I am She Hates Me Apparently Mum

“I hate you Mammy”

Ok, well I haven’t quite heard that one yet, but it’s coming.   However, I do hear “You are the WORST Mammy EVER!” at least once a week.  I reckon we’re building up to the H-bomb…

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“I HAAAAATE YOU!”

My answer to her when she screams at me is usually “I love you too”, or “Why thank you very much.”

What I want to say is this:

“My Darling Daughter,

No Sweetheart.  I am not the “worst Mammy ever”.

OK, I might be crap sometimes; I might shout and scold and sometimes I scream so loudly that I wonder if the neighbours aren’t putting on their shoes or finding their coats in fear; but this does not make me the worst Mammy.  

OK, I might put awful food in front of you, like soup or vegetables, but just because you would prefer colourless Freezer food doesn’t make me the worst Mammy.  Sometimes Mammy doesn’t have the time or energy to cook 3 different dinners and do you know what? Sometimes, you’ll just have to eat what’s given to you.

OK, sometimes Mammy says no.  “NO”.  One little word that frequently ruins your little day. This is something you might have learned to get over by the time you turn 26.  I’m not going to give you everything you want, when you want it.  I am going to make you help me to unload the dishwasher, or pick up your dirty clothes, or tidy your toys.  Not because you are my “Servant” as you so frequently tell me, but because I don’t want you to grow up being a useless and entitled cretur who expects the world to owe them something.  I will teach you what my parents taught me.  You want something? You work for it.  You try and you fail and you try again.  You are entitled to nothing. Harsh? Now maybe, but when you’re older, you’ll get it…along with a job as soon as you’re able to get one.  

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One loaded little word…

OK, Mammy might be bad when she doesn’t always do what you want.  When she doesn’t give you your way. When she turns off the TV or tells you you’ve had enough chocolate. When she doesn’t allow you to be completely in charge of the house and our day and the mood in our home. Because sometimes, we have places to go, or Mammy has work to do and while these things might interfere with your colouring or PJ Mask binge, they have to happen and it’s nothing personal my Darling. 

But even when you are determined that Mammy is indeed the “Worst Mammy ever”, you don’t REALLY think I am.  No. Of course you don’t.  You probably think that Mammy is a royal pain in the ass and you’re angry and frustrated that you’re not getting your way.  

Life’s a bitch.  Mammy isn’t.  It’s just my job to prepare you for it. All you see is Mammy blocking or ruining your fun.  But that doesn’t make me the worst Mammy ever.  It just makes me a Mammy.

And when I’m doing all of these annoying and frustrating things that are driving your little emotions to a new level of anger and tantrums, it’s not because you’re bold and really hate me, it’s because you don’t yet have the logic or words required to make sense of them.  And that’s OK. Sometimes Mammy doesn’t have the words or the logic to figure out how she feels either.

 I could say all of this until I am blue in the exhausted face and you’ll still only see that I turned off the telly, or that I didn’t buy Coco Pops… because you’re 5. (and a half and three quarters).    But someday, (probably when you have your own minions and find yourself saying No more times a day than you blink), you’ll get it. And you’ll understand why sometimes, being the worst Mammy in the World makes you the best Mammy in the world…and it’s the hardest thing to do.

Because as long as when I say “No” and you say “You’re the worst Mammy ever”, we both know that underneath the snarls and snots, we are really saying “I love you”, then you keep shouting. And I’ll keep saying “No”. (Most of the time.)”

Giving in would be much easier.  But I won’t have you being brought up thinking that you are the centre of a world which owes you everything you want.  Yes you are the centre of mine.  Yes, you can have whatever you want, but only with hard work and determination and resilience.  And to learn these fading life-skills, (and trust me Darling, they are fading), you have to learn the word “NO”.

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It’s because I love you…

Because if you don’t hear it at home, where you ARE the most important person in the world, how will you cope when you hear it in real life, where you aren’t?

To you, I might be the worst Mammy in the world, but to me, you are the best daughter, so I guess we balance it out nicely eh?”

I love you, 

Mammy xxxx

 

 

I am Surviving a Mary-of-the-Poppins Christmas Mum.

 

This week’s Thoroughly Modern Mammy column for Donegal Woman is an updates post on Christmas Survival for the Mary of the Poppins types…

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“Surviving Christmas,” “Christmas Survival Tips for the Working Mum”, “How to Survive Christmas”…

I googled these last night.

Some of the “advice” online is nothing short of HILARIOUS.  I fear most of it may have been written by one of the following:

🎄Mary of the Poppins herself

🎄Someone without kids

🎄A Man… 😂😂😂
Here are some of the best pieces I gleaned, followed by my honest and polite responses: (Buckle up!)

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1.  “Be Prepared.”

No sh*t Sherlock.  As opposed to waking on Christmas Eve and remembering to buy a turkey and gifts? Seriously…  This is a useless piece of advice. It’s like telling a woman to calm down.  When in the history of the world has telling a woman to calm down, resulted in her calming down?  Never. So telling a Mammy to “Be Prepared” for Christmas, is NOT helpful.
2. “Buy gifts throughout the year and wrap them as you go.” 

Now this one I can partially agree with, except S-Mum’s version would read “Buy gifts throughout the year, put them somewhere safe and then forget all about them until the week before Christmas, when you have all the gifts bought and then open a box or bag or suitcase and find all the PawPatrol jigsaws you bought in July.  Or even better, find them when you’re putting the decorations away in January!”

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3. “Choose a theme for your gifts to add that personal magic”. 

Here’s a theme.  Shut.  up.  Most of us just about manage to buy for everyone we have to buy for.  And if you’re anything like me, you’ll remember someone on Christmas Day and freak out with guilt and embarrassment and mumble some crap about it not being delivered on time, before popping to the loo to order on Amazon with next day delivery.

(But if you doooooo want to add a personal touch and be remembered fondly by your loved ones, put glitter🦄 into all of the cards and gifts so that their floors get clattered and you are applauded for spreading the magic of Christmas. Go ahead, I dare you! 😂😂)
4. “Place delicate or expensive ornaments on higher branches.

Ok this one, I can empathise with.  Especially if you have toddlers or dogs. 🐶But in reality, put delicate or expensive decorations in the ATTIC and leave them there until 2026.

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5. “Ice the Christmas Cake 2 weeks before Christmas”

Or in real life, remember on the 23rd that for some reason you need a Christmas cake to have in the kitchen which will never be cut or eaten.  Then you’ll  either pop to Marks of the Spensive or decide not to bother with cake this year. Either way, it doesn’t really matter does it?
6. “Decorating the home should be a family occasion followed by a family meal.”

Oh really? Should it really? If by “family meal” you mean a bottle of wine after the kids have all gone to bed, then yes…yes this is true. 😅

Decorating the home is, for most, a painful and highly stressful process which generally takes more than one afternoon and involves tears, mess and even declarations of divorcing children… and husbands.  If you can get the actual tree up in one go, save yourself the stress and put everything else up by yourself, on your own, without the rest of the family annoying your head.  After bedtime is ideal.😘😉
7. “Keep alcohol locked away.”

Out of the reach of children yes, but keep the key in your frilly fricking apron Mammy Poppins.
8. “Stock up on essentials:  batteries, bread, milk and cream.”

Why there is no gin or wine on this list, is beyond me.

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9. “Go Christmas Shopping without children. Bring a drink and a snack with you.” 

Who the hell wrote this? It is common knowledge that drinking while shopping with your children is frowned upon in civil society.  Oh… they meant for the children?  Ohhhh… I knew that.  Well, here’s an idea.  If you can get someone to mind the minions for an hour, OF COURSE, go Christmas shopping without them. Then, if you really want to follow the Perfect Mammy rule book, have a drink and eat all the snacks… by yourself!
10. “Create a cleaning schedule for your home to keep on top of things this Christmas”.

There aren’t enough swear words for this one. A Cleaning Schedule? Who the hell has time to write a cleaning schedule? In the time it would take me to write a cleaning schedule, I would probably have half the cleaning done.  If you can keep floors lego free and counters salmonella free, you’re doing great! You deserve a treat. 💚

Riddle me this Mammies?  Why would you spend hours cleaning before opening the boxes of decorations that are going to cause the whole place to need hoovered and dusted again in an hour anyway?  Why?

So there were the Top Ten pieces of advice from the various Perfect Mammy websites…

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There were a few little nuggets in fairness.  Some of the better advice included “Scale down your expectations”, “Invent your own traditions”, and “Give yourself a break.”  

Another gem that I completely agree with is “Buy disposable baking trays”: I stock up on aluminium turkey trays every year and everything is cooked in them.  It’s a life saver!

Alos, Yes to shopping lists. And sublists. (Any list!  I do love me alist!)  Plan your meals for Christmas week and do the shopping based on the list.  It will save you from buying piles of stuff that you won’t actually use. Will you actually use that goose fat or are you only buying it because it’s beside the cranberry sauce you’ve lifted…that no one in your house eats.

AND  remember to factor in Christmas Eve Dinner too.  Don’t do my speciality… realise you have a fridge full of food and nothing for the dinner when you finally get back to the house on Christmas Eve.  This will lead to arguments about who is going to the shop AGAIN, or toast for dinner.


The “Preparing for Christmas” articles largely did what they always do however; they put undue pressure on already busy parents to stress themselves to create a Hallmark worthy perfect Christmas card-esque scene that, in reality, is nonsense.

Do what YOU want to do.  Buy what YOU can afford.  Cook what YOU like to eat. If you don’t like mince pies, don’t fricken buy them. If you want to let your kids open all of the presents on Christmas morning, do it!  If you like to wrap all the everything, do so.  If you don’t, DON’T!

It’s that simple.  We don’t need a survival list to survive Christmas, we need to give ourselves a break and enjoy it, because if you take a second to stop and look around you, often in the midst of lost presents and superfluous food shopping, you can see a little bit of magic without having to buy it.

A perfect family Christmas is like a Perfect Parent… all that’s REALLY needed is love and what works for YOU!
What is your favourite “Survival tip” and why?

I am Staring at the Smiling Mum Mum

This week’s ThoroughlyModern Mammy is a letter.
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😍To the Mammy I watched last week.😍

Last week, I found myself staring at you.

I couldn’t take my eyes off you.

You were dealing with your little one at an event, in front of lots and lots of people. And I couldn’t stop watching you, because you were beautiful. As a lady AND as a Mammy.

You were everything that I know I need to try harder to be.

Your gorgeous little one was being a child… jumping, playing, running. It didn’t take a fizzle out of you.

And every time you caught your child’s attention, you did something that melted my heart…

You smiled.

A smile so full of love and pride and genuine adoration that it lit up your face… and the face of your little one.

Why did it stop me in my tracks?

Because in your calm and smiling face, I saw what I know I should try harder to be.

I was sad. I knew as I watched you, that had that been me and Mini-Me, I would have been scolding and frowning, firing the “Get over ere now” looks and trying through gritted teeth to get her to stop, to sit down, to listen… I might have been smiling, but it would have been a “Yes I’m smiling, but inside I want to scream” smile.

Was this what you had on your face?

Who knows? There’s a good chance that if I sent you this, you’d laugh it off and tell me you were ready to scream, but it doesn’t matter.

All that your little one saw that day, was the smiling face of a Mammy. From that smile, your child only read “I love you”, “You’re fine” and “Mammy’s here”.

That smile said so much more than that.

It said safety, kindness, patience, understanding and love… a love that is unconditional and calm. A love that doesn’t care what other people in the room think. A love that radiated from your face, more beautifully than anything I’ve seen.

You were glowing.

And you inspired me.

In you, I saw what I could be if I just took a breath every so often and let my Mini–Me be…well, let her be mini. I’m tough on her. Of course I am. And I have to be. That’s parenting. That’s me. But sometimes, I need to try to be like you. You looked so much prettier smiling than you would have, had you been scolding.

Sometimes, we all just need to smile. To not give a crap how others see our children. To not give a crap how others see us as Mums.

It made my heart burst with love just watching you smile. I can only imagine the effect that beautiful smile would had on your little one.

What a lucky little one you have.

So I just wanted to say to you Mammy, you rock.

You’re beautiful and you’re inspirational.

Keep smiling.

And thank you,

Love,

Another Mammy. xxxx

I am Silent Puker Mum

How to sleep with a silent puker… 😐

Who the hell am I kidding? There IS NO sleeping with a silent puker.😥😥

Princess makes no noise.
None.
She can empty the 4 stomachs she seems to have inherited from the Granda’s cows, without making so much as a single sound. 😂 It’s shocking.
Not.
a.
Fricken.
SOUND!

And it means that when she is unwell, (which quite frankly seems to be every fecking FORTNIGHT since we went back to school😠), Mammy here gets to spend the night with small person’s foot shoved up her nostril, or her skull on my nose…

The bed is covered in towels, the basin is set on the bedside locker. Of course, she manages to sleep on the only part of the bed that ISN’T covered by towel and if she pukes, I can damn be sure that she’ll hit the ONE part of the bed that hasn’t been protected! 😂

I end up dozing, sitting upright in the bed, constantly ready to jump for the basin. Every sound she makes, every time she turns, every time her breathing changes or pauses… Crazy frog here is wide awake and ready to pounce.

Everytime she gets a tummy bug, I end up booking a session with a physio within a week because my Mammy Bear reflexes are more concerned with keeping her safe (and keeping the fricken bed clean😂!) than minding my dodgy back.

The Him gets banished to the spare room. Not by me.
Hitler-beag doesn’t like sharing beds with anyone but Mammy. She hisses at him like a deranged Gollum determined not to share her “Precious” with anyone.
Poor lucky Fecker… 😐😂😐

He checked us this morning before he went to work. We looked like a right angle apparently. Her leg was across my jaw. I swear to God, there’s times I think that wee Doll would climb back inside me if she could.

So yes. Poor Baby.
And Poor Mammy. (Seriously. Shape of me!)

Night 1: No sound = No sleep.

She’s snoring now…in her own room. I’ve only checked her 23 times since 7.30pm.
And so begins Night 2: the night of “Mammy needs to but can’t sleep becuase she’s going to leap out of the bed and run to her room everytime she moves in the cot”…

What the feck am I like?
Anyone else got a silent puker?

I am Suddenly Remembering Mum

Women are incredible.

I think there’s a slight truth in the old myth that we can choose what we want to remember, and forget, about pregnancy and childbirth. Let’s be honest. If we couldn’t selectively block out things, there’s a good chance we’d all refuse to ever go through it again and we’d eventually run out of tiny humans on our messed up little planet. 🙂

Last night, I was reminded of one of the things about being pregnant that I have obviously blocked out, when my good friend who is expecting told me she’s off work with Pelvic Girdle Pain…

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At the mention of it, I crossed my legs and stopped short of kicking The Him out of the bed and into the spare room, or dog box… or wherever!

Jeeeeeeeeeesus, even the thought of it as I type has my ovaries tying themselves in knots…

I remember the first day my Pelvic pain kicked in on my first pregnancy.  The Him and I had gone to Belfast to the Christmas Markets.  I was walking through the stands when I stopped in my tracks. I couldn’t physically move.

There and then, I was certain that had I taken one more step, my ladybits were going to end up on the ground. I felt like someone was sticking a burning hot poker into my pelvis. I was convinced that my entrails were about to be outtrails.

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I scared the bejaysus out of Himself. I don’t really remember how, but he got me shuffled to the nearest taxi and back to the hotel. After a terrified phone call to my Midwife-on-call (or Aunty! I’m not THAT special. haha!), she calmed me down and prescribed a long sleep and a trip to the physio the next day.

Panic over and insides still inside, I did indeed relax, but did the pain go away? Did it feck!  I got an appointment with a physio next day and she gave me the most fablis, sexiful and incredible invention ever… a girdle belt.

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It saved my ass.  Literally.  I wore it religiously, took smaller steps when walking and generally behaved my pregnant self, sleeping with a mahoosive pillow between my legs and following the physio’s advice. Thankfully, it didn’t get any worse.  Apparently it CAN get worse, a LOT worse.  I want to puke even imagining how it could have been worse if I’m honest. It was bad enough as it was!

It was horrific. The pain was shocking. The whole experience was enough to put me off ever wanting to experience anything like it ever again!

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So yes, even typing this has my Ladybits throbbing in terror. I want to fly to England and give my buddy a hug.  Instead however, I’ll send her a virtual hug and remind her that it’ll all be worth it in a few months when she holds her wee munchkin in her arms.

I’ll also remind her that she’ll soon not even remember the pain she’s in right now…until someone reminds her of it in the future.

And that someone will NOT be me!

Now, it might be time to hit those Christmas Markets in Belfast again? And maybe this time I’ll get past the gate!

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I am Some Really Virtual Friends Mum

After the initial business of arriving home with a new Baby, comes a quiet and calm, that can be lovely and much needed.

However, a few weeks or months, or even years in, and many Mums find themselves isolated. Being a Mum generally means that “you will never be lonely again”, but in reality, it is often the loneliest place in the world.

I’ve spoken before about how social media can help with the isolation of new parents.  But boy is it a double-edged sword?  The same platforms and pages that offer modern Mammas conversation, support and company, very often also encourage feelings of loneliness, despair and isolation.

I like social media.
I like how it allows me to stay in touch with people.
I like how it helps me to connect with old friends.
I love how it allows my family members who are scattered like glitter across the planet, to see what’s happening at home.
I love how one comment or image can spark conversations that are both heated and entertaining; sometimes even intelligent!
I like to see photographs of the people I like, smiling and happy.
I enjoy it and I get it I suppose.

As a Mummy, it provides some escapism. When the kids are asleep or you find yourself with 5 minutes to sit with a cuppa, there’s something nice about hitting the little blue F and seeing what’s happening in the real world.

You know? That place where exciting things happen? Where Peppa Pig isn’t in charge and where people live wonderful lives?

Where everyone has terrifyingly precise, painted eyebrows and sparkly white teeth and where people look naturally happy, all of the time?

You get to look into the lives of your “friends”: see their exciting nights out, admire their fabulous clothes, wonder where they get the time or money to visit that salon again.

We see happy families, smiling for the selfie.
We see who’s at the gym, who’s out for dinner and who’s heading away on holiday.

And while there is no harm in this really,  the key is to know that what you’re looking at is not reality.
It’s virtual.
It’s fabricated.
It’s lies.

No one’s life is perfect all of the time.  We know that, but let’s face it…who is going to voluntarily put a shitty photograph of themselves up for the world to see?

The natural selfies are probably one of 23 shots.

There are magical filters that apparently beautify! (Note to self…find out more about these.)

The reality is that regardless of how careful you are, if you look through your list of friends, you’ll possibly come across at least 2 people about whom you have to ask yourself “who is this?”

And while it keeps us connected, a huge issue for many new mums, is the isolation caused by social media.

Yes, we can see what’s happening and stay up to date with our friends.  We post photographs and status updates about our children and about our lives, to let our friends and families see how cute they are and how entertaining life is with kids.

But when this means that our friends feel that they don’t need to visit, or meet for coffee, or pick up the phone, then… we have a problem.

When seeing everyone else having fun, makes you feel boring and frumpy in your busy, unglamorous world of feeds and nappy changes, then…we have a problem.

When you know the story before someone tells you it, then…we have a problem.

When someone you haven’t spoken to in 2 years only realises that you’re no longer friends when you finally unfriend them on social media, then…we have a problem.

When every conversation you have includes the line “Yeah, I saw that,” then…we have a problem.

And it’s our own fault.  We see it all on social media so we no longer feel the same need to ring someone up to ask how they’re doing.
After all, we know they’ve been to dinner this week, had the dog to the beach and that the baby has been puking. We read it on Facebook.

We no longer consider a coffee date important as we know what’s going on with them.
We read it on Facebook.

But of course, Facebook doesn’t give you the same satisfaction that you get from good conversation over a cuppa.
Facebook doesn’t give you a hug before you go back to the whirlwind of your life.
Facebook might help you feel connected to the world outside your home, but only for a second, and only until it doesn’t.

Recently, I met a good friend for coffee.

She’s not on Facebook.

It was refreshing. She was interested in my stories, in how I was, in how the girls were doing… she hasn’t seen it on Facebook. I was delighted to hear about what she’s been up to. It was real conversation and it was lovely. We actually had so much to catch up on.  There were no lies about how perfect life is.  It’s difficult to lie to someone’s face.

We were able to talk about the difficulties we have with our respective Mini-Mes. We laughed at things we remembered from our nights out BC. Stories were interesting because they hadn’t already been told or seen. It was good, old-fashioned catch-up and it made me feel fuzzy and loved and ridiculously real again.

So while this isolation I speak of obviously doesn’t just apply to mums, that’s the angle I’m seeing it from.  I’m lucky that I have a wonderful family and some very good friends, but sometimes, just sometimes, being a mummy in the presence of two fabulously fun princesses 24 hours a day, can be a lonely place.

And while social media is fantastic and helps us stay in touch, it isn’t real.

So if you know someone; a mummy or daddy, or friend or cousin, who you have to really think about the last time you actually spoke to them, do you and them a favour.

Pick up the phone and say hi.
Or call to visit and actually hold the baby, while she makes you a coffee.

Rather than sharing sentimental quotations or memories on our friends’ pages, we really need to try to make more of our reality… not our virtual reality.

So there you go.
Social media is fabulous.  I get it.  I enjoy it.
But sometimes, it just isn’t enough.

Tomorrow night, I’m going to speaking at a Mammy Meet Up which has been organised by my good friend Sarah Barr of New Beginnings.  See details here.

We did indeed meet online and our friendship blossomed online, but a few months ago, we took the plunge and went on a DATE! We met in an actual bar, had actual food and actual conversation. And now, we’re not just virtual friends, we’re ACTUAL friends… in real life like! We’ve been getting up to all sorts of projects together and I have to say, she’s a Doll.

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So if ANY of the things I’ve mentioned in this article have you nodding in agreement, please come along to SONDER tomorrow at 7pm for a coffee and a chat with us.  You never know who you might meet or what new friendship is around the corner.

I am She’s Comiiiiiiiing Mammy Mum!

Mini-Me and Princess are completely ignoring each other, or as I likes to call it, “independent play where Mammy gets 3 minutes of peace”…

Mini-Me is building blocks in the hall.
Princess is tucking George in under a tea towel, saying “shush Jawj. Go shleep! Naaaaght” over and over again.
All is right with the world, and then…

“Mammy look what I built!”

“Well done you! That’s really tall”
(Princess stops mid sentence. Jawj is suddenly forgotten.)

“Will you send Daddy a picture?”
“Of course I wi…”
Mammy reaches for camera, knowing that I now have 0.34 seconds to snap the tower before the wobbler wrecks the tower, her sister’s head and the general peace that Mammy was enjoying. 😥

“QUICK MAMMY, She’s COMIIIIIIIIING!”😣😣
“Princess Nooooooooooooo!”

How can something so small move so fast? She’s just teleported herself 18 feet before I could even take 2 steps. 😂

“YOU do it!” I scream, and Mini-Me quickly knocks the tower down HERSELF, before the Terror child can swing her dodee-cow at it.

“Yeeeees! I DID it. Take THAT Princess!” Sings Mini-Me, more aggressively than I would like, as she dances a victory dance. (She gets that from her Daddy… 😈😂)

I should scold her.
But feck it, I’ll give her this one.

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂