Christmas The Musical… by Mammy.

Christmas.

It’s finally here.
The big one.
What we’ve been working towards.
The performance.
The show.

Christmas is like putting together a musical: you decide on the show, get the cast together, go through your routines, rehearse, use the essential props, take a deep breath and GO!

Once Christmas Eve hits, it’s curtain up and the show will go on, whether you’re ready or not. It might not be perfect, or guess what? It might be the best one yet.😚

Maybe someone misses their cue or their line. Maybe a prop got misplaced.
Maybe a cast member is missing…
Maybe a scene change didn’t go smoothly.
Maybe there’s a technical hitch, but the Show WILL go on.

Expectations are high and the production must be timed perfectly.
Even if there are hiccups, or someone makes a mistake, mostly we leave the theatre of Christmas with a warm, fuzzy feeling.

We’re glad that it’s over, because while entertaining, sometimes the show is a long sit.

Sometimes, it’s not quite what we expect.
Sometimes, we’re sad or even disappointed by it.
Maybe we expected more? Maybe we expected better?
Maybe, we’re just knackered! 😅

Because we parents are the show.

We are the production; the Producer, the director, the choreographer, the MD, the Prop manager, set designer…and usually, the absolute star of the show, but in reality, we’re the support act.

Because while we bust ourselves making our Christmas shows as perfect as we can make them for OUR families, in OUR circumstances, to keep alive the traditions that WE feel are important, the true stars are our children and grandchildren.

And their starring roles cannot be rehearsed.

Kids are those annoying stars who turn up on opening night, oblivious to the preceding 3 months of rehearsal and preparation, who walk on-stage, unrehearsed, under no obligation to anyone…and they steal the show.

Mammy meanwhile? She stands in the wings, making sure everything is as wonderful as it can be for her cast, making the most of the budget she has and the theatre she’s working in.

And she smiles, because only a Mammy can happily run the show and sit back to let everyone else enjoy it and shine.

And of course sometimes, Mammy is smug because her show went without a hitch, all because of her and her helpers and all their rehearsals and preparations.

So regardless of how your own particular Christmas musical is going right now, Mamma Bear, you did great.

And if you’re a Daddy who has put this year’s performance together, you too are brilliant.

Bravo!
Your show is perfect.
It’s yours.
And nothing else matters.

Very soon, it will be over for another year, and all we’ll have left are the memories we’ve helped to make.

Happy Christmas Lovelies.
Hope Santa was good to everyone. 💖💖💖

T’was the Night Before Christmas…

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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

 

 

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

Christmas day is an early start with 2 very excited small boys…by 7am the stove is lighting and we are surrounded by discarded wrapping paper, Santa wraps here, he has even been known to wrap the door -but this year I’m trying to be more environmentally friendly so am thinking that I’ll use what I have left from last year but may change it up from 2020. We have visitors in our house as early as 7:30 and that’s the start of what our day looks like, people coming and going all day, but we generally don’t budge ourselves.

The husbag cooks a fry and while we’re cleaning up after breakfast we are also preparing for dinner, (you see a pattern?) We have 9 for dinner this year, and we share the work, my sister brings the staters and she and my mum bring desserts. After stuffing ourselves, we normally have Irish and calypso coffees. The evening sees more family members arrive so we play games, last year was 30 seconds, and generally ones that go We then hit the turkey sambos, cheese boards, more desserts, and obviously quality street. If you look through my window on Christmas day you’ll see a busy, noisy and very happy family enjoying my 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 baby, and 2, 3, 4 and 8 year olds 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 6 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

No is a Complete Sentence…Especially at Christmas

Remember

No is a complete sentence.

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You can say NO to things without having to add explanation.   Add a thanks if you wish, but only if you want to,

  • Want to join in Secret Santa at work? No.
  • Do you want to go for after work drinks on Black Eye Friday? No.
  • Want to come visit Aunty Petunia on Christmas Eve even though she spends her time telling you you’ve put on weight/aged badly/need to change your hair? No.
  • Want to put in €10 for teacher’s present because someone else decides it’s a good idea. No.
  • Want to donate to Arthur’s sponsored swim? No.
  • Want to go to Smuffs in the busiest part of town at 4pm on Friday to do me a favour? No.
  • Want to invite Cousin JohnJoe over to burp at Christmas dinner? No.
  • Want to come watch little Japonica playing the unicorn in her 3 hour long school play? Nope.

Now, let me clarify.  I am NOT telling you, nor am I encouraging you, to be a selfish turbotwat.  Some things have to be tolerated.  Aunty Nancy’s silent but violent farts are not a just reason to leave her alone on Christmas. And you can’t refuse to go for dinner in your own house just because you fell out with your partner’s sister-in-law’s dog three years ago.  Some things need you to chuck it in the fuckit bucket and suck it up for the people you DO care about.

Christmas is wonderful, but it’s also a time of high stress and worry, where people and traditions and expectations are forced upon us.  And while of course, we must all buckle down and stretch ourselves to accomodate the people we care about, love or are responsible for, we are NOT OBLIGED to keep EVERYONE HAPPY.

If something is going to cause you stress, worry, financial strain or conflict, don’t do it. 

If something is going to make your life difficult and really, you are not harming anyone by refusing, don’t do it.

If something is going to have a negative impact on YOUR mental wellbeing, think long and hard about it. 

If you can’t afford it, don’t go/do/buy it.

If you can’t deal with it, don’t put yourself through it. 

If you can’t stand it, don’t do it. 

And while we’re at it, do remember that you don’t HAVE to do things a certain way. 

Want to eat curry or lasagne for Christmas dinner? Knock yourself out. 

Don’t want to put up a tree? Don’t.

Don’t want to/can’t afford to buy presents for Tom, Dick and Harry this year? Don’t.

Can’t be bothered putting on good clothes and a full face to sit in your sitting room all day? Stay in your Pjs. 

Hate “It’s a Wonderful Life”? Don’t watch it. 

There is no Christmas Fairy-Poppins who goes around looking in your windows to check that you’re getting your Hallmark on.

You do You.

And you DO have the right, and the ability, to say NO.

And as I said, NO, is a complete sentence.  It doesn’t require an explanation.

Someone asks why?  Simply answer with one of the following:

Just because. 

It doesn’t suit. 

I don’t want to.  

I said no.

And whoever it is that you’re worried that you’re going to upset, will get over it.  Chances are, they really won’t even notice.

And Christmas will pass and 2020 will start and we’ll all get on with our lives and whether or not you turned up to sing carols with Carol will be forgotten as quickly as the Strawberry Quality Street.

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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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