Is Every Day a School Day?

The pressures of this past week have been immense. Even the most positive and organised of us have struggled.
We still are.

As a teacher, what I am about to write might surprise you.

Stop freaking out about educating your children.

Yes, of course we must try to maintain routine and to keep our children’s minds working. We should be encouraging them to continue with the school work that their teachers are sending home.

But it is NOT YOUR JOB to stress about what they are doing or to provide the curriculum to them.

Let me explain.

Teachers are teaching from home. Secondary school teachers need to stay in touch with their students. Most of us have by now, found our groove and figured out how best to communicate with our second level students. It’s a work in progress and we are learning every day. We can and will, provide quality content for the student to work through independently at home.

Key words here? “The student.”
Not the parent.

Priority must be given to 3rd and 6th year students who are still preparing for the elusive state examinations; who are under serious pressure and who are torn between the uncertainty of when they will happen, and the certainty that they still need to be ready for them when they do happen.

Other year groups simply need to keep on top of the work assigned as if it is classwork. I hope that mine all return to school, whenever that may be, with their folders up to date with the work that I have assigned, so that I can correct it properly and give them the feedback they need.

As teachers, we have absolutely no control over who does or does not do the work. We don’t have all the answers. This is new to us too, but trust me, we’re trying.

For younger kids, you’ll likely have received a list of activities and suggested work from their Lovely Teacher.

Let them work through it if you can.
But take a breath my Dear.

There are so many people online showing their kids doing ALL the activities, sitting quietly at the kitchen table in a classroom type scenario, diligently working and smiling as they carry on their schoolwork, led enthusiastically by Mum or Dad.

And while I take my hat off to these parents, I wonder…

I wonder if little Jacinatabelle didn’t huff “this is stoopid” under her breath just after the photo was snapped, or if little Gulliver-John didn’t have to be told to “just sit still for two minutes” before the snap was snapped.

I am NOT dismissing doing some work with them.

By all means, look at the list of suggested work sent by Lovely Teacher. Choose one or two items from it and tell them what he or she has said to do.

Let them do what they feel like doing and do not get your knickers in a twist if they (or you) don’t understand the task.

You do NOT have to recreate the school environment or classroom situation. You do not need to micromanage their learning. You are not a teacher. (And even if you are, you still have your classes to teach online.)

Yes, their minds need to be distracted and nourished, but reading a book or being read to, is just as effective. Let them make a jigsaw. Let them play a game. Let them help with chores. Let them play together with the toys that they never get a chance to look at from one end of the busy week to the other. Let them make a mess…then let them tidy it up.

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Messing up the hall but delighted with themselves

Our children are, like us, living through history.

Their brains are overwhelmed. They can sense our worry and by now, the novelty of not seeing their friends has probably worn off.

When they get back to school, whenever that may be, their teachers are fully capable and qualified to continue with their education.

They are not losing out by being off. They are simply missing out on normality and routine and external communication.

Give them those things.

Give them routine. Allocate an hour for school based activities. Allocate time for reading. Allocate time for outside play. And let them be bored. Let them figure out how to entertain themselves. Let them fight. Let them colour in. Let them watch some telly. Let them be kids.

But don’t put yourself under any more pressure than you already are.

And remember, most parents are now working from home and trying to balance everything more than ever:

🥺We’re trying to fit in 5 – 8 hours of our own jobs under new and stressful circumstances
🥺We’re trying to keep our businesses afloat
🥺We’re trying to adjust to all being in one space ALL day
🥺We’re trying to fit offices, classrooms, playtime and schooltime into one room and in many cases around one table.
🥺We don’t all have printers or money to stock up on activity boxes for our kids.
🥺We’re trying to care for our toddlers and babies at the same time.
🥺Many of us still have to GO to work
🥺We’re trying to not succumb to the guilt when we have to say “Mammy’s trying to work” or “Daddy’s busy” to the child who is used to us being off duty when they’re at home.

We’re all trying to keep swimming right now, so if the Wattsapp group is freaking you out because all of the other parents seem to have their shit together, mute it.

If the creative type you followed on Instagram for ideas is now stressing you out because she’s on activity 38 of the morning and you’re still trying to load the dishwasher and get them to make their beds, unfollow her.

If you don’t have a printer to print off all of the educational worksheets that Japonica down the road is proudly showing on snapchat, calm yourself. Japonica’s fridge is not that big. She’ll soon get bored…

If you don’t understand the work assigned to your children, that’s OK. It’s not YOUR work to understand.

Trust that the teachers will do a great job of picking up the pieces when this shitstorm is over. No one is falling behind. Everyone is in the same boat.

And if you are doing your best, and simply trust that as long as your children feel safe and loved right now, good for you.

You, my friend, are winning at life.
We’re all in unchartered waters; do what you must to keep swimming.

Go easy on yourself my Darlings.
You’re doing a better job than you think.

And as always, if you are managing todo all the everything and disagree with me, that’s perfectly wonderful too.

You do you Mammy.
Only YOU can do what’s right for YOUR kids.

M

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I am Safety First, Logic Later Mum

What Mammy sees vs What Daddy sees…

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Yesterday, we were exploring our beautiful county, as we love to do.

We were on beaches, we found the Boardwalk, we drove off the main roads and over mountains. And as we passed Loch Salt, Mammy said to Daddy “Let’s pull in and have a look over the Glen.”

Silly Mammy.

We got out, jacketed up and started to wander.

Himself and Mini-Me took off up the hill, their big long legs like deer, bouncing over the wild landscape.

Myself and Short-Bum had to move a bit more slowly, with her taking a bit more care on the uneven and new floor below her.

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Me and Princess

I looked up to see Himself and Mini-Me standing on the horizon, in the distance, FAR too far away from me for my liking.

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They weren’t as far away as it looks, but in my head? MILES!

From where I stood, it looked like they were on a cliff, standing perilously close to the edge of a sharp cliff which obviously, they were going to fall off… In reality, there was lots of ground around them and of course they were in absolutely NO danger, whatsoever.

Still, Mamma Bear felt that unwelcome surge of Mamma-Bear-dom where I needed to get closer.

“Hi Mammy, Look at us!” shouts Mini-Me.

“Hi Darling. Be careful!” singsongs Mammy

I am inwardly screaming “GETDOWN GETDOWNGETDOWNGETDOWN!” and wondering why many long years of marriage hasn’t yet qualified us for psychic abilities so he can hear me threatening in my brain “HUSBAND, I WILL KILL YOU IF YOU DON’T GET MY CHILD OFF THAT FECKING NON-CLIFF IMMEDIATELY!”

Instead, myself and Princess make our way over to them where yes, I can see and confirm that they are perfectly safe.  I even managed to stop my inner shaking to snap some truly beautiful photographs.

“OK it’s time to come down now!” says Me, hoping the panic and fear isn’t obvious to the girls.

“Not at all! Come up so you can see this properly” says Twat boy, clearly oblivious to the utter panic that, (for no real reason) is seeping through my pores.

“It’s time to come down please. NOW!” says Me. (Frantic eyebrows not being observed)

“Pass Princess up to me so I can let HER see!” says HIM.

ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? NOOOOOOOOOO! NOT HAPPENING. FECK OFF DADDY BEAR…

“No. She’s fine here with me thanks.”

It was bad enough watching the big girl up there, out of my reach.   I’m aware that I can not pass my dislike of heights on to my girls, so I can stay quiet knowing that she has a bit of sense and knows to stay close to Daddy, holding his hand and that she won’t go too close to the edge.

The Threenager who thinks she’s a Ninja however?  No.  She is not stepping even one inch away from me.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the exchange.  There may have been expletives and growls and a short argument about me being ridiculous and him being a twat, but soon, we started back down the mountain, both cubs perfectly safe and Mammy seething like a she-witch at Daddy’s inability to see what the problem was.

Yes, I WAS being completely irrational and completely ridiculous.

NO, of COURSE Daddy would never put them in any danger or in harm’s way.

They were both perfectly safe and in absolutely NO DANGER whatsoever.  They were with their Daddy, who would never let anything happen them.

But the long and the short of it is, I wasn’t comfortable with my babies being out of my reach.  I have an overactive imagination at the best of times. While he saw a fun opportunity for #makingmemories with his girls on top of a mountain, I saw a full on, slow-motion trauma play out, as my imagination foresaw them plummeting off said mountain in my mind.

I’m also a big believer in following your gut.

While things like this never usually bother me, (I’m quite adventurous usually and I encourage them to do things that I wouldn’t do) for some reason, yesterday, it did.  It didn’t only bother me.  It absolutely TERRIFIED me. I had genuine FEAR. And when a Mamma Bear gets THAT level of fear in her belly, she must act on it.

A few Mums replied to my instastory last night by sending me similar snaps of THEIR Hims with their minions in similar situations.  So it seems that it’s a thing? Maybe it’s confidence that Daddy knows he can protect them. Maybe it’s just logic and rationale. Maybe it’s just MEN!

But I don’t think it means that we’re cowards or silly or chicken or anything else.  I think that we are Mammas and we just see things a bit differently, especially when it comes to our wee cubs.

The journey home was quiet. 🙂 We got home safely and everyone had a wonderful day. But even looking at the snaps last night, I don’t feel like I over-reacted. Because keeping them safe is all that matters and if I have to throw an absolute strop on top of a mountain, indeed I shall.

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I cwimbed a mountain Daddy!

 

You is My Baby

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You is three.
You is clever.
You is strong.
You is beautiful.
You is brave.
You is kind.
You is sensitive.
You is stubborn.
You is headstrong.
You is frightening.
You is craycray.
You is scary.
You is manipulative.
You is powerful.
You is exhausting.
You is expensive.
You is strong … strangely strong.
You is hilarious.
You is cute.
You is a monster…


But you is OUR monster.

You is Me and your Daddy combined and we have no one to blame but ourselves. 😂😂

We is exasperated and we is proud and we is always behind you and your glittery wee wellies.

Go Baby, go.
You’ve got a world to change.

 

Sanctimammies Toddle On By

Sanctimammy

Noun – A Mammy who believes that her way of parenting is the correct and proper way; judging and dismissing other Mums who do not parent as she parents.

Adj – Sanctimammious     

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‘Live and Let live’ they say.  But once you dip your toe into the world of Parenthood, that seems to change for some people.  It becomes ‘Do as I do, Think as I think’. There is no area in our lives which can cause heightened levels of self-doubt and self-criticism as parenting.  And often, it is the outright self-righteousness and shared opinions of other parents which makes us doubt ourselves.

Have you ever been asked something about your child, only to have an eyebrow raised, or a lip pursed at your reply?  Have you ever been nervous of telling someone how YOU do things, because you know that they do it differently?

We all have.  We’ve all been there.

Parenting styles and beliefs and practices vary, not just in countries, or counties or communities, but within homes.  For twenty houses in an estate or on a road, there will be twenty different parenting styles happening at once. But here’s the thing.

Just because you do things differently, doesn’t make you better.

Just because you work AND have kids, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who is working her ass off at home.

Just because you’re able to stay at home with your Puking minion, doesn’t make you a better Mum than the Mum who had no choice but to leave hers with Granny, because she couldn’t get off work.

Just because you Breastfeed your baby, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who, for WHATEVER reason, has to (or choses to) Bottle feed. You don’t know why they can’t (or don’t) breast feed.  You don’t have to. It’s none of your business.

Just because you use organic, reusable nappies, you are not superior to the Mammy who stocks up on Packets.

Just because your Baby sleeps well, does not mean that the Mum who hasn’t slept for 14 months is less brilliant than you.

Just because you’ve decided to wean your Baby by the guidance of some book, feeding Quinoa and avocado and peppers, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who feeds her kid mashed potato and gravy, or (shock horror!) fishfingers and waffles.

Just because your little Japonica goes to 5 activities a week at 11 months old, does not make you a better Mum than Jacinta next door, who can just about leave the house to do the shopping, because her PND is so crippling that she can’t breath.

Just because you gave birth without drugs, in a calm and wonderful experience, does not make you a better Mum than the lady who has had 3 sections.

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Now, I am NOT saying that you shouldn’t make an effort to do what’s best and what’s healthy for your baby. What I am saying is that what YOU deem right and important, might not be the same as another Mum.  Our priorities are all different. And that’s OK

Every Mum does what SHE has to do for HER family. And the only person who knows what is right for your family is YOU.

You don’t know another Mum’s circumstance. You don’t know her. You don’t know if she’s happy, or watching you getting into your car to go to work, longing to be you.

You don’t know if she’s driving to work in tears because her Baby cried again as she was dropping him off.

You don’t know how many times a day the Mammy in the office feels a gutwrenching guilt at being away.

You don’t know how the Mum in her kitchen is longing for a conversation.

You don’t know how much the Mum who has to pay bills rather than pay for Baby swim classes longs to be able to sign her baby up.

You don’t know how much time and effort that Mum, looks fab at the school gate, took to just get out the door this morning because she cried all night.  

You don’t know how much the Mum who seems to have it all, wishes that she had something else.

You don’t know how much the Mum who is mixing up formula berates herself.

You don’t know Jack sh*t.

As long as your children are fed, and loved and looked after, you’re doing great.  

How we parent our children, is nobody’s business but our own.  And what other Mums think of your parenting, is absolutely none of YOUR business.  

And if you EVER hear yourself dismissing or tutting at another Mammy because she’s doing it differently to you, lift your hand, grab a wooden spoon and hit yourself a good hard slap on the arse with it.

No one likes a Sanctimammy.

I am Something that Babywipes Can’t Beat Mum

Mammy loves the Babywipes.

Every parent loves the Babywipes, don’t they?

We really should thank the Inventor of the Babywipes.
Apparently, the first Babywipe was invented in the 1950s and first produced by a company called Nice-Pak… Almost 70 years later, I’m sure that if the inventor of the Babywipes is still alive, he or she is rolling themselves in Babywipes every evening, breathing in the sweet, musky smell of their own genius.
So to them, (or to their ghost who is possibly reading this blog over someone’s shoulder😉), Thank you for the Babywipes.
Thank you from every Mammy in the world.

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When Babywipes were born,😂 Mammies everywhere sighed in relief and danced a little pee-inducing dance with utter joy and thrill that FINALLY, there was a handy, disposable, multi-use Mammy tool.
Indeed I am sure the the inventor of the Babywipe rubbed his or her happy hands together in glee when they realised that the Babywipes were going to become SOsought after, so cherished and so NECESSARY in the lives of parents EVERYWHERE.

Not only EVERYWHERE in the world, but EVERYWHERE in every parent’s world…the changing station, the baby bag, the handbag, the car, the office drawers…

Poo poo, Bum bum, Ching ching. 😂

Another unbelievable use for Babywipes is, believe or not, cleaning grease.  Have a layer of grease on the top of your kitchen cupboards or the mantle above your cooker?  You know that kind that no product can remove?  Get out the bumwipes and watch isdissolve in front of you.  I’m not even joking!

Babywipes can remove practically EVERYTHING!

But let me tell you ONE thing that the Babywipe inventors, and indeed the modern-day Babywipe producer omitted, and CONTINUE to omit, from their research and development.

 The one thing they UNDERESTIMATED…
Weetabix.

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Yes.  Another classic staple in every home.  How the fecking Babywipe makers HAVE NOT yet figured out HOW to remove digested Wheetabix from the peachy bottom of a wriggling Poopmonster is beyond me.

Have they not got edumacated sciency people formulating and developing the Babywipes in big sanitised laboratories somewhere near “Area Fiftybum”?

Do they not do fire tests and Delta force style strength tests  or use sandblasting to ensure that these mammy weapons are teflar-ly durable?

Are there not product testers who tick off the list of “Things the Babywipe can dissolve and remove”, like:

🌈pee pee ✔

🌈 baby spit ✔

🌈 yoghurt  ✔

🌈 mashed potato ✔

🌈 makeup ✔

🌈 ordinary, run of the mill Poonamis ✔

🌈digested blueberries…well…

🌈 Pooped out weetabix… NOOOOOOOOOOO.
How is Pooped out out Weetabix NOT the TOP of the list?
Have the product testers NEVER cleaned the nether-regions of a wobbler who has eaten an average of 2 of the cardboardy biscuits a day?
I wonder if the sciency people would like a “Test bummy” to try to figure out how to fix the babywipes so that they CLEAN AND REMOVE the shards of poo, as opposed to pushing them around the soggy bottom, like little grains of sand that love to simply ROLL over the skin, clinging it like feckin mini-leeches to shiny, smooth glass…
I can offer the services of a Poopmonster.

Do you think if we Mammies offered to help them to develop their technology further, could we call the research “The Big Bum Theory”?

I’m running out of bummy jokes and puns here. I didn’t have my Weetabix this morning, so I’m pretty wiped out…

Boom.  Or should that be Bum?

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