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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I am Smile, You ARE Enough Mum

Mammies.

No matter what kind of day you are having right now, remember that You ARE enough.

You have bad days.  You have bad mornings. You have a short temper. You have a sore head. You have a sad heart.  It’s not what you thought it would be. It’s not easy.  You’re exhausted.  You don’t know where to start. You can’t understand how that other Mammy seems so together. You feel terrible for shouting. You promised you wouldn’t shout today.  You were determined not to scold.  You never knew you could love anyone so much.  You never knew you could love someone and dislike them at once. You’ve tried everything. Why won’t she listen?  HER kids do what she asks them.

We all have the inner Mammy Monologue:

I forgot his coat. I haven’t brushed her hair. Why don’t I have time to do her hair like that Mum? How many times do I have to show him this?  Why doesn’t he SEE that that needs done.  I may as well chat to the wall.  No one LISTENS to me. Nothing seems to work.  Maybe I’m doing it all wrong? I can’t remember everything. My head is going to explode.  HOW did I forgot about the fecking party? Surely being this stressed is not right? No one else seems this stressed.  What am I doing wrong? What’s wrong with me?

Nothing.

You’re doing nothing wrong.  Let me tell you a secret… EVERY SINGLE MAMMY thinks one or more of the above statements EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Somedays, it seems like we can think ALL of these things at once.

We all have bad mornings, or bad days, or bad bedtimes.

But guess what?  A bad morning does not make you a bad Mammy.  A screaming bedtime does not mean that you are rubbish at parenting.  We can be as determined as we like about not rising to them, or giving in, or shouting, but some days, our minions seem determined to test every strand of our patience.  We can’t control or predict how our little rascals are going to behave.

Sometimes, we are not in charge.

Now, I am no parenting expert.  I haven’t a clue what I’m doing most of the time.  Sometimes I shout so loudly that I think the neighbours are probably running to their cars or finding their shoes incase the crazy lady across the hill actually gets to number 3.

But as well as knowing that daily stresses and meltdowns are part of parenting, because they’re part of growing up, it’s also important to know that there ARE many experts, qualified experts, and professionals in all areas of parenting that can help.

There are many resources available in Donegal. There are Childcare experts who can advise on behaviour, or bedtime routines, on how we should respond to behaviours, on routine, on difficult or challenging behaviours.

There are no quick fixes and no rule fits all.  What works for my child, might not work for yours.  What I need to change in MY home, might not be happening in yours.

There are some great online support groups and parenting communities (just be aware that often the most vocal on these aren’t actually qualified to be giving advice.)

There are also fabulous counsellors and behavioural experts around who can help with concerns or worries.  I’d be wary of those who promise to change your life forever.  No matter how brilliant a technique or response is, anyone who tells you they can take away all the stresses of parenting, is lying.  So here are a few services and resources that are available to parents in Donegal.

Parent Hub: These guys are amazing. They run courses, provide support and generally know everything about how to get parents the help that they need.  Check them out on:

http://parenthubdonegal.ie/

They’re also on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/parenthubdonegal/

New Beginnings is a counselling service provided by Sarah Barr.  She runs a wellness programme called Minding Mammy which is dedicated to Mammies (and which is fab!).

Starting on November 6th, she is also beginning a monthly Mammy meet up in Letterkenny which is free.  Details of both here:

https://www.facebook.com/NewBeginningsCounsellingService/

Letterkenny Babies is great as a conversation forum to ask advice and get support from other mums on all things Mammy. The admins will always remind you to seek professional or medical advice for more serious queries however.

https://www.facebook.com/letterkennybabies/

If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, or swamped by the negative thoughts I began with; if you get to the point where you know that it’s not JUST a bad day, or a bad week, then ask for help.

I have said it eleventy squillion times… it’s OK to not be OK.  What’s important is to know that there is help available and where to go for it.

Your GP or PHN can signpost where to get support of help for your child, or indeed for yourself, if you are genuinely concerned that a behaviour is more than just the terrible twos, or teenage troubles.

But remember 2 things

  1. You are NOT alone and
  2. You ARE enough.

The S-Mum xxx

I am Sometimes Invisible Mum

“Get away from me with that camera”.

How many of you have said this? How many times have you said it?

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If you’re like me, you’ll have a smartphone that is permanently slow because it has eleventy squillion photographs on it.

And if you’re like me, you’ll have photographs of everyone and everything you love, but very few of yourself.  I’d say 75% of my pics are of the girls and The Him. 20% of utter nonsense like food and random selfies, and the last 5%, screenshots of great ideas and funny memes and dresses I will never buy.

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Apart from the silly selfies however, (and I say Silly because we usually have our tongues out or are pulling funny faces in them!), there are no photographs of me and my girls.

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I realised this when I had to send a photograph of myself with Mini-Me and Princess to a newspaper this week. I spent 20 minutes scrolling through my phone and in the end, had to message The Him to ask him if he had any on HIS phone.

But it got me thinking about Mammies and how so often, we end up invisible. We’re usually behind the camera. And if anyone suggests that we step into a photograph, 9 times out of 10 we’ll have some way of getting out of it:

“Not at all,”

“I don’t need to be in any pictures”

“Get that camera AWAY from me”

“I haven’t even brushed my hair”

“Look at the shape of me”

“Just snap them”

“Get AWAY with the camera”

“I look dreadful”

“Nah I’m grand here thanks!”

You could all add your own to this no doubt…

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We all do it.  And the result is going to be a million memories for our kids where the only part of Mammy in the pictures is her shadow or her hand holding the wobbly baby up.

But here’s the thing.  Our children don’t care about how Mammy looks, or if her hair is brushed, or if she looks knackered.   When they are older and looking through the millions of images of their childhoods, all they’ll care about is that we’re IN the pictures. And they won’t see the makeup or the neat hair, they’ll only see the love. They’ll only see the moment. They’ll only see Mammy.

 

So take that picture.

You’re gorgeous. Your kids don’t care what you look like. That’s all YOU. They think you’re perfect already.

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So shake off those insecurities and forget about the “shape of you”. Smile and let yourself be captured in the memories of your smartphones.

Jump into the shot if someone asks you to. Be more than just the shadow or the Invisible Mammy, because someday, these photographs will be so much more important than our shyness or insecurities.  They’ll be cherished and loved by our loved ones, more than we can ever imagine.

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Read more on The S-Mum’s website https://the-smum.com  or join the conversation on Facebook @the.s.mum

Read more on my Thoroughly Modern Mammy column on http://www.donegalwoman.ie

The S-Mum xx

 

I am Sing It Mum

It is Feck-it-up FriYay!

Friday is a day for smiling, for lunching, for singing.🎶🎵🎶🎵

THIS particular Friday is the day that Mammy suddenly became aware of the lyrics of songs.
Why?

Because today, my 5 (and a half) year old sang the following lyrics…in ONE car journey.

1. “Last night you were in my room, now my bedsheets smell like you.”
2. “She says Boys need a little more Bootay to hold at night.”
And my favourite…
3. “If you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him”.😲😲😲

I shit you not.

Usually, smug Mammy here only plays wonderful, intelligent and catchy tunes from musical theatre in the car and kitchen. I do pride myself in Mini-Me’s ability to sing such lovelies as “Castle in da clouds”, “Somewhere over da Wainbow” and “waindwops and woses”.

So imagine my delight, when she seemed to have learned the lyrics to my solo number in Singin’ in the Rain” after only hearing me sing it a few times…
Proud Mammy.
Clever Mini-Me…

“You should hear her singing ‘What’s wrong with me’ Daddy,” boasts Mammy to The Him.
“Ooooooh let Daddy hear” says The Him.

Rather than start the song, she breaks straight into what is apparently now her favourite line, at the top of her voice…

“HE’S WOST HIS RABIDOOOOOO” (He’s lost his libido)😣
and

“HE DOESN’T FEEL MY SOCKSEYPEEEL?” (He doesn’t feel my sex appeal)😲😲😲

And suddenly the lyrics in the trashy pop songs don’t seem quite so inappropriate and the musical theatre classics don’t seem quite so classy.

In fairness, I should have recognized her penchant for bad lyrics 2 years ago, when she sang “SUPERSTAAAAAAR” when she got caught saying “Jesus Christ!” to poor Baby Annabelle one night…😂

So yes, Fridays are for Singing.
And Fridays are also for sipping grapes. 🍷🍷🍷

Have a good one Lovelies. 😘😘

I am So I’m a Career Mum (again)

Rejoice! Rejoice!

It is Friyay…the FIRST Friyay after a FULL week of school and work and routine. And we have all survived. (albeit just about, but survived we have.😂)
We may be frazzled and fooked Mammies, but still we must find the energy to REJOICE in the Fact that we have made it to the MOST wonderful evening of the week. 😆

This week, after two years of maternity leave, unpaid leave and jobsharing, I have finally dipped my toe back into the world of being a Full-time Mammy with a full-time Job. What have I learned? Nothing. But I have remembered MANY things; Things that I had battered down, suffocated and locked in a tattered old box at the back of the memory part of my subconscious, but which now bounce back to the forefront of my ridiculously tired little mind. 😐

Tired Children:

Tired children are cranky.
Tired children like to find a reason, ANY reason, to cry.
Tired children do not KNOW that they are tired.
Tired children refuse to admit that they are tired.😥
Tired children will bite one another.😠
Tired children do not like to go to their beds, regardless of how tired they are.
Tired children like to wake up at 2am and play with their toys, with the light on, noisily enough to waken everyone so that they have someone to tell that they are NOT tired.
Tired children do NOT like to get dressed in the morning.
Tired children do NOT like it when you bounce into their bedrooms at 7am singing “Good Morning, Good Moooooooorning!, opening curtains and declaring that it is time for school. (Especially the not tired children who have been up half the night playing with their fecking toys.😈)
Tired children like to say “No” and “No” and sometimes, “Noooooo!” to absolutely EVERYTHING that Tired Mammy asks or suggests.

And along with tired children, comes the Tired Mammy. But as well as being a tired Mammy, Mammy ALSO has to be SUPER-ORGANISED Mammy.
Mammy needs to keep on top of the fridge situation.
Mammy needs to pack lunchboxes and school bags and afterschool bags.
Mammy needs to remember the fecking HORROR that is HOMEWORK.
Mammy needs to think about dinners sooner than when she opens the fridge at 6pm.
Mammy needs to set her alarm to make sure she gets out of bed 30 minutes before everyone else if Mammy wants to pee, shower and have a coffee all by herself.
Mammy needs to be an intelligent and functioning adult.
Mammy needs to rid her brain of references to Peppa Pig and Andy and Bing because they are not relevant to Macbeth and teenagers do NOT respond well to them.
Mammy needs to try to keep the washing basket from puking and Mammy needs to arrange everyone’s clothes before bedtime.
Mammy needs to remain relatively Wifely and interesting enough to hold a brief conversation with Tired Daddy when he comes home from Jim.
And Mammy needs to get used to wearing stupid heels and muckup every single day. (I’ll last until the end of September…)
Mammy needs to cram all of the Mammying and playing and cuddling and scolding and fun into 3 hours in the evening, while being JUST as tired as her beloved Tired Children who are determined to PUNISH her tired ass for abandoning them in school and creche. (Even though they both LOVE where they go and actually CRY when they are collected.)
Mammy can not have grapes or gin during the week… 😛😛
Mammy struggles with balancing the Mammy guilt when she’s away from the girlies, and the urge to sell them on ETSY when she’s spent an hour being screamed at and cried at by her Tired Minions.

Mammy can’t win.

In conclusion. Mammy does INDEED need to rejoice that she has made it to Friday night, has the tired minions in bed, her feet up and the grapes poured. 😂And now Mammy needs all of her Lovely Supermums to say Hello and remind her of what I have been missing while abandoning you all this week while trying to keep 286 plates spinning without falling off her heels and onto her poor, muck-uped, Mammy-guilty face.

Cheers Bitcheepoos. xxx

I am She’s Not Quite Getting it Mum

“WHAT is THAT Mammy?”

“What is what Sweetie?”

“What is THAT fing on the tray?”
“That is the chicken for Mammy and Daddy’s dinner tonight.”

“Dat is NOT a chucken. Chucken is white.”
“Chicken is white when it is cooked. This is a raw chicken.”

“Why is it not moooovin like?”
“Because it’s dead Baby.”

“Nooooooooo? Who kulled the chicken?”
“Erm, the Farmer killed the chicken so that Mammy can cook the chicken before I eat it.” (This may not end well…😥😥😥)

“But that Farmer should NOT kill his wee chuckens. That is NOT very nice.”
“But how would we get chicken for our dinner if the farmer doesn’t kill it pet?”

(Looks at me as if I’m the most intellectually challenged cretur on the planet…😅)
“You COULD just go to the shop and BUY chucken Mammy. Then the farmer could stop killing da wee chuckens and everyone would be happy.”

“Ok. 😐😐😐That’s a great idea. I’ll do that the next day.”
“Good Mammy… And if you see that farmer, sort him out. He shouldn’t be going around kulling his wee pet chuckens. That is not nice behaviour.”

(I wonder if I should tell her where Granda will be sending her buddies Ellie and JohnJoe next Spring? 🐮🐄🐮🐄🐮🐄😂😂)

#fml #iswineonatuesdayallowed

I am She’s a Stay at Home Working Mum

“Your Mammy doesn’t work.” or “Your Mammy doesn’t have a real job”

I remember hearing this a few times as a child and as a teenager.
I remember not thinking much of it. I didn’t see it as an insult or a scathing comment until I was about 16 and my Mum had had Baby Number 6, and I overheard a visitor “jokingly” dismissing my Mum with “Oh at least you don’t have a job to go back to. You should try having a career on top of it….hardeeharrhar.”

And I remember that moment because it was probably the first time I lost the plot with an ACTUAL adult. Let’s just say, there were metaphoric stitches required for the new posterier that might have been ripped. She didn’t visit again.

It was a line delivered with one of those fake “hardeehar” Mary of the Poppins laughs, which people of the bitch variety add to their insults to mask them as “Only jokes” or not meaning any harm. At 17, I was old enough to recognise that the visitor was in fact being a grade a Sanctimammy. And I was old enough to defend my Mum. Because my Mum might not have put on her face and heels every morning and gone to an office or a school or a hospital or a shop or wherever to do a JOB, but BY CHRIST did she work. She worked harder than any other person I know. She still does. She was there, and is there, for us every step of the way, and I’ll never know how she did it.

Being the eldest in a house full of Babies, I learned VERY young that being a Mum is a full time job. There is no rest. There is no relaxation. There are no coffee breaks. There is no “Clocking in” or “Clocking out”. No one cares if you’ve had your lunch hour. Hell, most days, you don’t get lunch! (unless you count their leftovers as lunch, which somedays, we all do. 😅) You don’t have a team to thrash ideas over. You don’t have a Boss to ask for advice. You don’t have a Supervisor to show you the way.

When we were kids in the Donegal sticks in the 80’s, our Mums had a VERY different life. Many of them were at home, all day, without communication, without conversation, without cars, until the Daddy came home (for an hour before hitting the farm.). There were no Forums to ask questions about teething, or wind, or puke. There were no online nurses to contact if a rash appeared. There were 3 TV stations FFS! So there were no digital babysitters. (and no Peppa in fairness.) There were few telephones and even if there was a phone in the house, you didn’t call up your mate for a 20 minute chat unless you were able to pay for it. There were no Mother and Baby groups, no baby massage, no Mammy meet ups… Being a Mammy TODAY is lonely. I can’t get my head around what it must have been like for our Mums. And remember too, that then, you DARE not admit that you were struggling with your emotions or your “nerves” as they used to say in hushed, loaded tones.

Being a Mammy is 24/7. It’s the hardest job in the world whether you’re a SAHM(Stay at home Mum) or a CM (Career Mum). If you don’t leave the house to work, you don’t get to say things like “Sorry, I’m finished for the day” or “That’s not my problem. Talk to JohnJoe” or “I’ll leave that until tomorrow.” You work all day, every day (and all fecking night sometimes) and there is no pay-cheque at the end of it. There is no sick pay. There is no annual leave. Running a home and organising a family is hard. It is full on. It is stressful. It is exhausting. You might not a get a playslip or wages at the end of the month, but boy, do you work.

Now, Before anyone starts their “Try doing all that AND working an ACTUAL job”, let me stop you right there. I AM a working Mum. I have a very busy, demanding and stressful job. I am fully aware that when I go back to work next week, I will have 3 times more crap in my head to think about than I do today. I know too well how fecking EXHAUSTING it is to trying to juggle being professional and organised in your JOB, keeping your family on top of all the EVERYTHING and trying not to lose your shit completely.

It’s a whirlwind and it’s madness, but do you know what? Just because I have a career AND kids, doesn’t make me better or superior to a Mum who stays at home to work. I envy Mums who can stay at home. I’m blessed that I was able to work part-time last year and that I get so much time off to spend with the girls. I know that. But it’s time for me to go back full time and I’m terrified. I love being at home with my girls, but do you know what? I love my job too. So that’s what is right for ME.

Today, I’m looking forward to dressing in my school clothes and having an uninterrupted conversation and a hot coffee in the staffroom next week. Next week, I’ll be breaking my heart that I’m not snuggled up in my PJs on the sofa, watching Peppa Pork.

But let’s get this straight. The mums who stay at home ARE working. They work full time. They just aren’t on a payroll. (Working Mums get the Children’s Allowance too so don’t even TRY that BS).
I envy the Mums who stay at home through choice, but remember that so many are SAHMs because the RIDICULOUS cost of Childcare doesn’t give them any feckin choice. Many would love to be back in the workplace. Many of them look forward to it. But, the shoe fits both feet. To the Mammies who tut at Career Mums for leaving their children to go to work, remember that you’re not a better Mammy than a Career mammy because you stay at home with your kids.

We all do what we have to do.

I go back to my usual mantra… Don’t be a Sanctimammy.

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.
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 as she was dropping her 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.

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

Then get over yourself. 😘

Have a Fablis Friday night my Lovelies.
And keep up the good work.😘