My New Year Mam-tras…

Happy New Year my Lovely Ladybelles.

By now, the trees are possibly down and the house looks alarmingly bare.

It’s back to uniforms and routine and lunches and gymbags…and after 2 weeks of hibernating with my little cubs, I for one am ready for normality.

I took my tree down on this morning and very quickly realised just how DIRTY my house is.

There is a layer of dust, of handprints and of pawprints and of glitter on every surface in my home and I have decided to give it a new name:  it is my “Layer of Love”.

Giving it a nice name like that makes it easier to tolerate.  Clever eh?  I don’t feel so bad about the dirt now, when I consider that it was my own little munchkins who happily caused it.

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In the midst of the New Year’s Resolution BS of January, here are a few precepts or mantras that I intend to try harder to follow this year.  They’ve been the same for the past few years; not resolutions, just notes to me, from me, with love.

I’m not changing anything. I simply try to employ these in order to try to keep my sh*t together.

These would the Rules of Mammying if I were Queen of the World.

  1.  Embrace the Layer of Love.  Yes, our houses must be safe and generally clean, but handprints on the glass or dust on the TV aren’t really good reason to stress, are they?
  2. Let it go. The things that bother you? The things you can’t change. The people who annoy you? The opinions that upset you? Are they really worth being bothered about?  If it’s outside of your own 4 walls, it’s not important.
  3. What people think of you, is none of your business.  If people don’t like you, it’s THEM who has the problem, not you.  You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Stop trying.  The most important thing is that you like you. Work on that.
  4. Believe that you can.  Who says that you can’t?  Tell that committee of negative thoughts in your head to sit down and shut up.
  5. Stop Comparenting.  Comparenting is my favourite word.  It’s clever isn’t it? It’s when we compare our parenting to others.  And it’s never positive or productive, so stop it! (and especially don’t comparent yourself to Sanctimammies… another cool word eh? I should write a Parenting dictionary…)

I’m not going to change in 2020.

I’m quite happy with who and how I am already thank you.  I manage (just about!) to keep it all between the ditches just fine as I am. I will be focusing a bit more on balance.  I have a lot of plates spinning and it’s time to make them work for me a bit more, rather than me working for them.

I will continue to try to keep implementing these ideas in my daily life.

Especially the Comparenting one.  I don’t care if Shaniqua’s Mum lets her sit in the front seat.  I don’t care if Tarquin’s Mum gives him Football Special in his lunch.  I don’t care if Jezzabell’s Dad brings her to every dance class going.  Good for them.

Parent for your kids, in your home.

I hope your layer of love is only beautiful after the holidays.

mum

 

Songs Offending My Darlings?

I am offended…

Given that everyone is now allowed and encouraged to be offended by absolutely everything, I’ve decided to crack down on the lyrics of other Christmas songs which, let’s be honest, are incredibly offensive to offendable people who like to be offended.

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Last year’s uproar about the dreadfully offensive lyrics of Christmas classic croonfest “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is being spouted again by the EOTs  (Easily Offended Types).  It quite rightfully opened the door* for all sorts of uproar about every lyric ever written ever.

(*the door was not opened or held open by the song or for the song, but rather automatically so that basic manners might not be perceived as chauvinistic by the easily offended).

It’s only taken us 70 odd years to realise the utterly heinous and terrible connotations of dominance and kidnapping in the lyrics of this shocking song.  How were we so naive?

How could we ever have misconstrued the lyrics as a playful interaction between a man and woman, who, at the end of a date are toying with the idea of getting the leg over. How dare we see it as a coy, flirtatious exchange in which the man is trying to extend the cuddle time, and the woman, (who quite obviously wants to stay) is playing a little hard to get… by choice.  What were we THINKING?  I mean, he’s obviously an evil-demon -from-hell-Mantype.

There’s no way he’s just a man.  Or you know, that she’s just a woman, who (shock horror) doesn’t mind the idea of coitus, even though 1940s society would have frowned upon such frivolity.

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Shit Lads, what were we thinking? (Sorry,I shouldn’t say lads. Ladies? No, that too is offensive as it has the word lad in it… )

I am indeed offended by the lyrics.  I shall ignore the fact that it’s one of my favourite Christmas songs and jump onto the offended bandwagon, just because it is cool to be offended by anything and everything.

I am also joining in with the campaign to change or bleep out the word “faggot” from the classic “Fairytale of New York”.  It offends me.

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Actually, so do the the words “Cheap and lousy” as they suggest that I am not willing to spend money.  I ‘m offended by the glorification of betting and gambling in the line “Came in eighteen to one” and the OBVIOUS ageism in “An old man said to me won’t see another one”.

I’m also offended by the suggestion that I “can’t face it all alone” or that “I could’ve been someone”.  Do NOT TELL ME I can’t be ANYTHING I WANT TO BE!  You are OFFENDING MY RIGHTS!

Can we also take out the word “arse” as, you know, offended… And while we’re at it, let us change the title.  Because we should NOT be telling our daughters that Fairytales are a thing.  That is making them grow up into the type of woman who gets trapped by the evil demon from hell mantype who wants to drink with her and doesn’t want her to catch cold… Irresponsible parenting is personified in the title.  I am offended.

Other Christmas songs that we shoud just ban while we’re at it, are:

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Frosty the Snowman.  I am offended that this particular snowman is a man.  Also, the fact that he is “made of snow” offends me because it suggests that he is weak. He also tells us he’ll “be back again someday”.  This offends me as sometimes, people leave  This line therefore is giving our children a false sense of security.

“I saw Mammy kissing Santa Claus” must also go.  It reeks of adultery.  Where is poor Daddy? Mammy is conveyed as a slut here. She is EXACTLY what the woman in “Baby it’s cold outside” would have turned into, had we not saved her by being offended…

Rudolf the red nosed reindeer...WHY do we feel the need to differentiate between him and the others based on the colour of his nose? Borders on racism I tell you.  Offended.

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“Jingle Bells” obvious sexual connotations.  “All the way” is putting me under pressure.  One-horsed open sleigh is OBVIOUSLY animal cruelty.  Why aren’t there two horses? And to be politically correct, why is a horse doing the job of a reindeer? Discrimination or equinism gone too farf?  Offended.

“All I want for Christmas is you”  offends me.  It suggests that all women only want a man.  Are we not perfectly capable of being fully rounded, successful and whole beings ALONE? Offensive.

“Santa Baby”  promiscuous wench, bordering on prostitution. Slapper she is in her fluffy cuteness…Offensive.

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“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – full of threats.  Obvious threats.  “You’d better watch out.  You’d better not cry.”  Obviously abusive language. Offensive.

“Driving Home for Christmas” offends me.  What if I don’t have a car? What if I’m a stay-at-home-parent or a work-from-homer who is ALREADY at home? Do you think I want to be listening to a song which puts pressure on me to drive somewhere, JUST so I can drive home again?

I’m dreamin of a White Christmas”  –  eh racist no?

“Live Aid”  –  Tonight thank God it’s them instead of you?  Well now THAT is just offensive.

Actually, can we move away from Christmas songs?  There are many other offensive tunes on our radios each day.

“Dontchya wish your girlfriend was hot like me” offends me.  What if Nicole Sherzimeister actually means it and is going to steal my Husband who might agree that she is indeed “hotter” than his plain old boring wife?   Offended.  (And genuine cause to hate the perfect one obviously.)

Bohemian Rhapsody?   –  Violence!  Offended by Mama pulling a trigger.  I’m pretty sure the word Fandango should offend me too…

Dance Monkey?  –  I am offended that you think my dancing makes me look like a primate.

Would you like me to go on?  I could you know?  I could find offense in fucking Nursery Rhymes if I felt like it.

But do you know the thing about being easily offended?

It means NOTHING!  NOBODY GETS HURT AND NOBODY ACTUALLY CARES IF YOU ARE OFFENDED.  You don’t get a rash.  You don’t get a badge.  You just get tired with all the energy it takes to be OFFENDED BY EVERYTHING ALL THE FECKING TIME!

Have I offended you?

Whatever.  You’ll survive.  Write a letter to Santa or The Grinch.  He can put you on his ever growing “offended” list.

It’s on the page after the Naughty List ends.

 

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Mammy in Training…

My journey through the jungle of Mammyhood so far has many things. I am always learning and yet it feels like I never learn! 😅

Regardless of how you become a Mamma: pregnancy, IVF, adoption, fostering, marriage… if you are responsible for loving a child, you’re a Mammy.

And it’s quite a job.  A career.  A vocation even!

Let’s face it.  If I want to embark on any career, I generally need to spend 3-5 years being educated to qualify me properly to attempt it.  Being a Mammy (and indeed a Daddy!) doesn’t require a degree, and yet it is the most challenging career in the world.

As parents, we become educated in life and often hilariously terrifying ways of the world that no university could ever teach…
but if they did…IF there was a degree in parenting, here is what I imagine it would look like:

“Bachelor of the art of Perfect Parenting”

* Pregnancy and Parenting: A beginner’s guide

* Preparing for your new arrival – Required equipment

* Food preparation for the healthy family
* Techniques for sleep and Behaviour

* Planning your child’s play and Sensory Scenarios

 * First aid for Mummies

*Relationships; maintaining healthy romantic and familial relationships

*Positivity, Mindfulness and Sleep Deprivation – How to deal with it.

*Language and Speech Development.

And at the end, you would be a QUALIFIED parent.  You would have folders of notes, and a brain bursting with facts and figures, and lesson plans and medical references.
You’d be sorted. 😉

But as a Real Mammy, who knows that most of the above is utter crap, and that these headings only SCRATCH the surface of parenting, let ME suggest what a parenting degree outline should look like!
“Bachelorette of Thoroughly Modern Mammyness.”

Module 101 – Pregnancy and Parenting: A beginner’s guide – Life as you know it, ends here.  You only think you know what pain, fear and exhaustion are now.  Pregnancy is like a “One size” bra.  It fits some women better than others. Mine fit like a 4 man tent.  You may glow, or you may puke.  It’s great fun.  But at the end of it, there’s a wonderful thing.  And there’s  also the Love. I won’t even try to prepare you for that. I can’t. 💗💙💗💙💗💙💗

Module 102 – Change everything – The house, the layout of your rooms, the car.  Everything.  And enjoy your magazine perfect showhouse with your fancy candles and FengShui… That shit ends once your minion is able to move about on your once-but-never-again-clean rug.  All ornaments and valuables should be put up on a high shelf, or locked away for approximately 15 years.  Actually, just sell them.  You’re going to need the cash for the Stuff. 👇

Module 103 – All the Stuff.  Get your list of Baby Essentials.  Got it? Now, rip it up.  You do not need 250 steriswabs, or 5 pairs of scratch mittens.  The only thing on those lists that isn’t exaggerated, is the quantity of industrial sized sanitary nappies, sorry, towels.  Buy ALL of those bad boys.  And then buy extra.

And as for the list of furniture, equipment and travel accessories?  Get your basics.  Car seat, cot, baby bath, changing mat.  Depending on YOUR own house and YOUR own situation, you’ll know what you need as you need it.  Do not buy all the everything!  Trust  me, you’ll end up with a house that looks like a Baby shop has puked on it and, in approximately 8 months time, as you put the only-used-once-stuff in the attic, you’ll wonder why the hell you bought it in the first place.

Oh! And those lovely nursing chairs that we all want for our idealistic moments of feeding baby in the nursery?  They are the most glorified clothes storage devices in the world.  Your baby will more than likely be in your room for the first 6 years…sorry months… anyway, and when you ARE doing night feeds, you’re more than likely going to want to do them in the heat of your bed,  rather than in an empty room.  Yes, they’re lovely and I’m sure someone will disagree here, but that’s how I see them… A clothes horse.

Module 201 – Techniques for Sleep and Behaviour  –  Pray, wing it and go with your gut.  You can’t control your baby’s sleep.  You can’t control your baby’s behaviour.  You can only go with what you get on a daily basis and trust me, often, as cliched as it is, it IS just a phase.  And if you do find yourself genuinely struggling with either of these issue, ask for help.  There are brilliant (and actually qualified with real degrees) professionals in our community and there are SO MANY brilliant resources that Mums and Dads can access easily.

Google Parent Hub. Parent Hub, Donegal

You’ll be amazed at what they offer. Or talk to your PHN or GP.

Module 202 – Planning your child’s play   – Buy toys.  Watch child play with boxes, lunchboxes, remote controls and ANYTHING they shouldn’t have that could pose danger to them.  Shake head at the amount of educational crap in the toy corner and get out the saucepans and wooden spoons.  Oh and get down on your knees and play! 😅

Module 203 – First aid for Mummies – Have a meltdown everytime they cut themselves, bump their head, break a sweat, have a strange poo or get a temperature.  Slowly learn to recognise your own baby’s physical reactions and signs.  Google symptoms, freak out…ask on a Mammy forum…freak out…

But seriously, we’re mums.  Unless you ARE a Doctor, if you’re concerned about Baby, GO TO A DOCTOR!  And follow your gut.  While it may be sick with worry, Mamma’s gut is always right.

Optional Modules 

Relationships – learning how NOT to murder your partner at 3am

Sex – You will want to think about it again some day… 😈😉😈

Alcohol – It shall be frowned upon, but some days, even the most Sanctimonious of Sanctimommies thinks about gin at 11am.  They just won’t admit it.

Swearing control – Any parent who has never sworn behind the back of their child, or at least mouthed a profanity when they hear “Mammy” for the 387th time that day, is either sedated or a liar…

Disney lyrics – because you will need to know them.
And so there you go. I hereby declare the Bachelorette of the Thoroughly Modern Mammyness open for application.

**No previous experience or qualifications required. 

It’s a tight course, but the end result is something that no amount of paper or letters after your name can measure.  But if you really want to show off your qualifications, just start signing off like this…
S-Mum (Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum.Mum…)
Suggestions for extra optional modules on a postcard please. 😙😙😙

How do you measure up? 😂😂😂

Through the Christmas Window

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.

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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 on Tuesday.

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Sandra from – Prosecco Powered Mum

A snapshot into my Christmas day is a ridiculously early start, and pure carnage from the off…by 7am the stove is lighting and we are surrounded by discarded wrapping paper (yes, Santa wraps here, he has even been known to wrap the door!) We have had visitors in our house as early as 7:30 and that’s the start of what our day looks like – grand central station springs to mind. The husbag cooks a big dirty fry and while we’re cleaning up after breakfast we are also preparing for dinner (Christmas = food yes?) We have 9 for dinner this year, (has been up to 15) and it’s a combined effort. After stuffing ourselves stupid, we have copious amounts of alcohol and play games, the favourites have been pie-face, headbands, and speak-out! Generally if you look through my window on Christmas day you’ll see a manic but very happy family enjoying mum’s favourite day of the year

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.  One parent night be swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels by midday. Christmas morning with a 2, 3, 4 and 8 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 5 year old running down and crashing thru the living room door to see all the presents.  Then you’ll catch a glimpse 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.”

 

Jen from –  Mama-tude loves Christmas Eve most.

If you were to look through our window on Christmas Eve, you’d see a house fit to burst with excitement. We are very early risers in the hope that tired children will fall asleep more easily on Christmas Eve night – I’m sure one year that plan will actually work!
Having so many younger siblings has kept the magic of Christmas alive for my older children and it’s the older ones who will gather the littles and log online to track Santa’s journey across the world via Norad. It is they who’ll ensure the site is checked again several times during the day just so they keep up with Santa’s progress.
After an outing that morning for a special Christmas Eve hot chocolate and muffin my daughter, in the afternoon, will make cookies with her brothers ahead of Santa’s visit that night. It can be a painstakingly slow process because every child will want to be involved and do their bit! After that it’s Christmas music on while the children open their presents from their Nana and Grandad.
Himself cooks the Christmas meats on Christmas Eve – it’s one less thing to do on Christmas morning and the smell of the turkey and ham cooking just adds to the Christmassy mood! My daughter and I used always go to mass on Christmas Eve and join the choir singing Christmas carols but we’re not going to this year because it put pressure on us time-wise. Instead we’ll all battle the crowds at Christmas morning mass.
There is never as much excitement and anticipation of bath-time as there is on Christmas Eve.
Afterwards the kids are bundled into their new Christmas Eve pjs, we check the Norad Santa tracker one last time and all of us clamber onto the couch together to watch “the snowman and the snowdog”. It seems much more poignant since our beloved 17 year old pooch Rodney died last year.
He’ll no doubt get a mention as will the absence of his sock which no longer hangs beside the children’s.
Then it’s milk, one of Santa’s cookies (for testing purposes) and the setting out of carrots, water, milk and cookies for Santa and his reindeer before the littles head to bed.
The teens go up shortly afterwards as mum and dad need the time to rearrange the sitting room so that Santa can easily lay out the gifts he’ll bring for the children. That organising takes a lot of time and it’s usually well into the small hours before mum and dad finally get to bed – exhausted but also so excited for the next day.  

 

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?


Well, the carpet shall be clattered and camouflaged by wrapping paper and toys. Michael Buble will be crooning from the tellybox in the kitchen, with the fake fire on the screen.  The Daddy shall be building stuff and Mammy shall be in her Christmas PJs, 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 yet, there still shall be tears and jobs to do and maybe the odd tantrum, and probably a few spills and stinky poos, but in the midst of it all, there shall be glitter and sparkle and love. 

And even the jobs and poos and fights 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

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J

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