You’re Doing Just Fine Mammy #maternalmentalhealthweek

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

‘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 chooses 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 from Aldi-Everything.

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.

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 with ANYONE.

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 how many false smiles you see in a day.

You don’t know how Mary-Jane never throws a birthday party for Junior because the stress of it might just not be tolerable right now.

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 more importantly, 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.
You DO know that.

So however YOU are doing things this morning Mammy, stop, close your eyes, take a breath…and smile.

Because, do you want to know something else?

You’re doing JUST FINE as you are…

You are Now Approaching Station Baby Brain

You are now approaching Station Baby Brain…

Imagine a train network.  (Yeah I know that this is an alien concept to us up here in Donegal, but hey!)

Your brain is like this: a series of tracks, each with a destination and with all sorts of trains on them.  On any given day, millions of thoughts and signals travel through this network.

You are the Mammy Train.

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Most days, we have so many things to do and stations to visit that we wonder if we’ll have enough steam to get it all done!

We recall information and remember things by reversing back to a station we’ve already been in.

We learn how to do things by going to a new station and continuing on and on.

Sometimes, we turn onto a new track and realise we should have been on it all along.

Sometimes, we need to get off a track asap.

We keep going everyday, sometimes not having a clue where this particular track is going to take us. But always chugging on.

Some days are like rush hour.  Every track is moving, it’s fast and furious and how all of the trains manage to NOT crash, is a miracle.  (Most days if we’re honest!)

 

Other days are slow and quiet with just a functional service running.

But there’s a magical station that is known only to Mums.

It’s the station called Baby Brain.

It sometimes appears on the track during pregnancy and appears more and more frequently in the early months of exhaustion fog.

You start a sentence and can’t remember what you were going to say.

You forget people’s names.

You go into the shop to get…something.  You just can’t remember what that something is.

You forget words.  Yes, actual words that you have used your whole life, evade you when you are at Baby Brain station.

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Baby Brain station is derelict.  It’s grey and brown and draughty and cold. Tumbleweed blows by on the platform which is full of Mums staring into cupboards, trying to remember why they opened it, or of the Mum who is looking for the phone she has in her hand.

Thankfully, it’s only a temporary stop and often, your Mammy train is back on track and functioning after only seconds there.

But the station ever goes away.  I thought that Baby Brain was a temporary thing.  Turns out, many years into Motherhood, my train pulls up at Baby Brain Station more frequently than I care to.

I forget names.  All the names.  Always have, but it’s worse since I had the girls.

My “Somewhere safe” has become synonymous with “Never to be seen again”.  If I tell The Him that I put something “somewhere safe”, he rolls his eyes, knowing that I may as well have emailed it to fecking Narnia.  It shall never grace daylight again.

I often walk into a room and genuinely have to wonder why I came in in the first place.

I remember doing things, but doubt if I am remembering planning to do them or actually doing them.  Have you ever replied to a message or email in your head, but never actually typed the reply?

I’ve put the beige food in the oven but not turned it on more times than enough.

I could list all of the silly things that Baby Brain has made me do, but I’d be here all day.  I’d be parked up at that station trying to find my keys for the the train and trying to remember where I was going in the first place.

The station never goes away.  And really, we should rename it shouldn’t we.  Because it’s not “Baby Brain” really.  It lasts way beyond the Baby phase.

Let’s call it what it is and stop blaming the poor kids!

It’s Mammy Brain and whether you like it or not, your Mammy train will continue to pass through it until you are no longer chugging.

Now, what was I saying?

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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     

angry-2191104__340

‘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.

annoyed

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 Facebook  and Instagranny 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.
trunchbull
 
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.