I am Stuck in our Phones Mum

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


I am Still Talking to Myself Mum

I spend much of my life muttering things like “I’ll talk to myself”, “Nobody listens to me” and “Talk to yourself Mammy”.

Actually, if I ever get around to publishing my s-mumblings, my title might just be “Nobody listens to Mammy.”

It makes me want to claw out my own eyeballs sometimes. Sometimes, I actually do answer myself.

But going on holidays last week, I experienced something that has made me feel a whole lot better.


Lying by the pool one afternoon, I found myself laughing at the tirade of statements floating around in the air above me.  All of them had been said by a Mum or Dad, and ALL of them had been dutifully ignored by their respective Minions.

Here are just a selection of the floating statements that I both heard AND said at least 39 times in one week away.

  • Don’t run!
  • You’re going to fall.
  • Stop running!
  • Japonica I will NOT call you again
  • Where’s your sister?
  • Sit on your seat.
  • Do not lick the water. (This was NOT just me, I assure you!)
  • Mind the lady.
  • Don’t jump!
  • Get over here NOW!
  • Good girl!
  • If I have to come over there…
  • Don’t RUN!
  • You’re going to slip.
  • Let the baby past.
  • Wait your turn.
  • Go ahead now.
  • Don’t let people push you.
  • I don’t want to hear it.
  • Stop fighting.
  • Do you need a pee?
  • Why are you hitting your sister?
  • Lift that unicorn…
  • Well done!
  • Oooooooh you’re a mermaid!
  • Stop splashing people.
  • You need more suncream!
  • Use your legs
  • Watch your head.
  • Hear my voice!
  • Am I talking to myself?

Well actually, that’s just it Mammy Dearest.  You are indeed. And you may get used to it, because it seems to be a universal gift that children have, which transcends borders, nationalities and continents.

A few times, I heard myself.  I heard another Mum saying exactly what I had said 10 minutes previously.  And I returned the favour I’m sure, letting other parents hear ME saying the exact same things that THEY had earlier too.

Lesson learned? Nope.

Because the next day, I still called out the “Mind where you’re going!” and “You are going to FALL!” and “Stop RUNNING!”  Because I like to give out? Because I’m a saddo?

Nooooooooo. Because it’s my instinct to keep my minions safe and even if they’re not LISTENING to me, if there’s at least a chance that they might HEAR me, I’ll keep on talking to myself gladly.

And I’ll answer myself too.

I quite like conversations with myself actually. Good job eh?


Because these two don’t hear a word I say…



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Standing by your bed mum

To say that parenthood is an emotional roller coaster is a HUGE understatement.
It’s like someone has put every emotion you could possibly feel into a bottle, topped it up with explosives, given it a good shake and popped the cork.

Mini-Me recently went through a rough patch.
Actually, I’m wrong.
WE recently went through a rough patch.

She was throwing tantrums like one of those tennis ball launcher machines…constantly and violently.
I was banging my head off a brick wall.
Nothing anyone said helped…her playschool, my mum, friends with kids, the interweb.  Nothing.
There was screaming.  There were tears. There was foot stomping, huffing, door banging and rage.
And I was as guilty of each of these as she was.

After one particularly shitty day, where we’d had some epic melt downs, I stood by her bedside, watching her sleeping.
And I sobbed my heart out.
I was looking at her perfect, pretty little face, content and soft in the dark.
I was wondering how someone so small and innocent could really be making me feel so much anger and frustration.
Not 30 minutes earlier, she had been screaming and crying because she didn’t want her teeth brushed.  I was irritated and exhausted and ended up shouting at her.  She completely fell apart then and sobbed her way to sleep.
My beautiful girl, who I adore and for whom I would die, fell asleep with my angry words ringing in her ears.

And it broke my heart.

Hubby arrived home to a snivelling mess, but after the previous weekend where we’d ventured to Dublin for the night, he wasn’t surprised.  Her behaviour that weekend had been so testing, that any notion we had of a family holiday abroad this year, went out the window.

She was just too stressful.
And so was I.
Because it wasn’t only Mini -Me’s behaviour that had to change.
I was obviously doing something completely wrong too.
And after all, she’s 4.
It’s not really her job to fix things is it?


I read article after article on “Positive Parenting”? And while in theory, it’s just lovely, when your little cherub is stopping just short of spinning her head 360° in the supermarket because another child looked at her, it isn’t always effective.

When she’s hitting me, it’s not OK to say “I understand you’re angry but this is making Mammy sad.” Because my 4 year old can throw a bloody punch.

What it did help with however, was getting me to behave myself.
Instead of automatically scolding every time she “started”, I found myself anticipating the little triggers and choosing my battles.

I tried hugging, distraction, affirmative language.

I even started dancing like a lunatic to whatever pop song was on the radio if she started whining. (This is worth it on sooooooooo many levels. She ends up laughing and then joining in.  I end up looking like an absolute eejit but burning off some of the frustration I’m feeling.
And yes, it diverts the tantrum or row or whatever is about to kick off.)

I’ve started having “chats” with her at bedtime.  I ask her what her favourite thing was about today, what made her happy, what made her sad, what she wants to dream about…things like that.  And it’s helping.  She really surprised me after a few nights, when she said “Mammy, what makes you love me?”
I listed off all the things I love about her.
She was delighted with herself.

We’re communicating.
We’re getting there.
I’ve also made an effort to do some stuff with her on our own. I’m pretty sure that some of the behaviour was stemmed from a little bit of jealousy of the baby.

So, while we have a looooooong way to go, (and realistically,  I’m aware that I may get used to it!), we’re getting there, slowly.

Someone wrote this week that Mummy bloggers are putting pressure on Mums to be perfect.  She’s reading the wrong bloggers.

Being a mum isn’t easy.
Yes it’s amazing, and fulfilling and wonderful and hilarious, and it’s my favourite job in the world.
But it’s also terrifying, difficult, exhausting, testing and brutal.  There are days and nights where you feel so crappy about yourself that you don’t even have the energy to cry.
You question your own decisions.
You doubt your every thought.
You analyse your reactions.
You look in the mirror and wonder what the hell is happening.
You feel guilty for wanting just 5 minutes to yourself.
You wonder if you’re ever going to get it right.
You honestly believe sometimes that you’re going crazy.

You stand by her bedside, watching her sleep…sometimes smiling, sometimes crying, but always loving and knowing that tomorrow is a new day.


The rough patch is gradually passing, (until the next one).
Because I relaxed a bit and you know what, it probably was just “a phase she’s going through.”
And while this phase is cureently calm and better, I’ll enjoy it. 😂

I am Standing by your bed Mum.

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I am Sick Baby Mum

SickChildHow do I know when my Mini-Me is sick?  Because I take her temperature?  Because I know the symptoms? Because the doctor says so? Because I just know?

No. (Well OK, Yes.)

But, I know that my particular Mini Me is particularly out of sorts because she presses pause on her life’s mission of convincing me that she hates me, and for just a short time she won’t let me out of her sight!

As the mummy of a Threenager, I am now becoming used to the fact that to her, I am Public Enemy Number 1.  When Mammy says no, she runs to her “wee Daddy Bear” or Granny, or Uncle, or indeed the Dog.  I have caught her sitting beside the beast that is our 6 year old puppy, filling him in on how bold Mammy is.

She uses Mammy to test her boundaries, to learn to use her voice, to establish her tone and to practice all of her communication skills.  Yesterday, she moved on to giving me my full title to denote her discontentment…”Mammy Ria Wushe!” It was quite impressive actually.

I’m often reminded of one of my favourite poems by Sylvia Plath, “Morning song”.  For years, I’ve been teaching the lines

“I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.”

…And while I have always understood the lines, until I became a Mammy, I never really understood them.

I understand them now: I’m nothing but a big puddle into which she sticks her chubby little toe to test the waters of life.


She uses me to learn how to assert herself, and she does it so well that Hubby even admitted this afternoon that she’s a little bit scary!  She uses me to develop her social skills, to suss out how relationships work.  I am her metaphoric punch bag: her dress rehearsal.

So when Mini Me spends two whole days on the sofa, refusing to let me out of her sight; when she says the words “Mammy I neeeeeeed you.” at least a dozen times a day; when I can’t even leave the room long enough to pee without her calling for me…that’s when I know she’s not herself.  That’s how I know that she’s ailing for something or just not feeling her best.

It might come before the temperature or the sniffles or the trip to the doctor.  It might last the whole length of whatever nasty little bug she’s picked up this time.  It might be exhausting, especially at 3am.  But it’s how I’m reminded that despite being her arch nemesis most of the time, I am indeed her Mammy and she loves me.

And I’ll happily admit that while I obviously enjoy hugs and snuggles without the bugs and sniffles, I’ll sit on that sofa in my PJs watching re-runs of RTE Junior until my little Peppa Piggy is better and wants to go splashing in those muddy puddles again.

I am Sick Baby Mum. 🙂peppa