Family Royale in the Brexit state, Mammy couldn’t help but think “Ah nice” when she saw the news on the Twit-feed this morning.

Mammy is glad that Katie and Billy Boy have welcomed another little prince to their family. Lovely. Honestly.

What Mammy doesn’t get however, is where the Media managers of the family Royale are and what they are drinking? Mammy would like to know why the fook they think that the poor woman needs to be paraded around only 4 hours after the birth, dressed to the nines and made up perfectly?

God but she looks stunning in fairness and no, Mammy is not bitter as Mammy is very aware that that is one of “the joys” that Katie signed up to when she sold her soul to the life of the eternal celebrity. And as long as she is happy, good for her.

(Also, Mammy is quite certain that I too probably looked EXACTLY like that 4 hours after the birth of her girls… Because Mammy was so drugged and knackered that she would have believed ANYTHING at that particular moment. I may have reached that level of bloat free and prettiful again by 5 months postpartum!)

Mammy would love to have seen lovely Kate (for she is indeed beautiful) walking out of the Lindybob wing looking happy but knackered, with her hair scraped back from her face and a comfy tracksuit. And flat shoes, for I am sure her Ladybits are crying with every step.

Because then, while I still would have wondered and awed at the fact that she was, you know, STANDING, I would have seen what she is behind the royal BS… A warrior woman who has just brought life into the world and who should be left the feck alone with her lovely wee babby, rather than having to not only parade around outside the wing looking like she was at a Ladies’ Day, but to look perfect while doing it.

I do hope that there are no Mammies looking at her today feeling lesser or inferior to what they are because they weren’t smiling to the world with a blow dry. I hope that no Mammy feels that she was doing something wrong because 4 hours after the birth she was wrestling with sanitary nappies and crying because she was crying and didn’t know why she was crying.

And mostly, I hope that right now, Kate is snuggled up in her baggies, on her sofa, hair up, bra off, cozy with her Hubby, enjoying tea and toast and smiling at her new wee Baby and glad that all of that circus is done with!

Congrats to them. And congrats to all the Mammies who didn’t have a live feed of their hospital wall running on Twitter as her little Prince was getting his crown on!

I am Saying Happy 60th Daddy

granda2My Daddy is the King of the Whole Wide World.* (official title decreed by me)

And today my Daddy turns 60.

How fablis!

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“Your parents are so young!”  I hear this often.  As Daddy turns 60, I see people’s brains doing the maths! It’s great that my parents are young. And yet while they had me when they were only 20, they were older than I am now when my youngest sister was born. And so my parents know what BOTH are like; to be young parents and to be not so young parents.

So which is best?  Well that is for another post… but my Daddy Bear remains young in his antics and his heart!

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Clowning around at our wedding!

 

I am blessed to still have both of my parents and even more blessed that they are young and healthy. Being 31 when Mini-Me was born, (and trust me, that was young enough for me!), I often shudder when I consider that when she is my age, I shall be 67. (I hope!)  And to think that I’ll be 72 when Princess reaches where I am now, puts the fear of God in me. I just hope I’m still around to annoy them!

And so my wee Daddy, who is the ABSOLUTE King of my world, is 60. He is my rock. He is my guiding light.  Sometimes, he has been my truth barer and by GOD has he had the brunt of it with me. He has done EVERYTHING for the 6 of us.  He still busts himself every day to provide for us.  He works harder than any other man I know and he has taught me every single thing that I know.

The main things he taught me?

  1.   If you want it, work for it, earn it, deserve it. (Yup!)
  2.  Your morning is your day. (as she types at 5.30am!)
  3.  Remember who has the problem.  (There’s the elixer of life in a single sentence right there. Make it your mantra.)

There is no one in the world who can talk sense into me like Daddy.  I am his double in every way.  We have had epic fun and we have had epic battles. What happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force? Well, eventually the unstoppable force realises that the immovable object is usually right and that she should just have listened to him in the first place.  The minute I realised that Daddy was and is usually right, my life became easier instantly!  What a waste of teenage angst eh?

Not only is he the best Daddy in the world, there is no Granda in the world as much in love with his Grandkids as he is. He is so like MY Granda, his Daddy, who was the centre of our world. And he is idolised and adored by his little herd of kiddies. He is strong and kind and genuine and amazing.

He is my Daddy and I am the luckiest girl in the world.  (and he loves me more than he does the other 5.  He’s loved me the longest like!)

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Happy Birthday my Daddy Bear. Here’s to the rest.

I am Shopping with Him Mum

The weekly shop.

The middle aisle of shite…

When Mammy does the weekly shop, all ingredients and things required to fulfill the meal plan for the family for the week shall be acquired as economically and quickly as possible.

Mammy knows which shop sells what and where the best place to buy kidney beans is.

Mammy can walk into Aldi-Everything and fill the trolley without really having to think too much about it. We’re creatures of habit in our house see, the weekly menu doesn’t change much, and so even if I’m distracted, or in a hurry, or just knackered to the point of Mombie, Mammy automatically reaches for the usual and will always leave quite content that she can feed her minions for the next 5-7 days.

When DADDY goes into Aldi-everything however, while the shopping list will be acquired (mostly…how he misses the eggs everytime, I shall never know…), there is also a 100% chance that we might also acquire some new gadget or item which is completely unnecessary and altogether superfluous. Leaf blowers, power drills, strange shaped batteries, and paint… none of which taste good in a chilli con carne… have all be purchased alongside the nappies and bananas.

When I have the girls with me, I spend my time hissing things like “Put that watermelon down please”, “We don’t need wool and knitting needles” and “Would you come away from the sweets please.”

When we ALL go to do the shopping, which is rare in fairness, it is a fun experience for Mammy.

I get to say things like “Put that ski gear down please.” (We have NEVER been skiing and it is not something that is on the cards for us, like, ever.) “We don’t need a power washer” and “Would you come away from the countertop fridges please. We HAVE a fridge.”

In fairness, I don’t even see the middle aisle usually. I see the peppers and mushrooms and binbags. But for Himself, the joy of a tilecutter across from the breadsticks is utterly intriguing…and baffling.

It’s always fun seeing what he’ll bring home when he does the shopping however. And aren’t I lucky to have a Him who does help out a bit with the boring weekly tasks?

Now, does anyone have a recipe for Paint Stroganoff?

I am So I Have Made a Choice Mum

I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not to publish this.

I’ve chosen to. I’ve made a choice.

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I’ve changed my mind a thousand times. See that’s the thing about choices; about decision making. You consider your options and you weigh them up and then you choose.

You can change your mind if you like. You can decide what’s best for you. You can talk to others, get professional or expert advice. Then you can change your mind again.

And so I have made a choice. Not about my vote, no, that choice wasn’t a difficult one. It’s quite simple for me really.

The choice I made was whether or not to write about it. And you can choose whether or not you want to read on. No one is forcing you… because you have a choice. You have the right to choose.

Generally, you can make a choice about EVERYTHING; well, unless you’re a pregnant woman in Ireland. Or indeed an Irish Man who has been faced with the unthinkable situation of possibly losing his wife, partner or daughter.

Here’s the thing.

I am Pro-Choice. I am NOT pro-abortion. I do not condone it. I would never encourage it. I would never want to have an abortion. But you see. I have never needed an abortion. I have never been in the situation where abortion was an option, or a requirement for me.

Lucky me. Lucky, Lucky me.

And so, having never had to have one, or consider one or even think about one, why should I have a say on the issue? Why do I have the right to speak on this private taboo which is in dire need of public support? Who am I to even think about writing my views and publishing them?

I’ll tell you shall I? I am an Irish woman. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a sister. I am an aunt.

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I am so sad that in this day and age, if faced with an utterly terrible ordeal or medical dilemma, that as an Irish woman and mother, I do not have a voice. I do not have a say. I do not have a right to my own body. And my surgeons or doctors do not have the right to help me if the procedure I need happens to be a termination.

None of us know what is ahead of us. I do not have a clue what is ahead of me. I don’t know what is ahead of my daughters. I don’t know what lies ahead for my siblings. I don’t have a clue what is going on in the lives of my friends. I do not know what other women face, have faced or WILL face in the future. NOR DO YOU.

If I were to find myself pregnant tomorrow, aren’t I lucky that I’d be happy about it?

But tell me this. If early in the pregnancy, a medical professional were to tell me that my worst nightmare were a possibility; that if I continue with the pregnancy, there is a certainty that not only would the fetus die, but possibly, so would I; would I happily accept my Irish constitutional requirements to give my life and body up to the 8th? Would I lie back and think of Ireland?

Would I hell.

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If you think for one second that I would make the choice to leave my beautiful daughters without their Mum, or my husband without his wife, or my parents without their daughter… my friends, you couldn’t be more wrong. And yet, when we’re not in the situation, NONE of us know what we would do, do we?

But how important it would be to have a choice.

There’s that word again. CHOICE.

Unfortunately, in our progressive and wonderful little country, this Mamma Bear would not have that choice. There would be no choice. Not here anyway. Not in the land of opportunity and equality and freedom… Not if you’re a pregnant woman.

And suddenly, without warning, I too would be a statistic. I too would be one of the many, many thousands of women who have to make the horrific, demeaning and absolutely cruel journey across the Irish Sea to seek help from our neighbours. I would be in the same boat…or on the same plane…because the journey for termination is not exclusive to class or age or job or marital status.

Any woman, from any background, for a multitude of reasons can find themselves on that journey. Never mind dealing with the emotional hell of making such a decision, they are damned for it by our society.

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To be PRO-CHOICE does not mean that you are Pro-Abortion.

You can be a mother and still be pro-choice.

You can be Grandmother and be pro-choice.

You can be a father and be pro-choice. Because guess what? This affects men too. It affects the men who will hold their partner’s hands when faced with the words none of us ever want to hear.

It affects the husbands who are helpless to save their unborn baby or their wife. It affects Fathers. It affects brothers. It affects sons. There are so many situations where these men can be faced with losing one of the women in their life. None of them include choice for the man OR the woman.

So if you are a man, do not think that this is a problem for the women. If you are a woman, who thinks that it doesn’t concern you, think ahead. It might. If you are on the fence, get off it. No one is asking us to legalize random abortion for all. No one is asking us to agree with it. All that we are being asked to do, is to make a choice to GIVE a choice, to our daughters, to our nieces, to our sisters…and maybe even to ourselves.

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Choice. I’ve made my choice to write this. If you’ve made the choice to read it, thank you. You also have the choice to decide whether to agree with me or not. I would never insist that you agree with me. That is not how I am.

I also however, would not attack or criticise you for your choice even if it is different to mine. If you disagree, that is your choice. No one is forcing you to agree. No one will make you. It’s yours already. It feels good doesn’t it? To have a choice?

You also have a voice. Use it.

(Maria Rushe March 2018)

I am Spas and Chopsticks Mum

Once upon a time, in a land far away, Mammy went for a massage.
 
In Mammy’s many experiences of massages, this one was particularly memorable.
 
Mammy carries a lot of her stress and tension, not only in her wine glass, but sometimes in her shoulders. Every year, around the time where Mammy has finished marking eleventy squillion mock English papers while managing to direct and be in a musical, on top of working and you know, Mammying, my little shoulders tend to seize up and act the bollox.
 
It happens every year. And so THIS year, Mammy decided to meet the fecker head on by booking myself into a spa, far far away, for a deep tissue massage.
 
Hah! Take THAT shoulders. I shall go to the spa and have some handy genius “rub my cares” away as I hum to the tune of Fraggle Rock and then I shall leave, relaxed and glowing and detoximified and calm. I shall be so relaxed that when I meet my mates in the hotel bar afterwards, I shall consume only water to aid the detoxifying cleanse that the magic fingers shall have induced.
 
And then, I went.
 
Spas are funny places aren’t they? We’re spoiled here in Donegal in fairness, but in general, they’re weird.
 
Think about it.
You are ushered into hushed and candlelit darkness, with hissing things and smells popping from every corner. We tell ourselves it’s classy. In reality, it looks how a lap dancing club might look.
Then, we put on a robe and slippers which are way too big over our bathing suits. What do you wear to a spa? A costume gets wet and then it’s icky to get off and impossible to get back on if you’re in for a treatment. And let’s be honest, a bikini often requires a certain mood doesn’t it? As in an “I don’t give a fuck” mood.
Then you flip flop your way into a glorified swimming pool which farts bubbles sporadically and you try to be graceful as you descend into it, not having a fucking clue where the steps are. You try not to look out of place amongst the other spa-goers, who are obviously all pro at this crap.
The other spa-goers, already positioned in their bubble blower seats, look ahead, aloof and sophisticated and looking altogether “together”, with expressions of nonchalance and boredom that makes them look cool…as if they BELONG here, pretending not to see you but secretly thinking, “Do NOT sit beside me. Do not speak to me. I can’t look but I want to suss out whether you should be wearing that costume or not… fuck. Is that a bikini? Bitch. I should have worn mine. I could soooooooooo wear mine. Next time. Yeah, of course she sat beside me. I’ll have to move now… Must look composed. Must look suitably bored. Must not smile.”
 
And you sit among them, pressing random buttons and trying not to scream in fear as things start spurting at you. After a few minutes on sitting in the pool in which you can’t really swim, you get up and head for the steam room and sauna, wondering why the hell you bothered getting your cossie wet when realistically, 89% of your time in this thermal suite shall be spent in the dry rooms.
 
You sit in the steam room until you are medium-rare and then try to dry off in the sauna, wondering why the place has been decorated like a brothel might be. Red lights are not relaxing.
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Red is not my colour…

 
And then you begin to wonder how long you have to wait until your therapist comes to save you. In this case, I was forgotton about and had to go find one. They’d forgotten me. No biggy… I was perfectly chilled after my hour in the steam room and red light district.
 
A massage will relax me eh?
Well. She was a lovely girl…
Let me sum it up for you in simple terms…
My “deep tissue massage” was a 15 minute head rub/hair pull followed by very strange and altogether frustrating rub on one side of my body because she couldn’t reach the other side and apparently didn’t know to move… It included random pinching of my skin as if she was using calipers to gauge my BMI and then, THEN… she started to slap my skin, up and down my back before doing CHINESE CHOPSTICKS on my sides…
I.
SHIT.
YOU.
NOT.
 
If anyone had been watching my face through the head hole, I’d say they’d have had a laugh at my eyes popping open in shock!  I swear to God, I was waiting for Jeremy Beadle to jump out from the shower curtain with his camera.
 
Chopsticks.
 
Now, she wasn’t putting ANY pressure at all on my back so I figured she was doing very little harm, and by the time I’d plucked up the courage to tell her to stop the massage, she’d moved on to my legs and was doing a grand job chopping my arse. There was a bit more there for her pinchers too so she seemed happy enough.
 
“Was that OK for you?” Poor wee pet was so proud of herself and I was in a confused state of WTF. I grumbled something about getting a glass of water and headed back to the dressing room.
 
I’m not a complainer. I wasn’t going to say anything really but then I looked in the mirror.
My HAIR looked as if it had been backcombed ALL OVER. It was standing STRAIGHT UP all over my head. Forget Something about Mary, there was Something about Mammy and it was NOT good. I tried to brush it and Oh my GOD, Ladies I couldn’t get the brush through it. I couldn’t even get my fingers through it. No one should leave a spa looking like this.
 
I rarely complain. I hate complaining, but sometimes, it’d be wrong to leave without speaking up. I pulled on my tracksuit and headed to reception, where the manageress was absolutely wonderful and so very kind. In fairness, as customer service goes, I can’t fault her. However as spa treatments and relaxing evenings go… yeah, it didn’t.
 
I had to step into the shower and pour the full bottle of conditioner onto my hair to try to ease out the tangles. I pulled on my clothes to go for dinner.
I was first in the bar. Water my arse. I needed grapes.
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My mates arrived, expecting to find me in a sleepy state of smug water consuming relaxation, all chilled and shiny.
They found me with a bottle of wine, three glasses and my hair fecked in a bun because I couldn’t get the brush through parts of it, even after the shower…
 
As for my back? I thought I was fine. Turns out I thought wrong. I’m currently being fixed by a lovely Physio, who actually snorted when I mentioned the Chopsticks.
My Mother’s Day Fizz was courtesy of painkillers.
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But hey! Lesson learned.
My shoulders shall indeed fall to bits every March and Mammy should stick to the local, fablis and non-red-lighting spas I know.
They’re a whole lot less traumatic!

I am Some Mum Power Mum

Letterkenny Musical Society will present the outrageous “Nine to Five” to the boards of An Grianán Theatre next week.  This is the first production of the hit musical in the North West.

This wonderful, heartwarming and funny tale of three amazing women is being brought to us by a cast of equally brilliant local women.

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Three secretaries turn the tables on their boss in an office driven by chauvinism.  The film starred Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Over 20 years later, it was adapted for the musical stage, with Dolly writing a number of new songs, combining country with rock and roll, along with some big band swing and beautiful ballads.

For lovers of the film, the story will be familiar. Indeed, large sections of dialogue are unchanged.

Nicola Shields plays Violet, Rachel Akkoç plays Judy, and Ciara Gallagher takes on the challenge of channelling Dolly as she brings Doralee to the stage.

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Rachel, Ciara and Nicola in rehearsals

Maria Rushe plays Roz, Laura Harvey plays Hart’s wife Missy, while Mariosa Bryce, Andrea Logue and Lorraine Porter are Kathy, Maria and Margaret.

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DW spoke to 5 of the ladies involved in the production on and off the stage; the 3 leading ladies, the Co-Director and the Choreographer.

 

Nicola Shields plays Violet.

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Nicola excels as Violet

Nicola is wife to Johnny & Mum to 2 beautiful furbabies, Belle & Seve.  She teaches Modern languages at Mulroy College, Milford. Nicola has been a member of LMS since 1999 & has been involved in every production since then, playing various leading roles over the years.
Nicola said, “I’m very excited to be part of 9 to 5 & very much looking forward to bringing Violet to life next week . Great to be involved in a show that offers 3 leading roles to ladies over 40 !!”

 

 

 

Ciara Gallagher plays Doralee

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Ciara has morphed into Doralee. She even has the giggle perfected!

Ciara is a primary teacher in Carrigart. She is married to James and is a mother of four.  She has made the role of Doralee her own and is loving playing the infamous character played by Dolly Parton herself in the movie version.   

Ciara said “Doralee is a wonderful character; she is sassy and feisty, funny and vulnerable. I feel very lucky to play such a strong female role, and luckier still to be involved in a show that highlights women’s issues in such a positive and uplifting way, with super-talented fellow cast members. This really is a show not to be missed!”

 

 

 

Rachel Akkoç plays Judy.

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Rachel is beautiful as vulnerable Judy

Rachel hails from Dublin, but considers herself to be ‘adopted Donegal’, having moved to Letterkenny in the early 90s. She has two sons, Ziya and Zana, with her Turkish husband, Ejder. Rachel works in the public service by day, but her real love is performing. The stage has been her spiritual home for all of her 45 years. She is a trained dancer, an accomplished vocalist and has taken on countless diverse acting roles over the years. 
‘The role of Judy in 9 to 5 is one that I’m relishing. She starts out downtrodden, but having returned to the workforce, and with the help of her feisty co-workers, she gradually regains her mojo and becomes a strong, empowered and self-assured woman. I love portraying that metamorphosis.’

 

 

 

Roz

Maria Rushe is hilarious as Roz

Maria Rushe plays Roz.

Donegal Woman columnist Maria is married to Emmet and they have two little Drama Queens who inspire her blog, The S-Mum.  She teaches English & Drama in Coláiste Ailigh and has been a member of the LMS since 2004.  Having choreographed past shows, she now directs the show alongside Donal Kavanagh.  Maria loves the stage and has played many roles with LMS.

Maria said “Playing Roz is so much fun. She is clumsy and awkward and misses the point in so many ways. She loves Hart desperately, but has a very different journey to the other ladies. Roz is an intricate character who the audience will hopefully love, hate and sympathise with in equal measure.  And any show where I get to sing, dance and make people laugh is a joy for me. This show is my favourite yet.”

 

Rebecca Thompson is the Choreographer.

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The Lady who keeps them on their toes, Rebecca is choreographer.

Rebecca Thompson is 36 years old, married to Ian and she is mummy to six boys, James, Charlie, Harry, Freddie, Max and Bobby. She left her post as a secondary school teacher to open Encore Performing Arts Academy. This is her third year involved with LMS as choreographer.

“I love working with and bringing Musical Theatre movement to adults who may have no previous experience of dance. I find it really rewarding and humbling watching everyone put in the effort in making my vision and ideas come alive on stage,” says Rebecca.

 

Obviously, we have powerful men in and behind the show also.  Our leading man Franklyn Hart Jnr is played by Donegal’s finest performers, Giles Murray.

Kieran Connor plays Joe, the junior accountant who’s in love with Violet; Joe Harley plays Doralee’s husband Dwayne; while Anthony McGarrigle plays Dick, Judy’s ex-husband.  The leading men deliver stellar performances along side the women.

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Our male chorus. Director Donal Kavanagh back centre, Producer Noel O’Donnell Back left.

The show is produced by Noel O’Donnell and directed by Donal Kavanagh and Maria Rushe.

Musial direction comes from the ubertalented Mark Bradley.

The show runs at  An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny from Tuesday, February 27, to Saturday March 3.

Show time is 8pm and tickets cost €18 and €20.

For booking, go to www.angrianan.com or ring 0784 91 20777.

 

 

 

I am Stage Mum

“Where do you find the time?”

“How can you be bothered?”

“It can’t be worth that much work?”

Musicals.

I’ve been on stage my whole life, first as an Irish Dancer and for the past 14 years, as a member of Letterkenny Musical Society.  This year, we’re doing Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical.

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The ultimate Girl Power Show!

Every September, we meet to begin our winter of rehearsals and of fun.  It begins as once a week, and by February each year, it’s 2 to 3 nights a week and Sundays.  At the minute, I’m eat, sleeping and breathing 9 to 5.  I’m having ideas at 3am that are sending our Producer into tailspins.  I’m dreaming about walking on stage with no bra on.  Last night, there was a Bull in the wings as the curtain was going up… and it wasn’t me.  My kids are singing the songs and my head is spinning.

I don’t KNOW how I find the time, but I do. In fairness, I rehearse when the girls are in bed. The Sundays are hard but it’s only for such as short time.  The LMS gets me through the winter. It’s a family.  It keeps me out of trouble.

Yes it’s a lot of work. Yes, it’s busy.  Yes it’s a lot on top of being a Mammy AND working 9 to 5… But it’s worth it.  Every member has a busy life.  We all have day jobs.  We all have families.  We all have commitments.  We all get stressed and tired coming up to the show, but then?  Get-in day arrives and the curtain gets ready  to rise, and we remember WHY we do it.

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Next Sunday, the side door to the stage is rolled up, sunlight flooding the stage.  Lighting rigs are hoisted at head height while the crew work on them.  The production team are creating the world for the characters to inhabit. This year it’s an office in America in the late 70s.
I’ll arrive in the middle of it at around 3pm and walk onto the stage. I’ll close my eyes.  The familiar voices of Hubby and the usual suspects calling instructions to each other, co-operating and working together will make me smile.  The sounds of the cordless drill…the smell of fresh wood and sawdust…the muffled conversation of the sound guys from the auditorium… it will be beautiful.

I’ll open my eyes and look at the chaotic scene in front of me, wondering (not for the first time in my theatre life), at how within just a few hours, this chaotic canvas will be transformed into a completely believable world into which our amazing cast will step.

 

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And then I’ll do what I do and get together with my colleagues to get our heads around the problems and challenges that only a production team can face, and by the time our cast arrive, we’ll be ready.

So how do I have the time?  How can I be bothered?  Is it worth it?

Yes.  Because this is ME.  Yes, I have children.
My girls are the most important thing in my world.
They are my show.
They are my production.
They are the choreographed chaos of which I’m most proud, and I’ll direct them through life with the same dedication and love that I put into the shows.

But they are also only a part of me.
Yes, I am their mummy, but I’m still me.
I’m still the drama queen that lives for the stage.
I still love the theatre.

I still love how pretending to be someone else can bring me to emotions that I’ve never experienced.  I love to entertain.  I love to make people laugh. I love that I can make people cry…
I still get goosebumps when I hear someone hitting that note.
I still get so carried away watching my closest friends on stage, that I cry because I absolutely believe the pain they are conveying.

And so, standing there next Sunday,  I won’t feel guilty.

Yes, it’ll be a week of rushing and balancing, but my girls are quite safe and well looked after (the dog is so responsible!), and they know that show week is important to Mammy and to Daddy.

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I’m playing Roz!

My girls will grow up in rehearsals for shows.
They’ll see the stress and work and time and effort that goes into this “hobby”.
They’ll learn confidence, respect, organisation skills.
They’ll experience the fruits of the long months of hard work, and they’ll learn that if you want something to happen, you must work to make it happen.
They might even perform on stage with me at some point.

Maybe they’ll work backstage with their Daddy.
Maybe they’ll hate it all.  That’s OK too.

But if I can’t continue up to be who I’ve always been, just because I’ve been blessed with two little darlings, I’m not doing anyone any favours am I?

I am after all, Still Stage Mum.

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9 to 5 opens on Tuesday 27th and runs until Saturday 3rd March. 

Tickets for Friday and Saturday are almost sold out, so if you fancy being swept away by a super cast, a hilarious script and beautiful music, get your tickets soon.

Buy tickets here

I am So Glad I Did

Mammy had a near birth experience on Friday.

Where did this happen? In the arms of Jim.

You see Mammy, being the turbotwat that she is, decided that yes indeed, of COURSE, she would take part in the current members’ challenge. Mammy is young and fit and as able as the other (actually) young and nimble Jim-goers she trains with.

Mammy is just as strong and hardy as the 20 somethings whose pelvises have yet to be battered by the joy of carrying their minions, and whose lady-bits don’t rebuke them for over exerting themselves with threats to pee, or you know, BURST, mid-burpee.

Yes. Of course Mammy could row 500 metres at great speed, for Mammy is a fucking legend. Mammy is also, a deluded twat.

And so Mammy sat her legging covered posterier onto the rowing machine beside one of her lovely training buddies. The crowd gathered around, most of them genuinely encouraging, some possibly hoping Mrs R would slide off the machine and land on her arse. Regardless, ALL were glad that the seats of both machines were inhabited by arses OTHER than their own.

And so began the row. “3,2,1 GO!” shouted Mr Fucking Motivator. We began our jaunt. “Go, go, go! Keep it steady. That’s good. You can do it. Pace yourself… “

In the midst of the calls and cheers from the onlookers, I can hear The Him in my ear. I can hear my comrade breathing beside me as she too realises after 100 metres that there is a very strong possibility that we are both going to require defibrillation after this. Peter, our lovely new other Mr Motivator is in her ear, muttering similar encouraging things to her…“You’ve got this. You can do it. That’s it. Good good good…”

“Pace yourself” mutters Him in my ear. (Him should know from experience that the words “Pace Yourself” might as well be “Here’s another bottle” to me.) Mammy does not know what these words mean.

And so Mammy tears on, partially determined to do this, mostly terrified of looking like a twat in front of all of these lovely peoples. “Shit” Mammy mumbles as the strap begins to loosen on her right foot. “Fix my right strap” Mammy gasps between rows. The Him begins to fix the left strap. “TheOTHERrightstrapyouTwat!” Mammy screams (in one breath!) Encouraging cheers now erupt in to laughter.

“Half way” announces Peter. He has to be joking obviously. We have by now, rowed the length of the fricken Irish Sea. We must have been going for 37 minutes.

“Faaaaaaack” I’m not sure if that was me or my lovely comerade beside me. We’re both struggling. I am now breathing like what I imagine a tortoise giving birth to an elephant would sound like.

I’m pretty sure that there are women who have given birth to triplets, each weighing 8lb+, without drugs, who have sworn less and breathed less than me. I sound like a foghorn. Like a Baby Walrus calling for his Mammy. Like a confused cow who’s just had its nipples clamped. It’s not good. My hands are so sweaty, I can’t hold the handle much longer.

“Nearly there!” calls The Him.

“I can’t do it. I’m done”  roars Mammy.

“No you’re not. keep rowing. Don’t you dare stop!” The crowd begin to roar and cheer as my buddy beside me glides across the 500 mark. I have about 50 metres to go apparently. I can’t feel my arms. My legs feel EXACTLY how they did those times I had epidurals. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are women giving birth in the nearby hospital with less sweat, swearing and tears than me right now. I can’t breathe. My chest is closing. My head is spinning. I may puke. I want to cry. The crowd are cheering and The Him is still whispering “Come on. You’re nearly there.” I want to kill him. I want him to shut the fuck up, and yet I hear only his voice as my body gives in to the last surges and I DO IT!

I hear myself let out a roar and I push through what can only be described as HELL to get that number to 0. I only know I’m finished because of the noise of my buddies. My body is numb. My head is spinning. I have just rowed for at least 94 minutes. I am a machine…

“Well done!” they chorus, laughing and clapping; energized by our race.

“Good woman” gasps my lovely rowing buddy, who is all her youthful glamour and beauty, is (I am glad to see) looking equally as fucked as I currently feel.

“That’s my girl” The Him whispers as I lie on the floor. (I will hurt him later, I think, when I regain control of my body.)

Turns out, my ordeal lasted 2 minutes 11 seconds. I’m pretty fecking proud of that!

Turns out, it’s really easy to give up and decide that I can’t do something.

Turns out that with the right voices in my ear and the right people around me, I can actually do anything I fecking put my mind to.

If he’d let me give up when I said I was done, I would have. I would have given up and thought that I just couldn’t do it. But I didn’t.

The human body is amazing, but the mind is so much more powerful. And stubbornness. Stubbornness and pride can help you across any finish line. 🙂

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I am Some Things that Make me Smile Mum

What makes you smile Mammy?

“My children’s arms around my neck… spending time with my family… seeing my childrens’s faces when… hearing my children’s voices…cuddles with my babies…”

Yadda yadda yeah.

Of course these things make you happy.  And so they should. Being Mammy is the most rewarding and smile inducing thing in the world.

But Back up Bitcheepoos.  I asked what makes YOU happy.  What things, (not including your precious little cherubs and their hillarious/cute/wonderful milestones), make Mammy smile.   I want the OTHER answers, the things OTHER than your kids that make you smile, because it’s important to remember the things that make Mammy smile, other than being Mammy.

maria rushe

Apart from these two, obviously.

Here are some of mine:

Food:  Food is possibly my favourite thing in the world. Nothing gives me the same joy as good food. The smells.  The textures. The flavours… I have been known to make questionable noises while eating certain things.  Add a smooth warm wine to a Prawn Balti and I may just love you forever. Eating is not just functional.  It’s sensual. God dammit, sometimes food is just sexy. End of.   I’m salivating now just thinking about it… To Hell with diamonds…The way to this woman’s heart is through my belly.  Just feeeeeeed me.  I’m like a puppy.  I’m not beyond being bribed to do tricks…

When someone else thinks of me:  When Himself leaves my cup and pod ready in the coffee machine before I get up.  When my friend hands me a pair of ridiculous slippers just because she thought of me when she saw them. When someone calls me, not looking for something, just to say hi. When someone texts me out of the blue.

Chatting:  With two chatterboxes for daughters, I don’t get a word in edgeways.  If I get the rare chance to meet my mate, my Him or my Mum for a cuppa without my little people, Oh but it does make me smile.  Uninterrupted, uncensored conversation with our favourite grown up people is soooooooo good for us, isn’t it?

coffee

Hugs:  Apart from my Him and the Hers, there are some people whose hugs make me especially happy.  My Daddy is the bestest Hugger in the world.  End of story. No one will ever win an argument with me about that.  I love hugs from my siblings, especially the two who flew over the Irish Sea to make their nests. It doesn’t matter how long has passed between hugs, they’re stronger than ever each time.

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Hugs makes the sun shine

Being alone:  The true joys of being alone can never be understood until you are a parent.  When I get it, I take it.  And I’m talking ANYWHERE!  The bathroom. The shower. The car journey between drop off and work.  Sometimes, I run awful errands just to get 25 minutes alone! Even putting the bin up to the road is a chance to stop and breath and be alone for a minute. Grabbing a coffee alone is a luxury. I get up most mornings before 6am, just to have an hour to myself.  And who needs a holiday when you have the Supermarket to mosey through all by yourself?

alone

How I feel on aisle 3

The Beach:  The beach near my home is my absolute favourite place.  It’s my thinking place. Yes I love to walk here with the girls, but add this one to Number 5 and you’ll see a content and happy S-Mum.  If I stand on that shore long enough, all the world realigns and everything is better. It’s cleansing. It blasts away my stresses. And I’m discovering as I get older, that the worse the weather is, the better the blast.

People watching:  This one makes me smile just thinking about it.  I LOVE to people-watch.  I love to pretend and make up what is happening with them.  I write them into characters and scenarios in my head, and sometimes in my book.  (If you have ever passed me, especially if I’m alone, there’s a chance you’ve inspired something. That counts as a disclaimer right?)

Exercise:  This one might not be everyone’s list, but it’s definitely something that makes me smile.  It also makes me swear, grunt and cry, but so does food! There is a fine line between pleasure and pain isn’t there!?

Food: I know I’ve said food already, but seriously, I don’t think I have enough words to make anyone understand the utter joy that it brings me. 🙂

Smells: Stop and smell the roses, or the cut grass, or the baking bread.  Breathe in your Granny’s perfume, your baby’s head, the chocolate cake.  ALWAYS take a second to smell your wine. Or your coffee.  Or the washing powder.  Or the smell in your parent’s hall when you visit.  Smells are memories.  Memories make me smile.

bread

Breathe it in…

I could go on.  And even as I write this and think about these things, I realise that they are largely easy to do, find and that they are mostly free.   And so it makes me wonder, why I don’t do them more often.  Of course, time is an issue. Being a busy Mammy with a job and 20,000 other things going on will always make time an issue, but at the same time, none of these things are outrageous or elusive really.

And so maybe it’s time to make time to do them.  

So now, I ask you again.  What makes YOU smile? (apart from your Darlings).

Write down a few of them and stick the list on your fridge or in your diary.  Then, try to tick one or two of them off that list at least once a week.

 

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I am Space Leggings in Jim Mum

Two words.
NEVER AGAIN!

“Oooooooooh Lookit!” thinks Mammy in local chainstore for disposable clothing which shall remain nameless.

“Look at the spacey, funky, pinkly-purply gym bottoms that are fablis and reduced! Oh my! Down to €5? What a bargain. Oh indeed Mammy shall have to have these. Mammy is indeed still uber-cool and chic and young enough to carry these off. Mammy SHALL be fablis and fearless in Jim in these bad boys. What a bargain!”

Silly Mammy.
Silly Silly Mammy.

Off Mammy trots to Jim, rather excited about the wearing of the rocket-fuel bottoms. Mammy is so excited in fact, that it never crosses her silly mind to try them on at home first.

“Should you not try these on first Mammy?” says Mammy’s inside voice.
“Pahah! DESIST, you annoying wench! I know what size my arse is and these leggins shall look spectacular on it” answers poor, deluded Mammy.

When Mammy gets to Jim, she pulls on the bottoms. They go up to her knees before the bottom of the legs on the leggings decide that they shall not move. In fact, they will not budge above Mammy’s ankles. And any hope Mammy has of getting the material to cover her calves, is left wittering on the changing room floor, beside Mammy’s dignity and confidence.

When Mammy does get the top part of the bottoms to go over her arse, she is suddenly aware that while yes, her legs and nether regions may in fact be covered, she still has two problems.
1. The bottoms are so beautifully stuck to her calves, that the crotch part of them is NEVER going to make the journey to HER crotch.
2. When Mammy moves, the fablis pinky purply space pattern DISAPPEARS, being replaced by wonderful see-through white!

FAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK! thinks Mammy as she continues to bounce the bottoms up, trying and failing to get the crotches to align.

“FAAAAAAAACK!” shouts Mammy aloud as it dawns on her that this is as high as they will go. Thankfully, there is a drawstring on the top of the bottoms, (which were OBVIOUSLY designed for a giraffe with no ankles or calves and the leg circumference of a fricken table leg), and so Mammy ties it tight around her belly in the hope that at least the trousers will NOT fall off.

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And so off Mammy toddles into Jim, where OF COURSE, Mr Fucking Motivator has a lovely circuit of Squats, lunges and Bear Crawls lined up for us. YES. I said BEAR CRAWLS… where Mammy and her Jimbuddies have to channel their inner Bear Cub and crawl like fecking MOWGLI through Jim, arses in the air!

“Ooooooooh, cool leggings Mrs R” coos one of the lovely proper-legging-wearing wenches.
“Oooooooooh nooooooooo!” answers Me. “I apologise in advance for the certain showing of my Hoohaa at some point during the next hour Ladies” announces Mammy. (Better to pre-empt the disaster eh? At least then, I can look like I MEANT for my table-leg/giraffe leggings to split along the pathetic seam on my unfortunate arse and offer heart failure to my training buddy half way through my squat jump.)

“3,2,1… Go!

I swear to God Ladybelles, I honestly thought that with every lunge I would hear the rip. When we were stretching, I could HEAR the material screaming. I could see the colour disappearing from every part of my legs that were moving. I could only IMAGINE what see-through catastrophe was happening on my arse. My calves were crying by the end of the session as the fecking material was trying so hard to merge into my skin that I truly feared that I might live the rest of my life with the awful, suddenly not so cool pattern, embedded onto my corned-beef skin.

Surprisingly, the bastarding Leggings DID survive the wrath of Jim.
Not so surprisingly, they did NOT survive Mammy REMOVING them from her poor suffocated legs. In fact, they had to be scissored off when she got home. Yes. I had to cut them off my calves.

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Yes. I had to cut them off.

Lesson?

When you see leggings on sale seeming too good to be true, walk on by Mammy. They are indeed too good to be true.
And the next time I’m feeling guilty for spending money on proper gym bottoms, I shall remember that I am doing so for the good of my fellow Jimgoers, my nerves and my dignity.
And leave the funky, spacey, pinky purply leggings for the giraffes.

Traumatised I tell you.

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