I am Stuck in our Phones Mum

As a writer and blogger, I am often guilty of depending on my phone a little too much. But I am very, very aware of how much time I can spend flicking through social media and I am well able to leave the phone down.

Like everyone, I sometimes find myself constantly checking it; needing to know if people had responded or reacted or replied to me, especially as my summer holidays set in and I was able to be more active on my social media platforms. Unlike during my working day, I had access to my phone all day, every day. But then I realised that it was taking up more minutes of the day than I cared to admit. And those are minutes that I really have more important things to be doing.

So a few months ago, I made the simple, but absolutely life-changing decision, to switch off notifications on my phone. Such a basic, quick solution to an ugly problem. Rather than constantly feeling obliged to click on the little red number beside the Facebook or Insta icon, I am more in control of when I do (and more importantly, when I don’t) pick it up.

Is it working? I think so. It’s certainly made me think twice about my own relationship with my phone and I’m enjoying the mental freedom of no longer being a puppet to the beeping puppeteer. But let me tell you. I only THOUGHT I had a problem.

phone2

In the past few months, I’ve been in two massive cities; firstly London, then New York. (I’m not usually that jetsetting and exciting, but it’s been a busy one!) And one thing that I noticed in each, was how ridiculously stuck to screens people are.

Now I’m not just talking about people ignoring each other in bars and restaurants for virtual conversations on their screen. I’m not just talking about the woman who is so busy flicking through videos about drawing eyebrows, and fake smiles and backsides on Instagram, that she doesn’t see the person who might be interested in hers across the table.

I’m not just talking about the man who says “in a minute” eleven times before actually looking up to answer his friend, or partner, or child. Because while all of these things are sadly a daily occurrence in most cities, what I couldn’t get my head around was the fact that in the larger cities, people now are taking their phone to a new level.

Because now, it is unsafe to walk on a street.

There is a new generation, or species perhaps, who genuinely do not realise that when they are walking, they must LOOK AHEAD. Or at least look at the ground in front of them.

They possibly think they are living inside the virtual reality of whatever computer game they like to play, and that if people walk into them, they will simply dissipate and dissolve and disappear like the avatars in their games do.

They don’t GET that if you don’t look ahead of you, you can not see where you are going and therefore, you will bump into people.

Perhaps these are a new-age type who have actually evolved to deal with the banal act of walking in the real world. Perhaps I am mistaken and they are ACTUALLY looking at a clever app on their device which is warning them to step left, or manoeuvre right or to stop at the road.

phone3

Maybe it is I who is so sad and deluded. Or maybe, just maybe, I am simply old and these young’uns have actually evolved to such heights that they can now see from the top of their heads and therefore don’t HAVE to look up, like we oldies. Never mind our mothers who had eyes in the back of their heads, these guys have them on the top.

Am I being sarcastic. (God yes. And if you are genuinely unsure, perhaps YOU need some more human interaction!) But in all seriousness, the number of times I got shouldered or bumped into or actually pummelled while trying to walk through the already crazy gauntlet of the modern city streets, was unbelievable.

And I’m not referring exclusively to young people here, although the majority were possibly of the snowflake generation, possibly genuinely believing that other people quite simply must MOVE out of their way. Heaven forbid that they would be distracted from the importance of their screen.

Many of these crowners (for they looked like what a midwife sees at a birth, approaching hair or bald head first), were older. And yet, age or gender aside, they were not one bit concerned about the other, real people, who they were ploughing through.

phone1

I remember sitting in London with my brother a few years ago, aghast at the way people were dependent on their phones; uber, food orders, directions everything… And then our own wee country caught up. And that is both fine and terrifying, because judging by the bigger cities right now, we have a zombie society emerging. And what starts in these cities, eventually reaches us. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with dummies driving while looking at their phones. (Seriously dude, no one looks at their crotch and smiles…)

But judging by what I saw this summer, we shall soon be walking through throngs of headbutters, hunched over like question marks.

We all need our phones. We all use them more than we even realise. They are part of our culture. But when they are simply extensions of our hands, into which we place more importance than human interaction and actual physical awareness, then we have a problem. And when the only communication and words that we pay attention to are being fed by a wire into our ears, we run the risk of becoming deaf to reality.

Imagine if we all looked up? Imagine what things we would see…

cropped-smumcover.png

I am Strap your Kids in the Car Mum

Most days we all see something silly or shocking on our roads.

Maybe it’s a close call.  Maybe it’s a near miss.  Maybe it’s someone speeding…

And usually, we tut, or we hold our breath, or we swear or gesture some form of WTF at the offending driver…

But there is ONE thing that is becoming more and more prevalent on our roads, and Mammy can not for the life of me get my head around it…

Driving with kids who are NOT STRAPPED IN.

child-735938__340

In the past fortnight, I have seen THREE cases of this.

One car swung around a busy roundabout in my town with two toddlers standing at the windows in the back seat.

One pulled in to a carpark beside me and the child, no more than 5 years old, jumped out of the front seat, having been already standing when the car came to a stop.

One had a three year old standing between between the front seats as she swung into a parking space this morning. And yes, I know the child is three, because I know the woman who was driving.

Can I say anything?

God no.

Because how do you say it? Why is it my business?  How do I have ANY idea what that parent has been through this morning? How can you possibly comment without turning into the one thing that I personally despise…a sanctimammy.

boy-3196715__340

Others will say “Oh there were no seatbelts when we were children”.  I know.  I am one of that generation.  But hey, guess what? There was a lot less traffic and the roads were very differnt. Also, in the 80’s we thought it was safe to smoke while pregnant and that it was OK for teachers to hit our children…

So, HOW is it possible that this is happening?

My kids have grown up thinking that my car won’t start until they have their seatbelts on.  Of course I have rows with them where one of them will refuse to get into the seat, or where one has planked so impressively that I can’t get their belly to buckle so I can buckle them in.  And we have been late many many times because of these stand-offs.

But guess what?

This is ONE battle of wills which this Mammy will ALWAYS WIN.

Because I don’t give a continental shite how late I am, or how much she is crying, or how much I want to scream and tear my hair out, there is NOTHING in this world which will make me put my children into the car without them being strapped in.

NOTHING.

(And trust me, I have put my back out trying!)

Because as difficult as kids can be and as much as we are “only going around the corner”, none of us know what or who is also coming around that corner and even strapped in, none of us are 100% safe on the roads.

toy-2740634__340

I hate to sound preachy.  I really do.  It goes against every fibre of my blogging-being.  But seriously, the one and only true thing of any value that we have, is our children.

And while none of us can guarantee their safety when we’re on the roads, we CAN guarantee it within our cars and thereby give them the best possible chance in the event of the unthinkable happening.

I’d rather put up with tantrums and fights than live with my self if anything happened my child while I am driving.  Because if you don’t strap them in, then it’s as much your fault as the other driver’s if they get hurt.

Stop it.

Strap them in and wise up.

fb cover

 

I am Saving Myself Thanks Mum

Kiera Knightly this week broke the interweb with her announcement that she has banned her three year old daughter from watching The Little Mermaid and Cinderella.  She feels that they teach her daughter wrong and even misogynistic lessons; that you need to wait for a man to save you and that you must give up your voice for the man you want…

Kristen Bell has issues with Snow White because of how consent is conveyed in it.

Fair enough.

Who are we to judge? If these Mamas don’t want to let their kids watch these movies, that is absolutely 100% THEIR DECISION!

In fact, the portrayal of women in Disney is something I have discussed with my students many, many, many times, and while I agree that many of the traditional “princesses” are frustratingly meek and mild and oh so obedient to their hearts and menfolk, I also am aware that the stories are not the cause of inequality and misogyny in our modern society.  They are only stories; fairytales, make believe… it is HOW we read them that is important.

Yes you can say that Prince Whatshisface kissing Snow White while she was sleeping is wrong.  Of course it is, but why do we hone in on that rather than the previous 60 minutes where she was a servant and cleaner and feck knows what else,  for seven little men?  (And does that not insult men, suggesting that seven of them together couldn’t function without a teenage girl to look after them?)

Yes, Cinderella needed magic and spells and fab shoes to get her prince.  And ‘tut’ to her that she needed a man to save her, but such was the world, the IMAGINARY world, in which she lived.

Cinderella_15

Shakespeare wrote some of the most incredibly females in history. Lady Macbeth calls upon evil spirits to “unsex me here” because obviously she couldn’t be evil as she was a woman. (Any men getting offended here?)  And then he also wrote Ophelia, who is worse and more weak and frustrating that ANY Disney Princess in the world. Don’t start me on Ophelia…

Why did Shakespeare write her?  Because he was a woman hater? NO.  Because that was the society and cultural norm in the time in which he lived.  And actually, he had his Portia save the day when a crowd of men made a mess of everything, and then she married her Prince Charming, after saving his ass.

But we don’t ban our teenagers from reading Shakespeare do we?. In fact, we encourage it because we know that they can recognise the injustices and gender issues for themselves. Because we’ve given them those skills.

As for the Disney classics, remember that Cinderella and Snow White and The Little Mermaid were written in the early 1800s… of course their messages and social concepts are different to ours.

We however, get to choose how we read them.

And while there are valid arguments about the negative messages some of the classics send out, there are also plenty positives…and a few weird things, to pay attention to.

Cinderella was good and kind and she felt good in new, sparkly shoes. She also spoke to mice and birds.   Snow White was happy that Prince Whatshisface kissed her. He saved her. She wasn’t dragged off kicking and screaming to the castle to live happily ever after, was she?  The Little Mermaid was a defiant strong-willed rascal, who followed her heart.  Her best friends were also a crab and a fish… so let’s differentiate reality from fairytale.

Our daughters are no fairytale princesses.  They will not NEED a man to save them.  They will be able to look after themselves. They will be self-sufficient and well able to provide for themselves, to follow their dreams, to be “anything they want to be”… but can we stop already with telling them that they DON’T need to be girly?

20180819_124441

This teeshirt made me mad when I saw it a few weeks ago.  Yes, by all means encourage our daughters to believe that they can achieve anything they dream of and work for, but why do we need to tell them that being girly or wearing pink or dreaming of being a movie star are signs of weakness?  What the feck is wrong with wanting to be a movie star?  Are Megan Markle or KatyBaby failures because they found their Princes?

My daughters love dresses.  They love sparkles. They love makeup and dressing up and singing and being all round princesses.  They also love superheros, dress up as Hulk,  football and Pokemon and they play ninjas and wrestle.

There is no “That is for girls” or “That is for boys” in our house.

20180717_182917

Because that is not how to teach our children equality.

I like football. I like MMA. I swear more than a lady should. I train along with the menfolk in Jim and I prefer Marvel movies to Chickflicks.  In my work and projects, I take no prisoners and do not see any man as better than me.  And yet, I love to do all things “girly” too. and I love to dress up and I like sparkly shoes.

Does that make me less? Does the fact that I like pink and glitter and girly stuff make me weak? Because it seems to me that we’ve gone beyond telling girls they can be anything, we’ve gotten to the point that being girly is snubbed and scoffed at and actually looked down upon.

Well not on my watch.

I dress up and get my girly on, for me. Not for my Him or for anyone else.  For me. Because I am comfortable with who I am. And let me tell you, there is NO ONE who has watched as many Disney movies in their childhood (and still), as Me!

And my daughters will do what they want, how they want, Prince Charming or no Prince Charming, but they certainly will not be banned from watching Disney Movies, because all they see is a mermaid who sings songs and fights evil octopus monsters.

It’s a movie.

If you want your daughters to grow up strong and independent, teach them to be strong and independent…point out how old fashioned some of those Princesses are. (not all of them, for the newer ones are WICKED!  Merida, Mulan, Ana?)

And teach them that to be feminist does not mean hater of men.  It means equality for all. It means being able to stand up for themselves and to be a strong and independent woman, who can change the world and kick ass…whether in trousers and flats or in a skirt and glittery heels.

20180725_120853

Otherwise, they’ll end up offended by every man in the world and will need a big box of Man-sized…sorry, “extra large” Kleenex to wipe their offended eyes. I wonder when Manchester is being renamed? Peoplechester has a ring to it, don’t ya think?

Wear the pink, wear the glitter, wear the lipstick. Or don’t if you don’t want to … But be yourself and be strong and don’t let others tell you that you’re wrong. And then you might just live happily ever after.

fb cover

 

 

 

 

I am Stop the Press, it’s Mammy Mum!

Morning Mammies!!

Grinning like a stupid big Cheshire cat here this morning.

Just went to the shop and bought TWO copies of The Sunday Independent. No idea why I needed two, but three would have been a bit much right? And I’m not completely mental like… 🤣😂

Am chuffed with the article. And there are also great pieces on four other fablis Bloggers to read.

Have a good one gals.😍

I’m off to sip coffee and eat baked stuff and laugh at the ridonkulosity of the whole fricken thing. 🤣😊😋😂

#

Thank you to The Sunday Independent and to creators.ie for this opportunity. And to Chloe and David for making me look so nice. 😂

sindo
#creators

I am Stuck in the Dress Mum

Online shopping.

Is there anything more joyous and wonderful than the words “Order confirmed”…or “Your order is on its way”… or “Order delivery notice” popping up on your little screen?

No.

Tis heavenly.

And then there is the arrival of the anticipated order, all squishy-bagged and bar-coded and heavy with joy. The heavier the better, for weight often denotes quality does it not?  And the careful but excited ripping open of the package;  excited that the garment within will be life changing and beautiful, and yet careful, “just in case” it has to go back; for there is nothing more irritating than trying to reassemble a plastic envelope which has been ripped off too energetically, in the throes of passion.

You take the little see-through bag from inside the plastic envelope of joy, knowing in the back of your mind that you should feel guilty about the superfluous packaging and making a note to yourself to email a protest or plant a tree or something.  The guilt is short-lived however, when you get the lovely, shiny, new and wonderful garment in your hand.

You strip off, anticipating the transformation that is about to happen.  Surely this piece of clothing is about to change your life.  Surely, in approximately 30 seconds, you too shall look like the model did on the website.  Surely, it will be fablis.

And sometimes it is…

Sometimes, it zips up and hugs you in all the huggy places, and makes you look sublime, even without a glossy blowdry and layers of muckup. And on those occasions, you feel euphoric, if only for  few moments, while you gather up the plastic envelopes of joy and the stickered return slips and you squash them into the bin, smug and happy…before peeling off the beautiful thing and returning to real life…

But sometimes, what has been placed into the plastic envelope of joy, is a prank.  It has been packaged up by some Hell-Fiend-Wench, who smiles to her fanged self as she uses her magic glue gun to invisibly stick the packages.  She smiles as she knows that there is no physical human shape or form that this garment could possibly fit. She smiles as she knows that the item may well have been sewn together by goblins in a cave in the back arse of Narnia, such is the disastrous quality of it.  She smiles as she sticks your address label on, knowing well that it shall be returned at haste, complete with your dignity and self-confidence, in even MORE plastic envelopes.  And she laughs, this little Hellfiend Wench.   For she is the killer of the the joy of the online purchasing.

And yet sometimes, it is not the fault of the Hell-fiend wench.  Sometimes it is simply a case that the garment does not fit.  You try to get into it.

It either

a) slides on without you having to even look for the zip, reminding you once again of the extent of fried-eggedness on your chest and eventually looking like a glorified potato sack into which you could fit two of you…

or more than likely,

b) you get stuck.

phoebe.jpg

You get your hands and shoulders into it.  You search ferociously for the teeny tiny zip, made only for the fingers of a 4 year old, which you are certain MUST not be fully down.  It is indeed fully down… and now stressing under the strain of your flailing arms.

You hold your breath because somehow, holding your breath makes the clothing stretch, doesn’t it?  Then you remember that no actually, you silly mare, holding your breath does not make the material stretch.  Then, when you try to breathe, you find yourself unable to.  You hop around the room on one leg, even though it is your arms that are stuck, not your legs, you Twat.  And then you fall onto the bed, feeling certain that this is how it must feel to die with a python wrapped around your neck.

The obvious thing to do is to take it off again…and yet, the garment is now stuck. Stuck under one armpit and over one shoulder and your body below is white and compressed and dimpled, while from the tits up, you are puce and puffing.  Your circulation is ceasing and you look like a thumb which has a tight hair bauble tied around it.

You say a magic spell consisting of expletives you didn’t even know that you knew and you pray simultaneously that the godforsaken python dress does not rip as you wrestle your way out of it.  It is finally off and you both lay on the bedroom floor, crumpled and defeated…

Then you reach for the python-garment and fling it into the plastic envelope of not-joy, still inside-out obviously, because if it is going to leave you in a state, you are certainly not affording it the dignity of being folded neatly.  Let the Hellfiend Wench in packaging in the warehouse deal with it.  You’re done.

And then you lift the piece of stickerdy paper which asks you your reason for return.  Unfortunately there is no “The dress tried to fucking kill me” or “The dress turned my size 12 arse into a walrus” or “This is obviously for AGE 12 rather than size 12 you muppets” options, and so you do what any self respecting Lady would do…

You lift that pen and you read the list…and then you tick that box that says “Garment too big” and sellotape up the plastic-bag of joy, before the lies come slithering out of it.

Feels good though, doesn’t it?

#mammywin

#feckyouhellfiendwench

cropped-fb-cover.png