Mammy needs your help Lovelies!

Ok Ladybelles.

It’s that time of year again when I ask you all to help me out.

The S-Mum Blog is in the running for “Maternity and Infant’s Best Parenting Blog Award” again this year.

Last year I made it (thanks to you lot) to the TOP TEN and I got to meet some of the loveliest people ever. 😍

With last year’s finalists in Dublin

 

And so I ask that if you like my blog and my posts and the general nonsense that I spout; if I make you laugh, or sob a little, or just feel a bit normal; please please please take two seconds to hit the link and throw me a wee vote.

You can VOTE HERE. (No registration or nonsense required!)

If you don’t like it, then I wonder why you’ve read this far, and I’ll still ask you to vote. Sure why not? 😋

The competition is FIERCE this year, but I know that my lovely readers will help me out. 😍

It’d be great to get a wee Donegal Mammy to the final again! You’re an incredible bunch and I do appreciate every like and heart and comment, so I truly would love you all even more if you could give me a click. 😋

You can do it here… http://bit.ly/VoteforMammy

And if you might be happy to share this for me, I’ll love you forever.

Thanks gals,
Mammy x

Blogger or Blagger?

Blog:   
1. a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. 
or 
2. Blog definition, a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other .
Blogger
a person who regularly writes material for a blog.
blogger
“Oh, you’re a blogger?”
(Insert eye roll or eyebrow raise… )
For the past 4 years, I have indeed been a Blogger.  I own my own website, on which I post my own content, which I create all by myself.
I am a writer; a writer of blogs, a putter-downer of thoughts, and I share my thoughts with the world on my site and on my Social Media Platforms.
My aim?
To have people read my words, to entertain people, to make them think…(and to someday see it in book form.)
‘But what are you selling?’  NOTHING.
‘But who do you work for?’ ME.
‘But why do you bother?’ BECAUSE I ENJOY IT.
The past 18 months has seen the rise of the INFLUENCER… and while many of us boring writing, content creating bloggers might sometimes dip our toes into this world, the blurred lines between Influencers and Bloggers is becoming a problem.
If your Blog has a readership and a strong social media presence, it is probable that savvy marketing people are going to try to get you on-board to help them to promote something.  And if, (like me), you choose to work with or collaborate with certain companies or people, and you are completely honest and transparent in your work, there’s no real problem.
For example, any company with whom I have worked, has had a set of conditions from me.
1. I say and write what I want.
2. I am only honest in my reviews.
3. My links are No Follow and
4. I disclose all partnerships with my Mammies.
If a company doesn’t like any of these, I don’t work with them.  My time is valuable.  This is not my full time job.  I don’t NEED to collaborate with ANYONE, but some fun and fablis opportunities have presented to me and I have happily helped to promote and encourage those who I have chosen to work with.
That’s me.
But am I an INFLUENCER?
I don’t think so.  I would certainly never refer to myself as one.  If people are influenced by what I write or show or use or where I go, that’s a result of my words and my blog; not my “influence”.
Influencers can be wonderful.  Don’t get me wrong.  If someone is having positive ripples in the pool of the WWW, then good for them.  If your favourite Make up Artist declares each validation or promotion as an #ad or #af link or whatever it may be, then that’s fine.
But recently, the Blogger and Influencer pool has been flooded by self proclaimed influencers who set up social media pages and try to get famous (and to try to get free stuff!).
People now refer to themselves as a Blogger after a week of posting images of shoes, or memes, or food, or ladybirds or other people’s stories onto the Instagram page.  I was writing for 18 months and nominated for an award before I called myself a Blogger… and even then, I felt like I was a fraud.
Is there anything wrong with these pages?  Not really.  Each to their own.  If you like to share images of bugs, or shoes, or eyebrows, or weights, or inspirational quotes, or your arse, go for it… (well, maybe not the last one.)
But if you want to be a BLOGGER, here are some basic guidelines:
1. You must CREATE something.  Sharing other people’s content is NOT BLOGGING.  It is sharing.
2. You should have your OWN website or platform from which you can share this content.
3. You should NOT buy or beg for shares so you can boast numbers.  You must post quality content and engage with your readers to try to build a reputable following.
4. If you buy followers, you are not a blogger, you are a Twat.
5.  If you choose to monetise your site, you must be transparent about it.
6.  If you are collaborating or working with a business, you must declare it on every post.
7. Be prepared to write to yourself for weeks, or months.  If you want fame, go on X-Factor…
8. Don’t contact complanies declaring yourself a Blogger so you can get nice things.  If you are doing that, you are trying to be an INFLUENCER, NOT a Blogger.
9. You are not entitled to ANYTHING.
10.  If a company want you to collaborate, it’s not because you are amazing and famous and an expert in any field.  Usually, it is because they see you as a good platform from which to share THEIR product or service.  In effect, you are advertising for them, in a verrrrrrrry cost-effective way. (for them).
Why am I writing this now?  It’s been on my mind for a while.  With the Blogger Bashing that is happening online, many of us are disillusioned.
I recently had a man who set up a blog on a Sunday, message me the following Wednesday asking me to share his “blog” with my followers.  Erm. NO.  Good luck with it, I hope it goes well.  Come back to me when you have some content that I can read.
I’ve also been speaking to fellow bloggers ( actual writers, not insta-bams) and the general consensus is that people are so sick of the influencers or “Bloggers” as they are so often referred to, getting bad press and giving the word “blog” a bad name.
And finally, the whole Blogger’s Unveiled saga over the past few weeks has pissed me off.
While at times the comments and tone on the page were questionable, in general, the page highlighted the level of Photoshop and lies and manipulation and absolute BULLSHIT that exists among a new gang of people who go under the term Blogger or Influencer. BU might have been controversial in his/her approach, but the page highlighted fraud.  It highlighted plagiariasm and it seems to have woken a whole generation up to the fact that it’s NOT ALL REAL.  And people didn’t like that.
Are these people Bloggers if you look at definition?
No.
If someone is selling you something, benefiting from your purchases, and NOT telling you that they are selling, they are an arse hole.
If someone is photoshopping their legs, or arse, or filtering the fandangles off themselves and claiming to be “caught unawares” or “#nomakeup”, they are an arse hole.
If someone is lying to you about products they use, or “just popping on” to show you something (which they are being paid to do) and they are not telling you that they are working for that company, they are an ARSE HOLE.
If someone is trying to sell you magic shakes to make you shit your body weight, claiming that it’s amazing, (but forgetting to tell you they’re on commission), they, my friends, are an arse hole.
And if someone sends a mass card or a death threat or a threatening letter to someone because of something they’ve read on the internet, well, there are other words that we could use for THAT type of person.
And “BLOGGER”, certainly isn’t one of them.
So are all Bloggers (and Influencers) ‘hateful’ and ‘septic’ and ‘toxic’ and ‘liars’ and ‘wannabes’ and ‘charlatans’ and ‘chancers’ and ‘saddos’ and ‘bitches’ and ‘oversharing freeloaders’ and ‘bullies’ and ‘attention seekers’?  
NO.
Most of us are just writers or creators, who were happily paddling in pools of words and images and conversations and sometimes even awareness raising.  But now, we’re swimming against a fake tan coloured tide of BS that is starting to drown us.
Most of us are wondering when the word Blogger became a bad word.
Most of us would love to people to understand that Bloggers and Influencers are not always the same thing.
blogornotyw3

Source unknown but it’s pretty fab isn’t it?

In the current climate, where a woman has to fear for her life because she is being accused (without any real grounds) of being someone else, and where the internet are cheering on a witch hunt, maybe it’s time to start reconsider using both words.
So for the foreseeable, ‘Hi I’m The S-Mum and I’m a Writer…’
(Maybe I’ll be able to use the word Blogger again some day.  Not today.)
Mammy xx

I am Snapshot Through your Window Mum

The one thing that I love about the long, dark evenings of winter, might seem strange to some.

“You’re doing it again aren’t you?” Himself will say to me in the car as we drive along, if I’ve gone quiet beside him.

“Yup”.

I’ve been doing it since I was a little girl, sitting behind Mum and Dad in our seatbelt-free VW Golf as we drove through the winding Donegal roads at night.

Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I love looking through the windows of people’s homes.

hampden

I don’t mean that I walk around playing “Peeping Tomette”.  NO, of course not.  But when you’re sitting in the passenger seat of a car and it’s dark or getting dark, and people have yet to close their curtains, it’s amazing the little glimpses you can get into the worlds of strangers.

I look. And for a split second, I see a tableaux; a freezeframe – a photograph if you like of the home and sometimes the people in it.  I imagine who they are; what they’re saying and what it’s like to be there, among them.  Who has just walked into the room to make the child jump up like that?  Where is he going? What are they talking about? My imagination creates full scenarios for the “characters” of these snapshots.

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Christmas is my favourite time to do this, and with Christmas trees in windows, it’s the perfect time to catch beautiful moments.  These are where the real Christmas-Card-worthy moments happen;  A Granny laughing by the fireplace.  An uncle arriving home.  Windows being cleaned.  A dog being scolded for jumping on a sofa.  A child being lifted up high.

Snapshots, if you will.

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Obviously, on Christmas Day, I don’t do this…  because I’m not in the car much.

And so, I thought I’d get glimpses into the homes of others in a different way.  I asked some of the top Parenting writers in the country what I would see if I happened to look through their windows over Christmas?

Each of them has kindly sent me a description of their very own perfect freezeframe; what they hope you’d see and what they hope to be doing while the world drives by next Monday.

window

What would I see if I looked through YOUR window over Christmas?

 

Jen from –  Mama-tude loves Christmas Eve most.

“My favourite moment of Christmas is Christmas Eve morning when the children wake up. It’s the one morning of the year that I’m very grateful for their early morning rising tendencies. They always bounce into our room, fit to burst with excitement knowing that Santa is coming that night.

My mum always arrives super early that morning with a special Christmas chocolate cake. She has come to terms with her daughter’s lacking of domestic goddess skills so in the interest of her grandchildren’s palate, she does the baking! Then we turn on the laptop, log onto Norad Santa tracker and countdown the minutes until he leaves. And so begins their excited running commentary on his whereabouts for the duration of the day.”    

 

Ross from  –  The Stented Papa
If you were to take a peek through my window on Christmas morning, you’d see a busy, excited household. 
The funny thing is it depends on what time you’d be taking a peek! We’ve actually had to wake Nip #1 up for the last two Christmas mornings!! Even knowing Santa was coming, she was happy to sleep in! But I’ve a feeling this year will be a bit different. 
So once everyone is awake, it’s a busy & excited place. Wrapping paper everywhere, the nips playing with their new toys, showing & telling us all about them. Christmas tunes in the background, dressing gowns on, fresh coffee brewing. 
Then we get dressed & head over to Granny’s house for a big breakfast & more presents. Then around 1pm we head for Great Grandad Shay’s house with about 30 family (my in-law’s side) for some fun & yep, you’ve guessed it – more presents!!! 
Finally back to ours this year for Christmas dinner with all the usual trimming & the odd glass of vino – sure it is Christmas ya know!! Cheers to the perfect day!”

Kellie from –  My Little Babóg

“I would love to say all happy and merry but in reality you will probably see absolute carnage and one or both parents swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels by midday. Christmas morning with a 1, 2, 3 and 7 year old is gonna be like any other day except with a skip full of new toys, wrapping paper and boxes upon boxes of selection boxes like the old days. It will be messy but hopefully full of fun and laughter.”
Jolene from –  One Yummy Mummy

“Daddy of the house running down the stairs in his pjs to check and see if santa came; He lets us know with an excited roar up if he has. 

Bursts of excitement from my 4 year old running down and crashing thru the living room door to see all the presents.  Then you’ll Catch a glimmpse of few tears  as I get caught up in the emotion of it all. Then to the kitchen were you,ll spy a few of my dance moves with a bucks fizz in hand, basting the turkey, with christmas FM in full swing.”

Becky from   –  Cuddle Fairy 

“Christmas morning if you looked through our window you would see all of the Christmas lights on. Three kids happily tearing off wrapping paper and parents assembling toys. We are all in our pajamas with sleepy heads and unwashed faces. It’s straight downstairs when the kids wake up. There’s nothing as magical as Christmas morning.”

 

Benny from Daddy Poppins  

“What would you see if you looked through out window on Christmas morning?  In a word, Mayhem. We’ve two hyperactive children at the best of times but the magic of Christmas will send them over the edge. Think Santa’s elves high on sherbet and candy canes (but in child form, obviously). There’ll be wrapping paper everywhere and our little terrors will be flitting from toy to toy, unsure which to settle on for their first proper play. Mammy and Daddy will be trying to coax them into posing for pictures with their new acquisitions but it will all be in vein. Nothing will hold those little magpies attention for long as they dart from one shiny new thing to the next. Mayhem, but the good kind.”

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There’s so much to see, if you only look closer…

And as for THIS Donegal Mammy?   The carpet shall be clattered and camouflaged by wrapping paper and toys. Michael Buble will be crooning from the tellybox.  Daddy shall be building stuff and Mammy shall be eating, starting the day with the obligatory Football Special and Terry’s chocolate orange!  The girls will be hyped up on life, excited to the brink by cousins and presents and Grandparents and fun.  Mammy and Daddy shall be screenfree, intent on not scolding for the day and stealing kisses every time we pass under mistletoe… And there still shall be tears and jobs to do and maybe the odd tantrum, and probably a few dirty nappies, but in the midst of it all, there shall be glitter and sparkle and love.  And even the jobs and nappies and tears shall be dealt with with extra smiles and magic; with that special, inexplicable feeling that comes only with Christmas Day.

 

Whatever is happening in your window frame this Christmas, I do hope it is wonderful and joyful and as stress free as possible.  I’d love you to share your snapshot in the comments.
Sending much love and Christmas wishes to all,

The S-Mum  xxxxxxx

 

 

I am Share the Daddy Bloggers Mum

With so many support groups and networks in place for Mums, wouldn’t it be great to see similar initiatives being set up for male parents?

DAD

Most Mums agree that the Menfolk would benefit from support groups just as much as Mammies.

Of course they would, but when we live in a society that still thinks Dad is “babysitting” when he spends time with his kids, rather than, you know, “PARENTING”, and where Dads are often dismissed as being lesser parents or not as significant as Mammies, we have a long way to go.

father-and-son-2258681_960_720

But change will come. And the first signs of it are seeping into society.

I know four  Daddies who stay at home with their children while Mum goes out to work.  And that’s just off the top of my head. Loads more share parenting duties and responsibilities with their children’s mum. It’s not a new thing.

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I am single handedly fighting the “Is Daddy babysitting?” bullshit with my semi-violent responses becoming quite famous around Donegal.  It may eventually be a nationwide epidemic that might even cause some bloke in Government to ban the question completely, and punishment for uttering the words will carry a sentence of a full Netflix session of Peppa Pork… or worse, Max and fricken Ruby.

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The Him Most Certainly DOES NOT Babysit his girls. He Daddies them.

But most fabulous is the rise of the Daddy Blogger.  I know and follow a few Daddy Bloggers and am delighted that this rare and wonderful species are speaking out for the Daddy folk and giving the Mammy Bloggers a run for the children’s allowance.

So in order to spread the love and in the hope that maybe some of my 97% female readers might tag or share with their Daddy Bear type, I want to share my top 3 with you. (If you know a Daddy who might enjoy following some really cool Daddy types, tag away and share this with them.)

My Favourite Daddy Bloggers!

The Stented Papa is a must follow for ALL parents. I’ve met this dude. He is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met and his blog has me in stitches laughing frequently.

 

 

 

Daddy Poppins is the hilarious and honest musings of an Irish House Husband. Serious wit here my Lovelies!

 

 

 

Digital Dad is brilliant.  Again, funny and so honest, his posts will crack you up!

 

 

OMG Family, Life and Food keeps it real and relevant. Love his food posts.

These guys are a breath of fresh air.  Get following!

If we can get Dads sharing and reading and recognising and empathising with other Dads, who knows?

Eventually we might live in a society that praises and applauds all the amazing Dads who DO exist, rather than wondering what’s wrong with them for being, you know, Dads?

And yes, there are some useless Dads out there. but remember, there are some useless Mums out there too. Shock fecking horror! I get in trouble every time I say this, but hey! Giving birth doesn’t make you the best parent. Loving the child does, and that includes the parents who love their children from different homes and sometimes from afar.

 

If you have any Dad bloggers to recommend, please do so in the comments!

#dadsarefabtoo

I am Such a Weekend Mum!

 

Aw Ladybelles, where do I start?

On Friday 13th, myself and The Him headed to the Big shmoke for the Maternity and Infant Awards 2017.

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The Incredibly Beautiful Royal Marine Hotel

I couldn’t believe that my blog had even made it into final. Getting to meet the creme de la créme of Irish Parenting Bloggers was a dream come true for me.

We arrived at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire just in time to get changed and join in the champagne reception that was in full swing.  The hotel is GORGEOUS.  HImself had booked us a suite as a surprise and I have to tell you Ladies, it was amazing; big and bright with chandaliers and high ceilings and a view of the sea. Romance indeed.

We went downstairs and despite never having met any of the other bloggers, were soon hugging and chatting. Such a friendly bunch.  We really felt welcomed and any nerves I had settled very quickly.

We were ushered into the beautiful ballroom, where we were served a lovely luncheon. We were sitting beside the legend that is The Stented Papa and his lovely wife. On my other side was one of my heroes, Miss Jen Hogan from Mamatude. She’s a Mum of 7 and an all round Supermum who has even published a real, actual BOOK! I may or may not have been slightly starstruck by her! But what a cracker of a Lady she is. The amazing Jolene from One Yummy Mummy kept us giggling all evening and with the lovely Becky from Cuddle Fairy beside her, the laughs were many.  Add Kellie from My Little Babog, Cliodhna from Lean Mean Momma and the lovely Sinead from Bumbles of Rice and we were in great company altogether.

 

The awards were so well organised. (You all know how well organised things make Me happy!) Between courses, the lovely Maura Derrane from TV3 kept proceedings going, announcing awards and conducting interviews. Very impressive.

The wine was flowing and the craic was mighty.  And then it was time for the Best Parenting Blog Award.

No award for The S-Mum this Time, but lots of joy.

Well done to the amazing Jolene from One Yummy Mummy who deservedly won Best Parenting Blogger.

Huge congrats too to the lovely My Little Bábóg Blog and Leanmeanmomma who got Silver & Bronze respectively.

I was quite emotional listening to the stories of the winners of the People Awards. So many incredible stories and amazing people. Well done to all of the winners.

With the ceremony over, we all retired into the rather fablis bar where the wine, gin and general fun continued for a few hours.  Not used to the art of daytime drinking, myself and The Him grabbed barfood at about 8.30pm and hit the massive leaba in our suite.  This was easily the most comfortable bed I have EVER slept in.

We had to hightail it back to Letterkenny at 9am on Saturday as I was hosting a charity event with my buddy Joanne.

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Hosting the Donegal Youth ServiceAfternoon Tea with Joanne Gallinagh of Beaus and Belles

But we did manage to grab breakfast first. I do love me a good hotel breakfast, so I do!

We’ll definitely be back in the Royal Marine, but next time we will make sure we have time to sleep in and enjoy the area for a bit.

As for the awards?  We were treated like Royalty, and spoiled with food, drinks and goodie bags. I honestly hope we get a chance to attend them again.

Gals. I’m just delighted to have made the top 10. 😙😙 To be placed among the ten best bloggers in the country was such an honour. And as well as making memories, I’ve also made friends.

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With the  Finalists

Thank you. YOU LOT got me there; Your support, your votes, your messages. And I’m so very grateful.
And as always thank you to my Mammy Squad and especially to my Him… 😍😍😍

Oh and of course to the two little ladies who provide me with SO much subject matter! 🙂

#bootsmiawards17
#thedonegalmammy