I am Such a Royal No-No Mum

(Today’s Thoroughly Modern Mammy column
“When are you going again?”
The Royal NO NO!)

So the royal family are expecting another Baby.
Good for them.


I’m as happy for Kate as I would be to hear of ANY pregnancy, but Holy Gemima, if I see ONE more headline or comment about how she’s “completing her family” or she’s now got “the magic number”, I shall scream.

Now, of course as an international celebrity, she will have every moment of her pregnancy and birth and life scrutinized and spread over the interweb and newspapers. That’s part of the job she signed up to isn’t it? And I don’t mind the reports of her pregnancy. It IS a matter of interest to our neighbours in the UK, and I’ll bet the Fashion bloggers and maternity shops are rubbing their hands in glee at the guaranteed content for the foreseeable future.

But like all things Mammy related, people are far too quick to jump to assumptions and conclusions, assuming to know inside information and writing anything to gain clicks and sales. To the journalists who wrote such rubbish as “Her family will be complete” and “Three is the magic number”, I ask some questions.

Will it really? Will her family REALLY be complete with 3 kids? Says who? How do you know that she will only have one more child? How can you guarantee that this little child will even be born? How do you know that she isn’t carrying twins? How will you cash in on this theory is suddenly her magic number is 4!? How do you know that she planned this one? For all you know, little Prince/Princess was a little heart attack for poor Willy and Lovely Kate.

Such statements and assumptions beg other questions too.

Why do people insist on telling you that you should “be going again” or “getting a move on”?
Why do people think it’s OK to assume that everyone wants to have more Babies? Or actually, even A baby for that matter.
Why, oh WHY, do people think that it’s OK to ASK why a couple aren’t “going for number 3, or 4, or 8?

Here are 6 reasons to NOT comment on a couple’s NON pregnant state:
1. It’s none of your business.

2. You don’t know their situation. You don’t know if they’ve had a miscarriage recently. People don’t generally go around announcing that do they? In fact, we good Irish still fall into the trap of thinking that we aren’t allowed to tell anyone until the sacred 12 week mark, and so when things go wrong, couples often have no one to share their grief or help them through it.

3. 1 in 6 Irish couples currently struggle with fertility. How do you know if the person you are innocently teasing about “going for another one” or “getting a move on” isn’t one of those couples? You don’t know if they’re trying everything and being constantly heartbroken. You don’t know if she’s injecting herself to try to help matters. You don’t know if he’s struggling with the fact that his sperm count is low. You don’t know if they’ve put every penny they have (and don’t have) into rounds of treatment, over and over again. You don’t.

4. Not EVERY couple WANTS to have a baby, or another Baby. For their own reasons. That they don’t have to explain to you.

5. Maybe that couple are in the process of adoption, or surrogacy. Maybe that couple are at breaking point, physically and emotionally and maybe…

6. …it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

Of course people mean no harm when we joke about “filling that big house” or “getting them a wee brother”, but like all things Parent related, innocent comments and harmless questions can cut through people like a bolt of lightning. We shouldn’t comment. End of.

So when the headlines tell us that because the Princess, (or Duchess or whatever she is), is now perfect because she’s having another child, we should try not to let them convince us that what they think is perfect, is right.
Because it’s not. YOU know what is right for YOUR family.

I like Kate’s style and her hair and her shoes… but will I be following suit and having number 3 to make my family “perfect” or “complete”?
Eh, no.
We’re “practically perfect in every way” already thank you very much, not that it’s anyone’s business! 😂

I am So not ready for Back-to-School Mum

Mammy is super-organised…

Mammy has started her Christmas Shopping.

Mammy has started thinking about next year’s summer holidays.

Mammy has started making plans for 2 or 3 significant birthdays in the family next year.

Mammy has thought so far ahead, that she has hotels AND Babysitters booked for the 2018 weddings she KNOWS she will be attending.

This is how THIS Super-organised-Mum rolls.

What Mammy HAS NOT started however, is thinking about the dreaded HELL that is “Back-to-school shite”.

Mammy HATES this time of year more than you can ever imagine. The Back-to-school Shite now starts in the middle of MAY… Before ANY school finishes up for summer break. May… As in MAY, the 5th month of the year and 4 whole months BEFORE Septemeber? Wtf?

When we were kids, the grey and navy skirts and shirts and lunchboxes and tin mathematic sets with the map of Ireland didn’t appear in the shops until the end of July. And by then, we’d had our weeks of sunshine, siblings, Zig & Zag and nothingness, and we probably didn’t MIND starting to think about the S word.

But now? NOW, Mammy wants to find the store managers who have signed off on putting Back-to-school shite on the shelves in mid-MAY. I want to find them and I want to HURT them. 😠 I want to poke them in the eyeballs with the metal tools in the tin mathematics case… (they’ll be more useful to me now and they were in 1989.) I want to beat them over the head with a cheap plastic-lasts-until-halloween-lunchbox, Snap their noses with elastic neckties and then lock them in a container with nothing but copies of Ann & Barry and Sugradh…but NO PENCIL. 😈😈

But Mammy is a sane and calm lady who would never entertain such thoughts. Since June 1st, I have been increasingly flummoxed by the status updates appearing on my timeline from other ACTUAL Mums who have the Back-to-school shite done and dusted already. I have hovered my finger over the “unfriend” button in some cases, wondering if Bookface would entertain my proposal for an “unfollow until September 1st” button. 😛

Now, if YOU have all the stuffs for all the minions sorted already, good for you. I’m not feeling jealous, or inferior or intimidated by your organisation skills AT ALL. 😂 (There is a slight chance that a psychologisty person MIGHT argue that my anger towards the aforementioned shop owners, and my annoyance at the Super-organised-Mums, stems from my own insecurities and weaknesses being highlighted to me by the clever forward thinking Back-to-school Experts.)

I would argue that NOPE, my anger and flumoxing are perfectly justified. Maybe it’s because I have had to do the Back-to-school shite for 32 CONSECUTIVE years. Since starting teaching, I have managed to avoid thinking about it until the ACTUAL night before school starts, when I sob into my grapes, knowing that summer is over and I have to now dress in something other than my gymgear and that makeup will have to be used every day.

But now, as a Mammy, I DO need to get everyone else organised a few days earlier than when it was just ME going back to school… But, I MEAN a FEW days earlier. I refuse point blank to go near the dark, bleak section of the store until AT LEAST the final week of her holidays. I convince myself that I am more clever than the Early-Back-to-school-organisers, and I browse through what is left over on the shelves of synthetic smelling geansaí and pleated skirts, because at least there is no chance of Mini-Me taking a growth spurt between the Back-to-school shite being bought and her putting them on. 😅 #lazymammywin

See. Clever Mammy. (And pleated skirts? The Gobshite who invented those little bitches needs to be locked into the container WITH the shop owners along with 2000 of those skirts, an iron and an ironing board…)

So go on. Sicken me… Hands up who’s all organised already? 😙

I am ‘So here’s the thing’ Mum…

“You will , you know!”

Everyone is the perfect parent…until they have children.”

Who said this first? I have no idea.

Who says it now? Me. Every single day!

I am the proud and enthusiastic Mama bear of a 5-year-old Drama Queen and a 21 month old Dictator. I spend my days winging it through EVERYTHING… breakfast, school runs, work, homework, dinner, bedtime, marriage.

Some days, I feel like I NEARLY have my shit together. Most days, I want to stomp my foot, throw and tantrum and call for my own Mammy! To many, I seem like I hold things together.

Those closest to me, know I’m a fraud.

I don’t know what I’m doing.

I don’t deal with everything in a calm and mature fashion.

I don’t adore my children every single second of every single day.

I don’t always have the schedule sorted.

I don’t always remember everything I’m supposed to.

I don’t always know what’s wrong with the baby, just by her cry.

I don’t always have a sparkly clean house. (Actually, I don’t EVER. Who does?)

I don’t always remember to wash the uniforms.

I don’t always want to get my No Diggity on in the bedroom.

I don’t always feed them homemade meals.

I don’t always give the right answer.

I don’t always say the right thing.

I don’t switch off my brain, even when it’s His turn to get up with them.

I can’t.

Because I “Mammy” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Sometimes, I yell.

Sometimes, I bribe.

Sometimes the fridge is empty.

Sometimes, I’m so exhausted that I let them eat breakfast cereal for dinner.

Sometimes, I pretend I don’t hear the monitor and carefully kick Daddy so he’ll have to get up instead.

Sometimes, I let them watch TV…a lot.

Sometimes, I swear.

Sometimes, I wish it were bedtime at 3pm.

Sometimes, I cry so hard that my Husband doesn’t know what to say.

Sometimes, I like being at work because I get to finish a coffee in peace…and I don’t feel guilty. Sometimes, I get a babysitter and go out for dinner.

Sometimes, I hand the baby to Himself as he comes through the door and go for a run, or a pee. Sometimes, I feel like I’m so utterly useless that someone, somewhere will certainly report me to an authority of some kind.

But ALWAYS, I love. I am NOT a Stepford Mammy. I will never get it ALL right. No one can, because a perfect Mammy doesn’t exist, and as long as I love my girls fiercely, I’m already doing it right.

The moment that a Mammy realises that there is no such thing as “The right way” or “the proper way” of parenting, is light bulb moment. When you recognise that YOUR choices for your family are NO ONE’s business, a giant weight will be lifted off your tired shoulders.

You don’t have to justify your parenting. You don’t have to explain why you breastfeed, or don’t; why you chose this school instead of that one; why you put the baby in their own room at 3 months, or why they still sleep in your room 2 years on.

You don’t have to justify your parenting to ANYONE.

The ONLY people who matter in your home, are YOUR FAMILY. And nothing or nobody outside of that matters. If you are expecting your first Baby and reading this, with your jaw on the floor, thinking “I will NEVER do those things!”, You will you know!?

You will bribe.

You will eat leftovers.

You will survive on 2 hours of broken sleep.

You will use Babywipes for EVERYTHING.

You will hate your partner for sleeping. (Sometimes, you will hate them for breathing! 🙂 )

You will enjoy watching kids’ TV.

You will have a favourite CBeebies presenter.

You will spend your money on the best you can afford for your kids, while wearing a 15-year-old t-shirt yourself.

You will be so excited at the offer of a babysitter, that you cry. Oh, and you will cry; tears of frustration, tears of worry, tears of laughter and tears of pure, unconditional LOVE.

Because being a Mammy is sometimes crap, but it is ALWAYS wonderful.

And if you are wondering if you’ll be a good Mum?

You will, you know. x

​It’s here.
It’s horrid.

But, like everything, it’s happening whether I like ot or not, so I have to pull up my “Big Girl” knickers and get over it. 😂💗😂
It’s the night before I finally add “outside of the hoouse” work to all the “Stay at home Mum” work I already do.  

Over the past week, more than a few people have said things like “You’ll be glad to get back into routine”, “Sure you’ve been off for AGES,” and even “It’ll give you something to do again”.  It seems to be assumed that being at home with two kids is simply an extended holiday; easy peasy.
What people often forget is that when a Mammy (or Daddy indeed) goes back to work, none of the “SAHM” work goes away.  

It just gets ADDED to. 

The cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping, surviving… It’s simply condensed into LESS TIME.😥😥
And that’s before the playing, teaching, growing, reading, and loving that our kids need from us.
Being a SAHM is hard work.

Working AND being a Mum is hard work.

Because, technically, we’re both.  Although we go out to another building to do our jobs for a few hours a day, we’re still also Stay at home Mums, because Mums NEVER switch off! 
My Mum has been a SAHM for 35 years.  She’s the hardest worker I know and her “career” was and still is,  us.  

She never got a sick day. She rarely even gets a “Her day”.  

Her salary?

 Slobbers and smiles and a few successful “Proud Mammy” moments along the way. 😅😍😍

  Each of us owes who we are and what we’re achieving every day, TO HER, WORKING to be everything we needed.  She’s raised 6 of us and is now helping us to raise OUR babies.  She might not have had to answer to a boss or fill out paperwork or wear a uniform, but she left her job to do THE single most important job in the world…full time.
And while I would give ANYTHING to give my girls the same dedication and security, I can’t.

 That’s just life. 
I know from my short maternity leaves from my job, how absolutely heart wrenchingly lonely being a SAHM can sometimes be.  When the only conversation you’ve had in a day was with a grumpy, tantruming toddler or a Babby whose vocabulary stretches only to “Dadada”; when you answer Mr. FECKIN TUMBLE, OUT LOUD; 😅 (admit it Ladybelles, we’ve ALL done it!), then you know the importance of companionship, of colleagues, of friends.
I can’t imagine what it was like for Mums before social media etc. 

 One of the few things I am genuinely looking forward to is spending some time with my colleagues. 

I’m lucky to work with real friends. They’ve stayed in touch and kept me included in the year I’ve been off.  For that alone, I’m blessed.
My biggest fear tonight is how my Brain is going to cope with all the EXTRA stuff: the new routine, the work, the prep, the marking, the stress, the Mini-Me at Big school, the tiredness, the THINKING.  How I’m going to FIT all of that, (even though it’s what I’ve done for 15 years without a thought! ), into my head on top of the mayhem of our Crazy frog lifestyle as it is, I DO NOT KNOW.
And yet I will.

(There may be a grape shortage in the next 6 months, just to warn you! 😅🍷)
By tomorrow night, I’ll feel like I was NEVER away. I know I’ll soon get back into the swing of things. I’ll manage, like every Mummy with a job does.

  I’ll feel guilty every day. I’ll hate leaving.  I’ll have days where I function on no sleep.  I’ll have days where I’m at work wishing I was at home with my girls.  I’ll constantly remind myself that I’m working for THEM; because reality doesn’t allow me to stretch this precious maternity leave for even another day.


So while I spend most of today sobbing like a twat everytime I looked at Princess and Mini-Me, I also had a lovely day with them.  The Him even took a bit of time away from Jim to join us. 🕵 Jim is probably huffing tonight, but SOMETIMES Crazy,  Highly emotional Wife is more important! 😂😂
We spent a blissful afternoon at Oakfield Park, visited lovely friends and then I came home and burned the dinner while Princess found a marker and drew ALL OVER HER FECKIN FACE! 😣😣😣


So yes, a significant but pretty normal day really…
Finished obviously with a little tipple, to celebrate having had the chance to be a SAHM for even a while, and to make myself feel a little bit bloody better about going back to my “other job” tomorrow.
Bubbles it is.

Cheers to the working parents, both in the workplace and in the home. 

You’re FABLIS. XXXXX 
SAHM 😙😙

I am Switching-around-the-furniture Mum

Today was a very productive day.
We spent the afternoon moving furniture around and rearranging rooms! 😆

I can’t tell you the joy this gives me. It makes me happy when The Him is home and actually gets to USE those muscles 💪💪he works so hard on at the Jim. (Yes, I refer to our gym as a person.👤 He is after all a member of the fricken family.)

The Him with the muscles however is not so keen on my biannual moving of the furniture. 😐
He doesn’t GET that it makes S-Mumming much easier when there’s a certain amount of organisation and order in our very messy home.

He agreed to move the furniture today on condition that I don’t rearrange the kitchen (again.)
All this did was put that idea into my head and onto my to-do list for tomorrow. 😈
I’ll take pleasure reminding him it was his idea when he’s swearing tomorrow night because he can’t find the black pepper.😂

Anyway, the BEST thing about the rearranging of the furniture was the moving of a double bed into Mini-Me’s bedroom.
S-Mum is being very clever and pre-empting such future events as sleepovers and “I need Mummy” nights of fever or whatever.  Instead of my arse hanging out the side of her tiny bed, I shall simply lie beside her. Clever mammy. 😗

But he BESTEST THING about the double bed is how ABSOLUTELY TINY my lanky, skinny 4 year old looks tonight as she sleeps in the huge bed.  She’s so small and tootsy and it’s a lovely feeling to see her so teeny, rather than looking at how big she’s getting and wishing time would stop.
Silly maybe.
But it makes me happy. 😇
And after the mayhem of rearranging the rooms, The Him took us out for dinner. (I think it was to stop me from moving the coffee machine into the bedroom really.)
Mini-Me ate everything in front of her.
So did I. 🍰
Princess smiled at everyone and battered our Bloke.  (He loved this really.)

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And then we had ice-cream.
So all is now right with the world.
I’m off to pour a glass of grapes.
I do need my 5 a day you know. Must keep the strength up for tomorrow’s kitchen rearranging!
Goodnight S-Folks xx

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I am So Floating Mum

Yesterday, I found a new favourite thing to do!
Yesterday, I went Floating.

“The Float Room” in the Finn Valley Centre, Stranorlar is recently established and going from strength to strength.

I’ve been meaning to try floating for ages now, having heard great reports, so I was delighted when Gary invited myself and the Hubby over to try out the floating chamber.

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I didn’t really know what to expect.  We arrived to a warm welcome from proprietor Gary Ramsay, who brought us through to the floating suite.  The room is spacious, well appointed and clean; a bathroom and shower adjoins the changing room.

In the centre of the room was a big white door.  The door looks like a fridge from a space ship, but inside is a little cocoon of blue loveliness.
Gary guided us through the process with simple instructions.

Once everything had been explained, he left us to it.  What I really enjoyed about the experience was that you are left alone.  You are completely in charge of your own experience.  When in a spa, you’re always aware that the therapist will return in just a few minutes.  Here, unless you need a member of staff, you are free to enjoy the experience at your own pace.  (there is of course an emergency button should you need assistance.  It’s never been pressed!)

The chamber is beautiful.  The blue lights are soothing and calming.  The ceiling has colour-changing LED lights which are a sensory treat. When you enter the bath, music plays for the first 15 minutes.  This is followed by 30 minutes of quiet and then the music gently returns when there is 15 minutes of your session left.  It is a clever system as you can allow yourself to forget time completely.
The bath itself is huge.  Two people can comfortably share the chamber. The water isn’t overly deep and is toasty warm, and once you lie into it, you do indeed float!  With over a tonne of Epsom salts in the tub, you are fully unable to sink. (I swim like a concrete block, so this was a very new experience for me!)

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The most difficult part of the experience is actually relaxing!  It took me quite a while to fully surrender to the water.  I had to fully focus on relaxing certain muscles.  My neck was automatically keeping my head above water, but when you consciously force it to relax, it’s incredible.

The lights on the ceiling can be controlled manually.  We chose to turn them off.  I think that when I go again, I’ll keep the music on throughout.  I enjoyed the silence of course, but the music was relaxing and added that spa-like feel to the experience.

At the end of the session, when the filter begins to clean the chamber, you begin to spin gently as if on a whirlpool.  This was weird, but fun!  I think that with a few more sessions, I’d get better at relaxing and get further benefit from the experience.

As a couple, we don’t often get a full hour of uninterrupted conversation. I thought that we’d have a chance to talk, but obviously when you’re floating, your ears are under water, so there was no chatting! There are neck cushions that can be used however if you do want to chat with your floating partner.  Goggles and earplugs are also available in the changing room.

The one piece of advice that I wish I’d paid more attention to, was to keep my hands away from my eyes!
Epsom salts + contact lenses = ouchee! But a dry towel beside the chamber door soon sorted that.

The shower room and changing room are fully equipped with robes, towels and toiletries.  There is a powerful hairdryer and a basket of everything you might have forgotten!  Bottles of water and “sucky sweets” were welcome after the float.

I have to say, by bedtime, my back and shoulders had the ache of having had a good massage.  I slept like a baby last night.

So all in all, the experience was a lovely one. It was different.  It was relaxing.  It was very enjoyable.
I would happily go back on my own, or with himself.  If nothing else, it meant that I knew that he had had a full hour of relaxation without his phone beeping!
I can fully understand why Floating can benefit everyone.  It is proven to have immense benefits for pregnancy and Gary tells me that he has a number of clients to who bring their autistic children along as a form of relaxation.

Gary will be at my Bump and Beyond event on April 3rd so will answer any questions.  Or if you can’t wait until then, call him on 0894428691 or email him on info@thefloatroom.ie

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I am So-floating Mum 😆

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I am Sunrise Mum

This morning, Princess woke at 6am with a sore tummy.  I brought her into my bed and tried all of my usual tricks to get her back to sleep. 
Just one more hour please.
Usually, she snuggles up to me, plants a pudgy wee hand flat on my cheek and sighs.  It’s quite adorable.
This morning she was searching frantically through closed eyes for the teat of the bottle that I obviously should have had in her mouth ten minutes earlier. Her arms were flailing and she was grunting like a little pig at the swill bucket.
I swear, it was as if she hadn’t been fed in 3 days. 
She’s funny when she decides she’s hungry.  Feed me NOW. (She’s like her mother I suppose!)

And so, for the first time in a few weeks, I find myself up and coffeefied before 6.30am.
I got herself settled and she’s currently snoring in the corner. 
I was thinking about going back to bed, but then I looked out the window and realised that I haven’t seen the sunrise in a long time.
I’ve always been a morning person.
I’m the person that those “If you see someone smiling before 7am, slap them!” mugs, are about.

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I’ve always loved the calm and the quiet of day break, when you can breathe in the nothingness before the world awakens. 
And so, I put on my warmest coat and sat on the back doorstep; coffee and huge dog cuddles keeping me warm.

And I watched. 
And I listened. 
The countryside at stupid o’clock is eerily quiet. It’s gorgeous.

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And while I knew that this calm would not last; because my little Tasmanian Devil would be waking up to take on the world in approximately ten minutes; I took it all in and enjoyed it.

My backside was freezing by the time I heard her footsteps coming up the hall, but my head was calm and my heart was all warm and fuzzy.
I was ready for the day ahead.

I would have loved an extra hour in bed, obviously,
but sometimes it does not harm to be
Sunrise Mum.

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And on Twitter @Maria_Rushe

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