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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I am Speed-Clean Queen Mum

Good evening, on this, the 83rd of January, 2018.
 
It is Sunday night once again. Mammy has a list of things she needs to do, but after running around the house for the past 90 minutes finding schoolbags, and lunchboxes and searching for the magical tie and parts of the uniform that get blown to the 4 corners of the earth on a Friday evening, Mammy is fit for NOTHING except parking her posterier on the sofa.
 
Mammy had some lovely friends over for an impromptu dinner last night. Mammy spent 45 minutes speed cleaning the rooms in which her lovely friends would be. It is amazing just how much Mammy can get done when faced with the thought of lovely friends coming to visit. (Not that lovely friends give a continental shite what state Mammy’s Layer of Love is in, but still.) And so Mammy managed to blitz the kitchen, tidy, move, clean bathrooms, mop floors and clean glass, all so that she could apologize for the “state of the place” when the lovely friends arrived.
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How ridonculous eh?
 
“Good evening Lovely Friends, please doooooo come in and look at how homely and coziful Mammy’s practically perfect in every way home is on this fine evening. I must apologize for the layer of love. Please do not judge Mammy for the mess of her candlelt kitchen… Woulds’t one likest some cucumber in one’s gin?
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Ready for catch ups

 
And of course the response from one of the lovely friends was “Yeah yeah. The place looks great. Shut up and start pouring.”
 
The evening was lovely until Princess decided to have her firt EVER nightmare just before 1am. The poor little cretur screamed so loudly that one of Lovely Friends almost spilled her cucumbery gin over herself. And so Mammy had to bid her lovely friends Adieu and take the High-temperatured, sweaty little shaking mess away from the “Bug Bear under me bed” and into our bed.
On the up side, The Him was happily left entertaining lovely friends AND HE did all the cleaning up of Mammy’s showhouse worthy kitchen before he went to bed. And so the remnants of the Heavenly Indian takeaway we had, were gone when I got up.
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Could lick the screen…

 
Fear not however my Mammies. The house is once again a mess and all pretentious notions have left Mammy. Mammy is back in reality, smiling at how quickly Mini-Me and Princess recreated their Layer of Love and glad to have such Lovely friends to speed-clean-for-them-to-not-notice anyway.
I am now ready for bed, hoping and praying that there is no bear or monster under Princess’s bed tonight.
Hope you had a lovely weekend and that you are ready for the last 38 days of January.
The S-Mum

I am Some New Year Mam-tras Mum

Happy New Year my Lovely Ladybelles.paper-3042645_960_720

By now, the trees are down and the house looks alarmingly bare.  It’s back to uniforms and routine and lunches and gymbags…and after 2 weeks of dreadful flus, no heating and general Cabin Fever, I for one am ready for normality.

I took my tree down on Saturday morning and very quickly realised just how DIRTY my house is.

There is a layer of dust, of handprints and of pawprints and of glitter on every surface in my home and I have decided to give it a new name:  it is my “Layer of Love”.

Giving it a nice name like that makes it easier to tolerate.  Clever eh?  I don’t feel so bad about the dirt now, when I consider that it was my own little munchkins who happily caused it.

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In the midst of the New Year’s Resolution BS of January, here are a few precepts or mantras that I intend to try harder to follow this year.  I’m not changing anything. I simply try to employ these in order to try to keep my sh*t together.

These would the Rules of Mammying if I were Queen of the World.

  1.  Embrace the Layer of Love.  Yes, our houses must be safe and generally clean, but handprints on the glass or dust on the TV aren’t really good reason to stress, are they?
  2. Let it go. The things that bother you? The people who annoy you? Are they really worth being bothered about?  If it’s outside of your own 4 walls, it’s not important.
  3. What people think of you, is none of your business.  If people don’t like you, it’s THEM who has the problem, not you.  Work on YOU liking you. Most important.
  4. Believe that you can.  Who says that you can’t?  Tell that committee of negative thoughts in your head to sit down and shut up.
  5. Stop Comparenting.  Comparenting is my new word.  It’s clever isn’t it? It’s when we compare our parenting to others.  And it’s never positive or productive, so stop it!

I’m not going to change in 2018.  I’m quite happy with who and how I am already thank you.  I manage (just about!) to keep it all between the ditches just fine as I am and I will simply try to keep implementing these ideas in my daily life.

Especially the Comparenting one.  I don’t care if Shaniqua’s Mum lets her sit in the front seat.  I don’t care if Tarquin’s Mum gives him Football Special in his lunch.  I don’t care if Jezzabell’s Dad brings her to every dance class going.  Good for them.

Parent for your kids, in your home.

I hope your layer of love is only beautiful after the holidays.

mum

 

I am So I’m a Career Mum (again)

Rejoice! Rejoice!

It is Friyay…the FIRST Friyay after a FULL week of school and work and routine. And we have all survived. (albeit just about, but survived we have.😂)
We may be frazzled and fooked Mammies, but still we must find the energy to REJOICE in the Fact that we have made it to the MOST wonderful evening of the week. 😆

This week, after two years of maternity leave, unpaid leave and jobsharing, I have finally dipped my toe back into the world of being a Full-time Mammy with a full-time Job. What have I learned? Nothing. But I have remembered MANY things; Things that I had battered down, suffocated and locked in a tattered old box at the back of the memory part of my subconscious, but which now bounce back to the forefront of my ridiculously tired little mind. 😐

Tired Children:

Tired children are cranky.
Tired children like to find a reason, ANY reason, to cry.
Tired children do not KNOW that they are tired.
Tired children refuse to admit that they are tired.😥
Tired children will bite one another.😠
Tired children do not like to go to their beds, regardless of how tired they are.
Tired children like to wake up at 2am and play with their toys, with the light on, noisily enough to waken everyone so that they have someone to tell that they are NOT tired.
Tired children do NOT like to get dressed in the morning.
Tired children do NOT like it when you bounce into their bedrooms at 7am singing “Good Morning, Good Moooooooorning!, opening curtains and declaring that it is time for school. (Especially the not tired children who have been up half the night playing with their fecking toys.😈)
Tired children like to say “No” and “No” and sometimes, “Noooooo!” to absolutely EVERYTHING that Tired Mammy asks or suggests.

And along with tired children, comes the Tired Mammy. But as well as being a tired Mammy, Mammy ALSO has to be SUPER-ORGANISED Mammy.
Mammy needs to keep on top of the fridge situation.
Mammy needs to pack lunchboxes and school bags and afterschool bags.
Mammy needs to remember the fecking HORROR that is HOMEWORK.
Mammy needs to think about dinners sooner than when she opens the fridge at 6pm.
Mammy needs to set her alarm to make sure she gets out of bed 30 minutes before everyone else if Mammy wants to pee, shower and have a coffee all by herself.
Mammy needs to be an intelligent and functioning adult.
Mammy needs to rid her brain of references to Peppa Pig and Andy and Bing because they are not relevant to Macbeth and teenagers do NOT respond well to them.
Mammy needs to try to keep the washing basket from puking and Mammy needs to arrange everyone’s clothes before bedtime.
Mammy needs to remain relatively Wifely and interesting enough to hold a brief conversation with Tired Daddy when he comes home from Jim.
And Mammy needs to get used to wearing stupid heels and muckup every single day. (I’ll last until the end of September…)
Mammy needs to cram all of the Mammying and playing and cuddling and scolding and fun into 3 hours in the evening, while being JUST as tired as her beloved Tired Children who are determined to PUNISH her tired ass for abandoning them in school and creche. (Even though they both LOVE where they go and actually CRY when they are collected.)
Mammy can not have grapes or gin during the week… 😛😛
Mammy struggles with balancing the Mammy guilt when she’s away from the girlies, and the urge to sell them on ETSY when she’s spent an hour being screamed at and cried at by her Tired Minions.

Mammy can’t win.

In conclusion. Mammy does INDEED need to rejoice that she has made it to Friday night, has the tired minions in bed, her feet up and the grapes poured. 😂And now Mammy needs all of her Lovely Supermums to say Hello and remind her of what I have been missing while abandoning you all this week while trying to keep 286 plates spinning without falling off her heels and onto her poor, muck-uped, Mammy-guilty face.

Cheers Bitcheepoos. xxx

I am Shopping & Obituaries Mum

(Read in the voice of Mr Donal K – him off the radio box.)

The death has taken place of Mr Hot Point and Mrs Dy Son at their home on S-Mumble Hill.

Mr Point died yesterday evening after a long illness. It was thought after 3 months of symptoms and complaining, that he was suffering from Man-flu and that he was indeed immortal. Turns out, not so much.

His wife, Mrs Dyson was so shocked by her husband’s passing that she died suddenly, only a few minutes later, in the arms of her loving housemaid, Mrs RU Fecking-Joking.

The Coroner, a very nice man called Mr Dom Appliances, sadly declared both dead early this morning, despite attempts to resuscitate Mrs Dy Son. They are survived by their aging son, Mr Dumble Drier, who won’t be long behind them by the looks of things.

Removal this evening, courtesy of Irwin’s Removal Lorry for deceased appliances.

No flowers please. Donations in lieu to the Support fund for Pissed off and Broke husbands, ℅ The Him. They say that things break in threes.

After the battering The Him’s bank account took this afternoon, I’d say THAT counts as number 3… And his wee broken heart is number 4, so we’re done!

On the bright side, I’m finally getting one of the fanciful hoovery yoks that stick on the wall. The Him shall have clean clothes and a spotless house, EVERY DAY from now on… well, until the novelty wears off.

RIP my Friends.