I am Sick of Sanctimammies Mum

Sanctimammy

Noun – A Mammy who believes that her way of parenting is the correct and proper way; judging and dismissing other Mums who do not parent as she parents.

Adj – Sanctimammious     

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‘Live and Let live’ they say.  But once you dip your toe into the world of Parenthood, that seems to change for some people.  It becomes ‘Do as I do, Think as I think’. There is no area in our lives which can cause heightened levels of self-doubt and self-criticism as parenting.  And often, it is the outright self-righteousness and shared opinions of other parents which makes us doubt ourselves.

Have you ever been asked something about your child, only to have an eyebrow raised, or a lip pursed at your reply?  Have you ever been nervous of telling someone how YOU do things, because you know that they do it differently?

We all have.  We’ve all been there.

Parenting styles and beliefs and practices vary, not just in countries, or counties or communities, but within homes.  For twenty houses in an estate or on a road, there will be twenty different parenting styles happening at once. But here’s the thing.

Just because you do things differently, doesn’t make you better.

Just because you work AND have kids, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who is working her ass off at home.

Just because you’re able to stay at home with your Puking minion, doesn’t make you a better Mum than the Mum who had no choice but to leave hers with Granny, because she couldn’t get off work.

Just because you Breastfeed your baby, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who, for WHATEVER reason, has to (or choses to) Bottle feed. You don’t know why they can’t (or don’t) breast feed.  You don’t have to. It’s none of your business.

Just because you use organic, reusable nappies, you are not superior to the Mammy who stocks up on Packets.

Just because your Baby sleeps well, does not mean that the Mum who hasn’t slept for 14 months is less brilliant than you.

Just because you’ve decided to wean your Baby by the guidance of some book, feeding Quinoa and avocado and peppers, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who feeds her kid mashed potato and gravy, or (shock horror!) fishfingers and waffles.

Just because your little Japonica goes to 5 activities a week at 11 months old, does not make you a better Mum than Jacinta next door, who can just about leave the house to do the shopping, because her PND is so crippling that she can’t breath.

Just because you gave birth without drugs, in a calm and wonderful experience, does not make you a better Mum than the lady who has had 3 sections.

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Now, I am NOT saying that you shouldn’t make an effort to do what’s best and what’s healthy for your baby. What I am saying is that what YOU deem right and important, might not be the same as another Mum.  Our priorities are all different. And that’s OK

Every Mum does what SHE has to do for HER family. ANd the only person who knows what is right for your family is YOU.

You don’t know another Mum’s circumstance. You don’t know her. You don’t know if she’s happy, or watching you getting into your car to go to work, longing to be you.

You don’t know if she’s driving to work in tears because her Baby cried again as she was dropping him off.

You don’t know how many times a day the Mammy in the office feels a gutwrenching guilt at being away.

You don’t know how the Mum in her kitchen is longing for a conversation.

You don’t know how much the Mum who has to pay bills rather than pay for Baby swim classes longs to be able to sign her baby up.

You don’t know how much time and effort that Mum, looks fab at the school gate, took to just get out the door this morning because she cried all night.  

You don’t know how much the Mum who seems to have it all, wishes that she had something else.

You don’t know how much the Mum who is mixing up formula berates herself.

You don’t know Jack sh*t.

As long as your children are fed, and loved and looked after, you’re doing great.  

How we parent our children, is nobody’s business but our own.  And what other Mums think of your parenting, is absolutely none of YOUR business.  

And if you EVER hear yourself dismissing or tutting at another Mammy because she’s doing it differently to you, lift your hand, grab a wooden spoon and hit yourself a good hard slap on the arse with it.

No one likes a Sanctimammy.

 

Remember to join Mammy on Social Media too.

As featured on The M Word

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I am Seeing Her Heart Break Mum

Our holiday was a week of firsts for us all; first time abroad with the girls, first rollercoasters, first time tasting different foods for the girls, first time jumping in water; lots of firsts and lots of memories…
 
But one first that has been tapping at my heart since it happened, was Mini-Me’s first breakup.
 
She met a little girl on the second day. Matilda let’s call her. As little girls do, they went from strangers to BFFs in 3.4 seconds. They spent a full morning playing together, splashing, jumping, laughing and generally having the time of their little lives.
 
And I sat on my lounger, watching them happily. Happy that she’d made a friend. Happy that she has the social skills to make friends. (Never underestimate this Mammies. And that’s the Teacher talking…) Happy that she’d found a wee buddy to play with…
 
And then.
Then, Matilda’s mammy struck.
 
And let me tell you, she was no Miss Honey.
 
“Matiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiildaaaaaaa, get ouvaa hea Noiw!” she screeched at the child.
 
“I’m going for lunch. See you later” said Matilda as she swam off.
 
And Mini-Me came bouncing over to tell us all about her new Best Fwend.
 
We too went for lunch. And a few hours later, back in the pool, Matilda swam by us. Mini-Me of course went ballistic with joy.
But Matilda ignored her.
 
“Go say Hello” I said and stepped back, knowing already what was going to happen, but knowing it had to happen anyway.
 
“Do you want to play?” asks Mini-Me.
“My Mum says I’m not allowed to play with you. Sorry!” answers Matilda, genuinely looking a bit sad, before she swam off again.
 
And there Mammies, is where my baby girl’s wee world shattered down around her.
She turned around, in the middle of the busy blue swimming pool, her big goggled eyes found mine, and she burst into tears…
I swooped her up and brought her to Daddy.
 
He of course thought she’d bust her head off something, she was wailing so hard. “She”s just had her wee heart broken” I whispered to him as I placed her on top of him for Daddy cuddles. Then I did what any calm and rational mother would do…
 
I got my inner Trunchbull on and went searching for Matilda’s Mammy to have it out with her…
Well that’s what I WOULD have done, had the sensible Him not given me the “Sit you down and calm yourself woman” look.
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After 15 minutes wrapped in Daddy’s big strong arms, and an icecream, and lots of conversation about how not everyone will want to be your friend and if someone doesn’t want to play with you, that’s their problem, not yours, Mini-Me was fine. She eventually went back to play, shoulders a bit slouched and heart a bit sore, but within 20 minutes, she had met another BFF.
(Having spoken to THIS BFF’s Mum earlier, I knew that this was their last day, so of course we were destined to another heartbreak that night, but hey!)
 
Heartbreak and rejection will come. And they don’t really get any easier to deal with, they just become less of a big deal. But when you’re 6, the smallest things are the biggest.
 
I’m not really sure whose heart was most broken though if I’m honest? Mini-Me’s for an hour, or Mine? Because thinking about her wee face still makes my tummy flip…and makes me want to swing that other Mammy by her pigtails.
 
Poor wee Matilda spent the rest of the week playing on her own. I shit you not Mammies. My heart was more sore for her by the end of the week than it had been for my own wee Dolly.

I am Secrets of Victoria Mum

Once upon a time there was a hypothetical Mammy.

This Mammy was hitting the grand age of 40 and for the 25 odd years that the hypothetical Mammy had been wearing an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder, Mammy had been pretty sure that she knew what size her boulders were.
Or indeed pebbles, for THIS particular hypothetical Mammy was blessed with fried eggs.

At the grand old age of 19, when she accepted that her boobage was never going to explode beyond the boundaries of an A cup, she conceded that she would be flat forever. She began to look towards Superbabes like Cameron of the Diaz and decided that if SHE could be flatly fablis, then so could hypothetical Mammy.

And so, for her adult life, Mammy had never been too bothered about the smallness of the boobage. In fact, the arrival of the bald heads in her brassiere during her pregnancies, were not welcome after a few days. And thankfully, they reduced eventually back to a modest B cup.

Well, as far as Mammy knew, a B cup.

Mammy had never bothered to get her bra measured. No. That was surely only for the larger busted babe; the ladies who must be properly supported and comfortable all day. Considering that Mammy could easily NOT wear a bra and (apart from nipples, there’d be nothing busting from the bust area), Mammy can be forgiven for having assumed herself not requiring the assistance of the perfectly preened ones in department stores.

Recently however, Mammy has found the comfort of the bras becoming less and less. Great excitement occurred last year when Mammy discovered the joy of Victoria’s secret… and the wonder that is her seamfree, soft and perfect material. Why had Victoria hidden this secret from her for so long? wondered hypothetical Mammy. Why?

And so picking up her usual 32B in two colours, Mammy went through life happy and content in the battle of the bulges. Tiny as they might be.

AND THEN… Mammy went back to VS on a recent trip to London, in order to purchase 2 more of the magical Mammary holders. But Mammy could not find the style she wanted in her size.

“Can I help with sizes my Dahling?” asks orange lady.

“Erm well I am looking for this in a 32B please.”

Orange lady looks at Mammy’s chest area. “Is it a gift my Dahling?”

“No it’s for myself.”

“What size did you say?”

“A 32B please.”

“When were you last measured my Dahling?”

“Erm… well I’ve never actually…”

“Oh dear. Come with me.” Orangina announces, before spinning on her 17 inch stilettos and marching towards luminous pink lights which would not have looked out of place in a red light establishment or indeed, in Grease.

Fuck fuck fuckitty fuck thinks (hypothetical) Mammy to herself as she scuttles after Orangina.

“Naow ma Dahling. My name is Victoria and if you just pop in here and pop your top off, we’ll have a little look at what you’re wearing.”

That’s a lot of popping. And Mammy is not quite sure she believes that her name is Victoria.

Mammy steps into the cubicle which makes her age 18 years, deepens my laughter lines and makes Mammy look like ultimate shite. Mammy wants to run for the hills.

But no. Mammy is a grown woman. I have given birth TWICE thinks Mammy. I can surely do THIS. Mammy wonders why she has never done THIS before in her 37ish years. And deep down Mammy knows that it is because she was afraid that the bra measuring one would tell her she was not a 32B, or indeed a 34A, but that actually she was in fact a 69 MINUS AAA, or indeed, a boy.

“Are you decent Dahling?” comes the knock.

“As decent as one can be in headlights in her gray, washed eleventy billion times bra.” answers Mammy. Mammy foolishly thinks that humour will work.

“Well that is faaah too small on you my Dear.”

“Really? This is my good one!” answers Mammy

“Oh no Luvey. You are a 32 D I’d guess.”

“Fuck OFF!” snaughles Mammy, much to the amusement of Orangina.

“Ireeeeeene? Ireeeeene, come and tell me what size you think this laydeeee is?”

Another oragne lady with luminous teeth peeks her bourbon head around the door.
“32D Dahling…” and she’s off, poof! Like a Fairy Boobmother.

Victoria whips out a pink measuring tape and whisks her hands around me in 3 seconds.
“Yup. 32D my Luv. I’ll go get you some of these to try on?”

And she’s off, leaving Mammy in a fog. Mammy feels like everything she has ever known in life has just come crashing down around her. Mammy must begin to question everything that she knew to be true in the world. Mammy wonders is she is dreaming.

Victoria arrives back with 3 of Mammy’s chosen brassieres in the size that apparently Mammy should have been wearing all along…

And loe and beholder, the boulders fit. And they no longer look pebblish. They no longer look like two puppies squished in. They are no longer duck eggs in a chicken egg cup. No. These Bad boys are there and they suddenly FIT Mammy!

Mammy texts Daddy. In Victoria Secret. Spent too much, but got a boob job while I was in.

Daddy texts Mammy. WTF are you drinking now?

Nothing yet, thinks Mammy. But I’m heading to find Mr Bubbles to celebrate FINALLY hitting Booberty.

I am Sit on My Knee Mum

On my Knee.”
Today you are poorly,

My precious wee lamb.

Today you need Mammy

And right here I am.
I’ll sit right beside you

I’ll rub your wee toes

I’ll clean up your mess and

I’ll wipe your wee nose.
I’ll kiss all your fingers and

rub your wee face

I’ll not give a damn about

the state of this place.
I’ll cuddle and snuggle you,

I’ll let you complain

You don’t understand

this feeling of pain.
To see you feel poorly

It breaks Mammy’s heart.

I’d take every ounce of it,

every last part,
To make you feel better,

To make you feel fine,

I wish with my essence that

the sickness was mine.
And whether you’re sniffly,

or puking or hot,

You’ll sleep right on top of me,

not in the cot.
And yes this is minor

and yes you’ll be fine

But I am your Mammy

And your pain is mine.
So today, there are so many

things I should do,

But none of those things,

as important as you.
The world won’t stop turning

if I stay here with you,

Some days I’m just “Mammy”

Cos only Mammy will do.
So cuddle your Mammy,

Just sit on my knee,

When you need your Mammy,

right here I will be.
xxx Mammy xxx

I am Stage Mum

“Where do you find the time?”

“How can you be bothered?”

“It can’t be worth that much work?”

Musicals.

I’ve been on stage my whole life, first as an Irish Dancer and for the past 14 years, as a member of Letterkenny Musical Society.  This year, we’re doing Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical.

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The ultimate Girl Power Show!

Every September, we meet to begin our winter of rehearsals and of fun.  It begins as once a week, and by February each year, it’s 2 to 3 nights a week and Sundays.  At the minute, I’m eat, sleeping and breathing 9 to 5.  I’m having ideas at 3am that are sending our Producer into tailspins.  I’m dreaming about walking on stage with no bra on.  Last night, there was a Bull in the wings as the curtain was going up… and it wasn’t me.  My kids are singing the songs and my head is spinning.

I don’t KNOW how I find the time, but I do. In fairness, I rehearse when the girls are in bed. The Sundays are hard but it’s only for such as short time.  The LMS gets me through the winter. It’s a family.  It keeps me out of trouble.

Yes it’s a lot of work. Yes, it’s busy.  Yes it’s a lot on top of being a Mammy AND working 9 to 5… But it’s worth it.  Every member has a busy life.  We all have day jobs.  We all have families.  We all have commitments.  We all get stressed and tired coming up to the show, but then?  Get-in day arrives and the curtain gets ready  to rise, and we remember WHY we do it.

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Next Sunday, the side door to the stage is rolled up, sunlight flooding the stage.  Lighting rigs are hoisted at head height while the crew work on them.  The production team are creating the world for the characters to inhabit. This year it’s an office in America in the late 70s.
I’ll arrive in the middle of it at around 3pm and walk onto the stage. I’ll close my eyes.  The familiar voices of Hubby and the usual suspects calling instructions to each other, co-operating and working together will make me smile.  The sounds of the cordless drill…the smell of fresh wood and sawdust…the muffled conversation of the sound guys from the auditorium… it will be beautiful.

I’ll open my eyes and look at the chaotic scene in front of me, wondering (not for the first time in my theatre life), at how within just a few hours, this chaotic canvas will be transformed into a completely believable world into which our amazing cast will step.

 

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And then I’ll do what I do and get together with my colleagues to get our heads around the problems and challenges that only a production team can face, and by the time our cast arrive, we’ll be ready.

So how do I have the time?  How can I be bothered?  Is it worth it?

Yes.  Because this is ME.  Yes, I have children.
My girls are the most important thing in my world.
They are my show.
They are my production.
They are the choreographed chaos of which I’m most proud, and I’ll direct them through life with the same dedication and love that I put into the shows.

But they are also only a part of me.
Yes, I am their mummy, but I’m still me.
I’m still the drama queen that lives for the stage.
I still love the theatre.

I still love how pretending to be someone else can bring me to emotions that I’ve never experienced.  I love to entertain.  I love to make people laugh. I love that I can make people cry…
I still get goosebumps when I hear someone hitting that note.
I still get so carried away watching my closest friends on stage, that I cry because I absolutely believe the pain they are conveying.

And so, standing there next Sunday,  I won’t feel guilty.

Yes, it’ll be a week of rushing and balancing, but my girls are quite safe and well looked after (the dog is so responsible!), and they know that show week is important to Mammy and to Daddy.

Roz

I’m playing Roz!

My girls will grow up in rehearsals for shows.
They’ll see the stress and work and time and effort that goes into this “hobby”.
They’ll learn confidence, respect, organisation skills.
They’ll experience the fruits of the long months of hard work, and they’ll learn that if you want something to happen, you must work to make it happen.
They might even perform on stage with me at some point.

Maybe they’ll work backstage with their Daddy.
Maybe they’ll hate it all.  That’s OK too.

But if I can’t continue up to be who I’ve always been, just because I’ve been blessed with two little darlings, I’m not doing anyone any favours am I?

I am after all, Still Stage Mum.

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9 to 5 opens on Tuesday 27th and runs until Saturday 3rd March. 

Tickets for Friday and Saturday are almost sold out, so if you fancy being swept away by a super cast, a hilarious script and beautiful music, get your tickets soon.

Buy tickets here