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 Saying it out loud Mum

Grab a cuppa Ladybelles… it’s a long one today. 😂
💙My little Bitch, Anxiety💙

 

Being a Mammy is hard.  Everything changes.

 

Your body. Your home. Your routine.  Your relationship.  Your friendships. Your mind.

Everything.

 

But it’s worth it.  It’s soooooo worth it.  

 

Yes, you’ll experience exhaustion like you’ve never imagined.

Yes, your hormones will be a mess for a few months (I’d argue forever more, but I’m no expert!).

Yes, life will never be the same again, but the love and the joys generally outweigh the negatives. 

 

And while you might feel like you’ve lost “you” on your journey to bring another human into world, YOU WILL return, a better, stronger, more wonderful version of yourself.

 

Before I had my Mini-Me 5 years ago, I thought I was on top of things.  I’d never really struggled with my thoughts, with my mind.  I could sleep when I was tired.  When I went to bed at night, my brain generally allowed me to sleep.  I lead a ridiculously busy life and I felt invincible.  

 

We were over the moon to find out that she was on her little way, and began painting and shopping and all the rest.  Then, at 16 weeks, my heart decided it was going to misbehave and landed me in hospital.  It misbehaved for the duration of my pregnancy.  I was put off work for the remainder, I had to give up so many things that I loved: my exercise, the show I was choreographing and (gasp) caffeine.  I went from being Everyone’s reliable somebody, to sitting on my ever expanding bum at home…

 

The world carried on around me…

 

For the first time in my life, I struggled.  

It’s only now, 5 years on and another baby later, that I can recognise that I was probably, definitely, possibly dealing with anxiety and I was probably, possibly, definitely, a little bit depressed.  

 

Have I ever been diagnosed with anything? No.

 

Have I ever told my Doctor I was struggling? No.  (I was afraid they’d take the baby off me.  Ridiculous eh?😐 )  

 

Can I say categorically that I have struggled with my mental health, both after and during pregnancy? 

Yes.  

For the first time ever, I can say it, or rather, I can write it.  

 

In the same way that I now know, The Him knew.  My Mum probably knew.  My sister has no slows on her. 😂 My closest friends probably knew.  But of course, because I pretended that I was fine, no one said anything out loud.  I convinced everyone around me, and myself, that of course I was fine.  

 

I’ve still never said it to a Doctor.  I have however said it to my Husband.  And the day that I told him that I was struggling and that I didn’t know what exactly was wrong with me, things began to get better.  I still have shit days.  Who doesn’t? And even though I know on certain days that I have NOTHING to be sad about, it doesn’t stop me being sad.  There are still days and weeks where, regardless of how wonderful my life is, (and it is mostly!), I can’t see past the great big clouds that seem to be getting in the way of my sunshine a little bit.  
I’ve come to realise that that is not just me.  

That is life.

But I’m learning how I need to deal with it, for me, as me.

 

I’m feeling good now.  I can honestly say that 18 months after Princess was born, I’m only recently feeling like the old me again.  Physically and emotionally.  

But the anxiety is always there.  

 

She lurks.

She fizzes through me, usually when I’m not stressed, ironically enough.  It seems that adrenalin and stress keeps her at bay, and then when things are sailing along nicely and I’m physically relaxing, she bubbles from my tummy, right into the tips of my fingers and it stays there until she’s done.  

 

How do I deal with her?

 

Writing. My blog has been my therapy, even when I didn’t understand that it was.  Also, Rescue remedy, cutting out alcohol, upping the exercise… and telling My Him.  

 
Even saying the words “I’m anxious and I don’t know why” makes it OK.  Once I know that it’s not just me, in my head, it’s easier to batter that little bitch back into her box.

 

She’ll never go away. She’ll sit in the box and wait until she senses my weakness again, until life seems quiet and good and this Mammy thinks she’s got her shit together again.  And then she’ll pop up and say “ahahahahha!  Oh no you don’t Madam”… 

 

And if I think back over the years, she’s always been there.  Hindsight is 20:20 isn’t it?

I just didn’t recognise who she was.  I thought she was low blood sugar, or exhaustion, or stress.   She was actually panic attacks and I was just so ridiculously sure of my own mental health that I didn’t recognise her.  

Why do I say “she” and not “it”?  
Because how I feel is not an IT.  My feelings are part of ME.  But these particular feelings are not only ME, they are a different, unwelcome little PART of me, and so I will refer to her as She, because it makes me feel like I’m in charge.  I’m not afraid of her.  I’m just sometimes influenced by her negativity.  But I will not give her a name.  She’s not THAT significant.  And just like my two minions, I’m in control of her…mostly! 

 

I’m not sure if this makes sense.  Maybe it doesn’t.  And I’m very aware that someone who has suffered and been diagnosed properly with such issues, might be tutting at my ramblings, but all I can do is say how I have felt and how I feel sometimes.  I’m not saying that I understand depression or anxiety.  I’m simply saying that just because a Doctor has never typed it in someone’s notes, it doesn’t mean they haven’t dealt with it.

 

Was it becoming a Mum that brought it to light?  Yeah, probably.  And a few other things over the last few years made me re-evaluate important parts of, and people in, my life.  

 

Mammies are afraid that admitting weakness makes us weak.  One of my most empowering moments, as a Mammy, as a wife, and as a woman, was realising that admitting weakness gives me strength.  

“There’s strength in numbers”. “A problem shared is a problem halved etc”.  Clichés yes,  But there’s truth in most clichés, isn’t there?

 

And so there we go.  The post I never thought I would write.  Because S-Mum has NEVER suffered from mental health problems.  Officially.  On the record.  I’ve never been diagnosed, but yes I have struggled. 

 

Maybe there is nothing to diagnose now, but in the past, if I had only had the guts, or in my case, the cop on, to realise or admit that things weren’t right, a doctor might have said the words out loud.   

Who knows?

She might some day.

 

And so be it.  Because it’s about time that we, mums especially, should be able to admit that sometimes, it’s not all simply a phase.  Sometimes, it’s not just tiredness.  Sometimes, it’s not just hormones.  

Sometimes, it’s something more and sometimes, we need help.

 

I’m not qualified to counsel, or diagnose, or treat.  I am not a psychologist.  I am not a Doctor.  I am not a councillor.  I’m not going to suggest that just because I’ve come to realise that I have a little Bitch called Anxiety to batter every so often, that I am an expert.  Of course I won’t.  That would be ridiculous.  Just because you’ve sat in a Ferarri doesn’t mean you can fix one does it?  

 

NO, so just because someone has experienced something, that doesn’t mean they know what YOU should do to fix YOU.

 

But if you feel that you can empathise with a little too much of what I’ve written, please ask for help.  Tell someone you’re struggling.  Be strong and admit that you feel weak.  Say it out loud.  It won’t sound as ridiculous as you think it will. 

 

And you’re allowed to be weak.  No one is strong all of the time.  

 

And do you see that little Bitch Anxiety?  She’s only as strong as we let her be.  She’s like a bully.  If one person stands up to her, she stands her ground, but when she sees that you have back up, she’ll soon retreat to her box.  

So ask for back up.

And put that bitch in her box.

 
 💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙

I am Saddle and Sore Bum Mum 😅

Mammy’s bottom is sore.
Today, I sat upon the hard saddle of a bicycle.  The only hard saddle that Mammy is used to sitting on, is Jim’s …  you know the stationary, non-moving, non-dangerous, spinning bicycle that is BOLTED TO THE GROUND and which can NOT MOVE?

“Let’s hire the bikes!” suggested The Him when we arrived in Glenveagh.
“Oh fecking joy” thinks Mammy, but NEVER one to let The Him think her unfit or uncool or old and decrepit, and seeing the ACTUAL joy on Mini-Me’s face at the prospect of saving her little legs from the 4k walk, Mammy answered “What a glorious idea My Him. But as YOU are the manliest man in Manville, YOU have my permission to be manly and to strut your masculine Mannity by pulling the trailer containing your two cherubs.”

S-Mum’s FIRST hurdle was THE HELMET. You see my Lovelies, I do indeed have a superbly large and quite weirdly shaped cranium.  I like to think it’s all the brains, but in reality, it is a combination of genetic and bad luck.  (The last time I required a helmet was on a teambuilding horseriding day with my colleagues, when the Gobshite/man shouted to HIS colleague “Gone out the back and bring in the special hat”, before fitting me with a glorified bucket and sending me off on the spawn of Satan…a horse named Mary… shudder.)
But to my amazement, the helmet DOES FIT and so I am good to go.
S-Mum does not delight in the prospect of cycling a real live bicycle for the first time in AT LEAST 20 years, but then S-Mum sees that The Him’s bum looks quite wonderful on his manly bike and so decides to forgoe her trepidation and take one for the team.
“You go in front Darling” says The Him.
“Oh no My Him. I’d much prefer to follow you so I can see my precious minions. Be the man. I shall be a good wifey and follow you” answers I, patting myself on the back for being so cunning and clever. 😈

So off we went.  I sat on the saddle, nodded at the instructions the buck was giving me about gears or something, and wondered HOW the hell I would get out of the CARPARK, nevermind the whole way down to the castle, and back.
But do you know what?

Remember I did.

It really was “like riding a bike.” 😂😂😂
Yes, I was a bit wobbly, and yes I almost died 13 times before I got the hang of the brakes etc, but having spent my whole childhood on bikes with my sister and brother, it came back to me quickly.
I did however discover something interesting.
I have huge difficulty turning right!

Left? No bother.

Right?  Not so much. I felt like I was going to tip over.
Why? I have NO FECKING IDEA! Maybe it’s a sign that the left side of my brain has gone to mussh more than the right?
Anyway, we went, we saw, we cycled.
It was great fun.

The girls loved it, “woohoooooing” their way behind their Daddy.
After my initial wobbles, and as a result of my utter stubbornness, I actually enjoyed it…

And in fairness, the view was pretty impressive too. 😈😈😉😉
How was your Sunday Funday?

Have you found me on Bookface yet?

https://www.facebook.com/the.s.mum

I am Share Positive Birth Stories Mum

​I had a conversation yesterday with my friend who is due her first baby at Easter.
She’s glowing and beautiful and excited, but she’s frightened beyond belief.
She was telling me how terrified she is and how she’s had to stop reading forums because the horror stories she’s read. 

And she’s right.
As with all areas of life, we tend to tell the dramatic or nightmare stories of childbirth, before we share the positive ones.
Giving birth is terrifying whether it’s your first time or your 6th, but it is also the most natural thing in the world, isn’t it? Our bodies are designed for it.  Women have been giving birth for millions of years. And yet, it’s also perfectly natural to be completely terrified. It’s new. It’s unpredictable. It’s painful.

Usually, unless there are complications or you run into difficulties, most Mammas manage to bring their little minions into the world without too much drama. 💙❤
So let’s help my lovely Glammy Mammy out and share some birth stories WITHOUT the horror stories.
I’ll begin…
Both of my births were by scheduled C-Section, for medical reasons and well called by my Consultant. Both were painful, with their own complications and recovery, but both resulted in birth.  
And as much as no one wants surgery on top of childbirth, I have to say that both were calm and positive and (dare I say), enjoyable, and that I was looked after beautifully by the midwives at Letterkenny University Hospital.
And as unwell as I felt, and as terrified as I was, and as painful the recoveries, both were worth every single ache and pain.💖💖
So there you go.  Nothing overly eventful Thank god.
(And if you’re currently wanting to slap me and grumbling about how crap YOUR experience was, let me clarify that my last one was so “enjoyable” that I’ve sworn NEVER to do it again, but I AM focusing on the positives here and I salute you Mamma. You are a Goddess and you are Supermum, but let’s not terrify her anymore than she already is. 😘)
Did you have a positive birth experience? If you did, share it below and help me convince my Buddy that it’s not all rips and stitches and poo and pain…
If you’d like to share your positive story, feel free. You can pop over to my facebook page @the.s.mum to share on my daily blog there.
Come on Mamma Squad.
Let’s spread the love this Valentine’s.

❤❤❤❤

I am Sometimes I need my Mamma Mum 😚

​Sometimes, S-Mum needs her Mamma too. 👭
This evening I HAD TO stay at Mum’s for a few hours after work. 
See my driveway was full of lorries and diggers and workmen.  It looked like the opening of “Fraggle Rock”, so I was FORCED to pop in to hers for an hour…or three!
She drank tea.🍵

I drank coffee.☕

We ate cake…(Seriously guys, she is THE BEST BAKER in the world. Click onto Cakes by Ann to see!)🍰
She cooked dinner.

Princess rearranged ALL of her cupboards.


Mini-Me provided a moment of immense achievement for Techy-Granny as her demands for Inside-Out caused Granny to figure out how to work the Brother’s Playstation as a DVD player!  

I am in AWE of this woman.

I wouldn’t even know where the on switch is.😅
And then, I brought my Minions home and we have just had the most suspiciously calm and ordinary bedtime EVER…
This morning however?
This morning was not so calm.😭😭😭
We slept in.

I had NOTHING DONE before bed last night, because the smug TIT that is S-Mum had planned the usual 5.30am start and didn’t consider ironing uniforms or making lunches before bed.  Clever Mummy.
We were running on the dodgy side of late.

I dropped Princess next door, realised I’d forgotten her dummies (not just 1 for my ruined rascal!), jumped back into the car to grab them from the house, spun the car BACK AROUND because of Big Digger SUDDENLY BLOCKING my driveway, ran back into Mum’s, kissed the Baby and apologised profusely for lack of dummies, jumped back in car, remembered I’d forgotten her bibs and FINALLY started on our journey to school…feeling UTTERLY FRICKEN USELESS! 😂
Mini-Me THANKFULLY announced that she wanted Quiet time, so I allowed myself to be soothed back into a more positive vibe with the familiar soothing tones of Donal K on the radio machine… 
My train of thought followed this track:

“Snap out of it S-Mum.

You forgot her dummies, not her.

She’ll be fine.

Mum will get one from some magical place and Princess will not even know what a shit Mammy you are.

This is NOT a problem…

Other people have REAL problems…

Get over yourself…

Stop stressing…

Let that car out in front of you…

There we go…karma being restored already.

Positive thoughts only.

Practice what you preach…

Deep breaths…

Negativity breeds negati…
“Mammy.”

“Yes Darling?” 

“Why am I not allowed milk at school?”

(Vague recollection of note saying milk starts on the 23rd.)

“Of course you’re allowed milk at school Sweetie.”

(Shit.  Racks brain for memory of form to fill in…nope…nothing!)

“Teacher says I don’t get milk. Wilena gets milk coz HER Mammy sent a note and she’s ALLOWED milk, but I’m not, coz you never writed a note.”

(Seriously… I don’t remember ANYTHING about sending in a note. Shit Mummy!😭😭😭)

“Mammy will sort it pet.”
There’s that Train of thought again… like a steam train with a big sign on front of it announcing arrival at “USELESS MAMMY-ville” and whistling “You forgot the dummies Dummy and you didn’t writed a note!”
How easily the silliest things can become HUMONGOUS eh?
I writed the note before she got the bus.

She gotted the milk and so is no longer the unloved child with THAT Mummy.

Mum found a Dummie under the sofa.

Princess was unaware of the utter neglect.

The diggers blocked the driveway.

Granny made the dinner.

The kids went to bed…

Mammy poured a gin…

And they all lived happily ever after. 

😂

I am Simple act of Kindness Mum

Yesterday, I ran into a lovely young Mammy whose little Princess was born on the same day as my Mini-Me.

We’ve known each other for many years, because once upon a time, I had the pleasure of being her English teacher. (I’m not sure if she would describe her time in my classroom as a pleasure, but that’s my take on it anyway!) 😂
Our two girls are due to start school together in September and will be in the same class.👭

Her daughter, (let’s call her Pretty Curls), is just beautiful; gentle and sweet. ❤

We stopped to speak and as usual when there are kids included in the situation, it was more a direction ro the girls to “Say hello” to each other, rather than a conversation between the grown-ups.😂😂

Mini-Me was having a bad day. She has sore ears, was running a slight temperature and was still in the throes of being completely traumatised after going to her ballet class for a whole 3 minutes before deciding she NEEDED to go home. (That’s another blog…) 😡

Mini-Me and Pretty Curls were eyeing each other up.  Mini-Me spotted a packet of Disney Princess rings in the hands of Pretty Curls and began that incessant “But why does SHE have?/I WANT RINGS” whining that brought the conversation to a close.  I said goodbye and ushered her off to the next aisle, praying she’d calm down. 😢
(She didn’t. She slipped and fell and began to bawl. It was one of those genuine cries that overrides the whining to make Mammy realise that ACTUALLY, she’s NOT being a brat, she feels shitty and is upset at everything and simply needs to be snuggled on the sofa with a big glug or Calpol.)

So we went to pay for the shopping.
The other Mammy and Pretty Curls were at the next checkout.
And then the most beautiful, wonderful thing happened.

Pretty Curls came around to Mini-Me and put out her hand, saying “Here. You can have this.”
In her little hand was one of the rings.👭💍

Mini-Me was delighted and cheered up instantly.
Mammy was gobsmacked. 😮
  It was the sweetest thing I’ve seen in a long time.
There were hugs and smiles and statements like “You can be my best fwend!”

Such a simple, thoughtful gesture of kindness from a 4 year old stopped me in my tracks.
It was adorable to watch.😇
It was humbling.
It was the perfect example of how one, seemingly small, act of kindness can change someone’s whole day.😄
It wasnt small.  It was HUGE. It made Mini-Me  forget her sore ears (until we got home at least!) And it made her happy.
It also made me realise that I need to learn from this Mammy’s lovely example.
She’s taught her little girl to be kind and to be nice.👏

Pretty Curls was able to share her brand new toys with a little girl she doesn’t even know.  She’ll go a long way in life; just like her Mammy.

They’re both fabulous and I couldn’t be more impressed. ❤❤

image

I am Seriously Mum?

Ok.
So I TRY very hard every day to “Always look on the bright side of life”.
I like to think I’m a pretty positive person, but sometimes people do stupid sh*t that makes me grumpy. 😈

Like today, while my friend and I are packing our kiddies into the cars in an EMPTY-BAR-ONE-OTHER-CAR-CAR-PARK and MRS. DUMBASS, driving a gorgeous jeep, decides that the other 80 spaces are no good, so pulls into the space BETWEEN OUR TWO CARS. 😐

She SEES the 4 children and the buggy, and that I’m just about to put the carseat into the car, but still parks so close to my car, that the car seat WILL NEVER fit throught the gap.

So, because I GENUINELY believe that most people don’t intend to be mean, and that sometimes they’re quite simply Numpties who don’t realise their lack of perception of personal space, I calmly waited for MRS. DUMBASS to realise her numptiness and move her big jeep.

She took out her phone and made a call. 😡😡😡

Because Mini-Me was right beside me, I didn’t swear. (HUGE ACHIEVEMENT.) 👏👏
INSTEAD, I said to my friend “I’m going to have to move the car to get the carseat in here. Can you please take the buggy for a moment?”
(Thism she definitely heard through the open window. It was probably the perfect example of how The Him says I THINK I’m being subtle, but I’m not being one tiny bit subtle.)

And that’s what I had to do.  I HAD TO MOVE MY CAR ABOUT A FOOT TO THE RIGHT in order to get the carseat in.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I have a temper that can make grown men cry.

I COULD have knocked on MRS. DUMBASS’S window and asked her was she f**kin SERIOUS?
But.
I didn’t.
I set my baby in the car, said goodbye to my friend who was equally as flabberghasted as I was, and prepared to drive off, swearing in my own head.

MRS. DUMBASS got out of her car as if nothing had happened…

Because I’m determined to find positives in ALL situations, I did.

She was wearing nice trousers on her Dumbass. 👩🙆👖👖👖

They really were pretty and looked great on her dumb ass as she walked away from the big jeep that she COULDN’T PARK PROPERLY IN AN EMPTY CARPARK!

But she had nice trousers and is probably a very lovely Dumbass.
Now. 👄
Here’s a cute puppy to negate the negatives that may be misconceived in this rant…sorry, post.

image

HAPPY Friday.😙😙
Pop…🍷