I am Someone Else Mum

Anyone else feel like their daughter hates them?

Ever consider that she genuinely was put on Earth to try every ounce and strand of your patience?

Have you ever genuinely wondered how you have fucked it all up so badly already?

Anyone else?

Please tell me that someone else goes to bed at night feeling useless and sad and guilty and wondering if it’s all in your head?  If the ACTUAL problem is YOU. Not her?

Well last night, this was me…

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I was in tears going to bed, having stood watching her sleeping, wondering what the hell I am doing wrong and where the hell to go for help. No matter how much The Him comforted me and told me I’m a great Mammy, I couldn’t believe him.  Obviously, if she’s misbehaving and playing up so badly, being so very mean to me and basically doing everything she can to get in trouble, then I must be doing everything wrong mustn’t I?

She’s challenging me. Screaming at me, being bossy and downright horrible if I’m honest.  I am not bothered by very many people. I am quite the sharp little Madame if truth be told, but my 5 year old can reduce me to a quivering wreck with one glance.

She’s a Mammy Ninja, whose mission should she choose to accept it is to destroy every strand of strength possessed by her arch enemy, which is apparently these days.

I awoke this morning, after very little sleep because of a certain bed invader who snored her curly wee head off all night,  promising myself that I wouldn’t shout. That I would remain calm. That we would have a good morning. And we did as it happens, but rather than be proud of myself or congratulate myself on being Supermammy, I drove to work suspicious of why there hadn’t been a row.  I’ve already accepted that Demon-bum will make me pay for it this evening. How fricken ridiculous right?

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And then, by pure chance, I bumped into the Mammy of one of her wee friends. She asked how Mini-Me was getting on and then proceeded to tell me that they are having a horrid time with her Mini, and are seriously considering getting “proper” help.  She’s  challenging them. Screaming at them, being bossy and downright horrible… and it sounded so wonderfully familiar that I nearly hugged the poor woman right there in the shop.

Should hearing that another Mum is going through a tough time with a misbehaving kiddy make me happy? Of course not, but can it make me feel better?  You’re darn right it can.  We didn’t have time to talk properly but have agreed to a coffee next week so we can discuss our little tyrants, sorry Darlings, properly.

I’ll still have to deal with some form of banshee this evening… and considering that The Him has just informed me that she has been up playing in the hall since 4am, it may be a very special level of crazy Baby that I have to deal with tonight, but hey…  As long as I know that it’s not just my Mini who is behaving this way, I think I can already deal with whatever she throws at me…

As always, it’s good to talk and it’s so very brilliant and wonderful when you realize that you are NOT the only Mammy going through something. I hope the other Mammy got the same joy out of my trouble with Mini-Me as I got out of hearing about hers!

#mammysquad #aproblemshared #allinthistogether

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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?

I am Sometimes Invisible Mum

“Get away from me with that camera”.

How many of you have said this? How many times have you said it?

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If you’re like me, you’ll have a smartphone that is permanently slow because it has eleventy squillion photographs on it.

And if you’re like me, you’ll have photographs of everyone and everything you love, but very few of yourself.  I’d say 75% of my pics are of the girls and The Him. 20% of utter nonsense like food and random selfies, and the last 5%, screenshots of great ideas and funny memes and dresses I will never buy.

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Apart from the silly selfies however, (and I say Silly because we usually have our tongues out or are pulling funny faces in them!), there are no photographs of me and my girls.

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I realised this when I had to send a photograph of myself with Mini-Me and Princess to a newspaper this week. I spent 20 minutes scrolling through my phone and in the end, had to message The Him to ask him if he had any on HIS phone.

But it got me thinking about Mammies and how so often, we end up invisible. We’re usually behind the camera. And if anyone suggests that we step into a photograph, 9 times out of 10 we’ll have some way of getting out of it:

“Not at all,”

“I don’t need to be in any pictures”

“Get that camera AWAY from me”

“I haven’t even brushed my hair”

“Look at the shape of me”

“Just snap them”

“Get AWAY with the camera”

“I look dreadful”

“Nah I’m grand here thanks!”

You could all add your own to this no doubt…

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We all do it.  And the result is going to be a million memories for our kids where the only part of Mammy in the pictures is her shadow or her hand holding the wobbly baby up.

But here’s the thing.  Our children don’t care about how Mammy looks, or if her hair is brushed, or if she looks knackered.   When they are older and looking through the millions of images of their childhoods, all they’ll care about is that we’re IN the pictures. And they won’t see the makeup or the neat hair, they’ll only see the love. They’ll only see the moment. They’ll only see Mammy.

 

So take that picture.

You’re gorgeous. Your kids don’t care what you look like. That’s all YOU. They think you’re perfect already.

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So shake off those insecurities and forget about the “shape of you”. Smile and let yourself be captured in the memories of your smartphones.

Jump into the shot if someone asks you to. Be more than just the shadow or the Invisible Mammy, because someday, these photographs will be so much more important than our shyness or insecurities.  They’ll be cherished and loved by our loved ones, more than we can ever imagine.

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Read more on The S-Mum’s website https://the-smum.com  or join the conversation on Facebook @the.s.mum

Read more on my Thoroughly Modern Mammy column on http://www.donegalwoman.ie

The S-Mum xx

 

I am She’s not quite getting it Mum

Mini-Me: Mammy, Did you know Uncle D and Aunty P gotted maawied FREE times?

Mammy: Three times? Why do you say that?

Mini-Me: Sure cos dey have FREE children. Dat means dey gotted maawied free times.

Me: Oh Really? (I’m pretty sure there’s nothung FREE about 3 kids!) And so how many times have Uncle C and Aunty B been married?

Mini-Me: Eh you KNOW dat? DEY have TWO children so TWO times like…

Me: And does that mean me and Daddy got married twice too?

Mini-Me: Yes. You and Daddy gotted maaaaawied twice. Once for me. Once for Fudge. (Her nickname for the littlest shitster 💖😆)

Me: Gosh I don’t remember getting married twice Daddy, do you?
(And I know I’d remember having had a new dress and fab shoes and another hen party… come to think of it, is it time to renew our vows yet? 😂😂)

He laughs. And then…

The Him: So do you have to get married EVERY TIME you get a new baby?

Mini-Me: Yup. (Smugness personified.. 🙃)

The Him: Did YOU know that your Granny M (The Queen Mother of all the world) had TEN Babies?

Mini-Me: 👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇

Speechless

That’s a WHOLE lot of weddings eh? And a WHOLE lot of dresses. 😘

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

#innocence #speechless

I am “Sense or Superstition?” Mum

“Don’t tell anyone until you’re past the 12 weeks”

This statement has begun to bother me.  Of course, there are many reasons for such traditional views as these.  It’s a social norm that couples are supposed to keep their big news to themselves until the 12 week mark, just incase.

Why? Well I honestly don’t know.  I suppose it was because the scan could determine that everything is OK so far and that there is actually a Baby in there.  And of course, there is the fact that most miscarriages (80% according to a reputable site for all things Babyful) happen before the 12 week mark.  

Maybe we SHOULD heed this advice.  Or maybe, like so many other aspects of pregnancy and parenting, we are holding ourselves ransom to old notions, afraid to break the norm…just incase.

When I was expecting Mini-Me, we did keep it to ourselves until we were 12 weeks.  I’ve grown up listening to this mantra and I accepted it to be “right”.  If it was good enough for every woman before me, it’s good enough for me.

 

While pregnant with Princess however, we found ourselves having to admit our “secret” at only 9 weeks, quite simply because I could no longer hide the bump or pass my belly off as having eaten too much.  I showed early and so I told early.  Older family members reacted identically…

“Oh congratulations guys! Great news! How far along are you? 9 weeks?” (raise eyebrows and inhale sharply)

“Jeepers you’re not safe yet. I wouldn’t be telling people yet.”

 

Yup.  Pop our bubble why don’t ye?!

 

Some of us CAN hide our little secrets better than others too.  Physically, some Mammies can get to 20+ weeks before the bump becomes obvious.  My 2 bumps appeared early. I managed to cover Mini-Me’s with flowy tops until 11 weeks.  Princess? From the second I peed on the stick, the belly bumped!

 

I tried and failed to hide it and eventually just told people. But for some reason, we think that by announcing a pregnancy early, we are tempting fate.  


Well here’s what I think about that.

 

At only 6 weeks pregnant, I had a scare with Princess. I then had to ring my parents/sister to come mind Mini-Me and inform them in one phone call that I was both pregnant (Yay!)…but maybe not for long.  Thankfully, it was only a scare, but had that scare ended in miscarriage, as so many do, who was I going to share my grief with? And why should a couple have to deal with such devastation alone? So many mums (and Dads) return to work only a few days later, and carry with them a sadness so great.  

 

It doesn’t matter how early it happens, a pregnancy is a pregnancy and a loss is a loss.  Is a lost baby any less your Baby? No. I don’t think so.  If you have begun to love the idea of the little person inside, your grief at 10 weeks is just as valid as the grief of someone who loses at 13 weeks.  But we’re expected to accept it and get on with it because it was early. And of course, some people can and do, but it must be allowed to be grieved and our Paddy Irish Way of keeping it quiet like a dirty little secret must change.  Why is miscarriage always hushed and whispered about? There is nothing shameful about it. Miscarriage IS a big deal, so why is it deemed something that shouldn’t be talked about?

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For most people, (and I say “most people” because let’s call a spade a spade, not everyone is happy to find out that they are expecting. It’s not all glows and Miracles and joyeous raptures but that’s a WHOLE different conversation), for most people, the second you find out you are pregnant, you are a Mammy and you begin to love. Getting to the 12 week mark is a relief of course.  But so is hitting 13 weeks and 14 weeks and so on. Every day is a relief.  But to think that you are safe after the 12 week mark is wrong.  Unfortunately, we all know this. A pregnancy can end at any time. Until your Baby is in your arms, there is no relief.  And even then, nothing is certain.

 

Now, of course there are many shaking their heads and tutting as they read this. “I wouldn’t be telling anyone before 12 weeks.”  That’s OK. I’m not saying that you should. I’m simply writing my OWN thoughts on it. I don’t assume to be right, but I do like to question things that Mammies and Daddies face.  I’m not asking you to agree, and if I were ever pregnant again, I don’t know WHEN I would announce it.  I don’t have to know.  There are no rules. There are no laws.

 

I’m not saying that hiding your pregnancy until 12 weeks is wrong.  It’s like EVERYTHING in pregnancy and Parenting.  Do what is right for you.  If you want to keep your happy news to yourself until you’re heading to the Labour ward, good for you.  You do just that. You don’t HAVE to announce anything.  

 

And if you want to sing it from the rooftops once you find out, DO!  

Your Body, Your call…

 

But we do need to stop letting our personal situations be dictated by old fashioned notions and remember that there are no rules.  Things like this are a personal choice.  If someone choses to tell you their happy news at 5 weeks, accept that that is their decision and don’t dismiss them because YOU wouldn’t tell so early.  And likewise, if someone keeps their news a secret until 20 weeks or later, that’s OK too.  Because unless it is YOUR BUMP, your opinion on when the news is announced, is really not that important.

 

I am She’s Punishing Me Mum

Smile and Nod.
Mammy must smile and nod…
Mammy is very good at the smiling and the nodding. 😆😶

“She’s the best girl. There’s not a bother with her.” 💕

Every day I hear this. And the lovely Ladybelles who say it, mean it 100%.❤
And I smile and I nod and I agree, but as I do, my inner Mammy voice is laughing.
She is laughing hard.
So very hard.

On the outside, I Smile and Nod…
What I’m THINKING however, is “Let me tell you, as a Mammy with previous experience of a “Street Angel, House Devil”, that while she is indeed being ‘the Best Girl’ and giving you ‘Not a bother’ here all day, she is simply saving all of her energy for the Wilderbeastial Demonic Darling that she will morph into when I get her into the car.” 😈

It begins with her luring Mammy into a false sense of security with her displays of excitement as she runs into my arms when I arrive to collect her. Cue “Ooooooohs” and “Aaaaaaaahs” from all with ovaries in the room. She hugs and kisses and answers “Uhhuuuuu” in her adorable little husky voice as I carry her little Koala Bear Butt 🐨to the car. I breathe her in and sniff her sticky hair and coo at her, knowing full well that I may enjoy it while it lasts. 😂

Once in the car (maybe even before I get her strapped in if she’s feeling particularly thick with Mammy), her demeanour changes. Sometimes, it’s gradual, building up as we approach home, revving up with every gear change. Sometimes it’s instantaneous, spontaneous combustion because I’ve looked at her wrong, or asked her a question, or you know, breathed.

It escalates with a simple “No”.
Not just an utterance of negativity or disagreement. A proper, teenage “NO”, complete with attitude and challenge. When the “NO” is accompanied by the furrow of the brows, we know we are entering the beginning of the tantrum. 😣

By the time we reach home, my excitement at the thought of an evening at home with my Baby has been replaced by a devastation of the reality that ONCE AGAIN, I have NO control over the moods of my minion. Any notions I had of a picture perfect evening of #Mammywins have been left at the creche. And once again I remember, that I have NO idea what the hell I am doing.
I am winging this Mammy craic, 100fricken%. I’m scrambling my brain for tricks and clever Mammyisms that might avert the direction of the storm that is brewing in the back seat.

I throw promises around like a Politician before an Election.
“We’re going to have pizza for tea!”
“NO!”
“Will we play jigsaws when we get home?”
“NO!”
“I can’t wait to get snuggles when we get home!”
“NO!”
and eventually (yes always) “Will we watch Peppa?”
(Hold breath…)

Princess “YEEEEEEAH!”
Mini-Me “Aw Maaaaaaaaaammy, not again!” (insert eye roll here)
Me “FML” (Probably under my breath. Maybe… Maybe SLIGHTLY audible. Bad Mammy.)😐😂

Parenting experts and friends with kids have explained to me many times in the past, that such behaviour is normal and that the child acting in such a manner is a “compliment” because she feels that she can finally release her frustrations and confusion at the world, in the arms of her favourite person. That I am her safe place and that it all means that she loves me.😶

SOME days, I buy this. Other days, I prefer to see it that she is a little wagon who actually HATES me and is determined to PUNISH her evil Mammy for abandoning her cute, bad-tempered little fudgeybutt to go to work. She sees me coming, smells the Mammy-guilt off me. After her initial “Oh there’s my Mammy” excitement, her mind goes straight to “Hang on a second. WHERE do you think YOU were all day Woman? Did you DARE to drink warm coffee and have adult conversations? Do you not know that YOU ARE MY SLAVE?” 😐

She has to fit 8 hours of reminding Mammy who is the BOSS, into a very short evening. And she must make sure that Mammy PAYS for leaving her at the Fablis and fun-filled creche, where she spends her days being loved and played with and fed and stimulated without the tellybox, and where she is the “best girl” and gives them all “not a bother”. She nevers bites or screams NOoooooooooooooo or kicks or throws custard or cries or scratches the lovely girls.

No,
She saves that for Mammy Bear.
Because she loves me and I am special.
And apparently because I am her safe place. 😍😆

Right now, she is playing with sudocrem…but she’s no longer screeching at me, so we’ll roll with it.

Smiles and nods. 😙

#fml
#mammyguilt
#yessheistheboss

I am Sad Mum

It’s here. It’s the end of the summer holidays and the night before Workmas. I’m a bit of a wreck today if I’m honest Ladies.

It’s as if Princess knows too. She’s climbed up on me for cuddles 43 times, and run to me to be lifted 83 times. It’s as if she has a sixth sense. Little skitter. 😅😣 And Mini-Me has been the PERFECT child today. Perfect. I shit you not. I didn’t have to raise my voice once today. She told me she loved me 3 times, did EVERYTHING I asked her to, AND she ASKED if she could dust the telly. (Now, this might have been because it hasn’t been cleaned in eleventy squillion months and she couldn’t SEE it, but I’ll take it.) 😅

I’ve spent the day organising wardrobes and drawers, because let’s be honest, it’s easier to get everyone out the door when you actually KNOW where clothes are. 😅(Is it bad that I sometimes consider going to Penneysbest and just BUYING new clothes for them instead of facing the pit that is my tiddilyday room? )

I stopped short of rearranging all the furniture in the house for two reasons:

1. I prefer to keep THAT trick for when The Him’s not expecting it. And today, he’s expecting it. He knows what I’m like!😈😈

2. I didn’t have time between all the laundry and cuddles.😣

I’ve loved being off with my girls.💖 The summer has been good to us. I have a heart full of memories and a phone full of photographs.

Yes, I hate the thought of dropping them off tomorrow and I’m dreading how long I’m going to be away from them each day, but don’t we all? 😥

Don’t get me wrong, a part of me is actually looking forward to going back to my other job, but after 2 years of being off or part-time, Me going back to work full-time is going to be a serious shock to everyone’s system. Has to be done though. It’s time to pull up the big girl knickers, dig out my teacher clothes and put on makeup every day again! (The thought of it!) 😣😣

But for tonight, I’m going to finish the summer with a large G&T and try to finally finish my blog post on our trip to NYC. I figure if I spend tonight looking back on summer, I don’t have to deal with it being over…until the morning!

Cheers Supermums xxx