I am State Examinations Mum

exam2Exam season is upon us again.

It seems to come around faster and faster each year, doesn’t it?

If your little darlings are about to do their Junior or Leaving Certificate Examinations, here are some ideas on how you can help them.

  1. Sleep:  Seems obvious and it’s easier said than done to get teenagers to go to bed at the best of times, and yet sleep is the one thing that we need in order to function properly.  Talk to your child and agree a consistent bedtime for the next 3 weeks. Agree on a cut off time for studying, no matter how much they insist that they need to do more.  Agree on a cut off time for screens and insist that until the exams are over, screens should not be in bedrooms.  Even the simple absence of the phone from the bedroom can do wonders for the sleep that we get.
  2. Hydrate:  Yeah yeah Yadda yadda… but again, vital. Challenge them to drink 2 litres a day.  There are loads of cool bottles that help to motivate water intake now. And they all have apps on phones that can help remind them to drink water too. Dehydration leads to headaches and sluggishness; all of the things that they DON’T need at the minute.
  3. Nutrition: The State Exams can last for up to 2 weeks for some students. If an athlete were going into  a 2 week event, they’d be fuelling up their bodies in preparation for months. If your child has a balanced and varied diet already, great. Keep it up. If not, try to introduce more whole foods and more fruit and veg.  Convenience  snacking is a massive issue when stress and tiredness kick in. Try to have dinners pre-cooked and healthier snacks in the fridge for when they appear from their pit “staaaaaarving”.  In fairness to them, the last thing they are thinking about is their food right now. But don’t make a big deal about it. Remember when they were toddlers and you conveniently had lots of healthy snacks and precooked meals in the kitchen?  For the next 3 weeks, go back to that! Just maybe ease up on the purees!      (AND BREAKFAST is a must. They might not be hungry, but they can’t sit a 2-3 hour exam on an empty tummy. Bananas are great for calming butterflies in the tummy.)  exam4
  4. Exercise:  If your child has a hobby, or goes to a class each week, let them continue with it.  As a teacher, I hear parents saying “Oh they’ve stopped that until after the exams”.  And while yes, many need to cut back on some activities in order to study, cutting out EVERYTHING is a bad idea.  Try to encourage them to do something every day, even if it is simply going for a ten minute walk. Send them to the shop.   Throw them a basketball. Dust off the punchbag in the garage. Anything to get them moving for even a few minutes.  Times of high stress are the times when we NEED to be able to release, may it be dancing, kicking, running or a gym class.  It helps keep energy levels up.  exam
  5.  Keep the stress levels down:  And I’m not just talking about THEIRS. State Exams have a way of reducing Mums and Dads to tears. Yes, this is a big deal. Yes, the exams are important, but what is more important is that your child is alive and well and able to do the exams.  Don’t dismiss the significance of these exams, but equally, don’t paint them to be the be all and end all. Their best is all that they can do and regardless of what is in the little brown envelopes at the end of the summer, life will go on and they will be ABSOLUTELY FINE!
  6. Positivity:  Rather than constantly “annoying” or “torturing” them, let them hear praise. (Because no matter what we say, they only hear nagging don’t they?) Let them hear you believe in them.  Let them hear “You will be fine” or “Do your best” or “I’m proud of you.”  Seems silly maybe, but trust me, so many of our teenagers are so skilled at feeling useless and crap all by themselves.  Sometimes all it takes is for them to hear someone tell them they can do it.  exam1
  7. Last minute pages:  SO this is the teacher talking now.  Get them to take an A4 page and for each subject, on which they write down all of the key phrases and ideas and names and keywords, dates etc., all over it, on both sides.  If their teacher has things that he or she CONSTANTLY repeated in class, write those down too. Use different colour pens and make it bright. Laminate it when they’re done if you like. But have it that THAT PAGE is the ONLY thing they look at on the morning of the exam.   I also advise that when they walk into the English paper, before they even read the questions, to jot down as many of the important terms and titles on one of the roughwork boxes or blank pages. That way, they have a go-to wordbank if they get a blank brain AND they won’t forget character names or poem titles in the heat of the exam. (Happens to the best!)
  8. Ditch the Drama:  Warn your kids of the dangers of the Drama Llama on the morning (or afternoon) of the exam.  While they’ll want with their friends, so often it is the worst place they can be. Hearing “Oh I only glanced at Chapter 23 last night” or “I haven’t LOOKED at that book!” or “I am so screwed”can cause panic in an anxious child’s mind. They’re already dealing with their own anxiety and nerves. They don’t need JohnJoe or Nancy’s stresses on top of their own. Tell them to politely stay away from groups until after the exam.  They are much better served by reading over their last-minute page on their own. They can chat about it as much as they want when it’s over, but being focused and quiet before the exam really does work wonders.  exam3
  9. SPACE it out: If space allows, tell them to skip 2-3 lines between each paragraph.  This allows them space to jot down anything that might come to mind as the revise over what they’ve written at the end.  (And it makes life easier for the examiner if sentences aren’t written sideways up a margin!)
  10. Believe:  While the state exams are possibly THE biggest thing in your whole family’s life right now, it is important to remind the kids that every single person who is older than them, has been through and sat through these exams. They can only do their best. Yes, they’re a huge deal, but they’re also just a bump in the road that you have to drive over to get to summer.  They’re well ready and well able.

 

I hope that exam season passes with as little stress as possible in your house. And remember that if your kids see you stressed, they stress. So even if you want to scream and tear your hair out, don’t.  Or at least wait until they’re in bed and then pour yourself a gin and scream in a pillow.

And the very best of luck to your minions.

 

I am Simple Steps to Dressing a Twoublemaker Mum

How to dress a Twoublemaker.

  1.  Lay out neatly ironed and folded clothing choice.
  2. Place garments onto child in correct order.  Lift thrown and crumpled garments off floor in random order, as thrown.
  3. Make sure to make “Pop” sounds or other sing-songy nonsense to mark the “Popping” of child’s head through vest/tee/jumper.
  4. Forget to open buttons to loosen head hole on said garment.
  5. Spend 3 minutes apologising for being a Silly Mammy while rocking frantically.
  6. Put child’s socks on their two feet.
  7. Put on trousers.
  8. Remove trousers. You forgot that the trousers have to go on first this morning. Silly wench.
  9. Remove child’s socks.
  10. Put on trousers.
  11. Put on child’s socks.
  12. Let child remove socks.
  13. Lose the will to live as child now tries to put on the socks again on the opposite feet.
  14. Put on child’s shoes.
  15. Note: Do NOT ask child if they want to put their shoes on beforehand. It will not end well.
  16. Put on child’s shoes.  Don’t bother fastening until you hear the compulsory “AOOOOOW!”
  17. Remove shoe and shake out imaginary stone from shoe.
  18. Put shoe back on just as it was 2 minutes ago.
  19. Repeat on other foot.
  20. Try to brush child’s hair into some sort of “I do not neglect my children I actually rather love the little shits” hairstyle. Use too much conditioning spray and threaten to shave it off. (Under your breath of course.)
  21. Put child down in order to get yourself ready.
  22. 3.5 minutes later, return to room fully dressed and ready to leave.
  23. Put on child’s trousers.
  24. Look for child’s left socks.
  25. Give up and grab another pair from drawer.
  26. Repeat steps 14 – 19.
  27. Remind self to buy gin.
  28. Consider googling “IV for Gin” if you ever get to work.
  29. Change child’s nappy…
  30. Get child into car, pretend you’ve forgotten something and silent scream in your kitchen for 15 seconds before returning alá fucking Mary-of-the-poppins to car to deposit Twoublemaker to playschool…
  31. Repeat steps 14 to 19 outside door of playschool…
  32. Repeat steps 1 – 31 EVERY FUCKING DAY for next 2 years.

Then begins the How to dress a Pre-Tween… but that is a whole other post.

Happy Freezer Friyay Bitchepoos.

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Enjoy those Beige dinners! (Almost Grapejuice o’clock…)

I am Some Fried Eggs Mum

Today, we escaped as ChickenpockGate has finally ended and we are freeeeeee from the jaws of the sespit that is our home. While I should indeed be deep cleansing and femegating said sespit, I decided that getting OTF was much more important. (Out tay fook!)
 
And so off we pocked… sorry popped… to Derry.
Mammy hasn’t been in Derry for quite a while and it took me a few minutes to get used to all of the shininess and prettiness of all of the funky and new and in style stuff that was hanging in front of me screaming “You know you want me Mammy!”
And of course I want one of everything,like yesterday… and yet I know I must go through my summer stuff from previous years first, where I will find 17 perfectly appropriate and fine bikinis and kaftans and all sorts of other summery stuff that I shall bring with, but not wear!
 
While browsing through the multicoloured rainbow of the swimwear section in a certain debartmenthams store, Mini-Me picked up one particularly frilly and colourful bra top. It was a 38F and while it was stunning if that is your bra size, for Fried Egg Sally here, it wasn’t suitable.
 
“Isn’t this lovely Mammy? You should try it on!” announced Mini-Me.
“It IS lovely Darling, but that isn’t Mammy’s size. That is for a lady with bigger Boobies than Mammy. Every woman has different sized Boobs you see.”
“Ah OK.” she said, replacing the over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder which was made for some other Goddess.
I continued looking for the more pebble-esque holders and was happily emagining myself lounging by the pool in one of the very sexy, but subtle one-pieces, when I heard it.
 
“Hi MAMMY?”
Where the feck is she?
I turn around and look frantically for her. She’s standing abut 15 yards away beside the mannequins which are covered in the Ted of the Baker stuff that Mammy hints at EVERY fucking Christmas and yet never gets. She’s pulling the front of the silky material down over the plastic diddy of the greeny brown headless one.
“What are you doi…”
 
“Yours are more the size of THIS woman here aren’t they Mammy?”
 
Shoot.
me.
NOW.
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Enter a caption

 
“Get over here Madam.” I hiss, as the 324 bystanders turn to look at me. (Ok, there might have only been 7 or 8, but it felt like many more.)
 
“But yours don’t look like that” she continued, having a good look at the perky perfectness of the plastic one.
 
“Come on until we find Daddy” I muttered as I gathered up my bags and my dignity from the floor. I walked over to her and took her hand off the prettiness on the mannequin.
 
“Let’s go you rascal” I grumbled, but a part of me couldn’t help but think ‘Why thank you Darling!’ at being compared to the boobage on the model. Even the mannequin was probably laughing at the fact that my fried eggs are still only a fraction of the boobahs on her!
 
How was your day?

I am Saying Thank You Mum

From a different Perspective…

Thank you to the people who planted Thousands of little white crosses along the main road to letterkenny. 💜💙

cross

Photo by Greg Harkin on Twitter 

How gracious of you to remember all of the little babies who our people never got to bury in Irish Soil.💜🇮🇪

Thank you for marking the lives of all the women who have, and who will, die as a result of the 8th. 😔

Thank you for memoralising Savita.💜

Thank you for marking the men who have lost and who grieve for their lost children, partners, Mummies, Sisters.💙

Thank you for allowing me to explain to my daughter that the little crosses are for all of the innocent little babies who fate would not allow to be born. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧

You didn’t realise the POSITIVE effect your actions in the dark of night would have did you?

Look at you 💜showing compassion and empathy and kindness.

Look at you 💙considering the emotions if pregnant women as they drive their children to school this morning.

Look at you💜 considering the feelings of the grieving as they go about their business this morning.

Look at you.💜🇮🇪💜
You are kind.
You are caring.
You are empathetic.

Thank you for your efforts.🇮🇪
I hope you didn’t have to make this journey alone.
I hope it wasnt lonely there in the black dark of night.
I hope no one would suggest that you are a criminal for doing what you feel to be necessary and essential for you. 💏

Have a wonderful Friday you lovely humans.

Perspective is the key to life ladybelles x

#repealthe8th #seewhatyouwanttosee
#oneweektogo #choice
#togetherforaye

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I am Sort Out the Foofaas Mum

One must shave one’s legs. Not just to the knee. The WHOLE way up…

One must sort out foofaa. Not just front foofaa. ALL the Foofaa.

One must wear appropriate knickers. Comfy, not slutty.  Pretty but not Bridget…

One might even vajazzle. Is that still a thing? Was it EVER a thing?

One must paint toenails. When did one last paint toenails? 1998 by the look of them…

One should seriously consider a quick fake tan… must transform one’s corned beef trunks into radiant stalks of shimmering silkiness while singing “AAAA’m yo Venus, Aaaa’m yo fiya…Yo desiya!”

legs

*Not mine

Why?

Has one a hot date?  Is Him whisking one off  for a night of sizzling passionista and frolicking? Is The Him in luck? Has one been overexcited by the little splash of sunshine we’ve been treated to this week? Has one lost her fecking mind?

No. But one does have an appointment with one’s Nurse for a lovely Smear test and so OBVIOUSLY one must be ready no?

No?

Why? Do you mean to tell me that one’s Nurse is NOT going to judge the stubble on one’s legs or the length of the foofaa carpet or the dotted grayness of one’s cellulitically fablis thighs?

Is there NOT a section on her paper work, underneath “Try not to fuck it up this time you shower of useless incompetent Gobshites”, that she must tick to state the state of one’s state on a scale of “Meh to WTF?”

Does she not have daily moments of “What a fablis Foofaa specimin this one is!” to write into her diary and to tell her Nursey friends about at the Nurses’ Conventions over Pimms?

You MEAN that one’s Nurse doesn’t give a continental FUCK about the state or shape of a Lady’s Ladybits when one presents oneself for the 30 second swab?  That she only thinks “Another one done thanks be to Christ. I hope there’s a caramel digestive in the staffroom at breaktime. Did I switch off the iron? Christ I need a pee…” and such?

You mean she’s not thinking “Oh Jeeeeeeeeeeeesus love go buy a razor. THIS is an unusual one… Christ it’s like an alien. Is it ALIVE?  Must change tonight’s dinner choice…”

NO.

Because guess what? Your Nurse doesn’t give a SHITE about the state of your netherregions.  She only cares about getting you in the door to make sure that in light of the recent ABOMINATION that is the Smear Scandal, that you are as safe as possible.

So if you’re putting it off, suck it up and get it booked.

It’s not the worst thing in the world is it?

smearme

 

 

 

I am So I’ve found my Marbles Mum

Marbles…

Just when I thought I was in danger of losing my last few, Himself whisked me off to the lovely Shandon Hotel & Spa in Dunfanaghy. We didn’t bother with the spa this time, just focused on some R&R… and finally got to try out their new restaurant, Marbles.

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I’ll keep this short and sweet.

It is Fablis.

Located upstairs from the bar, the restaurant is a lovely size. Tastefully decorated in silver and purple hues, it is fresh and comfortable. We gave our room number and were greeted by name. Simple but classy. And little touches like Cole & Mason table accessories and a traditional and classy cutlery setting let us know that this was a cut above before we’d even seen the menu.

The Menu is extensive without being overwhelming. A lovely variety of starters with all allergens and required info available. There is a choice of every meat for main which is something I find becoming rare in good restaurants.

We ordered a bottle of still water and a bottle of wine. Natalia was our server and when I asked for number 18, she instantly replied “The Malbec.” This is the kind of thing that makes Mammy happy. Having worked in restaurants for years, I always appreciate when staff not only do their job well, but show that they take it seriously. Instantly impressed.

We were offered the Shandon’s famous “Guinness Bread” and then served little prawn bites as Chef’s Amuse Bouche while we waited for our starters.

I opted for Pork Belly. Beautifully presented and perfectly cooked. I love the warmed grapes and puree on the plate. All flavours complimented. He had the fishcake and was equally impressed.

Then they served us a little passion fruit sorbet which was gorgeous.

I had the duck for my main course. It was very tasty and served with a little tarte tatin on top. Himself had the slow cooked beef which melted in the mouth. Sides were veg and creamed potatoes and the portions were plenty.

We asked if we could wait a while before ordering dessert and there was no problem at all. Is there anything worse than feeling rushed along in a restaurant? We weren’t at a window seat for our meal, but when one beside us became free, there was no issue in moving to it to enjoy the sunset. The pinks and purples inside suddenly made sense. The sky was the exact same colour and the whole effect was beautiful.

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My dress matched the decor perfectly!

The dessert menu posed a huge problem for me. I love a good cheese board when I’m eating out, and am rarely tempted by a sweet, but this menu was to die for. There is a trio of Creme Brulee which looked amazing. And yet, I always have cheese. Torn. Torn I tell you!

I stuck with the cheese and it was gorgeous. My one (and only) tiny criticism was that I asked for no nuts on the cheese board. (Sometimes walnuts etc are sprinkled on the plate.) The cheese board arrived, looking fab and with all of my favourites on it, but without crackers. The crackers served see, are homemade and have hazelnuts through them, and quite rightly, the chef couldn’t serve them to me.

Now, my intolerence is specific to coconut and almond, so I was able to have some sent out and I simply removed the hazelnuts. But I would suggest that even having some water biscuits or plain crackers on standby would be a clever move which would allow Nutty ones like myself to enjoy the cheese. The cheeseboard however was divine and I ate every bite of it (yes all by myself!). I shall be back for those Brulee!

Himself had the lemon tart, which I have on good authority was lovely. (Him doesn’t share desserts!) We then moved out to the adjoining bar to finish our drinks and relax some more.

The menu is simply priced at €40 per head. I LOVE THIS. Especially if out in a large group. No nit-picking at the splitting of the bill. It was worth every penny and I can’t wait to return.

Mammy gives Marbles a deserved 5 stars.

It books up quite quickly Ladybelles, so if you plan to visit over the summer months, it might do no harm to book in advance.

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(As always, my review is honest and true. We were paying guests in the Shandon and in Marbles and I am under no obligation to post this piece.)

I am Summer in the Park Mum

I am so very excited to announce that Mammy is a Park Ambassador for the very beautiful Oakfield Park for the 2018 season.

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Anyone who has followed me for a while will find nothing new in me posting from Oakfield Park. We spend a lot of time wandering through the gardens in Raphoe and we’re so lucky that it’s right beside us.

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It’s one of my favourite places to go fo family time and over the summer, the girls and I often pop up for a wander around while Daddy is at work.

It’s magical. Good old fashioned fun for the kids. Perfect for getting them away from screens.  From the minute we walk in the gates, not only do they run free, their imaginations do too.

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The Fairy tree is Mini-Me’s favourite.  She loves putting wishes onto it.   Princess is always mesmerized by the swans and ducks and the train ride never gets old, for any of us!

 

We have been spending Summer Sundays in Oakfield since before the girls came along (Oh for the days of Roseymantic picnics!) and I love that every Spring when we return, there is something new.

The Oakfield team are CONSTANTLY adding to the park. It’s seen huge changes in the past two years and I can only imagine what else is to come. The biggest new feature this year is the new maze which has just been planted and which will open soon.

 

My girls love the park. It’s safe to let Princess run and play. There are always new pathways to explore. The playpark has also had loads of new fun-features added to it this winter and seeing the park’s swans is always a treat.

 

But the park is not for only for Sundays.

Last year, we bought the annual pass. After only 4 visits, it had paid for itself and it was worth every penny. However, this year’s pass options are so much better. The Gold Pass  is brilliant value. It includes VIP access to gardens, access to special deals and UNLIMITED train rides which makes Mammy VERY happy. There will be lots of personalised treats over the season for gold pass holders.  There are loads of options and of course, you CAN pay as you go, but if you tend to visit often, the passes are worth a look.

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The Gold Pass includes unlimited train rides!

I found that once we had the pass, we got so much more use out of the park.  Rather than being limited to weekends and feeling like we HAD to spend a full day there each time, we were able to pop up and visit the fairy tree, or look for the swans, or just let the girls run around for an hour. We got so much more out of the park as we could go along when we felt like it.

 

The park is so child friendly; Playpark, changing facilities, summer picnics and lots of wide open spaces for them and their imaginations to run free. And tree swings! It’s also adult friendly; calm, quiet and coffee. And the backdrop for snapping pictures of your little ones is stunning. (Furbabies are welcome too as long as they are on their lead and cleaned up after!)

 

Buffers offers everything from a cuppa and cake to a full menu. The restaurant is licensed too and they cater for parties and functions.

If you’re looking for the ticket to a fun and healthy summer for your minis, look no further Mammies. The team at Oakfield Park have you covered.

The summer events schedule is full of teddy bear picnics and special events and competitions too.

Oakfield Park really is the hidden gem of Donegal. We can’t wait to spend sunshiny days (and indeed drizzly ones!) in Oakfield Park. It’s really quite beautiful in the rain too!

Hope to see you there,

Mammy

 

#ParkAmbassador

I am Sit on My Knee Mum

On my Knee.”
Today you are poorly,

My precious wee lamb.

Today you need Mammy

And right here I am.
I’ll sit right beside you

I’ll rub your wee toes

I’ll clean up your mess and

I’ll wipe your wee nose.
I’ll kiss all your fingers and

rub your wee face

I’ll not give a damn about

the state of this place.
I’ll cuddle and snuggle you,

I’ll let you complain

You don’t understand

this feeling of pain.
To see you feel poorly

It breaks Mammy’s heart.

I’d take every ounce of it,

every last part,
To make you feel better,

To make you feel fine,

I wish with my essence that

the sickness was mine.
And whether you’re sniffly,

or puking or hot,

You’ll sleep right on top of me,

not in the cot.
And yes this is minor

and yes you’ll be fine

But I am your Mammy

And your pain is mine.
So today, there are so many

things I should do,

But none of those things,

as important as you.
The world won’t stop turning

if I stay here with you,

Some days I’m just “Mammy”

Cos only Mammy will do.
So cuddle your Mammy,

Just sit on my knee,

When you need your Mammy,

right here I will be.
xxx Mammy xxx

I am Saying Bravo and Walking into the Light Mum

Why did Coronation Street’s storyline about Aidan’s suicide get such a reaction this week?

It’s not as if we don’t all know that young men are more likely to end their lives than women. In fact, “in men, suicide is more common in people who are 15-44 years of age, and particularly in men who are 15-24 years old. In women, suicide is more common between the ages of 45 and 74. Younger women between the ages of 15 and 24 are thought to have a low risk of suicide.” (HSE)

It’s not as if we don’t KNOW that suicide has been a huge issue for many many years.

It’s not as if we don’t know that depression can affect anyone.

So why was the interweb in uproar at the episodes?

On Twitter, there was a general consensus that the writers of Corrie were being “irresponsible” as they “Should have shown him asking for help.” Another asked, “Wouldn’t it be better if he got the help he needed and got better?”

These are only two of the comments that were directed at Corrie bosses. And while yes, these would certainly have had a more palatable result of saving Aidan and making us all blub a little less into our cuppas, they wouldn’t have been quite as effective in raising the biggest taboo surrounding mental health.

And that is, that the signs are NOT always obvious; that the sufferers are NOT always open about it and that there is NO way of predicting it.

Aidan has it all. He has a business, a family who loves him, rugged good looks and respect from his friends and neighbours. And yet, viewers saw him sitting in his local, among his family and closest friends, having just rekindled a possible relationship with the love of his life, staring into the distance in what I can only describe as one of the most breath-taking and harrowing moments I have ever watched on a soap.

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He is lost, lonely, drowning in a sea of people.

And not one person noticed.

Bravo to Corrie. Hats off to the writers for reminding us that we NEVER know what someone else is going through; for frightening us to consider for a second that maybe the strong men in our lives are struggling; for highlighting that suicide doesn’t come with symptoms. And congratulations to Shayne Ward for playing the part to perfection.

I got chills watching Monday night’s episode. Tonight’s broke my heart.

We’ve all been affected by it. For those of us left behind, the biggest questions are often “How did I not know?, “What did I not see?” “Why could I not have stopped it?” And what Coronation Street has done for us this week, is to remind us that sometimes, there is NO WAY we COULD know; no way we could see and no way we could have stopped it.

Suicide is a plague. And only by continuing to keep the conversations alive can we help to challenge it. We MUST talk about the things so long kept taboo. We MUST accept depression and all mental health issues as an active part of our society. We MUST teach our young people, that suicide does not have a face. It can lurk in the minds of anyone. And we must continue to call it out. To make conversations about the darkness normal. To make it real.

Coronation Street has restarted an important conversation. This weekend, all over the world, Pieta House are working towards keeping the conversation alive. On Saturday morning, I will join my family and friends and my community for Darkness into Light.

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On 12th of May, our light will spread across the world, in over 180 venues on 4 continents – DIL/PietaHouse

We shall walk into the light to raise money for the amazing work that they do. I shall remember my own losses, cry for the losses of those I didn’t know, nod at those whose grief never leaves and stand in solidarity with everyone who is fighting to keep the conversation alive.

Only by keeping the conversation alive, can we help to keep the light on for those in the Darkness.

Useful Links

I am She asks the Best Questions Mum

When a 6 year old asks you a question, sometimes, it makes us think. We begin by explaining it to her in the simplest terms possible, and in doing so, sometimes we realise that what we’re explaining, ISN’T as complicated as we grownups like to think it is...

“What is a Bully Mammy?”

“Erm…A bully is someone who needs to make others feel bad to feel good.”

“That’s not very nice Mammy.”

“No it isn’t.”

“Are bullies not very nice?”

“Well some bullies are nice but they’re just a wee bit sad.”

“Why are they sad?”

“I don’t know pet. Some Bullies don’t even know that they’re sad or angry. But they are and so if you are happy or excited, they don’t like it because it makes them feel more angry and sad. And so they think they should stop you from being happy so that they can feel happy.”

“That sounds silly Mammy.”

“Yes. Yes it does.” (Actually Darling. It sounds utterly ridiculous…)

“Why can’t they just be nice?”

“I don’t know Honey. Sometimes they can be nice, they can even pretend to be nice when they’re not really.” (And they’re the ones you need to watch…)

“Why?”

“Because it makes them feel better about themselves.”

“That’s just stupid.”

“Yes. Yes it is.”

“What’s their problem like?”

“I don’t know pet. But remember that if someone doesn’t like you or is being mean to you, it’s not your problem. It’s their problem…”

And there, just like that, I have turned into my father.

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“Remember who has the problem Darling” he has always said. And do you know what? As usual, he was and is right.

Whether you’re 5 years old in a playground, or 16 years old in a locker room, or 23 years old in a flat-share, or 32 years old in a staffroom, or 43 years old in an office, or 56 years old in a committee meeting, or 67 years old in a group or club… or 87 years old at the bingo, other people will sometimes have issues with you.

Other people will always have problems. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. You don’t have to be.

But remembering that the issue or problem is THEIRS, not yours, helps.

I hate that I can’t protect her or her sister from Bullies. I hate that I won’t be beside her everywhere to show her the false smiles or to point out the ulterior motives of some people. It makes me sick that she might ever feel how I did for many many years in secondary school.

But while I can’t be there and she will of course have to deal with other people’s “problems”, I CAN and I will arm her with the understanding that she is in control of one thing.

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She is in control of HER. Of HER feelings and HER self-worth and HER behaviour. And while she will make mistakes and poor judgement and absolute feck-ups, by God I hope that she will always be kind to others.

She will applaud them for their achievements rather than resent them for her failures.

She will congratulate her teammates even if she lost the game.

She will not put people down for being different.

She will not allow others to put someone else down in her company.

She will recognise that if someone else’s success annoys her, that it’s HER who has the problem, not them and by being bitter, she is gaining nothing but her own downfall.

Other people hold up a big mirror to us.

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The person who gets to go on 3 holidays a year, reminds us that we don’t.

The person who wins, reminds us that we haven’t.

The person who has lost weight/bought a car/gotten married/been promoted/changed jobs etc., often highlights to us that we want something and haven’t yet got it.

Rather than belittling them for it or being angry at them, try realising that if you really wanted it, you would have it. If you really want to make something happen, who’s stopping you? Because surprisingly enough, it isn’t THEM who has the problem is it?

Bullies are to be pitied. Many don’t even realize that they do it. Many would be broke to the bone to think that their behaviour or comments have upset you.

But then, there are others who wouldn’t give a shit. And they are not worth your energy.

Remember who has the problem. If it’s you, that’s your problem. If it’s not you, why are you wasting your energy worrying about it?

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