I am She’s a Stay at Home Working Mum

“Your Mammy doesn’t work.” or “Your Mammy doesn’t have a real job”

I remember hearing this a few times as a child and as a teenager.
I remember not thinking much of it. I didn’t see it as an insult or a scathing comment until I was about 16 and my Mum had had Baby Number 6, and I overheard a visitor “jokingly” dismissing my Mum with “Oh at least you don’t have a job to go back to. You should try having a career on top of it….hardeeharrhar.”

And I remember that moment because it was probably the first time I lost the plot with an ACTUAL adult. Let’s just say, there were metaphoric stitches required for the new posterier that might have been ripped. She didn’t visit again.

It was a line delivered with one of those fake “hardeehar” Mary of the Poppins laughs, which people of the bitch variety add to their insults to mask them as “Only jokes” or not meaning any harm. At 17, I was old enough to recognise that the visitor was in fact being a grade a Sanctimammy. And I was old enough to defend my Mum. Because my Mum might not have put on her face and heels every morning and gone to an office or a school or a hospital or a shop or wherever to do a JOB, but BY CHRIST did she work. She worked harder than any other person I know. She still does. She was there, and is there, for us every step of the way, and I’ll never know how she did it.

Being the eldest in a house full of Babies, I learned VERY young that being a Mum is a full time job. There is no rest. There is no relaxation. There are no coffee breaks. There is no “Clocking in” or “Clocking out”. No one cares if you’ve had your lunch hour. Hell, most days, you don’t get lunch! (unless you count their leftovers as lunch, which somedays, we all do. 😅) You don’t have a team to thrash ideas over. You don’t have a Boss to ask for advice. You don’t have a Supervisor to show you the way.

When we were kids in the Donegal sticks in the 80’s, our Mums had a VERY different life. Many of them were at home, all day, without communication, without conversation, without cars, until the Daddy came home (for an hour before hitting the farm.). There were no Forums to ask questions about teething, or wind, or puke. There were no online nurses to contact if a rash appeared. There were 3 TV stations FFS! So there were no digital babysitters. (and no Peppa in fairness.) There were few telephones and even if there was a phone in the house, you didn’t call up your mate for a 20 minute chat unless you were able to pay for it. There were no Mother and Baby groups, no baby massage, no Mammy meet ups… Being a Mammy TODAY is lonely. I can’t get my head around what it must have been like for our Mums. And remember too, that then, you DARE not admit that you were struggling with your emotions or your “nerves” as they used to say in hushed, loaded tones.

Being a Mammy is 24/7. It’s the hardest job in the world whether you’re a SAHM(Stay at home Mum) or a CM (Career Mum). If you don’t leave the house to work, you don’t get to say things like “Sorry, I’m finished for the day” or “That’s not my problem. Talk to JohnJoe” or “I’ll leave that until tomorrow.” You work all day, every day (and all fecking night sometimes) and there is no pay-cheque at the end of it. There is no sick pay. There is no annual leave. Running a home and organising a family is hard. It is full on. It is stressful. It is exhausting. You might not a get a playslip or wages at the end of the month, but boy, do you work.

Now, Before anyone starts their “Try doing all that AND working an ACTUAL job”, let me stop you right there. I AM a working Mum. I have a very busy, demanding and stressful job. I am fully aware that when I go back to work next week, I will have 3 times more crap in my head to think about than I do today. I know too well how fecking EXHAUSTING it is to trying to juggle being professional and organised in your JOB, keeping your family on top of all the EVERYTHING and trying not to lose your shit completely.

It’s a whirlwind and it’s madness, but do you know what? Just because I have a career AND kids, doesn’t make me better or superior to a Mum who stays at home to work. I envy Mums who can stay at home. I’m blessed that I was able to work part-time last year and that I get so much time off to spend with the girls. I know that. But it’s time for me to go back full time and I’m terrified. I love being at home with my girls, but do you know what? I love my job too. So that’s what is right for ME.

Today, I’m looking forward to dressing in my school clothes and having an uninterrupted conversation and a hot coffee in the staffroom next week. Next week, I’ll be breaking my heart that I’m not snuggled up in my PJs on the sofa, watching Peppa Pork.

But let’s get this straight. The mums who stay at home ARE working. They work full time. They just aren’t on a payroll. (Working Mums get the Children’s Allowance too so don’t even TRY that BS).
I envy the Mums who stay at home through choice, but remember that so many are SAHMs because the RIDICULOUS cost of Childcare doesn’t give them any feckin choice. Many would love to be back in the workplace. Many of them look forward to it. But, the shoe fits both feet. To the Mammies who tut at Career Mums for leaving their children to go to work, remember that you’re not a better Mammy than a Career mammy because you stay at home with your kids.

We all do what we have to do.

I go back to my usual mantra… Don’t be a Sanctimammy.

Just because you do things differently, doesn’t make you better.
Just because you work AND have kids, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who is working her ass off at home.
Just because you’re able to stay at home with your Puking minion, doesn’t make you a better Mum than the Mum who had no choice but to leave hers with Granny.
Every Mum does what SHE has to do for HER family. ANd the only person who knows what is right for your family is YOU.
You don’t know another Mum’s circumstance. You don’t know her. You don’t know if she’s happy, or watching you getting into your car to go to work, longing to be you. You don’t know if she’s driving to work in tears because her Baby cried as she was dropping her off. You don’t know how many times a day the Mammy in the office feels a gutwrenching guilt at being away. You don’t know how the Mum in her kitchen is longing for a conversation.

And if you EVER hear yourself dismissing another Mammy because she’s doing it differently to you, lift your hand, grab that redundant wooden spoon and hit yourself a good hard slap on the arse with it. 😂

Then get over yourself. 😘

Have a Fablis Friday night my Lovelies.
And keep up the good work.😘

I am She’s in Charge Mum

It looks like he’s leading her through the woods doesn’t it? 👇👇

Well. What’s REALLY happening here is that this little Wobbler is leading HIM right up the garden path. Princess has morphed into a Demon.

On Sunday she threw her first FULL BLOWN tantrum. We were out for dinner. She lost the bap. We sat looking at each other like two teenagers, neither of whom had a CLUE what to do or how to react. She was screaming and kicking. I held on tight while Daddy pulled Peppa Feckin Pork up on the phone. #needsmust 😢 She stopped screaming once the music started. I swear to God, she was like a deflating balloon and then peace was restored and the other diners stopped glaring at us…

Granda didn’t believe a word of it. Nooooooo. HIS little Princess wouldn’t do that. Not his wee angel…Nope. Granda got his eyes open today however 😂when we went out for tea to celebrate my little sis’s little brown envelope. Once again, DemonDoll threw a strop in the restaurant. Granda declared her a feral tyrant and declared HIMSELF officially retired from all tantrum duties, now that his own youngest is all grown up. I do believe that after 36 years of parenting MAYHEM, it has taken a Curley haired cherub to finally break him. 😂😂

“There was a little girl, who had a little curl”… and when she was bad, she was TERRIFYING! ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING. 😈😈😈

So as innocent as she might look here👇, dandering up a laneway with her Daddy, from behind, you can’t see the glint in her eye that tells him “I own you Daddy. I own you.”

(In fairness, he’s well used to it. Note what he’s carrying in the other hand… because the OTHER Dollyanna insisted on bringing her scooter and lasted approximately 3 minutes. #rascals #daddy)

Still. I wouldn’t change them for the world. How was your day? I do hope all of the brown envelope Mums are having a large grape tonight and that the Minions have fun and safe celebrations 😚😚😚

I am “So it’s Results Day” Mum

Although it is many moons ago, Mammy remembers getting her Leaving Cert Results.

Mammy was certain that the contents of the little brown envelope were going to change her life. Had Mammy’s life REALLY depended on the contents of that little brown envelope, quite frankly, I’d be living an utterly dreadful, mediocre and half-arsed attempt at one. 😂

Because the results printed on my little scrap of yellow paper were quite awful, if I’m very honest. The only mark I remember (or tell anyone about!) was my A1 in Honours English. Go figure. As for the rest of them? I’d say the examiners only passed me so that they wouldn’t have to read my verbal diahorrea again the following year. 😂I’m not exaggerating either.

But the other grades didn’t matter. The A in English was all that mattered to me, both then AND today. Yes, I got into college, but not until I had spent a week back in the brown uniform 😣😣 convincing myself that I needed to repeat. It wasn’t until the second round offers and a trip to meet (attack😛) the Dean of the English Department in Coleraine, that I finally got my place on the degree course. (I might have only been 17, but I was a stroppy one!😂)

English was all I loved. It was all that I wanted to study and, as the little brown envelope told me, it was apparently all that I was good at… All that I was good at THEN. At 17. Turns out, I’m good at a whole load of things. I just didn’t get to take exams in singing, dancing, shopping or eating. The Big LC recognised my ability to understand Shakespeare and write stories off the top of my head, but it didn’t (and couldn’t) know how strong I was at things like organisation, being a friend, laughing or pulling pints. So I was crap at French. Biology for me ended after the section on photosynthesis. But although my math grade was dismal, I challenge you to find ANYONE who can work out a % as quickly as me when I see the word “SALE”. 😂😂

So there. Now, almost 20 years on, I’m a teacher and of COURSE I value the Leaving Cert. I love teaching the course and I try my best to encourage my Babbies to give it their best shot. But I also know that they are teenagers. That they have a LOT going on. That some of them have things going on in their lives that are a WHOLE lot more important that exams. 😢 That whole some of them will give it their ALL for 2 years, on the day of the exam, it might just not happen. And sometimes, that at 18, they’re just not quite ready for the ridiculousnpressure of the state exam.

For a whole load of reasons, tomorrow is a huge day for our young adults. But that little brown envelope is only that. An envelope. Despite what it is inflated to be, it is NOT the most important piece of paper in the world. Yes, the letters and numbers inside it will have an immediate effect. Yes, some doors will open and yes, some doors will close, but what is written on the page does not define them.

The Leaving Cert does NOT know our children. It doesn’t see the kindness. It doesn’t measure their ability to change things. It can’t recognise their skills as motivators, or thinkers, or makers, or doers. It does not define them, nor should it. And as parents, yes, some of us might be disappointed tomorrow. But mostly we should be proud, because regardless of what is on that page, they are OUR children and they have done their best and we must remind them that they CAN do whatever they want. Because WE know what they can be.

There are ALWAYS options and sometimes, the path that they are so determined to be the ONLY one for them right now, was never the right one for them…it usually takes a few years for them to realise that however. But they will. 💕

So tonight, tell them how brilliant they are. And leave them under NO illusion that no matter what words and letters are on that piece of paper tomorrow, that you are and will always be proud of them and that you will help them to get to where they want to go, may it be straight through the college door or in a longer, roundabout way. But all roads lead ahead. And before they know it, they won’t even remember what was printed on the page!

It might be almost 20 years since I opened my little brown envelope and had my heart broken in a million pieces, but trust me, everything happens for a reason. 😇 Tonight, I send love to all of the young people (especially my own Babbies😘😘) and to all you exam parents whose minions face the brown envelope tomorrow.

And remember, that little brown envelope does NOT hold the key to their future. They hold that key already.

It’s right inside them.

And no piece of paper can change that. XXX

I am Some Knickertwisting Fiction Mum

Once upon a time, in an imaginary faraway land, (NOWHERE near Mammy’s house), a COMPLETELY fictional little 5 (and a half) year old girl went for a sleepover to her Hypothetical Granny’s house.

As she was getting dressed the next morning, she showed Granny her new “Big Girl” pants which her very lovely Mammy had bought her, just that week. 😲 She proceeded to put them on and then turned to grab her jeans, giving Granny quite the eyeful.

“Fictional little girl, why have you pulled your pants up between your bumcheeks?” asked a bewildered and bemused hypothetical Granny. “Because they are my Big Girl Pants and Big girls wear their pants up high like this, the same way Mammy wears dem,” answered the fictional little girl, quite matter-of-factly, as if Granny was the silliest hypothetical Granny in the world.😂

The fictional little girl’s fictional Mammy was slightly mortified by the fictional daughter’s “revelations” and only thanked her lucky stars that fictional Granda had been spared the episode, as he was at mass, praying for his good and moral children and their offspring.

*All characters and events are completely fabricated and fictional. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is utterly coincidental and accidental.

(And No, The fictional Mother DID NOT buy thongs for her fictional Daughter. They were perfectly acceptable and respectable undergarments, quite suitable for a fictional 5 (and a half) year old.) 😂😂

Thoroughly Modern Mammy – I am Say what? Mum

Rational thinking goes out the window the second a pregnancy test indicates a positive result.  

Logic goes with it.

They are replaced by panic and worry and fear.

 

From the moment the word “Pregnant” appeared on the little screen over 6 years ago, the sensible and calm me has been replaced gradually by what I like to call the “Hormental” Me.

 

And of course, we CAN blame hormones for our newly irrational, illogical and panicked minds…  But we can also blame ANOTHER factor.

 

People.

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When you are pregnant, people and the things that people say, when mixed with the hormones and genuine fears of pregnancy, create an explosive cocktail of mental mayhem.  Generally people mean no harm and their comments are 100% innocent, but what they say and what we HEAR are often two very different things.

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re so neat!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong.  My baby must be too small.  What if he isn’t growing properly? When is my next appointment? I wonder is it too late to ring my midwife? I must order a doppler online right now.  Why am I not bigger? What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re blooming!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I’m too big.  I must have extra fluid. What’s wrong with me? What if there’s something wrong with the Baby? Or maybe I’m just fat. I must look like an upturned turtle. I’m huge. When is my next appointment? I wonder is it too late to ring my midwife? I must order a doppler online right now.  Why am I so big? What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re carrying so low!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I’m too low.  I must have dropped.  I’m too early to be low. I’m going to go early. There’s something wrong with the Baby? When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re carrying so high!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I’m too high. I must look like I have three boobs. Why am I so high? Should my bump not be lower? There’s something wrong with the Baby? When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Are you feeling lots of kicks?”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, when did I last feel a kick? I can’t remember. It hasn’t kicked today. Did I feel kicks yesterday?  How do I know if it’s kicks or just wind?

There’s something wrong. When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you look wrecked!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, she’s right.  I look awful. Why am I so tired? I’m too pale.  My iron must be low.  Can I buy an iron level tester online? There’s something wrong with the Baby.  When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh! You look AMAZING!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I should be sick.  Should I not be tired by now?  Why do I feel so well? What’s wrong with me? Oh my God, there’s something wrong with the Baby?  I When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

See the pattern?!

 

No matter WHAT people say, on certain days, your rewired Baby Brain will divert immediately to worst case scenario; to fear, to panic.  And this is completely normal.  It’s our brains preparing for the constant alertness of being a Mammy.  It’s instinct kicking in and it’s one of the ways we ensure that our little beans are as safe as we can possibly keep them, from the second they’re conceived.  

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If I had called Maternity every time I felt the urge to, I’d have been on the phone to the poor midwives 24/7.  Hell, I’d have moved into the labour ward the day I peed on the stick if it had been an option!

 

People say things to us, meaning no harm whatsoever.  We can’t help but over-think things.  It’s normal to overreact, especially when people make silly, albeit innocent, statements like the crackers above.

 

(But joking aside,  if you DO have a niggling worry or concern or you just feel like something isn’t right, DO contact your GP or PHN. Follow your gut… or bump.  You might be irrational and illogical and slightly hormental, but you’re also a Mammy-in-the-making and Mammy knows best.)   

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I am Suck it up Mum

Right. Feck it.

I’m doing it.

Before and After Posts… Let’s call out the BS.

This is my first Before and After post. The two photographs were snapped only 3 seconds apart. 😅

So what did I do? What did I take? A magic pill? A Fantabulous Super-shake? A cup of Magic Tea? Nope.

A breath.

I took a breath. 😅

I straightened my back, turned my body slightly and sucked it all in!👇👇👇 You see, yes, I might be back in my favourite jeans, (after 16 months of training in Jim- NOT overnight), but after 2 magnificently STRETCHY pregnancies and two VERY messy C-Sections, my Belly is not what it might APPEAR to be when you meet me in my clothes! 😂

It’s squishy. It’s soft. It’s covered in stretch marks. There is extra skin that sags when I suck in my tummy. If I relax my tummy muscles, it is quite humongous! 💕

Some days I love it. Some days I hate it. Somedays I am so bloated that I look like I’m 6 months pregnant again. But everyday, I look in the mirror and I see a real life miracle. The stretch marks are my war wounds. My skin is stretchy because it made a house to grow my babies in. 💕It’s my Post-Baby Belly and the only person whose opinion on it matters, is ME.

So when your news feed is full of “Weight loss” adverts showing you “before and after” shots of how you can lose “15 stone in a day” if you just sign up to their pyramidic BS shakes, pills, teas, knickers etc, remember that it is likely that the pictures might just be BS. And when you see someone posting their “Look at my abs” pics, telling you how happy they are with their progress, there MIGHT just be another photograph in their camera roll that they HAVEN’T chosen to share.

If I had posted these and said there had been a 6 month gap between photographs, chances are you’d have believed me. (And of course, you WILL see GENUINE “Before and After” photographs of GENUINE weight loss journeys, but they are “JOURNEYS”, with hard work and sweat and determination, NOT miracle products.)😲

And if your body has stretched and changed to grow your minions, be proud of it. It’s yours. It’s a miracle and it’s beautiful, whether you suck it in or let it all hang out. Have a fablis Friday my Lovelies.

(It goes without saying that anyone who feels like writing anything hateful or negative, has my polite invitation to go build themselves and bridge and get over themselves. My body. Not yours.) 😙😙😙

#beattheBS #realityplease #postbabybelly #perspective

I am She’s whistling Mum

Today, Mammy feels a bit like Peppa Pork.

Mini-Me discovered at 6.45am that she can FINALLY whistle. And whistle she did, persistently and consistently, until 7.30pm. It was quite impressive. The only time she stopped whistling was when she was talking, which was quite a bit LESS than most days, as obviously, talking now comes SECOND to whistling.

Now, remember please, that as today is the FIRST DAY of the whistling, for every ACTUAL, succesful, WHISTLY whistle, there were 23 muted, spitty, soundless blows… It was cute until 7.10am. For the rest of the day, it was feckin IRRITATING. She whistled/SPAT at EVERYONE today: shop assistants, friends I bumped into, my buddy who visited, the Grandparents, the aunty, the postman, the guy filling up the petrol… EVERYBODY.

And she’s getting better already. I’m being all Super-soccer-mum, encouraging her and reminding her 36 times an hour in my sing-songy Mammy-of-the-Poppins voice, that “See how good you can get at things when you keep practicing!?” Partially because I’m slightly impressed by her determination ajd partly because Mini-Me suffers from that syndrome I like to call “Why-am-I-not-good-enough-to-be-in-the-Lympics-after-one-lesson syndrome.

But all the while, I’m feeling slightly pissed off and Peppa-ish. See, here’s the thing. Mammy can’t whistle. Never could, never can, never will. And while Peppa could hang up the phone on that bitch Suzie Sheep, Mammy here has to cheer the little spitter along, like her own private fucking cheerleader and pretend to be ecstatic everytime she blows out a feckin NOTE rather than a salivated facefart.

So yes. For the ONLY time in my life, I can empathise with the Pig Prat.

😣😣 But I’m luckier than Peppa Pork, because Mammy is old enough to have a glass of grapes to try to remove the whistling from her ears now that Mini-Me has gone to sleep. 🍷😅

(On another note however, look at what ELSE happened today, 👇👇👇👇 4 x eggs with double yolks!

Apparently it’s good luck? Apparently it means twins? Let’s go with good luck eh? )

How was your Wednesday? 😘😘😘