I am Spiders and Knickers Mum

Mammy has had a fuckitty fuck-up of a day.

It all began this morning at 6.45am, when Mammy’s coffee was interrupted by a meltdown over an imaginary spider and a pair of knickers.

“Go get your pants and socks please” seems like a simple enough request, doesn’t it?

Apparently not.

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I don’t see a fricken spider…

Apparently, “Go get your pants and socks please” is the code phrase for “Go and imagine a spider that you can’t possibly see on the dark wall without lights on, have an almighty shitbrick attack, refuse to move, scream like a wilder-beast whose nether-regions have been caught in a metal trap until the only way Mammy can get you to shut up long enough to listen is for Mammy to scream even LOUDER than you, to the point that we are both roaring the house down, ending ultimately in a tearstained stand-off.”

 You see Darling, although yes,  it would be much easier for Mammy to go into the imaginary spider infested room and get the knickers and socks for you, this would also require Mammy giving in to your Primadona dramatics and losing the last string of authority Mammy has as well as the last string of sanity she just about has. No. As much as you dig those little heels in, Mammy HAS to wait for you to calm the feck down and eventually back down enough to at least look into the room (which Mammy has lit up with the amazingly clever light switch) to see that the mahoosive imagined spider is gone so you can run in dramatically and get your knickers and socks, otherwise Mammy will never get you to follow a single, simple instruction… EVER again…amen.

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Head to head…

Of course, Mammy should have just sucked it up and given in. Mammy knows that. It would have been much easier on everyone and most likely would have saved everyone from the Hellhole that our home had descended into by 7am.  It might have saved us both from the tears and sobs and snots and general feelings of utter shittiness that lingered over us (me anyway) until approximately 4pm.  Had Mammy not been such a stubborn, bad tempered, thran wench, and had you not been soooo like your Mammy, (you poor cretur), we might have had a peaceful and relaxed and tear-free morning.

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#mammyguilt

But no, we went full on “apocalypse now” and neither of us won. You went to school,  probably knackered and emotional… Mammy walked in the staff-room door and fell to bits when a colleague asked how she was. You might have forgotten all about it by the time you got onto the bus…  I’m still feeling like social services are going to arrive on the doorstep this evening while I’m feeding you whatever the feck is in the freezer, because quite frankly, I don’t have the emotional energy to think about cooking.

But for now, Mammy will have to pull up her big girl knickers and try her very best to make sure that this evening is the absolute opposite of the morning.  The Mammy guilt is real and Mammy needs the hugs just as much, if not more, than you do. And never worry about what’s for dinner. If we’re stuck, there’s apparently a huge spider in your room.  Maybe we could eat him.”

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Like Mammy, like Mini…

 

I am Someone Else Mum

Anyone else feel like their daughter hates them?

Ever consider that she genuinely was put on Earth to try every ounce and strand of your patience?

Have you ever genuinely wondered how you have fucked it all up so badly already?

Anyone else?

Please tell me that someone else goes to bed at night feeling useless and sad and guilty and wondering if it’s all in your head?  If the ACTUAL problem is YOU. Not her?

Well last night, this was me…

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I was in tears going to bed, having stood watching her sleeping, wondering what the hell I am doing wrong and where the hell to go for help. No matter how much The Him comforted me and told me I’m a great Mammy, I couldn’t believe him.  Obviously, if she’s misbehaving and playing up so badly, being so very mean to me and basically doing everything she can to get in trouble, then I must be doing everything wrong mustn’t I?

She’s challenging me. Screaming at me, being bossy and downright horrible if I’m honest.  I am not bothered by very many people. I am quite the sharp little Madame if truth be told, but my 5 year old can reduce me to a quivering wreck with one glance.

She’s a Mammy Ninja, whose mission should she choose to accept it is to destroy every strand of strength possessed by her arch enemy, which is apparently these days.

I awoke this morning, after very little sleep because of a certain bed invader who snored her curly wee head off all night,  promising myself that I wouldn’t shout. That I would remain calm. That we would have a good morning. And we did as it happens, but rather than be proud of myself or congratulate myself on being Supermammy, I drove to work suspicious of why there hadn’t been a row.  I’ve already accepted that Demon-bum will make me pay for it this evening. How fricken ridiculous right?

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And then, by pure chance, I bumped into the Mammy of one of her wee friends. She asked how Mini-Me was getting on and then proceeded to tell me that they are having a horrid time with her Mini, and are seriously considering getting “proper” help.  She’s  challenging them. Screaming at them, being bossy and downright horrible… and it sounded so wonderfully familiar that I nearly hugged the poor woman right there in the shop.

Should hearing that another Mum is going through a tough time with a misbehaving kiddy make me happy? Of course not, but can it make me feel better?  You’re darn right it can.  We didn’t have time to talk properly but have agreed to a coffee next week so we can discuss our little tyrants, sorry Darlings, properly.

I’ll still have to deal with some form of banshee this evening… and considering that The Him has just informed me that she has been up playing in the hall since 4am, it may be a very special level of crazy Baby that I have to deal with tonight, but hey…  As long as I know that it’s not just my Mini who is behaving this way, I think I can already deal with whatever she throws at me…

As always, it’s good to talk and it’s so very brilliant and wonderful when you realize that you are NOT the only Mammy going through something. I hope the other Mammy got the same joy out of my trouble with Mini-Me as I got out of hearing about hers!

#mammysquad #aproblemshared #allinthistogether

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I am Slow Down, I’m Not Ready Mum

Mammy is not dealing with the speed at which Mini-Me is growing up.

Daddy is not helping.

So yesterday, we went for Sunday Lunch; partially because we were celebrating Mammy being home from the school tour, but mostly because the fridge I’d stocked up before leaving was miserably empty. This and Mammy’s absolute exhaustion, coupled with Daddy having had to do all the everything for himself and the girls for 3 whole days, meant that no one argued when I suggested going out for lunch.

So off we toddled to the Inishowen Gateway Hotel. (This is where we had our wedding and we love taking the girls into the big ballroom. There’s something quite lovely about watching them dancing on the floor we had our first dance on. Aw.)

We finished our lunch and Mini-Me asked if I’d take her to get icecream.  I was just about to get up when The Him lifted her up, pointed at the dessert table… on the OPPOSITE side of the fricken ballroom and started to give her instructions on what to do and what to ask for… All the while, Gombeen Mammy here is trying to interrupt with “I’ll take her…” “Sure I’ll go with…” and “Mammy will take you…”  and each time, The Him shushes me and continues giving his instructions.

Her face is one of excitement. His is one of divilment and amusement. Mine is one of pure and utter terror, or at least that’s what he tells me as Mini-Me flounces off through the mahoosive ballroom.

ALL BY HERSELF…

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So far away, on the other side of the ballroom.

Mammies.

I’m not sure what comes over me.   I can’t breath.

I watch her charging off, full of determination and confidence.  I turn my steely, one eyebrowed gaze at The Him. I can’t speak but obviously he understands my thoughts.

“What have you just done?” hisses Mammy.

“She’s almost 6 years old and it’s quiet.  We can see her and she’s perfectly capable of asking for icecream herself.” laughs Him. He is enjoying this just a little too much.

“But. but. but…”  I must look like a goldfish.

“But what?” He’s laughing by now.

But nothing.  I couldn’t answer.   What was wrong with me? Why did watching my healthy happy little dictator bouncing off towards an icecream table all by herself make me want to scream? I wanted to leap up and run after her.  I’m pretty sure The Him was poised and ready to rugby tackle me to the ground if I had however.

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Look at that wee face.

I watched. She stepped into the queue, waited her turn, stepped up to the table and obviously communicated her request in perfectly acceptable English, as next thing, she came stroming back to the table with a HUGE bowl of icecream, marshmallows, smarties and a flake!  And a smile of self achievement and pride and joy that no amount of Mammy handing her icecream could have given her.

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Happiness is…

And I sighed a sigh of relief that she had returned the whole way from the other side of the room all by herself.  Yes.  I am a Turbotwat.

Am I barmy ladies? I mean, I don’t think I ‘mollie-coddle’ her. If anything, I’m probably too hard on her. She doesn’t get everything done for her.  She has chores to do at home. She is expected to behave a certain way.  I try to encourage independence and initiative and to ensure she doesn’t end up an entitled little fart, but yesterday taught me 3 things.

  1. I’m only happy for her to be independent on my terms, when I say so.
  2. She’s well able and I need to wise up!
  3. My Him is a Devil.

And it reminded me of something too.  She’s getting way too big, way too fast  and I am not ready for it.  I’m not able for the fact that she doesn’t need me to do everything for her. And even though Mammies spend our time longing for when they can do stuff for themselves, when we suddenly realize that they CAN do things for themselves, it’s quite the shock.

I have a feeling that I’ll still feel like this when she’s 27 and I’m watching her go through the crowd of a Ballroom all by herself. But by then, I suppose she’ll be going to the bar to get Mammy a gin won’t she?

Probably, but hey, she’ll be well able by then, won’t she?

What was your “Stop it, I’m not ready” moment?

I am Smile, You ARE Enough Mum

Mammies.

No matter what kind of day you are having right now, remember that You ARE enough.

You have bad days.  You have bad mornings. You have a short temper. You have a sore head. You have a sad heart.  It’s not what you thought it would be. It’s not easy.  You’re exhausted.  You don’t know where to start. You can’t understand how that other Mammy seems so together. You feel terrible for shouting. You promised you wouldn’t shout today.  You were determined not to scold.  You never knew you could love anyone so much.  You never knew you could love someone and dislike them at once. You’ve tried everything. Why won’t she listen?  HER kids do what she asks them.

We all have the inner Mammy Monologue:

I forgot his coat. I haven’t brushed her hair. Why don’t I have time to do her hair like that Mum? How many times do I have to show him this?  Why doesn’t he SEE that that needs done.  I may as well chat to the wall.  No one LISTENS to me. Nothing seems to work.  Maybe I’m doing it all wrong? I can’t remember everything. My head is going to explode.  HOW did I forgot about the fecking party? Surely being this stressed is not right? No one else seems this stressed.  What am I doing wrong? What’s wrong with me?

Nothing.

You’re doing nothing wrong.  Let me tell you a secret… EVERY SINGLE MAMMY thinks one or more of the above statements EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Somedays, it seems like we can think ALL of these things at once.

We all have bad mornings, or bad days, or bad bedtimes.

But guess what?  A bad morning does not make you a bad Mammy.  A screaming bedtime does not mean that you are rubbish at parenting.  We can be as determined as we like about not rising to them, or giving in, or shouting, but some days, our minions seem determined to test every strand of our patience.  We can’t control or predict how our little rascals are going to behave.

Sometimes, we are not in charge.

Now, I am no parenting expert.  I haven’t a clue what I’m doing most of the time.  Sometimes I shout so loudly that I think the neighbours are probably running to their cars or finding their shoes incase the crazy lady across the hill actually gets to number 3.

But as well as knowing that daily stresses and meltdowns are part of parenting, because they’re part of growing up, it’s also important to know that there ARE many experts, qualified experts, and professionals in all areas of parenting that can help.

There are many resources available in Donegal. There are Childcare experts who can advise on behaviour, or bedtime routines, on how we should respond to behaviours, on routine, on difficult or challenging behaviours.

There are no quick fixes and no rule fits all.  What works for my child, might not work for yours.  What I need to change in MY home, might not be happening in yours.

There are some great online support groups and parenting communities (just be aware that often the most vocal on these aren’t actually qualified to be giving advice.)

There are also fabulous counsellors and behavioural experts around who can help with concerns or worries.  I’d be wary of those who promise to change your life forever.  No matter how brilliant a technique or response is, anyone who tells you they can take away all the stresses of parenting, is lying.  So here are a few services and resources that are available to parents in Donegal.

Parent Hub: These guys are amazing. They run courses, provide support and generally know everything about how to get parents the help that they need.  Check them out on:

http://parenthubdonegal.ie/

They’re also on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/parenthubdonegal/

New Beginnings is a counselling service provided by Sarah Barr.  She runs a wellness programme called Minding Mammy which is dedicated to Mammies (and which is fab!).

Starting on November 6th, she is also beginning a monthly Mammy meet up in Letterkenny which is free.  Details of both here:

https://www.facebook.com/NewBeginningsCounsellingService/

Letterkenny Babies is great as a conversation forum to ask advice and get support from other mums on all things Mammy. The admins will always remind you to seek professional or medical advice for more serious queries however.

https://www.facebook.com/letterkennybabies/

If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, or swamped by the negative thoughts I began with; if you get to the point where you know that it’s not JUST a bad day, or a bad week, then ask for help.

I have said it eleventy squillion times… it’s OK to not be OK.  What’s important is to know that there is help available and where to go for it.

Your GP or PHN can signpost where to get support of help for your child, or indeed for yourself, if you are genuinely concerned that a behaviour is more than just the terrible twos, or teenage troubles.

But remember 2 things

  1. You are NOT alone and
  2. You ARE enough.

The S-Mum xxx

I am Someone’s Lowered the Loo Mum

I missed 2 sessions with Jim last week while Princess was indulging in Pukefest #38 of 2017.

I returned yesterday.
Today, I am thoroughly convinced that some gobshite has been sneaking around my house lowering the toilets while I was at work. I swear to God, they’re at least 6 inches lower than normal.

I was incredibly grateful that there are no stairs between my classroom and the coffee room… sorry, staff room… at work today. I might have made it UP the stairs, albeit it with accompanying soundtrack of “ow, ow, ow, ow…” but I may have had to slide or roll down them. It amuses me no end however when my colleagues hobble past me and hiss “I hate your Husband”. We’re all in this together… 😅😅

I am also glad we built a BUNGALOW. Otherwise, I would indeed be sleeping on the sofa tonight. 😅

There is pain, but it’s good pain.
It’s ridiculous how missing just a few sessions can affect my mood so much. I’m a whole lot less hormental when I get my few hours in.

What was it that Elle Woods said?
👜💞👡”Endorphins make you happy.”👜💞👡
Well this is true. And battering the bejayzuz out of things in The Him’s Jim, definitely releases my inner Elle Woods.

I’m not sure how impressed The Him was at my analogy of how to do one of the exercises properly however. He calls it a “squat thrust”, which sounds altogether inappropriate and sordid and difficult.
I prefer “the bend and snap!” 😍😆

In other news, did you know that if someone in your child’s school tells her that they are cousins, then no matter HOW much you tell her they’re NOT, you are WRONG?
Also, if you correct one of her Irish words, you are WRONG because “our Iwish is different than yours”? AND if you tell her that it’s bedtime, apparently you’re the spawn of Satan and need to be screamed at and stomped at for precisely 17 minutes?

And so begin the Teenage years.
How was your day?
😥😥😥

I am Slightly Ashamed Mum

Mammy is slightly ashamed of herself.
Today, Mammy reached a new low.

Mammy put her 23 month old between herself… and a snake: A teeny, tiny, shitty, scrawny fecking snake.

But Mammy here was so petrified with terror that I hid…BEHIND my baby.

We were at a party which had a (really cool) mini farm outside, all bunnies and hedgehogs and sheep and chickens. Nice animals. Proper animals. 🐏🐑🐇🐰🐁

I was sitting on the floor inside with Princess on top of me, playing happily and chatting to my brother. Next thing, in barges the wee man of the house with a snake…a REAL LIFE living, hissing, breathing, bastarding REPTILE… around his wee shoulders.

The Grannies and Aunties in the room FREAKED out; some with fear and swear words to make even ME blush, others with laughter at their reaction. 😂

Me?

I froze in terror, forgot to breathe and HID behind my baby, eyes closed. I couldn’t function… Even when my brother quietly told me “It’s gone…” I couldn’t move. I was afraid that if I opened my eyes, the red-eyed feckingwrither would have been hissing in my face, like an angry wee penis.

The room quietened down. Brother Dearest said it again, laughing “Relax yourself you madwoman, it’s gone.”

I slowly lifted my head and peeped out from behind my little curly headed saviour, to see my cousins looking at me. As I loosened my vice-grip on my poor child, one of my favourite wenches said “Tell me you did NOT just hide from that snake BEHIND your Baby?”

And then they laughed… and laughed and laughed. Bitches.😍

And after I stopped shaking and began breathing again, I too laughed.

Of course the poor wee snake was probably more petrified than I was, and had it been a REAL danger, OF COURSE I would have drop-kicked the slithering bellycrawling demon out the door, but I KNEW she was perfectly safe; partly because her big strong uncle was beside her, and partly because, well, it’s Princess…and she doesn’t KNOW waht fear is. Seriously, she could take on ANYTHING.
Hitler would run away from her if she was in the right mood.

Had it been Mini-Me, there’s a good chance I’d have been out the feckin window.😂😂

Yup. Mammy fail.
Big time.
I’m not even afraid to admit it. 😣😣😣

(But it gave the cousins a laugh if nothing else. Cough *brats!)

#mammyisachickenshit

I am Sometimes Invisible Mum

“Get away from me with that camera”.

How many of you have said this? How many times have you said it?

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If you’re like me, you’ll have a smartphone that is permanently slow because it has eleventy squillion photographs on it.

And if you’re like me, you’ll have photographs of everyone and everything you love, but very few of yourself.  I’d say 75% of my pics are of the girls and The Him. 20% of utter nonsense like food and random selfies, and the last 5%, screenshots of great ideas and funny memes and dresses I will never buy.

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Apart from the silly selfies however, (and I say Silly because we usually have our tongues out or are pulling funny faces in them!), there are no photographs of me and my girls.

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I realised this when I had to send a photograph of myself with Mini-Me and Princess to a newspaper this week. I spent 20 minutes scrolling through my phone and in the end, had to message The Him to ask him if he had any on HIS phone.

But it got me thinking about Mammies and how so often, we end up invisible. We’re usually behind the camera. And if anyone suggests that we step into a photograph, 9 times out of 10 we’ll have some way of getting out of it:

“Not at all,”

“I don’t need to be in any pictures”

“Get that camera AWAY from me”

“I haven’t even brushed my hair”

“Look at the shape of me”

“Just snap them”

“Get AWAY with the camera”

“I look dreadful”

“Nah I’m grand here thanks!”

You could all add your own to this no doubt…

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We all do it.  And the result is going to be a million memories for our kids where the only part of Mammy in the pictures is her shadow or her hand holding the wobbly baby up.

But here’s the thing.  Our children don’t care about how Mammy looks, or if her hair is brushed, or if she looks knackered.   When they are older and looking through the millions of images of their childhoods, all they’ll care about is that we’re IN the pictures. And they won’t see the makeup or the neat hair, they’ll only see the love. They’ll only see the moment. They’ll only see Mammy.

 

So take that picture.

You’re gorgeous. Your kids don’t care what you look like. That’s all YOU. They think you’re perfect already.

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So shake off those insecurities and forget about the “shape of you”. Smile and let yourself be captured in the memories of your smartphones.

Jump into the shot if someone asks you to. Be more than just the shadow or the Invisible Mammy, because someday, these photographs will be so much more important than our shyness or insecurities.  They’ll be cherished and loved by our loved ones, more than we can ever imagine.

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Read more on The S-Mum’s website https://the-smum.com  or join the conversation on Facebook @the.s.mum

Read more on my Thoroughly Modern Mammy column on http://www.donegalwoman.ie

The S-Mum xx