Derry Journal Features The S-Mum Blog

I was very grateful to Laura and the team at The Derry Journal for running a feature on myself and my Blog last week.

Thank you so much guys.  You can read it here  … or scroll on.

Best Parenting Blog 2018

FEATURE: The S-Mum – ‘If my posts make a parent feel ‘normal’ or better about themselves, good’

by LAURA GLENN

In a social media world, where bad days and negative moments can be expertly edited out, there has been a rise in people who want to ‘tell it like it is.’

Newtowncunningham’s Maria Rushe is one of those people – whose refreshing honesty and humour on her ‘The S-Mum blog’ recently won her a prestigious award.

Maria is mum to two daughters, is Head of English in Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny, and alongside writing her blog, helps run the family business, Rushe Fitness, with her husband, Emmet. She is also Director of Letterkenny Musical Society and describes herself as a ‘foodie and fitness fan’ and a ‘pretty optimistic person.’

She’s a busy woman, but her love of writing and desire to reach out to other mothers and fathers across the North West drives her forward. It is something she does well, as evidenced by her win at the Boots Family Maternity and Infant Awards, where she beat off stiff competition from bloggers across the country to win ‘Best Parenting Blog.’

Speaking to the Journal, Maria revealed she was ‘gobsmacked’ when she was announced as winner. She said: “I made it to the final last year and honestly expected them to tell me it was a mistake and turn me away at the door. To make the final this year again was incredible. I was among my own favourite bloggers, many of whom have a massive following. When my name was called out, you could have knocked me over with a nappy! It really was the best feeling and it was so wonderful to have my followers’ support. And it’s wonderful to have my writing celebrated.”

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Maria with the other finalist at the M&I awards last month

Maria had always wanted to write and in 2015, when editing her friend Liam Porter’s book of poetry, she voiced this to him.

He “threw her words” back at her, asking: “What’s stopping you?” “He was right,” said Maria. “I always tell my students to write what they know. At the time, I had a three year old daughter. I was a busy Mum, so I started writing about being a Mum. The idea for the S-Mum came from a conversation with another Mum where she joked about not being a Supermum. The S stands for something different in every post; Sobbing Mum, Suncream Mum, Silly Mum, Sh*tty Mum…and sometimes Super!”

Maria told how the blog began as ‘Secrets of S-Mum’ and was anonymous. But, when people began to figure out her identity, it became ‘The S-Mum.’ The blog is now four and Maria has another little girl, “so there’s plenty of inspiration.”

On the blog, she calls the girls ‘Mini-Me and Princess’ and her husband is ‘The Him.’ The blog is “mostly based on reality, but sometimes fictional or inspired by conversations.”

On ‘The S-Mum,’ Maria tells of day-to-day life as a mammy, showing both the “highs and the lows.” She stressed how it is important “we don’t fall into the trap of portraying parenthood as 24/7 hell” but it is also “so, so,so,so important” to represent real life, outside the Instagram and social media posts which depict it as “100% perfect.”

She said: “ I think that for years we were bombarded by images on TV and adverts of calm, shiny, polished and smiling Mums who were in control of everything and who made it look easy. And while parenting is indeed wonderful and it’s a gift and it’s something that parents do of course cherish and enjoy, sometimes it is hard.

Sometimes, life is difficult. Sometimes, parents are simply tired and tested. Because being a parent is hard. It is absolutely the most difficult job in the world; no training, no handbook and no boss to guide you. The fear and worry and terror that accompanies that joy, is overwhelming for everyone.

And that is OK.

“Social Media platforms do still show Instamums; the glossy and edited versions of family life. That will never go away. And there is little wrong with it as long as we can recognise what’s real and what’s not. If you find that a certain account is making you feel any negativity about your parenting, unfollow them.

Behind every perfect ‘Instamum’ image is a tantrum or tears or another 32 shots to choose. It’s not real life. “I show both. I show the highs and joys. But I also show the realities; the fears, the struggles, the tears and the pressures.

I include a lot of humour too, which really isn’t hard as my life is a comedy most days. That’s what Mums and Dads enjoy. They see someone else dealing with the daily realities of being a busy parent. If my posts make a parent feel ‘normal’ or better about themselves, good.”

Maria also promotes positive mental health, something around which “great discussions are happening.” She told how she also personally enjoys how more fathers are becoming vocal about their parenting roles, too. She said: “For so many years, Dads have been seen as the ‘other’ parent. Everyone’s circumstance is different obviously, but there are many incredible Dads around and they are as much parents as Mums. I like that the notion of Daddy’s ‘babysitting’ is being challenged.”

She added: “The conversation around maternal mental health (and all mental health) is wonderful and must continue. Parents need to be able to say when they’re not OK and to know where to go for help if it’s needed. There are so many wonderful services and supports available.”

Another aspect of parenting is that no two people parent the same and there will always be someone who disagrees with the way you raise your child. But, as Maria said: “People will always judge, but thankfully, their opinion is not a fact.” She added: “The fact is that if you are doing your best and what you feel is right for your family, that’s good enough.

How other people parent is none of your business. Parenting is hard. But it’s also wonderful and rewarding and fun…sometimes.”

Maria is currently compiling her favourite ‘The S-Mum’ posts into book form. She revealed: “It’s called ‘The Mammy Memoirs’ and is based on my tagline ‘Being Mammy, Being Me.’ It very much attempts to bust the ‘InstaMummy’ notions and advocates that fact that while we are Mums, we can and should still be ourselves.”

She concluded: “The Blog will continue as it is. It’s my hobby; one of my creative outlets and it’s therapy for me to write! It’s not my full-time job and so I don’t feel under pressure to please people or companies. I’m also able to fully control what goes onto it. I say what I want, in my own style and if people read, I am grateful. They don’t have to agree. I do collaborations, but only if they fit my family and my followers. I’ll write until I have nothing left to say.”

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I am Smiling at my Award Mum

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for Mammy this week.  Blog

Friday was amazing and I am over the moon that my wee blog won the Boots Maternity & Infant Best Parenting Blog, thanks to my incredabubble readers.

I  was GOBSMACKED considering the level of legendaryness of my fellow finalists and honestly didn”t see it coming.

But it did and I am soooooooooo bloodywell PROUD of myself.  (This is apparently not encouraged in modern society, but I say feck to that.  I work hard and I’m genuinely chuffed that I won, so why pretend otherwise?)

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With my fellow finalists…the nicest bunch of Bloggers ever x

The event itself was held in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire and were hosted by the very lovely Maura Derane and Brian Dowling.

(Did Mammy get completely starstuck and gush into Brian’s poor ear how much I luuuuuurve his Instagranny? Erm…maybe, but the less said about that particular moment of gobshitery, the better.)

I was surrounded by the cream of the crop of Irish Parenting Bloggers.  The genuine support and well wishes at that table was electrical.  Congratulations too to the gorgeous Popcorn for Lunch who won the Silver award, and to One Yummy Mummy who took the Bronze.

The meal was fab, the ceremony thoroughly enjoyable and the company was amazing. Some of the stories and awards were incredibly emotional and all were so well deserved.  Special shout out to my pal Sharon’s beautiful daughter Sophie, who won Sibling of the Year.  What a beautiful little Lady she is. Check out Sharon’s blog on Our Wheely Big Journey.

It really was a wonderful day and taking home the title was the icing and cherry and sprinkles and marshmallows on the cake.

The celebrations are on hold however, as with all Mammies, the inevitable happens when you think you’ve got your shit together; the day was topped and tailed by a sick baba and a sick Him. (genuinely unwell…not manflu. Poor Him.)

My floating was brief and I have been popped straight out of my bubble and back to earth with a bang.  But like Cinderella, I had my few minutes. And they were wonderful.

And so the celebrations are confined to me smiling maniacally to myself as I pass my award in the kitchen.  But c’est la vie!

I blog for a few reasons; I like to write. I love to make people laugh. I like to make people think.  I love to make the Mums (and Dads) who read my posts feel normal, like they are not alone in the madness of the business of child rearing.

But mostly, I like to smash the Instamum BS that we’re all #livingourbestlives #makingmemories and #alwayssmiling ,that social media sells us.

It’s not all perfect.

We’re not all perfect.

There is no such thing…

As long as your kids are loved and fed and cared for, you’re doing just fine Mum.

It can’t be perfect all the time, neither can you. But remember that usually, the flaws you see in yourself, are only seen by you.

To your kids, YOU are their Perfect Mum.

And I am the perfect Mum for MY kids…even if you don’t agree with how I do things.

Thank you again for all of your support Mammies. Keep up with my S-Mumblings on Instagranny, Bookface and of course, here, on my (award winning) blog!  (Yeah yeah I know… but feck it, I’m proud!)

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I am Such a Weekend Mum!

 

Aw Ladybelles, where do I start?

On Friday 13th, myself and The Him headed to the Big shmoke for the Maternity and Infant Awards 2017.

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The Incredibly Beautiful Royal Marine Hotel

I couldn’t believe that my blog had even made it into final. Getting to meet the creme de la créme of Irish Parenting Bloggers was a dream come true for me.

We arrived at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire just in time to get changed and join in the champagne reception that was in full swing.  The hotel is GORGEOUS.  HImself had booked us a suite as a surprise and I have to tell you Ladies, it was amazing; big and bright with chandaliers and high ceilings and a view of the sea. Romance indeed.

We went downstairs and despite never having met any of the other bloggers, were soon hugging and chatting. Such a friendly bunch.  We really felt welcomed and any nerves I had settled very quickly.

We were ushered into the beautiful ballroom, where we were served a lovely luncheon. We were sitting beside the legend that is The Stented Papa and his lovely wife. On my other side was one of my heroes, Miss Jen Hogan from Mamatude. She’s a Mum of 7 and an all round Supermum who has even published a real, actual BOOK! I may or may not have been slightly starstruck by her! But what a cracker of a Lady she is. The amazing Jolene from One Yummy Mummy kept us giggling all evening and with the lovely Becky from Cuddle Fairy beside her, the laughs were many.  Add Kellie from My Little Babog, Cliodhna from Lean Mean Momma and the lovely Sinead from Bumbles of Rice and we were in great company altogether.

 

The awards were so well organised. (You all know how well organised things make Me happy!) Between courses, the lovely Maura Derrane from TV3 kept proceedings going, announcing awards and conducting interviews. Very impressive.

The wine was flowing and the craic was mighty.  And then it was time for the Best Parenting Blog Award.

No award for The S-Mum this Time, but lots of joy.

Well done to the amazing Jolene from One Yummy Mummy who deservedly won Best Parenting Blogger.

Huge congrats too to the lovely My Little Bábóg Blog and Leanmeanmomma who got Silver & Bronze respectively.

I was quite emotional listening to the stories of the winners of the People Awards. So many incredible stories and amazing people. Well done to all of the winners.

With the ceremony over, we all retired into the rather fablis bar where the wine, gin and general fun continued for a few hours.  Not used to the art of daytime drinking, myself and The Him grabbed barfood at about 8.30pm and hit the massive leaba in our suite.  This was easily the most comfortable bed I have EVER slept in.

We had to hightail it back to Letterkenny at 9am on Saturday as I was hosting a charity event with my buddy Joanne.

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Hosting the Donegal Youth ServiceAfternoon Tea with Joanne Gallinagh of Beaus and Belles

But we did manage to grab breakfast first. I do love me a good hotel breakfast, so I do!

We’ll definitely be back in the Royal Marine, but next time we will make sure we have time to sleep in and enjoy the area for a bit.

As for the awards?  We were treated like Royalty, and spoiled with food, drinks and goodie bags. I honestly hope we get a chance to attend them again.

Gals. I’m just delighted to have made the top 10. 😙😙 To be placed among the ten best bloggers in the country was such an honour. And as well as making memories, I’ve also made friends.

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With the  Finalists

Thank you. YOU LOT got me there; Your support, your votes, your messages. And I’m so very grateful.
And as always thank you to my Mammy Squad and especially to my Him… 😍😍😍

Oh and of course to the two little ladies who provide me with SO much subject matter! 🙂

#bootsmiawards17
#thedonegalmammy

 

I am Slightly Excited and Super Nervous Mum

 

I’m off to Dun Laoghaire tomorrow for the  Maternity & Infant Awards 2017.  I’ve made it to the final 10 in the Parenting Blogger category and I couldn’t be happier!

I’m looking forward to it, but truth be told, I’m bricking it. 🙂

Why?

I have noooooooooooooooo idea.

I suppose a part of it is excitement. Actually, most of it is excitement.  I’m going to meet bloggers and writers who I have admired and followed from afar for quite a while. I am quite proud to have even reached the top 10, to have my blog named alongside these writers is such an honour for me already.  To meet them and put faces to the virtual characters will be fab.

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Still can’t deal with my name in this list 🙂

“On a scale of Mum to Marilyn…”

What does one  wear to an awards ceremony? The whole “What to wear” issue usually doesn’t bother me too much.  I’m one of those people who will decide what I’m going to wear and even though I might change 389 times, I will end up back in the first outfit I’d chosen anyway.  But this event has had me slightly stressed this week.  Maybe because I don’t know any of the people I’m attending with.  Maybe because I had a dream on Tuesday night that everyone else was dressed in chic jeans and blazers and I was dressed like a 1980’s toilet roll cover…   (Could happen!)

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“On a scale of Mum to Marilyn, how glam are we going?”

There’s NOTHING in my wardrobe you know? Nothing!

So off I toddled to my buddy Rosie in Pure Boutique in Letterkenny .  I was looking for something to fit into the dress code on the invitation, but then I spotted a dress and had an “I need that” moment, so although it is quite possibly way too dressy, I bought it.   I may be closer to Marilyn than my usual Mum uniform, but it’s not very often we get to dress up during the day is it? And any excuse to be Glammy Mammied must be grabbed with both hands, mustn’t it?

I tried to convince my hairdresser Ciara in LK Hair Design to do my hair at 5am.  Instead, she had a genius plan to make sure my hair looks less Worzelled than usual, so I’ve been summoned into her this evening to have curlers/rollers put in, like the glamourous wans off the tellybox. (I never understand why they have the curlers in but end up with straight hair? But it looks the part, so I’ll pretend I know what’s going on and go with it.)

I’m dragging The Him away from Jim for the day and he is coming with me. I needed a driver… and Himself to myself for a day. When we’re getting the chance to have a day of We-time, we’ll take it. The awards are taking place in the  Royal Marine Hotel which looks amazing, so I’m looking forward to some chill out with him.  It’ll be an early start on Saturday morning however as I have to hightail it back to Letterkenny to host the Donegal Youth Service fundraiser, the Afternoon Tea in Castlegrove House with my Buddy Joanne.

Sunday shall be spent on the sofa, watching The Polar Express and asking The Him if it’s too early for a Chilli Shaker every 15 minutes from 10am.

One of the other glammy Mammies tells me that there is food, fun and wine, so I’m sure than after a wee slug of rescue remedy, a slap of lippy and a glass of grapes, I’ll be grand.

If I win?… well I can’t even go there…  We might need to have a party Mammies!?  It would be such an achievement.  But honestly, to even get to be at that table tomorrow and see my name in the top 10 is a huge personal achievement for me and “The S-Mum” already.  I couldn’t be happier and it’s all because of you lot; My Mammy squad, whose comments and messages remind me every day to write and keep smumbling.

It’s going to be a busy one. Tonight will be spent packing bags and cleaning and organizing the whole world.  I’ll be posting on my Instagram story tomorrow if you want to see what’s going on throughout the afternoon.  Nerves aside, I shall pull up the big girl knickers and take a breath and drag my Donegal Backside to the Big Smoke to meet some Fablis bloggers tomorrow… There’s nothing else for it really is there!

Wish me luck! xxxxxx

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I am Slightly Chuffed Mum

Last week was pretty exciting for me and my little old Blog.

On Thursday morning I got an email to say that I have made the SHORTLIST in the V by Very Blog Awards.  The S-Mum is Shortlisted in TWO categories.

  1. Best parenting Blog
  2. Best Blog Post for my post “I am Saying it Out Loud Mum” about my own struggles with “My Little Bitch, Anxiety”  

(Read it here  

https://the-smum.com/2017/06/11/i-am-saying-it-out-loud-mum/

 

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http://blogawardsireland.com/

Then, that VERY evening, I received ANOTHER email from the lovely folk at Maternity and Infant to tell me that I have reached the FINAL in their Boots Maternity and Infant Awards.

https://maternityandinfant.ie/awards/

 

Now, let me explain to you what a HUGE deal this is to me…  Out of the 26 blogs nominated, only 10 make it to the final.  This in itself is exciting and the fact that I made it to the top 10 excites me no end.  But the MOST exciting thing is seeing my little old name up beside the other 9 bloggers, all of whom I follow and many of whom I hold in regard as being Parenting Blogger royalty in Ireland.

I can’t stop looking at the image of the ten Blog names.

And I can’t thank my readers enough for considering my Smumbles to be worth their time and energy and votes.

Should I never win a thing, I honestly don’t care.

I shall go to these ceremonies and meet lovely people and enjoy the fact that somewhere on the interweb, my words are being recognized as not being complete and utter waffle!

SO thank you to V by Very and the Bloggies and Thank you to Maternity and Infant and to everyone who is in any small way responsible for The S-Mum getting onto these wonderful lists.FB_IMG_1505424273626.jpg