I am She asks the Best Questions Mum

When a 6 year old asks you a question, sometimes, it makes us think. We begin by explaining it to her in the simplest terms possible, and in doing so, sometimes we realise that what we’re explaining, ISN’T as complicated as we grownups like to think it is...

“What is a Bully Mammy?”

“Erm…A bully is someone who needs to make others feel bad to feel good.”

“That’s not very nice Mammy.”

“No it isn’t.”

“Are bullies not very nice?”

“Well some bullies are nice but they’re just a wee bit sad.”

“Why are they sad?”

“I don’t know pet. Some Bullies don’t even know that they’re sad or angry. But they are and so if you are happy or excited, they don’t like it because it makes them feel more angry and sad. And so they think they should stop you from being happy so that they can feel happy.”

“That sounds silly Mammy.”

“Yes. Yes it does.” (Actually Darling. It sounds utterly ridiculous…)

“Why can’t they just be nice?”

“I don’t know Honey. Sometimes they can be nice, they can even pretend to be nice when they’re not really.” (And they’re the ones you need to watch…)

“Why?”

“Because it makes them feel better about themselves.”

“That’s just stupid.”

“Yes. Yes it is.”

“What’s their problem like?”

“I don’t know pet. But remember that if someone doesn’t like you or is being mean to you, it’s not your problem. It’s their problem…”

And there, just like that, I have turned into my father.

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“Remember who has the problem Darling” he has always said. And do you know what? As usual, he was and is right.

Whether you’re 5 years old in a playground, or 16 years old in a locker room, or 23 years old in a flat-share, or 32 years old in a staffroom, or 43 years old in an office, or 56 years old in a committee meeting, or 67 years old in a group or club… or 87 years old at the bingo, other people will sometimes have issues with you.

Other people will always have problems. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. You don’t have to be.

But remembering that the issue or problem is THEIRS, not yours, helps.

I hate that I can’t protect her or her sister from Bullies. I hate that I won’t be beside her everywhere to show her the false smiles or to point out the ulterior motives of some people. It makes me sick that she might ever feel how I did for many many years in secondary school.

But while I can’t be there and she will of course have to deal with other people’s “problems”, I CAN and I will arm her with the understanding that she is in control of one thing.

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She is in control of HER. Of HER feelings and HER self-worth and HER behaviour. And while she will make mistakes and poor judgement and absolute feck-ups, by God I hope that she will always be kind to others.

She will applaud them for their achievements rather than resent them for her failures.

She will congratulate her teammates even if she lost the game.

She will not put people down for being different.

She will not allow others to put someone else down in her company.

She will recognise that if someone else’s success annoys her, that it’s HER who has the problem, not them and by being bitter, she is gaining nothing but her own downfall.

Other people hold up a big mirror to us.

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The person who gets to go on 3 holidays a year, reminds us that we don’t.

The person who wins, reminds us that we haven’t.

The person who has lost weight/bought a car/gotten married/been promoted/changed jobs etc., often highlights to us that we want something and haven’t yet got it.

Rather than belittling them for it or being angry at them, try realising that if you really wanted it, you would have it. If you really want to make something happen, who’s stopping you? Because surprisingly enough, it isn’t THEM who has the problem is it?

Bullies are to be pitied. Many don’t even realize that they do it. Many would be broke to the bone to think that their behaviour or comments have upset you.

But then, there are others who wouldn’t give a shit. And they are not worth your energy.

Remember who has the problem. If it’s you, that’s your problem. If it’s not you, why are you wasting your energy worrying about it?

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I am She Hates Me Apparently Mum

“I hate you Mammy”

Ok, well I haven’t quite heard that one yet, but it’s coming.   However, I do hear “You are the WORST Mammy EVER!” at least once a week.  I reckon we’re building up to the H-bomb…

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“I HAAAAATE YOU!”

My answer to her when she screams at me is usually “I love you too”, or “Why thank you very much.”

What I want to say is this:

“My Darling Daughter,

No Sweetheart.  I am not the “worst Mammy ever”.

OK, I might be crap sometimes; I might shout and scold and sometimes I scream so loudly that I wonder if the neighbours aren’t putting on their shoes or finding their coats in fear; but this does not make me the worst Mammy.  

OK, I might put awful food in front of you, like soup or vegetables, but just because you would prefer colourless Freezer food doesn’t make me the worst Mammy.  Sometimes Mammy doesn’t have the time or energy to cook 3 different dinners and do you know what? Sometimes, you’ll just have to eat what’s given to you.

OK, sometimes Mammy says no.  “NO”.  One little word that frequently ruins your little day. This is something you might have learned to get over by the time you turn 26.  I’m not going to give you everything you want, when you want it.  I am going to make you help me to unload the dishwasher, or pick up your dirty clothes, or tidy your toys.  Not because you are my “Servant” as you so frequently tell me, but because I don’t want you to grow up being a useless and entitled cretur who expects the world to owe them something.  I will teach you what my parents taught me.  You want something? You work for it.  You try and you fail and you try again.  You are entitled to nothing. Harsh? Now maybe, but when you’re older, you’ll get it…along with a job as soon as you’re able to get one.  

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One loaded little word…

OK, Mammy might be bad when she doesn’t always do what you want.  When she doesn’t give you your way. When she turns off the TV or tells you you’ve had enough chocolate. When she doesn’t allow you to be completely in charge of the house and our day and the mood in our home. Because sometimes, we have places to go, or Mammy has work to do and while these things might interfere with your colouring or PJ Mask binge, they have to happen and it’s nothing personal my Darling. 

But even when you are determined that Mammy is indeed the “Worst Mammy ever”, you don’t REALLY think I am.  No. Of course you don’t.  You probably think that Mammy is a royal pain in the ass and you’re angry and frustrated that you’re not getting your way.  

Life’s a bitch.  Mammy isn’t.  It’s just my job to prepare you for it. All you see is Mammy blocking or ruining your fun.  But that doesn’t make me the worst Mammy ever.  It just makes me a Mammy.

And when I’m doing all of these annoying and frustrating things that are driving your little emotions to a new level of anger and tantrums, it’s not because you’re bold and really hate me, it’s because you don’t yet have the logic or words required to make sense of them.  And that’s OK. Sometimes Mammy doesn’t have the words or the logic to figure out how she feels either.

 I could say all of this until I am blue in the exhausted face and you’ll still only see that I turned off the telly, or that I didn’t buy Coco Pops… because you’re 5. (and a half and three quarters).    But someday, (probably when you have your own minions and find yourself saying No more times a day than you blink), you’ll get it. And you’ll understand why sometimes, being the worst Mammy in the World makes you the best Mammy in the world…and it’s the hardest thing to do.

Because as long as when I say “No” and you say “You’re the worst Mammy ever”, we both know that underneath the snarls and snots, we are really saying “I love you”, then you keep shouting. And I’ll keep saying “No”. (Most of the time.)”

Giving in would be much easier.  But I won’t have you being brought up thinking that you are the centre of a world which owes you everything you want.  Yes you are the centre of mine.  Yes, you can have whatever you want, but only with hard work and determination and resilience.  And to learn these fading life-skills, (and trust me Darling, they are fading), you have to learn the word “NO”.

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It’s because I love you…

Because if you don’t hear it at home, where you ARE the most important person in the world, how will you cope when you hear it in real life, where you aren’t?

To you, I might be the worst Mammy in the world, but to me, you are the best daughter, so I guess we balance it out nicely eh?”

I love you, 

Mammy xxxx

 

 

I am Slow Down, I’m Not Ready Mum

Mammy is not dealing with the speed at which Mini-Me is growing up.

Daddy is not helping.

So yesterday, we went for Sunday Lunch; partially because we were celebrating Mammy being home from the school tour, but mostly because the fridge I’d stocked up before leaving was miserably empty. This and Mammy’s absolute exhaustion, coupled with Daddy having had to do all the everything for himself and the girls for 3 whole days, meant that no one argued when I suggested going out for lunch.

So off we toddled to the Inishowen Gateway Hotel. (This is where we had our wedding and we love taking the girls into the big ballroom. There’s something quite lovely about watching them dancing on the floor we had our first dance on. Aw.)

We finished our lunch and Mini-Me asked if I’d take her to get icecream.  I was just about to get up when The Him lifted her up, pointed at the dessert table… on the OPPOSITE side of the fricken ballroom and started to give her instructions on what to do and what to ask for… All the while, Gombeen Mammy here is trying to interrupt with “I’ll take her…” “Sure I’ll go with…” and “Mammy will take you…”  and each time, The Him shushes me and continues giving his instructions.

Her face is one of excitement. His is one of divilment and amusement. Mine is one of pure and utter terror, or at least that’s what he tells me as Mini-Me flounces off through the mahoosive ballroom.

ALL BY HERSELF…

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So far away, on the other side of the ballroom.

Mammies.

I’m not sure what comes over me.   I can’t breath.

I watch her charging off, full of determination and confidence.  I turn my steely, one eyebrowed gaze at The Him. I can’t speak but obviously he understands my thoughts.

“What have you just done?” hisses Mammy.

“She’s almost 6 years old and it’s quiet.  We can see her and she’s perfectly capable of asking for icecream herself.” laughs Him. He is enjoying this just a little too much.

“But. but. but…”  I must look like a goldfish.

“But what?” He’s laughing by now.

But nothing.  I couldn’t answer.   What was wrong with me? Why did watching my healthy happy little dictator bouncing off towards an icecream table all by herself make me want to scream? I wanted to leap up and run after her.  I’m pretty sure The Him was poised and ready to rugby tackle me to the ground if I had however.

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Look at that wee face.

I watched. She stepped into the queue, waited her turn, stepped up to the table and obviously communicated her request in perfectly acceptable English, as next thing, she came stroming back to the table with a HUGE bowl of icecream, marshmallows, smarties and a flake!  And a smile of self achievement and pride and joy that no amount of Mammy handing her icecream could have given her.

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Happiness is…

And I sighed a sigh of relief that she had returned the whole way from the other side of the room all by herself.  Yes.  I am a Turbotwat.

Am I barmy ladies? I mean, I don’t think I ‘mollie-coddle’ her. If anything, I’m probably too hard on her. She doesn’t get everything done for her.  She has chores to do at home. She is expected to behave a certain way.  I try to encourage independence and initiative and to ensure she doesn’t end up an entitled little fart, but yesterday taught me 3 things.

  1. I’m only happy for her to be independent on my terms, when I say so.
  2. She’s well able and I need to wise up!
  3. My Him is a Devil.

And it reminded me of something too.  She’s getting way too big, way too fast  and I am not ready for it.  I’m not able for the fact that she doesn’t need me to do everything for her. And even though Mammies spend our time longing for when they can do stuff for themselves, when we suddenly realize that they CAN do things for themselves, it’s quite the shock.

I have a feeling that I’ll still feel like this when she’s 27 and I’m watching her go through the crowd of a Ballroom all by herself. But by then, I suppose she’ll be going to the bar to get Mammy a gin won’t she?

Probably, but hey, she’ll be well able by then, won’t she?

What was your “Stop it, I’m not ready” moment?