FAIL…First Attempt In Learning

Failing to Fail…

Why are we so determined to make sure our little darlings never know what it’s like to fail?

Why do we expect everyone to be a high flying “success” at everything?

When did failing at something become so terrible?

I grew up failing. I failed plenty. I failed often.

I’m still failing.And yet, each and every one of those failings was, and is, a learning.

Sometimes, no matter how many times I try and try and try at something, I fail.

Maybe I’m not meant to do it.
Maybe I’m not good enough at it.
Maybe, it’s not within my skill-set.
Maybe, someone else is better than me…

If it’s not happening, I have two choices; I can keep going until I (maybe) do succeed.

Or I can be proud that I tried but move on to another project, accepting that it’s just not going to happen.

But either way, I’ve learned something.

I’ve either learned the right or successful way to do something, or I’ve learned something about ME; about my abilities and my limitations.

Because, it’s OK to have limitations.And shock horror, it’s OK to know what YOUR Limitations are.

It’s actually quite liberating.

If children don’t run, they won’t fall… so how will they learn NOT to?

There is a massive problem in our society and it’s not just with our children.

There is and has been for many years, a mistaken perception that we should teach our children that they “can do anything”; that they “can be anything”; that they can not lose or fail at anything.

That failure is NOT an option.Well actually it is.

And I’d go so far as to say that failure is necessary.

The fear of failure is everywhere.

None of us want our children to experience rejection or failure.

It’s evident at the school sports days, where we make them “race” and “compete” but then give them ALL a certificate or medal.

We see it in dance classes or drama groups, where they audition but ALL get onstage anyway.

We see it at football training, or where the only options are “win” or “a tie”, so that no one has to lose.

Of course, equality and inclusion are inherently important in schools and clubs. And most of these societies and organisations have individualized and tailored policies and programes in place to include everyone.

And so they should.

Inclusion is not what I am talking about here.🥰

But when in general, we are not rewarding the “winners” for fear of upsetting the person in 2nd place, or indeed 24th place, what we are creating is a generation who feel entitled.

We need to stop telling our kids that they can be “anything they want to be”.

We should be encouraging our children to try and try.

We should be telling them they can be what they want to be… IF they have that ability and are willing to work for it.

What is wrong with encouraging them to learn what their strengths and passions are?

What is wrong with encouraging them to try and to work to earn and to deserve the end goal, may that be a degree in medicine or a place on the football team?

What is wrong with our children knowing what they are good at and recognising what they are not so good at?

How are they supposed to work towards improving and learning if they simply think they are entitled to an ‘A’ in an exam, or to the place on the team, or to a certain job because they’ve always been told they can be anything or do anything they want to do?

We do not all have the same skills.

We do not all have the same strengths.

I can teach Shakespeare to a brick, but I couldn’t be a math teacher for all the tea in China, no matter HOW much I worked for it.

And I wouldn’t be able to be a Doctor or surgeon, because I am way too emotional for such a job (and I’m probably, actually, certainly not that academically able!)

Does that mean I am a failure?

Eh no.

Every Irish dancing feis I didn’t win, was a lesson. It spurned me on. Every time I saw that a certain ‘Leah’ or ‘Clare’ was there, I knew that I most likely hadn’t a chance of anything higher than 3rd place.

Did that mean I couldn’t dance?NO. I could dance. Still can. 😂

It just meant that those girls were better than me.

They trained harder. They had more talent. They deserved every medal and cup they won. They inspired me to push harder.Sometimes I won, sometimes I didn’t.

It’s called life.

When I tried gymnastics, the day that I gave myself a black eye with my own knee was the day that I decided I was done.

Funnily enough Mum agreed.

Did I fail? No. I was just shite at gymnastics!

When I got average results in my Junior and Leaving Cert, did I feel like a failure?

No. I got what I deserved and I got out what I put in. I had done my best. And as long as I did my best, that was enough for my parents and it was enough for me.

However, when I have won, or achieved or succeeded, it was celebrated.

Because each time, I bust myself and tried and grafted and worked and any other synonym you can imagine.

And if I do succeed, I am proud of it, because the achievement is mine and I have probably failed ten times before managing it.

If you burn the omelette and don’t try to make it again, how do you eat?Every failed friendship I have, (and there are many), while heartbreaking to deal with, have all been for the best.

Every failed romance (yup many of those too😂!) teaches us something else important about ourselves and the person who is not right for us.

Every failed job or project or application or interview teaches us something.

For me, every time I auditioned, and was rejected, for a part in a show, broke my heart a little.

Of course it did (and does). Let’s be honest, if I didn’t want the part, why would I go for it?

But rather than stomp my foot and think myself too good to return, I pulled up my big girl knickers and still joined the group; may it be to a smaller role or into the chorus.

Because I love it.
I don’t have to be the leading lady to have fun.

And our children need to understand that they don’t have to always win to be winners.

That they don’t always have to score the goals to be important to the team.
That even though they are doing their best, sometimes the person beside them is just a little bit better.

And sometimes, THEY will be that person and someone else will lose to them.

When we started to walk, we all fell…And then we learned how NOT to fall.

And eventually we walked, all by ourselves. (And sometimes, we still fall!) If we keep carrying our kids and our young people over every obstacle, how can we expect them to learn how NOT to fall?

Direct them, encourage them, support them.

But let them feel disappointment sometimes. Let them learn to accept the success of others.

And when they DO succeed, celebrate with them.We have to sometimes fail to really appreciate succeeding. We’re not entitled to anything.

We have to work and try and earn things.

Life will not simply give you things because you think you deserve them.

You get out what you put in.

And while we don’t want our kids to repeat our mistakes, we have to let them make their own, so that they walk by themselves.

Who knows? They might even fly…

Mammy

I am STOP TOUCHING ME Mum

This Mammy loves hugs and squeezes and little chubby fingers on her skin.  Mammy loves kisses and Eskinosies and the feel of Mini-Me’s arms crawling around her neck for a hug.

Mammy is aware that when you become a Mammy, you are going to be touched, a LOT.  But Mammy is still, many years on, not ready for the CONSTANT touching.
It’s 24/7.

It’s mostly lovely, but JESUS, there are times when Mammy just wants to NOT be touched, even for a little while.

LIke, a half an hour.

Now, there is no harm in the Touching. It is usually quite acceptable and welcome. In fact, if we delve into the minds of the TOUCHERS in the house, it is clear that the touching is a sign (usually) of love and affection and it is important for affirmation of love and all that jazz, but sometimes, Mammy considers pretending to have Scabies, just so that everyone will piss away off for 20 minutes and stop TOUCHING her!

The Wobbler thinks:

Oh! There is Mammy.  I will touch her.  I will swing off her legs while she walks.  I will stand on her feet while she cooks.  I will sit on her head while she snoozes.  I will sit on her knee instead of on my chair.  I will sit on her chair along with her.  I will hold on to her hand so hard that if she tries to sneak away as I fall asleep, I will know.  I will insist on being lifted when I see her standing with nothing to do.  I will make special effort to ensure that if her tellyphoney rings, she will not forget that I am here, because I will tug at her leg until she lifts me and then I will rub her face.  I will stick my finger in her mouth.  I will stick my finger up her nose.  I will shove my finger in her ear.  Oh Lookit. Mammy is on the sofa.  That is my sofa.  I will sit on her head.  I will stick my hand down into Mammy’s bra to find the dodee that I didn’t hide there earlier.  I will touch her every time she walks by.  I likes to touch Mammy.  Mammy is soft and squishee and she smiles when I touches her so that is what I must do.  Always.  Forever. I am the bestest witto wobbler around.
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The Mini One thinks:

I will ignore Mammy until I notice little sister sitting on her, and then I too will sit on her.  I will make sure she doesn’t feel lonely while she pees.  I will look after her while she showers. I will remember to ask her EVERYTHING when she is trying to talk to Granny on the phone.  I will ignore her in the coffee shop until her friend sits down to talk to her.  Oh Look! Mammy has sat at the the table. I must sit on her knee to make sure she doesn’t drink all of the coffee.  It is bad for her.

I will hug Mammy’s armpit.  I will stick my fingers in her armpit.  For some reason, I like armpits.  I must keep touching Mammy so that she doesn’t forget my existence for three minutes.  She must be touched as often as possible.  Even when Mammy asks me to let her think, I will add my thoughts to her thoughts to make sure she has all options of thinking available to her and that she never feels alone in her thoughts or her head.

Mammy’s minions go to bed and Mammy wonders what feels so strange.  Is it the silence? Is it the calm? Is it the peace?

NO.  It’s the lack of touching.
Daddy comes home.

Daddy thinks:

Oh look.  There is my beautiful wife. She looks extra sexiful in those baggy PJ bottoms and my teeshirt.  I’m glad she hasn’t brushed her hair or washed her face today.  I like the smell of Bolognese on her face.  I have missed her so much that I must touch her everytime she walks past.  I will touch her.  I will slap her bum every time I pass her..  I will huggle her.  Mammy looks lonely there without the girls hanging off of her.  I will make her feel better.  I will hang off of her.  Maybe Mammy would like some hanky panky.  She has been here on her own with the kids all day after all.  I wonder did the baby hide her dodees in Mammy’s bra today..  Maybe I will check…
Oh.
Mammy is looking at me with sexy eyes…or maybe those are her I shall hurt you eyes… I can never tell.
“Don’t FUCKING TOUCH MEEEEEEEEEEE” screams Mammy.
‘Ok,’ thinks Daddy, ‘not her sexy eyes’.  Daddy realises. For some reason, Mammy doesn’t like being touched tonight.  She must be hormental.  
Actually no.  Daddy remembers that this is The Touching Hour.

Mammy needs her Touching Hour every evening.  It is like the Witching Hour, only more dark and dangerous.  And the chances of further touching depend on the success of the Touching Hour.
‘Where is the chocolate?’ Thinks Daddy.  ‘I should sit in the corner here and throw chocolate at her until she calms down’.  Clever Daddy.

“Will I make you a cup of tea?” asks Daddy.  Mammy snarls at him.  Daddy pours her a glass of wine.  Clever Daddy.

“Here you are Darling” he says, trying not to touch her.
Mammy sips her wine, remembering a time when she used to pay people to touch her; When it was relaxing to have hands all over her in a smellified dark room in a spa or salon.  She would love to go for a massage, but that would mean someone else touching her and at this moment in time, that might make Mammy hurt someone.

She looks at Daddy, who used to be the only person who touched her.  He is so lovely, she thinks.  He has a very nice bum.

After a while, Mammy walks past Daddy in the kitchen and slaps his bum.  Yay! thinks Daddy.  The Touching hour is over, but Daddy lets Mammy pour another glass of grapes before he suggests such.

Daddy is clever.

Mammy sometimes feels like she lives with a squad of fecking Octopus…octopi?

But they are cute little octopi and by the morning, she will be ready for all the touching, all over again.

Because while of course Mammy knows she is a lucky Mammy to have so many people wanting to touch her, sometimes…well, it’s a touchy subject.

And if you have kids, you’ll know.

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Leaving Kids in the Car?

Right.

I am not a judgy parent.  I live by and promote the ideas of ‘each to their own’ and ‘whatever works for you’.  In fact I often call BS on Sanctimammies and their self righteousness.  You know that.

The only one issue that I will happily criticize is that of traveling in cars with kids who are not strapped in.  There is no excuse for that.  None.  Ever.

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However, this week I was faced with something else, another car issue actually,  that made me upset and angry and left me reeling with guilt if I’m honest.  I posted about it on my stories last night and it seems from the hundreds of Mums who voted on my polls, that most of us are on the same page when it comes to it.

On Monday afternoon, I was in Aldi-everything in Letterkenny.  I parked at the far end of the carpark as it was busy. As I left with my shopping, the car that was parked in the parent and child spot farthest from the door caught my eye.

There was movement in the back seat and as I passed, I realised it was a child.  Not an eight or 9 year old child.  I’d guess (and it is only a guess) that this little one was no more than 18 months old.

I looked around half expecting to see a Mum or Dad rushing back from returning a trolley, but there was no sign.  I went on to my car, unloaded my trolley and returned the trolley to the bay; which probably took about 4 minutes as I was at the opposite end of the carpark.

On my return, the baby was still alone in the car; granted quite calm and dry and not a bit distressed, but nonetheless alone and unsupervised and therefore, unsafe.

I asked my followers what I should have done.  The responses were mostly similar. Here are a few:

I’ve heard of people who take the child and go to find the parent, but that would distress the child more would it not? And technically, you’re lifting a child you don’t know…

I know some people who would ring the guards.  In fact so many have told me that’s exactly what I should have done, but I wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do.  I also wasn’t able to hang around and wait for the guards to arrive as my own children were waiting for me to collect them and I couldn’t be late. So

I considered going in to try to find the parent, but let’s be honest, I had no idea who I’d be dealing with and while I’m not one to shy away from confrontation, I’m also not one to go looking for it.  And there’s a good chance that if that parent didn’t think it was a bad idea to leave their child alone in a busy carpark in the first place, they weren’t going to want to hear a lecture from me.

I often write about how we don’t know what a parent has been through on a given day.  So how could I, the preacher of this, be the one to chastise or challenge another Mum.

It doesn’t happen me often, but I genuinely had no idea what to do.

And so I went and sat in my car and watched, praying and willing the parent to come out and jump into the car.  I waited over 5 minutes and then I had to leave.  I’ve never felt so guilty leaving a carpark in my life.

I can still see that wee child in the back of the car.  I hope she wasn’t sitting much longer.  I have been racked with guilt that I should have done something since.

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So I put it to my followers on Instagram Stories and the reaction was interesting.  Hundreds of people voted and responded.  Here are the replies after 24 hours.

It seems that the general consensus is that it very much depends on a few factors: the age of the child(ren), the proximity of the shop and the length of time you’re away.

For example, most people agreed that to pull up to your local filling station/shop and run in to pay for fuel or grab bin labels or milk, was acceptable as long as you could still see the car.

Some said that sometimes, ‘if a child is sleeping or unwell or the rain is pelting down’, they’ll pop in but never for more than a minute.  And many of the mums who replied as

such said that they felt guilty about it and haven’t done it since.

Some said it depended on the age and number of kids. So leaving a young kid with older siblings is OK… for a few minutes.

ALL of them stressed that if they thought they’d be more than 2 minutes, the kids came in too.

ALL agreed that leaving your child unattended, 60 yards from the door, to go into a supermarket where let’s be honest, as fast as Jacinta-at-the-till is in Aldi-Everything, will ALWAYS take a minimum of 6 minutes even to run in for one item, was simply wrong.

I’m not judging Ladybelles.  I’m really not.  I have no idea what the circumstance was or who the parent was, but I do know that that child was alone in that car too long.  I have no idea how long she had already been there before I came out.

As parents, we are all too aware that it only takes a split second for something to go wrong or for something bad to happen. Or indeed for the wrong person to come along.  We might live in a lovely town, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ill-intentioned opportunists around, does it?

I just hope that the adult returned soon afterwards and that the little one wasn’t frightened.   And I hope that if they read this and know it was them, that maybe they might reconsider next time.

Because our children are our most valuable possessions and they should be kept safe to the very best of our abilities at all times.  That’s our job as parents.

Most of us wouldn’t leave our handbags in the car for the world to see; we hide it or take it with us, so I can’t understand why leaving a child is an option.

What’s your thoughts on this?

And please don’t be hateful towards the person.  This is not about bashing another parent, but it’s a conversation worth having.

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Take Some Time, Sometimes

I am Some Time, Sometimes Mum

We’ve “no time” for dancing, We’ve “no time” to sing.

We can’t play that game or go play on the swing.

There’s washing and cooking and things to be done

And sometimes the last thing we think of is fun.

And this is all normal and life does get busy,

But if it’s so hectic it’s making you dizzy,

It’s time to consider the things that mean more,

The small things we all take for granted, I’m sure.

Like breathing and laughing and reading and such,

Like the fact that our lives are each made up of much,

Much more than our jobs or our grades or successes.

They’re made up of giggles and family and messes,

Of routines and drop offs, of friends and of breaks,

Of worries and stresses, of plans and heartaches.

If we knew every morning, what would lay ahead,

There are mornings we’d probably stay in our beds.

But know we do not. Of nothing we’re sure,

Except that we’re here and have one morning more.

So take all the compliments, laugh all the time,

Always give hugs and sometimes drink wine.

Build all the jigsaws, take all the smiles.

Walk in the countryside, drive one more mile,

Say if you’re sorry, cry if you’re sad,

Don’t waste time fighting. Fighting is bad..

Look at the sky and take time to see

The colours and patterns, reflect on the sea.

Don’t waste time worrying about what MAY be

Think of your present. Enjoy memories.

Follow your dreams, Make all the plans,

Never let anyone tell you you can’t.

And while we have problems and things might go badly,

Remember that others would swap with us gladly.

So if you love someone, please make sure that you say;

Tell them and give them memories to replay,

Because we just never know when that last hug or kiss

is being given. So make sure it’s one you don’t miss.

Breathe it all in and live life as you must,

Be kind and polite and remember to trust.

Travel and wonder and read all the books

See all the beauty we’d see if we looked.

When life is good, live it, and take every chance

And never look back wishing that you had danced.

Leave “no song unsung and no wine untasted”

For time spent being happy is never time wasted.

So play all the games and run to the swing

And always make time to dance and to sing.

(Maria Rushe 2018)

The Night Before Christmas – by Mammy

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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land,

The magic was starting and all was in hand.

The trees were lit up and the turkeys were prepped,

The dog was quite cozy by the tree where he slept.

The sugar-filled children were bouncing and reeling,

The reindeer dust sprinkled, the cookies still cooling.

They hoped for and wished that the Big Man would bring

The gifts that they’d ask for, to make their hearts sing.

They stared at the skies, with eyes that were bright

As the stars they were searching, for Santa’s sleigh lights.

The parents enjoyed the excitement and fun

But hoped they’d soon sleep.  There were jobs to be done.

Santa’s snacks were set out and the stories were read

As the children got tucked in and snuggled in bed.

With a sigh of relief and ten checks that they’re sleeping

Mammy opened the nice secret treats she’d been keeping.

They finished their jobs and left everything right

For the Big Man in red who would visit tonight.

And they danced in the kitchen, and with Bublé they’d sing

Excited themselves, for what morning would bring.

For the joy and excitement, the gifts and the hugs

For the fact they’re together and truly know love,

For their family and friends, far away and close by,

For the innocence and magic that can’t money can’t buy,

For the dinner and chocolates and all of the food,

For the laughter and smiles, for the contented mood,

That comes with the sunrise on each Christmas Day,

And they counted their blessings as they ended their day.

So, tired but happy, Mammy turned off the light,

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!”

(Maria Rushe 2017)

Wishing you a magical Christmas

This Mammy wants to wish all of my wonderful readers a truly magical and wonderful Christmas.  I hope Santa is good to you all and that you have everything you dream of.

The S-Mum xx