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.

9to5

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.

Roz

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.

hug

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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