Happy Mother’s Day

From a Mammy on Mother’s Day

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

I love you each second of every day.

And even when sometimes I grumble and scold

I hope that you know that even if you’re being bold,

I trust you, I get you, I love you so much

I’ve loved you since the minute I first felt your touch,

(Whether at birth or first meeting, It matters not how

became your Mammy, I’m your Mammy now.)

My total existence revolves around you;

Your growth and your wellness, everything that you do.

I’m thinking about you, awake and asleep

And even if I’m not with you, please know that I keep

you so close in my heart and always on my mind.

You’re my reason for living, the reason I find

to get up on the mornings where there’s been no sleeping

to keep smiling and going, when I just feel like weeping.

But always, no matter how much I may struggle

The world can be fixed with just one little “cuggle”.

When I look at you sleeping, so pure and calm,

I love you with everything that I am.

I’ll push you, protect you and help you to grow,

I’ll make sure you know all the things you should know.

I’ll keep you as safe as I possibly can

I’ll make sure you know just how proud that I am

To be raising a child who’s so brilliant and clever

and to be your wee Mammy, forever and ever.

So how do I love you, let me count the ways.

Every day Darling, not just on Mother’s Day.”

To a Mammy on Mother’s Day

How to I love thee, well count I cannot,

But I don’t need my numbers to tell you a lot, 

I love you for reasons that do not need words,

For the fact that you’re mine since I came to this world.

Because you love me every day and each night,

When I’m being my best, or I’m giving you frights

I know that you sometimes are worried and scared

But you don’t let me see that, You’re too busy being there

When I need you for playtime or stories or songs,

When I call in the night, and you carry me long,

long into the hours where we should be asleep,

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When I hide from the monsters or cry or hurt deep.

When I eat all my dindins or throw it you

When I giggle and cry, when you’re covered in poo.

It really doesn’t matter what I do or I say,

You are my Mammy and I’ll simply love you always.

Much love to all the Mammies of any Babbies, all over the world.

The S-Mum xxxx

I am S is for Special – Happy World Down’s Syndrome Day

It’s World Downs Syndrome Day. ❤❤

It’s a day to celebrate the extra chromosome that makes some people just a little bit more special.
One of the first images I saw on Facebook today was of my good friend Lee Gooch’s handsome little man Noah.

And oh! How it melted my heart.

What an angelic, gorgeous and perfect little face.  There is mischief in those eyes.

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Photo with permission from Lee Gooch

This image, like all of the beautiful images on my Timelines today, melts my heart, not only because of the joy it shows, but also because of the memories it provokes in me.
Lee and his family are blessed.

I know this, because my family too were blessed. Actually, we still are.

A child with Downs Syndrome isn’t just their extra chromosome.

A child with Downs, is special.
Special in every sense of the word.
My own Aunty Carmel was special.
She was beautiful, mischievous and intelligent. She held more love in the tip of her finger than ANYONE I have ever known. She was witty, bold and an absolute rascal, loving nothing more than to get the craic going with whoever was visiting.

She loved to dress up, adored The Rose of Tralee and loved to dance.  Every single person who walked through the door of my Grandparents’ home, fell head over heels in love with her. She was the most head-strong, determined and fearless Ladybelle I’ve ever met.  She kept our family on our toes.


And she taught me many lessons.

The main one being that we are all different and that different is good.
I remember being in the Shopping Centre with her and my other Aunty when I was about 5.

Other kids were staring at Carmel. It was the first time I realised that she was different because I suddenly became aware of other people’s reactions to her.

Her reaction to one teenage boy who stopped to look at her? She stuck out her tongue at him, laughed her hearty laugh and waved at him mischievously as we pushed her past.😂😂
There and then, I was proud of her. Even at that young age, she taught me that you must NEVER let anyone bring you down, that you must be YOU, and that there IS no other You to be.
She was perfect.

She was the strongest woman I ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Carmel had no tolerance for nonsense, seeing the world without political correctness or prejudice. She also had no filter! (I take after her like that!)  She simply saw people.  She recognized and delighted in kindness. She had no time for people who were not kind.

She was more brave and more caring and more wonderful than I could ever put into words and I miss her every day.

She was indeed my Special Aunty, but for so many more reasons than her Downs Syndrome.

Special doesn’t even start to describe her or the love that she gave or more importantly, the love that she demanded.

Love.

Pure and true…

Like the love on wee Noah’s face in that photograph and every day.
A family who have been blessed with an extra chromosome, know a love that is beyond words.
So there.

We miss Carmel every day and she lives on in our hearts and in our memories. Knowing and loving her is responsible for so much of who I am today.
And I send my love and respect to every single family who are fighting every day for the rights of Downs Syndrome children, and who are helping to make people realise that the “S” in DS should not stand for “Syndrome”…

It stands for “Strong”.

It stands for “Smile”

…and it stands for Special.
#worlddownsyndromeday #smile #love #special

(Lee has given me permission to post this pic. Thanks Lovely. And kisses to Noah.)
Follow me on Facebook @the.s.mum and instagram @the.s.mum 

Seriously? Yes. Seriously!

So it seems this picture is doing the rounds again. I wrote a response to it a few years ago… it stands true!

Read the extract from 1950 Home Economics Book below. 👇👇👇👇👇

🙄Have Dinner Ready🙄

Plan ahead, even the night before, to have some sort of food in the house for your family, possibly including your husband, not because you have been thinking about him or give a continental shite about his needs, but because YOU need food so he might as well get fed too.

Most men are hungry when they get home, but most men are well able to get their own feckin dinner, and make you some while they’re at it.

🤨Prepare yourself🤨

Take a 15 minutes rest if you can. Or, sneeze so your eyes close briefly. Just make sure you remove the key from inside the front door so he doesn’t waken you with the doorbell as he lets himself into the house.
Your man should think you’re the prettiest thing he’s ever seen, even when you haven’t worn makeup for 5 days, stink like a badger’s arse and have forgotten what a razor looks like. If he suggests putting a ribbon in your hair or spraying perfume, threaten to bobbit him with said ribbon, spray the perfume in his eyes and use a pointy stiletto to give his day a little lift. Smile gayly while doing so. It’ll make his day more interesting and less boring.

😆Clear away the Clutter.😆

If you can make it from one end of the living room to the other without stepping on lego or tripping on a Paw Patrol weeble, your house is perfect. Tidying everything up before he gets home only leads to a false impression that the kids have NOT destroyed EVERYTHING on sight since 7am. Reality is good.
The messier the house, the more chance there is that He will run you a bath, or pour you a gin, realising what kind of afternoon/day you must have had with his Holy Terrors. Your Husband will probably not notice either way as he’ll be too busy answering very important emails or catching up on Bookface to give a crap. If he wants a haven of rest and order, he can just give you a hand to lift everything of the floor.
Equal rights and all that.

😑Prepare the Children😑
Do try to wash the children’s hands and faces, if only to avoid spaghetti bolognese stains on your duvets. Do not attempt to comb hair in the evening, unless you are really in the mood for a screaming match. Do not under any circumstances change their clothes. Feck that. You’re just creating more washing for your bottomless basket. Actually, remove their clothes before dinner and cover them in bin bags. You might even get another day out of their outfits if you’re really clever.

They are his little treasures, so let him play the part. Toddle off to the cinema with your mamma squad (or on your own!) and let Him do bath time and bedtime. Let’s see how much clutter has been lifted by the time you get home eh?

🤗Minimise all noise.🤗
Scrap this. Turn on all appliances before he arrives home, just to emphasise your absolute busy-mummy-ness, because unless he sees it being done, he often won’t realise it’s been done! Let the children scream and shout at each other, turn up the Tellybox and any other devices and do not attempt to hush them. Actually, if you are heading out shopping or to, like a sewing class, give them sugar before you leave. Greet him with a warm smile, be glad to see him and run out that fecking door as fast as your feet can carry you.

🤨Some Don’ts🤨
Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Wait until he is having his dinner and the kids are listening and casually remind him of what you’ve asked him 309 times to do already.
Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner. It’s him who’ll have to eat it cold, not you. Why give a hoot? Save complaints or ranting for after the kids have gone to bed, so you swear more effectively.
Men love a passionate woman who knows her mind. If his day can trump being covered in poonami, screamed at incessantly by a teething toddler or puked on 3 times, then in fairness, be nice. And then tell him he needs to change jobs.

😋Make him comfortable.😋
Indeed, wait until he’s comfortable before telling him the bin needs to go out. Stomp about screaming “Fine then I’ll do it myself!” until he gets up to do it… If you catch him lying down in the bedroom while there are still children at large, throw a cold drink over him and tell him it’ll be hot next time. Threaten to arrange the pillow on his face while he is sleeping if he doesn’t get up RIGHT NOW to help with bedtime. Speak in low, soothing, threatening tones.
It’s much more effective.

🤣Listen to him🤣
You may have a list of things to tell him. Write that list down so that you don’t forget all of the things, and then email, text and stick that list onto his forehead, before still having to repeat the same list tonorrow. Wait until he has his coat off, or better still, catch him on the toilet. He has no escape from there.

🤔Make the evening his🤔
Oh, Feck off 1950.

😄The Goal😄
Try to make your home a place where you can both manage to keep the children alive and teach them not to be completely feral and grumpy little shits, while (the odd time) having some down time together to remember that you actually do like each other.

Oh. And you can see why the man who wrote this was so anally retentive and ridiculous… there is no mention of SEX anywhere. 😂😂

Stop Asking THAT Question

I’ve written about this before but it seems that it’s like non parents parking in mother and baby spots or people feeling the need to comment on how your baby is fed; it doesn’t go away!

STOP ASKING PEOPLE when they’re going to start a family or going to ‘go again’.

I know people don’t mean any harm when they insist on telling you that you should “be going again” or “getting a move on”, and yet often, these innocently thrown statements can stab a couple through the heart.

Firstly, why do people think it’s OK to assume that everyone wants to have more Babies? Or actually, even A baby for that matter.  Many people make the conscious decision that parenthood is not for them; that they are quite fulfilled and happy as they are.

Then there are the people who, no sooner have you popped out little Charlie or Nancy, but they’re telling you it’s time to get working on Jeremiah or Jezebel.  Why, oh WHY, do people think that it’s OK to ASK why a couple aren’t “going for number 3″… or 4, or 8?

And as for the people who tease a newly married couple, or indeed ANY childless couple, about ‘getting a move on’, well that is just a whole other level of silly beggar.

Here are 6 reasons to NOT comment on a couple’s NON pregnant state:
1. It’s none of your business.

2. You don’t know their situation. You don’t know if they’ve had a miscarriage recently. People don’t generally go around announcing that do they? In fact, we good Irish still fall into the trap of thinking that we aren’t allowed to tell anyone until the sacred 12 week mark, and so when things go wrong, couples often have no one to share their grief or help them through it.

3. 1 in 6 Irish couples currently struggle with fertility. How do you know if the person you are innocently teasing about “going for another one” or “filling that big house” isn’t one of those couples? You don’t know if they’re trying EVERYTHING and being constantly heartbroken. You don’t know if she’s injecting herself daily, undergoing physical and emotional and mental turmoil to try to help matters. You don’t know if he’s struggling with the fact that his sperm count is low. You don’t know if they’ve put every penny they have (and don’t have) into rounds of treatment, over and over again. You don’t know how deep your playful, well-intentioned words can cut.

4. Not EVERY couple WANTS to have a baby, or another Baby. For their own reasons. That they don’t have to explain to you.  And when a couple tells you that they’re all done or quite happy with their lot thank you, do not raise your eyebrow in a smug and all-knowing, “we’ll see” or tut at their ‘nonsense’.  You’re in murky waters now and you need to paddle back Dear.

5. Maybe that couple are in the process of adoption, or surrogacy. Maybe that couple are at breaking point, physically and emotionally and maybe…

6. …it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

Of course people mean no harm when we joke about “filling that big car” or “getting a wee brother for Nancy”, but like all things Parent related, innocent comments and harmless questions can cut through people like a bolt of lightning. We shouldn’t comment. End of.

So next time you find yourself about to joke or jest or ask someone about the state of their baby situation, consider this:  If they asked you about the state or your uterus, or indeed your sperm situation, how would you feel? Would you be comfortable if that person sighed and answered with “Well actually, we’re on our third round of IVF and we’re emotionally and physically exhausted and I’d love to tell you about it”?  Or if they said, “Well actually, we’ve had three miscarriages in the last 18 months” or “Well no, becuase we’re pretty sure we won’t be together this time next year.” If you would be able to deal with those answers, you possibly know the person well enough to know not to ask anyway.

If not, don’t ask and don’t comment.

Simples.

 

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

A snapshot into my Christmas day is a ridiculously early start, and pure carnage from the off…by 7am the stove is lighting and we are surrounded by discarded wrapping paper (yes, Santa wraps here, he has even been known to wrap the door!) We have had visitors in our house as early as 7:30 and that’s the start of what our day looks like – grand central station springs to mind. The husbag cooks a big dirty fry and while we’re cleaning up after breakfast we are also preparing for dinner (Christmas = food yes?) We have 9 for dinner this year, (has been up to 15) and it’s a combined effort. After stuffing ourselves stupid, we have copious amounts of alcohol and play games, the favourites have been pie-face, headbands, and speak-out! Generally if you look through my window on Christmas day you’ll see a manic but very happy family enjoying mum’s 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 2, 3, 4 and 8 year old 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 5 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