Derry Journal Features The S-Mum Blog

I was very grateful to Laura and the team at The Derry Journal for running a feature on myself and my Blog last week.

Thank you so much guys.  You can read it here  … or scroll on.

Best Parenting Blog 2018

FEATURE: The S-Mum – ‘If my posts make a parent feel ‘normal’ or better about themselves, good’

by LAURA GLENN

In a social media world, where bad days and negative moments can be expertly edited out, there has been a rise in people who want to ‘tell it like it is.’

Newtowncunningham’s Maria Rushe is one of those people – whose refreshing honesty and humour on her ‘The S-Mum blog’ recently won her a prestigious award.

Maria is mum to two daughters, is Head of English in Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny, and alongside writing her blog, helps run the family business, Rushe Fitness, with her husband, Emmet. She is also Director of Letterkenny Musical Society and describes herself as a ‘foodie and fitness fan’ and a ‘pretty optimistic person.’

She’s a busy woman, but her love of writing and desire to reach out to other mothers and fathers across the North West drives her forward. It is something she does well, as evidenced by her win at the Boots Family Maternity and Infant Awards, where she beat off stiff competition from bloggers across the country to win ‘Best Parenting Blog.’

Speaking to the Journal, Maria revealed she was ‘gobsmacked’ when she was announced as winner. She said: “I made it to the final last year and honestly expected them to tell me it was a mistake and turn me away at the door. To make the final this year again was incredible. I was among my own favourite bloggers, many of whom have a massive following. When my name was called out, you could have knocked me over with a nappy! It really was the best feeling and it was so wonderful to have my followers’ support. And it’s wonderful to have my writing celebrated.”

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Maria with the other finalist at the M&I awards last month

Maria had always wanted to write and in 2015, when editing her friend Liam Porter’s book of poetry, she voiced this to him.

He “threw her words” back at her, asking: “What’s stopping you?” “He was right,” said Maria. “I always tell my students to write what they know. At the time, I had a three year old daughter. I was a busy Mum, so I started writing about being a Mum. The idea for the S-Mum came from a conversation with another Mum where she joked about not being a Supermum. The S stands for something different in every post; Sobbing Mum, Suncream Mum, Silly Mum, Sh*tty Mum…and sometimes Super!”

Maria told how the blog began as ‘Secrets of S-Mum’ and was anonymous. But, when people began to figure out her identity, it became ‘The S-Mum.’ The blog is now four and Maria has another little girl, “so there’s plenty of inspiration.”

On the blog, she calls the girls ‘Mini-Me and Princess’ and her husband is ‘The Him.’ The blog is “mostly based on reality, but sometimes fictional or inspired by conversations.”

On ‘The S-Mum,’ Maria tells of day-to-day life as a mammy, showing both the “highs and the lows.” She stressed how it is important “we don’t fall into the trap of portraying parenthood as 24/7 hell” but it is also “so, so,so,so important” to represent real life, outside the Instagram and social media posts which depict it as “100% perfect.”

She said: “ I think that for years we were bombarded by images on TV and adverts of calm, shiny, polished and smiling Mums who were in control of everything and who made it look easy. And while parenting is indeed wonderful and it’s a gift and it’s something that parents do of course cherish and enjoy, sometimes it is hard.

Sometimes, life is difficult. Sometimes, parents are simply tired and tested. Because being a parent is hard. It is absolutely the most difficult job in the world; no training, no handbook and no boss to guide you. The fear and worry and terror that accompanies that joy, is overwhelming for everyone.

And that is OK.

“Social Media platforms do still show Instamums; the glossy and edited versions of family life. That will never go away. And there is little wrong with it as long as we can recognise what’s real and what’s not. If you find that a certain account is making you feel any negativity about your parenting, unfollow them.

Behind every perfect ‘Instamum’ image is a tantrum or tears or another 32 shots to choose. It’s not real life. “I show both. I show the highs and joys. But I also show the realities; the fears, the struggles, the tears and the pressures.

I include a lot of humour too, which really isn’t hard as my life is a comedy most days. That’s what Mums and Dads enjoy. They see someone else dealing with the daily realities of being a busy parent. If my posts make a parent feel ‘normal’ or better about themselves, good.”

Maria also promotes positive mental health, something around which “great discussions are happening.” She told how she also personally enjoys how more fathers are becoming vocal about their parenting roles, too. She said: “For so many years, Dads have been seen as the ‘other’ parent. Everyone’s circumstance is different obviously, but there are many incredible Dads around and they are as much parents as Mums. I like that the notion of Daddy’s ‘babysitting’ is being challenged.”

She added: “The conversation around maternal mental health (and all mental health) is wonderful and must continue. Parents need to be able to say when they’re not OK and to know where to go for help if it’s needed. There are so many wonderful services and supports available.”

Another aspect of parenting is that no two people parent the same and there will always be someone who disagrees with the way you raise your child. But, as Maria said: “People will always judge, but thankfully, their opinion is not a fact.” She added: “The fact is that if you are doing your best and what you feel is right for your family, that’s good enough.

How other people parent is none of your business. Parenting is hard. But it’s also wonderful and rewarding and fun…sometimes.”

Maria is currently compiling her favourite ‘The S-Mum’ posts into book form. She revealed: “It’s called ‘The Mammy Memoirs’ and is based on my tagline ‘Being Mammy, Being Me.’ It very much attempts to bust the ‘InstaMummy’ notions and advocates that fact that while we are Mums, we can and should still be ourselves.”

She concluded: “The Blog will continue as it is. It’s my hobby; one of my creative outlets and it’s therapy for me to write! It’s not my full-time job and so I don’t feel under pressure to please people or companies. I’m also able to fully control what goes onto it. I say what I want, in my own style and if people read, I am grateful. They don’t have to agree. I do collaborations, but only if they fit my family and my followers. I’ll write until I have nothing left to say.”

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I am Sliabh Liag Mum

Happy Easter Ladybelles.

Hope the sugar highs weren’t too manic and that the sugar crashes were tolerable!

We headed off to the beautiful Sliabh Liag today. Unbelievably, neither of us have EVER been and us living in Donegal our whole lives!? How? No idea but we’re so glad we have finally ticked it off our list.

It’s absolutely stunning. So beautiful. Our girls are a bit young yet to be walking it so we’re planning a trip back this summer with our #Rushefitness family to attempt the trek up to the top. 😎

Then we went to Walton Mountain for a wee egg hunt. Great fun! And Granny fed us which was great as Dumbass here forgot to put the roast in the Slowcooker this morning. 😜

Girls are in bed at last. Bond is on the TellyBox and there’s s bottle of bubbles almost chilled in the fridge. 🥂

Hope we all had a fablis day.

Xxx

I am Some Mammy Poppins Hacks Mum

So we have survived the first week of normality and reality with everyone back to School, Childcare and work. I don’t know how you other Mammies are feeling this morning, but I for one am exhaustipated. Even though the girls have been up around 7am most mornings over the summer, suddenly having to have everyone out the door, fully dressed and even partially fed, has been a challenge.

It will take a few weeks to get back into the swing of it, but here are a few things that I did this week which helped, if only a little bit.

  1. Meal plan: I did out a plan for the week of what meals we’d be eating and then based the shopping list on what I needed for these. Mini-Me’s lunch tends to be the same every day, so that is handy and I’ll get back into the habit of making extra dinner for me to have as lunch the next day too. It’s now Sunday morning and the list worked so well, that there is NOTHING left in the fridge and so we might just have to go out for Brunch.

2. All hail the Slowcooker: Unfortunately, with The Him and Jim working 482 hours per week, family dinners are only a weekend thing here, so yes I usually end up cooking twice a day. When I’m off, this is not a problem, but now back at work, where you have to condense your whole day into 2 hours, it becomes one. And so my trusty slowcooker will be returned to regular use.

3. Get up early: Yeah yeah, cliched I know, but it is so true. I’m an early bird; not because I like getting out of bed. No. I LOVE my bed. But I also love having an uninterrupted shower and a full hot cup of coffee. If I’m not up at least 40 minutes before the girls, morning melts into mayhem. But if I can be up, washed, caffeinated, muck-uped and have the lunches packed BEFORE the babylink starts to flash, things are a whole lot more peaceful. If all I have to do is to focus on getting THEM ready, we can do it with a LOT less stress than if we all fall out of bed at the same time.

  1. Daily Drawers: I introduced this little trick when Mini-Me was in Naionra and it’s working a treat again already. I bought this stack of drawers and labeled the front. Every Sunday, I put clean pants and socks into the drawers. Her PE gear goes into the day she has PE and her shoes go into the bottom drawer every evening when she takes them off and the uniform hangs beside it. She loves it and it means we don’t have the “Wherethefeckareyourshoesforgodssakewewillbelate” debachle every morning! It’s also great for encouraging them to dress themselves.

5. Clean on a Thursday night: Since I have been working, even before I had the girls, I have always tried to be in the habit of cleaning on a Thursday. I do whatever washing needs done, clean the bathrooms, hoover and mop, and give the kitchen a once over. It means that when we get home on a Friday evening, the house is more pleasant than usual. And while the breakfast dishes and mess from Friday morning might be waiting for us, the house itself is generally clean and so apart from throwing uniforms and work clothes in the machine on Friday night, Mammy can focus on important things when they go to bed on Friday night… like what I’m going to watch and whether I want red or white!

Now, do NOT get me wrong. Mary Poppins I am not, but these are 5 things that are GENERALLY easy to turn into habits. Apart from the odd week, I’ll manage to maintain most of these goals and therefore, most of my sanity!

If you have any other tricks of #parentingwin hacks, please share them in the comments.

I am So in the Doghouse Mum

Mammy is in the dog house.

This morning, Princess hung off my neck, suspicious of the proper clothes Mammy was wearing. She took one look at my outfit and muckuped face and refused point blank to be removed from my trunk. The Him eventually pried the little fart off me. Think starfish stuck to the side of a fish tank… every time he peeled one limb from my neck, the other one suctioned itself back on. It took physical force and bribery with banana and Peppa Pig to get her off me long enough for me to find a shoe which was NOT a trainer, to match my not-a-tracksuit outfit. 😂

I dropped her to playschool, quite a bit more calm and relaxed than I had envisioned if I’m honest. And then I toddled off to my other job. I rather enjoyed the uninterrupted conversation and absence of Mr Feckin Tumble for a few hours and then drove happily home, excited to see my little cherubs.

Mammy was certain that after this morning’s displays of affection, that my Darlings would be DELIGHTED to welcome me home. They would run into my arms, unanimously squealing “Welcome home Mammy Darling!” and “Oh how we MISSED you.”

“Oh what a twat you are Mammy” more like… 😅

Mini-Me DID declare her general satisfaction that I had arrived home, until she remembered that my return meant HER REMOVAL from Granny Dearest’s, so she decided to put on her Wench-from-hell persona until bedtime. Princess? She IGNORED me. She IGNORED and SHUNNED me, to the point that EVERYONE in Granny Dearest’s got hugs and full-on mouth slabber kisses… everyone EXCEPT MAMMY. Mammy got run past, hissed at and glared at. Oh and did I mention, IGNORED?

This 👆👆👆 is what I saw everytime I spoke to her this evening. She only forgot she was ignoring me at bedtime when she realised that the only thing between her and her milk, was Mammy. She begrudgingly climbed up on my knee and drank her milk.

Then JUST to ensure that I didn’t mistake her sitting on my knee as weakness or forgiveness, she looked up at me and proceeded to tip the end of the glass of milk onto the floor, watching me the whole time with one little half-grown eyebrow raised. “Go ahead and scold me then woman.

Just you TRY it” taunted the other eyebrow. 😈

Wagon.😂

So there. I spent quite a portion of today fighting the Mammy Guilt of having abandoned my poor helpless children… And the other portion being beautifully punished for it. 😂😂

How was your day? Any school starting Mammies? How did you get on/How are you feeling? 😙😙😙