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 Slight Change of Plans Mum

Mammy is rather chuffed to see Friday evening.

Mammy doos LOVE Friday evenings.

I tried to be a very good Mammy this evening, ignoring Jim in favour of lifting my girls early, with plans to do some festively frolicky arts and crafts with a lovely Christmas-Card-making-set that I procured in the Aldi-everything last week, to drink hot chocolate and have a Hallmark worthy Mary-of-the-poppins type evening, where they’d play happily while Mammy magically transformed the vegetables in the fridge into wholesome homemade soup for my minions.

How mammiful of me, eh?

In reality, I had an extra hour of them screaming “NO WAY”, “She HUT meeeee!” and “STOP iiiiiit!” at each other and at me, while I delivered a Freezer Friday Special of oven baked cardboard for them to smear all over the floors. Then we watched 65 Cartoons, Princess fell asleep standing up 👇👇👇and we had a generally riotous bedtime chaos…

I didn’t shout as much as usual however and both have gone to bed reasonably content 💞and (finally) temperature free… (Is it bad that I now get more upset if we run out of Cal-of-the-pol, than I do if the graperack runs out? 😂😂)

The arts and crafts stuff remains in the car. It’ll probably still be there on January 1st as I’ll have given in to the cheap, cheerful and mess-free joy that is 30 cards for a penny in the pound shops! 😆😣😅

I HAD indulged in my usual Thursday night Domestic Goddess cleaning splurge last night, in the hope of doing feck all tonight. Right now, it looks like a creche puked its contents onto my living room floor.

There is however a shiny new grape glass from TK-Maxyourcard sitting beside the bottle of grapejuice that needs a snog…

How was your Friday Ladybelle?
Hit me with a gif to sum it up! 😚😚😚

I am Saving the Day Mum

Mini-Me began to BAWL on the way home this evening.

“What’s the matter Darling?”

“I have vewy bad nooooos Mammy”

“Oh no? What happened?”
(Sobbing…)

“Michael Jackson has DIED!”


(WAAAAAAILS for at least 2 minutes, thankfully so grief-stricken that she doesn’t realise I am in fits of laughter in the front seat. In fairness, with my shoulders dancing as they are, she possibly thinks I am sharing in her devestation.)

What should I say? How do I deal with her grief? When did she begin caring about Michael Jackson?

What does a sensitive, open and emotionally supportive Mammy say to their child in such a situation?

“Cheesy pasta for tea?”

“Oooooh yes please!”

#mammywin #sorted

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 Share the Daddy Bloggers Mum

At Mama Squad last night, the conversation came up about Daddies and how it would be great to see similar initiatives being set up for male parents.

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I’ve written about this before.  The general feeling in the room was that the menfolk would benefit from support groups just as much as Mammies.

Of course they would, but when we live in a society that still thinks Dad is “babysitting” when he spends time with his kids, rather than, you know, “PARENTING”, and where Dads are often dismissed as being lesser parents or not as significant as Mammies, we have a long way to go.

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But change will come. And the first signs of it are seeping into society.

I know four  Daddies who stay at home with their children while Mum goes out to work.  And that’s just off the top of my head. Loads more share parenting duties and responsibilities with their children’s mum. It’s not a new thing.

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I am single handedly fighting the “Is Daddy babysitting?” bullshit with my semi-violent responses becoming quite famous around Donegal.  It may eventually be a nationwide epidemic that might even cause some bloke in Government to ban the question completely, and punishment for uttering the words will carry a sentence of a full Netflix session of Peppa Pork… or worse, Max and fricken Ruby.

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The Him Most Certainly DOES NOT Babysit his girls. He Daddies them.

But most fabulous is the rise of the Daddy Blogger.  I know and follow a few Daddy Bloggers and am delighted that this rare and wonderful species are speaking out for the Daddy folk and giving the Mammy Bloggers a run for the children’s allowance.

So in order to spread the love and in the hope that maybe some of my 97% female readers might tag or share with their Daddy Bear type, I want to share my top 3 with you. (If you know a Daddy who might enjoy following some really cool Daddy types, tag away and share this with them.)

My three Favourite Daddy Bloggers!

The Stented Papa is a must follow for ALL parents. I’ve met this dude. He is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met and his blog has me in stitches laughing frequently.

 

 

Daddy Poppins is the hilarious and honest musings of an Irish House Husband. Serious wit here my Lovelies!

 

 

Digital Dad is brilliant.  Again, funny and so honest, his posts will crack you up!

 

These guys are a breath of fresh air.  Get following!

If we can get Dads sharing and reading and recognising and empathising with other Dads, who knows?

Eventually we might live in a society that praises and applauds all the amazing Dads who DO exist, rather than wondering what’s wrong with them for being, you know, Dads?

And yes, there are some useless Dads out there. but remember, there are some useless Mums out there too. Shock fecking horror! I get in trouble every time I say this, but hey! Giving birth doesn’t make you the best parent. Loving the child does, and that includes the parents who love their children from different homes and sometimes from afar.

 

If you have any Dad bloggers to recommend, please do so in the comments!

#dadsarefabtoo

I am Stop the Clocks Mum

It’s that weekend that all parents really wish they’d appreciated more B.C.

Remember when this weekend ACTUALLY meant an extra hour in the leaba?
Remember? No?

Well me neither, but this year, I have a PLAN. 😆🤗

I have cracked it.
I am a Superclever Mum.

Here it is…

Last night, I let the girls stay up 10 minutes later than usual. (7.20pm)
Tonight, I let them stay up 15 minutes later again. (7.35pm)
Tomorrow night, they shall be made, sorry allowed, to stay up until 8pm.
So by Saturday night, going to bed at 8.10pm will feel normal and they should both sleep until 8am, or the new 7am!

In my head, this is genius.
It is fool proof.
I am feckin awesome.
Bow down Bitches.

(In REALITY, they are bigger crankyarses than usual and will most likely STILL be awake at 6am on Saturday morning and the ONLY extra hour MammyTwat here shall ACTUALLY have, is an extra hour of Peppa Feckin Pig on Sunday morning…

But hey! Can’t hurt to try can it? 😂

(The only other feasible option is that Saturday night might be a great night for them to go for a sleepover somewhere… anywhere! 😂😂 )

How do you deal with the clocks changing Ladies?
PS. Happy Thirstay. 😙😙

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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