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

Christmas day is an early start with 2 very excited small boys…by 7am the stove is lighting and we are surrounded by discarded wrapping paper, Santa wraps here, he has even been known to wrap the door -but this year I’m trying to be more environmentally friendly so am thinking that I’ll use what I have left from last year but may change it up from 2020. We have visitors in our house as early as 7:30 and that’s the start of what our day looks like, people coming and going all day, but we generally don’t budge ourselves.

The husbag cooks a fry and while we’re cleaning up after breakfast we are also preparing for dinner, (you see a pattern?) We have 9 for dinner this year, and we share the work, my sister brings the staters and she and my mum bring desserts. After stuffing ourselves, we normally have Irish and calypso coffees. The evening sees more family members arrive so we play games, last year was 30 seconds, and generally ones that go We then hit the turkey sambos, cheese boards, more desserts, and obviously quality street. If you look through my window on Christmas day you’ll see a busy, noisy and very happy family enjoying my 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 baby, and 2, 3, 4 and 8 year olds 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 6 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

Dear Santa…

Dear Santa,

I hope that you and Mrs. Claus are well. I have been the bestest Mammy I could be, (most of the time), this year.

For Christmas, Mammy would like diamonds around my neck, a spa break and a big hug from a Fablis Chanel coat.
(Oh! And a book deal at long last would be nice too, but plenty time for that in 2020. 😜)

Mammy would also like:
🤶An uninterrupted shower
🎅To experience the joy of independent excretion on the porcelain throne…alone
🤶For the children to recognise Daddy as the other perfectly capable adult who can do things for them in our home.
🎅For some, even only a few, sentences to start with “Daddy” rather than “Mammy”, just for one day.
🤶A lie in.
🎅For all of the seasonal bugs and sniffles to bugger off for a week!
🤶For a laundry fairy to magic away the pile, just for a few hours

But, while all of these things would indeed be wonderful, Mammy must say Santa, that really, I need nothing.

As cliched and silly as it might sound, I have everything I want right in front of me. As much as I give out about the daily pains of being a “fulltime-everything-to-everyone”, I would’t have it any other way.

These two little minions are mine. They are my carbon copies; a perfect little mixture of myself and my Him. For all their tantrums and chaos, they are my world. They give their Daddy and I so much fun every day.

I’m glad I have their mucky little faces slabbering biscuits all over me, and their snottery noses to wipe. With each tantrum, I see two headstrong little girls who will change the world one smile at a time, and I know that they will be fine. Their arms around my neck are my diamonds.

And as for My Him? Yes I might give out that he spends too much time with our Jim, but that’s OK too. He’s the hardest working man I know, just like my own Daddy. I wouldn’t have him any other way. We lead crazy busy lives, but at the end of every hectic day, we come home to each other. He’s my big bad handsome man. He’s the only person in the world who knows me better than I know myself. He’s my Him and he’s the only hug I need this Christmas.

Uninterrupted showers are overrated. Soon enough, I shall have privacy in the bathroom once more. I will eventually find myself missing the fat little fingers against the glass.

The snots and sniffles and puking, thankfully, come and go. How blessed I am that they do. The tears and tantrums might be plentiful, but they are outweighed by smiles and giggles that make the world chuckle in unison.

And they can “Mammy” me as much as the want. That’s what I’m here for. That’s what I am.

So yes Santa, “things” would of course be nice, but as for getting me what I need? Don’t worry. I don’t need anything. In the midst of the mess and laundry and chaos and tears and noise and stresses, it turns out that when I think about it, I have everything I could ever want right here already.

Have a wonderful Christmas Santa.

Lots of love,
Mammy xx

Stop It.

Don’t.

Just Don’t.

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.

You do you Boo.

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 can I ask why people think it’s acceptable to write under someone’s FB or Instagram post of a photograph of themselves, such utter nonsense as “Oooooh is that a Baby Bump I see?” or “Am I seeing some news coming?” or “Is congratulations in order?”

THIS is PARTICULARLY not OK.People who write such twatwittery should be locked in a room with Boris and a can of hair gel and not allowed out until one or both of them understands Brexit.

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.

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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. And oh my Gosh, do they cut deep…

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. Paddle fast…

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.

 

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Simples.

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.

 

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