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 “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 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? 😘😘😘

I am Sir Alan Sugar Mum

​Dear Sir Alan of the Sugar 
I attach the CV of my Daughter, Miss Mini-Me of the S-Mum, who I feel must be brought to your attention.
  Having watched the opening episode of your FABLIS show “Dapprentice”, I feel that IF you were to fly Mini-Me  (and her Mum obviously) to London to meet you, you would hire her IMMEDIATELY and put an end to the tedious, although highly entertaining, process of ” Dapprentice”.
For her 4.5 years, she is VERY accomplished.  I will outline just a few of the qualities she possesses which make her an obvious addition to your team.
 She would certainly impress you, Her-of-the-fablis-straight-face-and-shiny-hair and Him-of-the-bald-head-and-eloquent-speaking.

 In fact, I do believe that she could be your Mentor if I’m honest.
■ She is highly intelligent. Beyond her years really.

■ She is ruthless and assertive.

■ Her communication skills are superb. She speaks English, Irish and French  (Buideal means “Hi” no?). She also speaks Mini-Me which even YOU can’t speak.)

■ She is loud and can be obnoxious if the situation requires her to be so.

■ She will manipulate the knickers off an elephant.

■ If she doesn’t get her way, she will revert to tears if necessary.

■ She is loud.  She WILL be heard. There will be NO ONE in the board room who will be louder than her.

■ She is hugely adept at the talking AT the handset as opposed to INTO the phone like a normal, non-dapprentice person does.

■ She can change Best Friends at the drop of a hat, so really, you could fire ANYONE and she wouldn’t care.

■ She will blame EVERYBODY else in the room, even if the project has failed SOLELY because of her.

■ She believes in herself and her abilities 100%. (And so she should. She’s awesome.)

■ She can stare wistfully out a car window, seemingly ignoring everyone, but listening to EVERY SINGLE WORD and storing it as evidence for the Board Room.

■ The doll who thinks she has the “energy of an atomic bomb” would look like a fart in the wind beside Mini-Me.

■ Her negotiation skills are world class.

■ She is SUPERB at listening to instruction from her Team leader, before COMPLETELY IGNORING said instruction and doing her own thing. I call this INITIATIVE. Others would call it insolence…

■She is not beyond Blackmail or Bribery.
Mini-Me is determined and diligent.  In fact, she can be like a dog with a fricken bone if she decides she wants something.
Feel free to contact her references:
Granny of the Hill, Granny of the Lifford, Santa Clause.

(No point in asking me or her Daddy. Even SHE doesn’t listen to us.)
Good luck in your search, but honestly you won’t find a more suitable candidate than the aforementioned.
Kind regards,
S-Mum 

Secretary and PA to Mini-of-the-Me.

I am Sometimes Soccer Mum

We’ve all seen them on the tellybox haven’t we?

Soccer Moms…

pushy parent

The pushy parents who live their entire lives through their kiddies and whose routines revolve around taxi duty for their little darlings.

The parents who will stand up for their sproggies, regardless of whether or not Junior is in the wrong.  The parents who can’t see even the slightest possibility that their little darling might not just be absolutely fantastic at absolutely everything!

The mummies who drop their kiddies off at school or creche in their gym gear, all swinging ponytails and smiles, who subtly boast about their gifted child or their over-achieving genius: who ring the school to complain that their little angel isn’t playing the star in the school play when she was Mary in the Nativity three years in a row…

and we all smile smugly in the knowledge that we would NEVER be like them.

Even the thought is ridiculous!

It’s utterly absurd!… and yet, we’re all more than capable of it!

How do I know?  Because just last week, I found myself turning into one of these soccer moms, minus the swinging ponytail.  And I’m not ashamed to say it!

I took Mini-Me to the Public Health Nurse for her developmental check.  It was all pretty standard and uneventful really.  I’m happy enough that she’s developing at an exceptional rate anyway and didn’t feel that I needed anyone to verify it.  :p

Raising-Smart-Kids-for-Dummies-9780764517655

We sat in the office; me on a chair in the corner, Mini-Me on a cute little seat at a tootsie little table, with colourful blocks and crayons. Nurse’s voice was cooing and soothing and she quickly established a rapport with Mini-me.  She also quickly established that she was interested only in speaking to my daughter. Mummy’s voice was not required.

I quickly picked up that I was there as an observer only; to watch this stranger play with my little princess, while assessing her every move.

Fine, I thought, a little huffily if I’m honest.  I had nothing to worry about.  Mini-Me would show her how a three and a quarter year old rolls.

What I hadn’t banked on was that she’d be hit with a savage dose of shyness.  Nurse’s baby-focused cooing suddenly seemed to be her cue to act like a wee baby!

We started off OK.

“Put the blocks in a line”…easy.

“What colour is this one?”

“Pick out the yellow ones”…duh!

We were flying.  I was envisaging a gold star for both of us as we left.

“Now, can you draw a circle?”… yup!

“Can you draw two smaller circles?”… Uh oh.

I could tell that Nurse wanted her to draw a face, but the instructions caused confusion and she drew the two smaller circles outside of the large one.  Catastrophe!

“Ok, draw a smiling mouth”… Mini-Me looked at her as if wondering why the heck she’d give a circle a mouth.  At this point I politely interjected… “Just ask her to draw a face.” I suggested.  Nursey poos wasn’t too happy, but rephrased.  To my delight, Daughter turned the page over and promptly drew a face, with all required features, including eyelashes!

Hah!  Take that Nursey Poos!

At this point, I sat back on the chair, exhilarated and smug.  My heart was racing, just a little.

Then…

“Can you count the blocks?”

Well of course she can…

But then, she didn’t.

Instead, my beautiful, intelligent little darling announced “1,2,5,8,TWENTY!”

And this Momma-bird nearly fell off her perch.

I was about to interrupt again…until I realised that while Mini-me was playing the the I’m an ickle baby game with Nurse, I was turning into one of those mothers.

It was like an out-of-body experience.  My throat constricted as I tried not to scream “She can count to 20! In English AND in Irish!”.  I squirmed in my chair, trying not to get up and rearrange the blocks for her to try again. I noted my racing heart and sweaty palms as I tried to control the urge to ‘turn teacher’ and get her to do it right.

This was terrible!  How could I let this woman, who was assessing my child, think that she was seeing anything other than a genius?  She should be awestruck as she realises she is in the presence of greatness.  One day, she should say, “Oh yes! I remember her.  She was always so gifted.”

While I kept myself in check, I became suddenly aware that Mini-Me was counting again, slower this time and properly.. Ok, she left out 15 as usual, but sure who needs 15?  And Nurse was smiling, filling out her notes and finishing up the session.

I felt my heart rate return to normal-mental-mother pace, and when she asked if I had any concerns, I smiled sweetly and said “No, I think she’s fine. Do you see anything to be worried about?”

She continued to tell me that she was perfectly happy that Mini-me is just fine.  She seems like a very bright and intelligent child, and her counting is very good!

I was chuffed.  It was a metaphoric gold star for Mammy and for Mini-me.  Soccer Mom however, swished her ponytail and screamed “I could have told you that at the beginning and saved us half an hour!!”, but the normal Mammy smiled politely and thanked the lovely Nurse very much.

Because really, she was lovely and she did her job exceptionally well.  And I’m suddenly very aware that I might be determined to never turn in to one of those mothers, but there might be the possibility that there’s one inside me with whom I’ll have to wrestle every so often!

But hey!  Isn’t that just part of the job?

I am Sometimes Soccer Mum.adoring mom