Friendship Bras… Does Yours Still Fit?

This year has been weird. And the whole idea of friendship has been weird too.

Many of us will say that we’ve had friendships change, for better and for worse.

We’ve tightened our circles. We’ve made new friends. (Isn’t the tinterweb amazing in fairness?)

We’ve been chatting to strangers online and some really fun connections have been made. Some of us have made an effort. Most of us have retreated into our own wee worlds and only let a few in. Maybe you’ve had zoom calls or been in Wattsapp chats or messenger groups. Maybe you’ve removed yourself from chats that you found to be zapping the life out of you.

The list of ways that we have been dealing with social interaction, or lack thereof, is infinite.

And we’re all different.

I’ve been through enough “friendships” in my lifetime to know that they don’t always last.

We’ve all had friends not reply to our calls or messages.

We’ve all had the message group that has stopped pinging.

We’ve all had the realisation that we’ve not been invited to something.

We’ve all had the friends who’ve unfollowed or deleted us.

We’ve all had the friend who took themselves out of the message group for some reason.

I’m sure every one of you reading this can empathise with some of this. Maybe you’ve reassessed who your friends are. Maybe you’ve been hurt. Maybe you’ve felt left out. Maybe you’re the friend who has cut ties with someone.

I saw a meme about friends last week announcing that If they don’t check in on you, they’re not worth your time….” or something to that effect. So many people were commenting and agreeing…

BUT

In the past year, we have all been through so much.

Most of us have literally had to put all of our energy into keeping things going. Or “between the ditches” as one of my mates says.

And for most of us, our priorities changed.

We’ve all coped, (and not coped), differently.

And maybe the friend who “cut you out” or “didn’t bother about you”, just couldn’t. Maybe they just had a million other things happening and you weren’t a priority.

It may seem harsh, but the reality is that no one owes us anything.

No one is required to message or call or include us in anything.

Everyone has been fighting their own battles for the past year and yes, there may be relationships that will need effort to be rekindled and rejuvenated, that will eventually be OK again.

But maybe there are relationships that were intended to fizzle out.

So maybe, let them go?

Friendship is a two way thing. If there isn’t effort from both sides, it won’t work.

Everyone comes into our lives for a reason, and if they leave, they might have left memories. They might have left scars or hurt. But even those people teach us something, either about people, or about ourselves.

I care deeply about people I let into my life.

I try hard to make people feel valued and cared about.

But if I think for one second that I am upsetting or having a negative impact on someone’s life, I feel sad.

I don’t get annoyed if someone removes me from their circle or from social media. If what I say or post makes someone feel badly, then I’m pretty damn proud of them for hitting block. Or whatever button they press.

We all got caught up in the glamour of all of the friendships and social circles in the chaos of pre-covid life. And I think many of us blurred the lines a bit.

We called people we really didn’t know very well, “friends”.

We called acquaintances from events or different communities we were in, “friends”.

We have the added complication of social media where genuine and brilliant connections CAN and are formed. But until the person you’re connecting with has seen you at your best and at your worst, should we really call them “friends”?

We all define friends differently.

I have a very small and very tight little circle. I’m so very lucky. There are three ladies who have been in my life for many, many years. I have one or two buddies who I adore and who give me such joy in our conversations. I’ve always been open to making new friends, even as an adult. But I try not to confuse all of the different ‘types’ of friends.

True friends are like a favourite Bra; the ones we go to for comfort. The ones we don’t need to put on frills for. The ones who have been in your drawer for so long, it would be empty without them. They’re safe, comfy and supportive. And they might not be worn every single day, but they’re our go-to every time. And they don’t need matching knickers. They’re perfectly fabulous all on their own. These are your friends.

Yes it’s nice to have the fancy, frilly, sexy or sassy boobie-baskets in the drawer for different occasions or “events”, and they’re just as fabulous, but only worn the odd time. They are for certain outfits, or have certain functions, or make us feel a certain way. These are your acquaintances; you pals.

Then there is the bra that broke on you, or whose wire snapped and stabbed you in the ribs… or that left marks on because it really just didn’t fit properly. But you keep it in the drawer just to remind yourself not to wear it again and not to buy that particular brand again. These are your lessons learned.

So there. Friends are bras.

All different style and sizes; Some a good fit, some not so good. Some to be kept forever, some to be worn by someone else. Some to be admired and appreciated for their style and beauty, but some that really just weren’t your style.

And when we realise that not all bra CAN fit us, and that indeed we won’t always be the right fit for the bra, we can appreciate that sometimes, gently removing the bra, popping it in the recycle bag and wishing it all the better boobies in the world, is the only way forward.

Yes, there will be some people who have disappointed us or hurt us this past year, but actually, the only person who controls YOUR disappointment or hurt, is YOU.

And maybe we’ve been the “friend” doing the disappointing?

If you’ve felt ignored by someone, ring them. Say hi. Maybe they’re feeling the same way about you.

But remember that only person who owes you anything, is yourself. And if someone needs to remove you, that’s their right. None of us should wear an uncomfortable bra.

And none of us need to stay in “friendships” that really, really aren’t.

Mother’s Day Poems, From Mammy, To Mammy

A wee poem … or two… for all the Mammies.
💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗

💞💞From Mammy on Mother’s Day💞💞

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
I love you each second of every day
And even when sometimes I grumble and scold
I hope that you know that even if you’re being bold,
I trust you, I get you, I love you so much
I’ve loved you since the minute I first felt your touch,
(Whether birth or first meeting, It matters not HOW
I became your Mammy, I’m your Mammy now.)
My total existence revolves around you;
Your growth and your wellness, everything that you do.
I’m thinking about you, awake and asleep
And even if I’m not with you, please know that I keep
you so close in my heart and always on my mind.
You’re my reason for living, the reason I find
to get up on the mornings where there’s been no sleeping
to keep smiling and going, when I just feel like weeping.
But always, no matter how much I may struggle
The world can be fixed with just one little “cuggle”.
When I look at you sleeping, so pure and calm,
I love you with everything that I am.
I’ll push you, protect you and help you to grow,
I’ll make sure you know all the things you should know.
I’ll keep you as safe as I possibly can.
I’ll make sure you know just how proud that I am
To be raising a child who’s so brilliant and clever
and to be your wee Mammy, forever and ever.
So how do I love you, let me count the ways.
Every day Darling, not just on Mother’s Day.”

💞💞To Mammy… EVERY Day💞💞

How to I love thee, well count I can not,
But I don’t need my numbers to tell you a lot.
I love you for reasons that do not need words,
For the fact that you’re mine since I came to this world.
Because you love me every day and each night,
When I’m being my best, or I’m giving you frights.
I know that you sometimes are worried and scared
But you don’t let me see that, You’re too busy being there
When I need you, for playtime or stories or songs,
When I call in the night, and you carry me long,
long into the hours where we should be asleep,
When I hide from the monsters or cry or hurt deep.
When I eat all my dindins or throw it at you.
When I giggle and cry, when you’re covered in poo.
It really doesn’t matter what I do or I say,
You are my Mammy and I’ll simply love you always.

😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

Much love to all the Mammies of any Babbies, all over the world.

The S-Mum xxxx

‘Just RELAAAAX’ They Say…

‘Make some time for YOU Mammy and have a relaxing bath’ say the instafluencers.

Well OK then!

An instaworthy bathing relaxation event is about to go down in Chez Mammy… buckle up Bitcheepoos.

I sniff in the steam as my very ‘spensive and much loved bubble bath, (made up of ingredients I cannot pronounce for lack of vowels… LangyLang and mystical howabajobawobahoohoo berries and Blossoms and such) fills my bathroom with sweet scented steam.

I need this.
I deserve this.
I shall read.
I shall RELAX and have some time ON MY OWN.

I have the suds.
I have the soaps.
I have the candles lit.
I have my book ready.
I have my musical soundtracks ready to play.
Most importantly, I have the wine poured.

I EVEN have a few nice big dirty fat creamy chocolates sitting on my the fancy board that sits across my bath, (which I decided that I NEEDED on night 309 of lockdown after a bath where I almost smashed my favourite wine glass into my thighs as it refused to balance on the side of the bath.)

I am going to sip on my Shiraz and listen to Idina Defy Gravity, while I hum along, calm and content and soaking my cares away.

I switch off the ‘big light’ and slide into the suds.

It’s too hot. Of course it is.

It will ALWAYS be too hot, for I am a muppet. I’ll never learn.
That’s a fact.

Deciding that the chances of ACTUAL burns are not quite as high as usual, I wait for my skin to stop screaming and close my eyes.

This shall be heaven.
I insist it shall.

I reach for my book…

I cannot see my book.

For you see, the romantic and subtle candlelight is SO subtle that I actually can’t SEE any of the words on the fucking page.

I call Himself.

“Will you turn on the big light please? I can’t see!”
He grumbles something rather dangerous and foolish about how he “told me so” and the light dazzles me.

Ok, so it’s not quite as relaxing, but at least I can see the words now. I balance the book in my soggy hands.

Within a few moments, the steam is causing my fingers to leave big damp splodges all over the pages.

It seems that the book is gaining weight. I’m sure it wasn’t this heavy 5 minutes ago.

It seems to have morphed into the entire collection of the Britannica Encyclopedia and I’m wondering HOW it now weighs 25Kg as my arms struggle to hold the fecking soggy pages above my head. This is so uncomfortable.

I put the book down, hit play on the phone and listen to the Wicked soundtrack.

As I pop a chocolate into my mouth, the WIFI cuts out (I’m more than a metre from the fucking kitchen. What did I expect?) so the music stops and starts so many times within a minute that I think I have whiplash.

I switch off Idina and throw another chocolate into my mouth…

Or AT my mouth, for, you see, I miss.

And the dirty big champagne truffle sinks like yer man Jack in Titanic and I think I cry louder and more genuinely than thon Rose bitch.

Such is the severity of my sense of loss. I fish the little fecker out, but not before it has started to melt, because yes, the water is still too hot.

I plop the sodden truffle onto the fancy board. It looks like a poo.

Then I call the Husband again to come down to open the window, because obviously I am still melting and my heart is working too hard in the boiling water and I fear that I may die.

“What now?”
“Can you open the window please?”
There are grumblings and mutterings as he opens the window. He eyes the tiny poo on the board and the suspicious trail of pooey clouds in the water and raises an eyebrow at me, before leaving me to my ‘pampering’…

I hear the words “Every fucking time…” as he stomps out to continue wrestling the two hellfiends into their beds.

‘This is SOOO relaxing’ I think as I listen to them announce to Daddy that actually, it is NOT bedtime and they are in fact NOT going to bed until Mammy reads a story…

The wine is lovely…just the right temperature. I allow the berry-red joyjuice to do that weird tingle it does to my muscles. It’s rather lovely.

I set it the glass back and close my eyes because the big light is by now fucking blinding me, and I try that ‘relaxing’ thing people talk about.
After approximately 2 minutes, I’m bored.

The door opens and I hear her before I see her.

She is settling her tiny self on the toilet and as she does so, she announces “you might want to cover your nose Mammy.”

Noooooooooo!

Well. You can imagine how the rest of this story goes…

Yeah.
Have a bath they said.
It’s so relaxing…

Lying bitches.

Mumpty, Mumpty Sat on the Wall…

Mumpty Mumpty, up there on the wall…
You look at your babies, both now grown so tall
That their uniforms probably won’t even fit
When we finally get ourselves out of this shit.

You look at the table, the mess on the floor,
The toys that are trailing right out the hall door.
You look at the school books, still sitting in piles
You see your to-do list that still goes for miles.

You stare at the laptop, then set it aside,
For you know all the work that awaits you inside.
You fight off the constant attacks of the guilt
That now sit on your shoulders and won’t seem to quit.

You listen to questions, to snaps and to fights
You wonder how many more hours until night
When you’ll finally get your wee darlings to bed
When in dreams, you would tuck them in, kissing their heads,

Before putting your feet up and watching TV.,
But these days that simply won’t happen you see,
For once your kids finally succumb to their sleep
It’s time to start working and trying to keep
Up with zoomcalls and emails and missed calls and work,
All the things that one simply can’t do while we burp
Our baby on our knee, or are wiping a bum.
While trying a failing to work out a sum
That we possibly learned ourselves while in 3rd class
But that now we don’t understand, nor would we pass
Our son’s Irish exam or his History or sciences
And we wonder while stuffing more socks in appliances
How much of this stuff we have learned but forget
How much of it really was needed, and yet
We feel like a failure for not being able
To answer the questions being fired from the table
Like missiles and bombs that might make us explode
And the dishwasher’s beeping to signal its load
Is all done. It needs emptied and does the machine
And speaking of empty, the fridge needs restocked
For breakfast, break, lunch and dinner are all round the clock.

While washing the dishes, we’re answering calls
We’re hitting our deadlines and cursing our walls
That we’re all sick of seeing. We long for normality
Where work is for work and where home is for family.

Where hours are set for the parts of our lives
That are suddenly jumbled together like knives
In a drawer that’s a mess, where nothing is found,
Where as parents we can’t keep our feet on the ground.

We’re doing our best, but we’re doing too much.
We’re tired and stressed and our brains are like mush.
We’re trying to be parents and workers and teachers
To be friends to our children and support our teenagers

But stop. Take a minute and gather your thoughts.
Who says that we have to keep joining the dots?
We can’t do it all. It’s impossible really
To try to do everything we once did so easily.

And who is it really that’s making these rules
That we all have to manage to mix work and school?
We can’t do it all. It can fall asunder
We’re breaking ourselves with the pressure we’re under.

Our children need school, of that there’s no doubt
And they’ll get back there soon and with glee we’ll all shout.
There’s light at the end of this tunnel, you’ll see.
And soon, all of this will be just memories,

But now, in the meantime, go easy on you.
And remember there’s only so much you can do.

Maria Rushe
February 2021

The “Great” Outdoors – It Really Is.

The Great Outdoors

It’s not just “great” because it’s huge and gargantuous, it’s “great” in so many more ways than that.

Mountains, rivers, lakes and valleys… Our imagination takes us straight to the visuals of national parks and sweeping mountain ranges when we hear the words “The Great Outdoors”.

But the phrase has taken on new meaning for us in the past 10 months. Not the “outdoors” bit – the “Great” bit.

I’ve always been a fan of the outdoors. When you grow up on a farm in Donegal, you don’t really have any other option. But even as an adult, with my farm duties minimised to a few days a year helping the Daddy out, the outdoors is somewhere we try to spend a lot of time.

Family fundays are (were) always outdoors

We’re one of those families. Even long before we had heard the word “lockdown”, Sundays were our Fun-days and usually involved a beach or a forest or a hike up something. And on the odd day where we found ourselves Kiddy free, we liked to climb the odd mountain. Yes, for fun.

Muckish was the last mountain we climbed in June last year, once restrictions allowed us to drive to it!

So now we’re obviously missing being able to adventure throughout our beautiful county, but ironically, never before have I enjoyed the outdoors so much. Nor have I ever needed it so much. It’s no longer just for Sundays. It’s become a daily requirement in my life. And in Himself’s life and certainly in the girls’ lives.

We can’t go far. The garden is plenty big for the girls to run free and living in the sticks (as they say) means that we can walk or run on a few different roads within our 5k.

Last week, I turned left instead of right for the first time and ended up running on a road I probably haven’t been on in 25 years. I never need to drive it. It was like travelling to Narnia, bringing me past a farm on which I spent many a day playing as a child (Dad kept cattle there) and past homes of people I haven’t seen since National school. How quickly we get set in our ways eh? I’ll be running that road more often. It made me smile.

A different road within my 5k brought back memories

I’ve never been so glad to be able to get outdoors. Even on the days where I can’t get out for a run, if it’s too slippy, or I’m too busy, I make a point of going outdoors. Even if it’s only to walk around the house a few times, or to stand in the garden. Coat on , cuppa in hand and out I go. Because in our current situation, the outdoors is indeed great. Even if you’re only going as far as your back step.

It’s “great” because it’s fresh. Deep breaths of cold air, your face stinging from the temperature change as you step outside, your exhalations evaporating in clouds at your face… it’s rejuvenating.

It’s calming. It’s soothing. It’s relaxing and refreshing. Sometimes, it’s the only place we can escape the constant noise and chaos of our precious children. I can tolerate the noise of my two a WHOLE lot more when we’re outside! (Not sure I can say the same for the neighbours. They sometimes sound like there are 38 of them.)

But seriously, there is something magical about fresh air and what it can do. No it can’t solve our problems or change things, but it can allow us to see them differently. And sometimes, getting outdoors gives us the opportunity to process them that we can not get when surrounded by noise and washing machines and bleeping devices and work piles on the kitchen tables and all the “things” that need done, yesterday.

And so while we’re stuck within our respective 5kms and for most of us, Errigal and Muckish are only visible in the distance or on our phones, we can still get outdoors and let it help us feel better.

We might not feel “great”, but one thing is certain, even a 5 minute breather in the outdoors, will leave you feeling a whole lot better than if you DON’T set foot outside.

And that is all it takes. Open door. Step out. Hello Outdoors. It’s great!

So yes. I can’t wait to explore again; to climb mountains and go on hikes and run a different road. But if nothing else, I’ve learned that they don’t call it the “Great outdoors” just because it’s big and vast.

It’s “great”, whether you’re standing at the foot of a mountain, or walking around your garden, or leaning on your car in your street, or hugging a cuppa on your doorstep.

Step outdoors, just for a few minutes a day. Trust me. It’s great.