What we see...
Mammy had a lovely relaxing morning. Mammy had time to meditate, do yoga, have a shower, and do her makeup and hair. The children were angels. Mammy had all the clothes chosen, ironed and laid out beside the children’s shoes and clean underwear, before she went to bed at 9.30pm (where Mammy read her selection of Wellness and Good Parenting manuals in an attempt to ensure that she was indeed giving her children all of the positive assurance and interweb proven behavioural techniques possible to ensure that they will grow up rounded and functional humans.) The children ate ALL of their healthy and nutritious breakfast, packed their bags and put on their own coats before carrying their respective bags to the car (must encourage responsibility you know. It says so on page 34 of Clever Mammy Manuals) #clevermammy
Mammy was calm and chilled as she sipped her herbal tea and created Michelin Style breakfasts, not forgetting to snap pics for Instagram to make sure everyone could see how easy it was to eat exciting, colourful food all the time. Mammy was on time and no one needed to rush or shout or be stressed. The very good little girls sang nursery rhymes in the car while Mammy listened to them lovingly, smiling and wishing that she was able to capture this moment of Mummy perfection on her phone too, so she could show the world just how fabulous and perfect her morning was. She dropped the children at school and drove on to her wonderful job, already excited to get home to her spotless home and enjoy her little ladies in the evening. What a wonderful morning. Life is good. #soblessed #youseewhatIshowyou
What we don’t see.
Mammy got up at 6.30am, wishing she’d gone to bed earlier instead of sitting up with Hubby watching another episode of Stranger Things on Netflix. She showered quickly, ignoring her hairy legs in favour of washing her face, made her coffee, made the lunches, packed the bags, found the shoes, dried the uniform cardigan, remembered it was PE Day, found the kit, tumble-dried it, put on a load of washing, woke the kids, negotiated with the Oldest, bribed the youngest, dressed one of her girls in the tumbledried kit, (hoping that her body heat would flatten the creases before she got to school,) while singing the “Will you get dressed please” song over and over and over at the oldest, drank one mouthful of the cold coffee, swore a little under her breath, screamed at oldest to EAT SOMETHING off the plate, proffered Coco-Pops as bribery, cursed her own weakness, put nappy BACK on the baby, put clothes back on the baby, searched for PE runners, took the box of Quality Street from the Baby, wondered WTF she had found them, remembered to grab her own gym bag, put the lunches in the bags, packed the car, put the coats on her children, (because who the fuck has time to watch a 2 year old zipping up their own coat at 8am?), fed the dog, turned off all the lights, set the alarm, locked the house, strapped them in their carseats, swore at the straps and then swore (again) to buy a new carseat once she gets paid, ran back inside, unset the alarm, grabbed her handbag and coat, set the alarm, locked the house, nearly ran over the Horsedog, drove to school thinking about what she needed to do today, tried to hear herself think over the noise of the cat fight in the back seat where the youngest is repeating EVERYTHING the oldest says and driving her insane! “Stop it!” “DOPIIIT” “SHE’s COPYING MEEEEE” “SHEEEtoppeeeeeemeeeee!, turns on radio to distract, listened to Despacito being murdered by oldest, arrived at childcare, took girls and all their bags out of car, put coat back on the baby, told Oldest to lift her coat off the ground as she walked, tripped over oldest’s coat, kissed and hugges both girls singing Cheery “See you Later” and “Have fun at schooooool!” and “Mammy loves youuuuu!”, wondered if she’d have time to go to the shop enroute to buy the earlier proferred CocoPops, stopped at shop, did a dash around grabbing things she remembered she needed, remembered a bag as she approached the till, drove to work and parked the car, went into the staffroom, made a cup of coffee and drank it, sighed as she remembered that she hasn’t brushed her hair and that the washing is still in the machine and will need redone this evening, but other than that, what a great morning. Life is good!
I know which one I am.
And I’d rather have the chaos and craziness of my normal any day, than live under such notions of perfection that I see my life as a fecking TV Show.
Be real and Be you. You’re better to be a Mammy who knows she needs to shout less and that she really should try to iron her children’s clothes sometimes and that some mornings will be smoother than others, than one who lives under the pressure to seem “perfect” to the virtual friends and followers in your virtual life. Perfect is my kids safe, healthy and fed and loved.
Great mornings are the ones that keep coming. Enjoy them. They’re perfect already, just like you. And you don’t need Social Media to tell you that.
Ooooooh it’s Friyay.
Today Mammy took a notion.
Mammy is going to surprise the girlies by bringing them to meet Daddy for a surprise dinner date and we’ll have a lovely family evening with our two well behaved darlings, who Shall eat their Yummy dindins. Then we shall have the joy of watching them eating Pink icecream, the adorable little munchkins, before going home for a relaxing bedtime where Daddy would put them to bed while Mammy pours a glass of grapes and puts her Tired feet up for a good old Corrie wedding…
Mammy is a deluded Twatsickle who often falls victim to her very own Disney Princess notions. 😂
But never fear.
Mammy has her very own Mini whose main purpose in life (today anyway) seems to be to knock Silly Mammy off her Disnified perch.
We did meet Daddy.
From the second we sat down, Mini-me was a wagon. A proper little shitsickle. She made Princess look like an angel. That IS Quite the achievement! I won’t go into too much detail but when I tell you that ignoring the waitress, refusing to order, asking for a cocktail, bursting into tears because Mammy ordered for her, sliding onto the floor, scribbling on the menu were only a FEW of her party tricks, you can imagine the rest.
Mammy and Daddy spent the date sending each other apologetic “what we’re we thinking” looks and starting conversations they both knew would not be finished before they started.
Mammy wished she could go back to correcting exams and considered that she should have just gone home to cook the freezer contents. Daddy wondered why he had ever thought that leaving work early was a good idea… I’m guessing that only for fear of Divorce, he would have happily gone back to his BFF Jim.
They did go home: After NO dessert. They did get the girls to bed: After NO story and plenty of the special strops reserved only for the first Friday night after school holidays…
Mammy did pour grapes.
And just like Mammy’s fairytale picture of her evening DIDN’T happen, neither did the Corrie Wedding.
But See there’s where Mammy is going wrong… sometimes life is Corrie, not Disney.
At least with Corrie, you expect disaster!
Here’s to all you Mammies who got a reality check from your little Notionwreckers today.
And here’s to Poor Sinead… she’s better off. It’s only have ended in no icecream and wine.
How was your Friday?
Well it’s all done and dusted.
This year was pretty disastrous to be fair. At one point on Christmas Eve it felt like anything that could go wrong, was going to!
And it did…
😐Our heating system broke a few days before Christmas and can’t be fixed until January.
😐The Christmas tree lights broke on Christmas Eve.
😐My hoover broke.
😐Princess has been sick ALL over Christmas.
We didn’t get all of the wee cousins together for even ONE photograph. She was having NONE of ANYTHING and has spent the past 4 days sitting ON Mammy. How I cooked dinner, feck knows.
She is literally only looking at what Santa left this morning…wee pet.
We’ve been to the doctors today and hopefully now she’ll be on the mend, but Christ having a poorly Babby in the house over Christmas just dampens it all, doesn’t it?
In the scheme of things, “whatever”.
And of course, in the scheme of things, I have NOTHING to complain about.
In the scheme of things, there are so many others who would kill for my little disasters.
But when you’re in the midst of things, “the scheme of things” means Jack Shit.
And sometimes, if Mammy wants to roll her eyes to Heaven, stamp her foot and declare “fuck this for a bag of parsnips” or “Christmas spirit my arse”, then she shall. Because in MY scheme of things, things could have been better!
And I Shouldn’t feel guilty for grumbling a bit. When it’s Mammy’s job to keep everyone else smiling, if she wants to feel a bit sorry for her sorry wee self when things break or go wrong, that’s allowed too. As usual however, after swearing a bit and cursing everything, Mammy pulled up her big girl knickers and sucked it up.
In the scheme of things, wee buns.
We did have a lovely Christmas. 👨👩👧👧
Mini-me has had the time of her Wee life and isn’t that what really matters?
The lights got replaced at 10pm on Christmas Eve.
The Gillespie Mafia had 8 heaters on my doorstep within an hour of my Daddy sending the S.O.S to my aunts and Uncles.
The hoover magically came to life again IN the shop when I took it in to complain, making me look all levels of psychobitch to the 4 snuggling Salesmen behind the counter on Christmas Eve.
In the scheme of things, it was fab.
I did get a few nice snaps, but Trust me, for each if the nice ones, there are 8 real-lifers.
And everyone has them. So remember as you’re looking at all the picture perfect Instafeeds, behind all of those picture perfect moments, there might be a broken fridge, or a Puking baby, or broken heating, or a wobbly marriage, or a Screaming toddler, or a nasty illness, or a broken heart or an empty chair…
Real Life usually happens off camera, (but when we DO capture it, it can be so funny that it reminds us that “in the scheme of things”, real life rocks! 👇👇👇)
How was your Christmas Mammies? Any clangers for me?
I hope that you and Mrs. Claus are well. I have been the bestest Mammy I could be, (most of the time), this year.
For Christmas, Mammy would like diamonds around my neck, a spa break and a big hug from a Fablis Chanel coat. Mammy would also like:
- an uninterrupted shower
- to experience the joy of independent excretion on the porcelain throne…alone
- for the children to recognise Daddy as the other perfectly capable adult who can do things for them in our home
- for some, even only a few, sentences to start with “Daddy” rather than “Mammy”, just for one day.
- for all of the seasonal bugs and sniffles to bugger off for a week!
- for a laundry fairy to magic away the pile, just for a few hours
But, while all of these things would indeed be wonderful, Mammy must say Santa, that really, I need nothing.
As cliched and silly as it might sound, I have everything I want right in front of me. As much as I give out about the daily pains of being a “fulltime-everything-to-everyone”, I would’t have it any other way.
These two little minions are mine. They are my carbon copies; a perfect little mixture of myself and my Him. For all their tantrums and chaos, they are my world. They give their Daddy and I so much fun every day. I’m glad I have their mucky little faces slabbering biscuits all over me, and their snottery noses to wipe. With each tantrum, I see two headstrong little girls who will change the world one smile at a time, and I know that they will be fine. Their arms around my neck are my diamonds.
And as for My Him? Yes I might give out that he spends too much time with our Jim, but that’s OK too. He’s the hardest working man I know, just like my own Daddy. I wouldn’t have him any other way. We lead crazy busy lives, but at the end of every hectic day, we come home to each other. He’s my big bad handsome man. He’s the only person in the world who knows me better than I know myself. He’s my Him and he’s the only hug I need this Christmas.
Uninterrupted showers are overrated. Soon enough, I shall have privacy in the bathroom once more. I will eventually find myself missing the fat little fingers against the glass. The snots and sniffles and puking, thankfully, come and go. How blessed I am that they do. The tears and tantrums might be plentiful, but they are outweighed by smiles and giggles that make the world chuckle in unison.
And they can “Mammy” me as much as the want. That’s what I’m here for. That’s what I am.
So yes Santa, “things” would of course be nice, but as for getting me what I need? Don’t worry. I don’t need anything. In the midst of the mess and laundry and chaos and tears and noise and stresses, it turns out that when I think about it, I have everything I could ever want right here already.
Have a wonderful Christmas Santa.
Lots of love,
I LOVE it! I love everything about it. I love the sparkle, the sounds, the smells, the smiles. I love the kindness. I love how it brings out the best in so many people.
But what I don’t love, is the pressure placed on us by the interweb to create magical, Christmas card worthy Hallmark moments. It’s started already; Instagranny and Bookface are full of pictures of beautiful trees and perfect living rooms. None of us posted the mess of them being put up though did we!? Myself included. Of course not. We want to show the world our best smile don’t we? We want to give the general idea that we’ve gont our sh*t together.
MY Christmas Eve shall be fablis. Here’s how it shall look if I post it online.
Some last minute, calm and fun shopping in town, a family breakfast with my siblings and all of our minions, a quick visit to the grandparents’ homes and then home, where Mammy will wear her apron and help the girls make homemade cookies for Santa, create perfect Belgian hot chocolate for them before snuggling up to watch a movie. Then, I prep all of the veg etc for Christmas dinner. Then, as Daddy bathes the girls and gets them ready for bedtime, Mammy shall pour a little drop of mulled wine and begin creating the turkey. We shall have some hearty homemade soup for tea and mammy shall double check her lists to ensure that all is done. In a whirlwind of excitement, the girls shall leave out their fablis homemade cookies, a carrot and some milk for Santa. They’ll sprinkle reindeer food on the steps and go to bed, happy and excited.
Then, Daddy shall pop a bottle of bubbles, we’ll finish wrapping presents and then we’ll cozy up on the sofa and wait for Santa.
The last minute shopping will not be calm and fun, unless you have someone to sit in the car with minions while you pop in and out of shops.
Family breakfast WILL be fun, but it will most likely also be filled with nyaming and crying, with things like “She’s sitting on meeee”, “He got more berries” and “Stop that nonsense now!”. The adults will eat breakfast, pretending to have jovial conversation, but really just throwing random and disconnected statements at each other between bouncing the kids.
Visiting – Yes, but the over excited and wound up kiddies will be needing a sleep by then and there is a high chance of tantrums forecast once a loving and caring Grandparent enters the room. Add sugar before wrestling kids into car. Perfect!
Bake cookies: Buy a box of cookie mix. Add an egg and there you go. Mary Poppins indeed.
Hot chocolate: Not Belgian. Not fancy. Straight from the coffee machine pods. Plop in the marshmallows and she’s happy out..
Movie: In my head it’s Miracle on 34th Street, in reality it’ll be ELF again for 38 minutes before Ben and Holly return. And it’ll be grand, because Mammy will realistically be watching it from the kitchen.
Homemade soup: HAHAHAHAHA! I’m not that organised. I go to Mum’s on Christmas Eve and steal a lunchbox full of hers. No point in both of us making it, is there?
Mulled wine: Buy a jar or packet. Slosh in some cheap wine and orange juice. Done. (Oh, and if you don’t like mulled wine, why the heck are you making it?)
Prepping dinner: This I DO do. Not because I’m Mary Poppins, but because the only thing any Mammy needs to be peeling on Christmas Day is the paper off presents (or the foil of my Chocolate Orange!) PS. Did you know you can buy PRE-PEELED SPUDS!? Go for it Mammy. It’s Christmas after all!
Lists: Once you’re home, scrap the lists. Whatever you haven’t bought by then, doesn’t need bought. I will do a last To Do list, just to remind me of what needs done before I can sit on my backside for a few glasses of grapes later. TIP: Write some stuff you’ve already done so you’ll feel better that there are a few lines through it already.
Bedtime: Yes it will be exciting, but it will also be frantic with two children who can’t control their highly stimulated and sugar induced emotion, and full of threats of “If you’re not sleeping, Santa won’t come”. Eventually, Mini-Me will succumb to sleep, but them going straight to bed and nodding off instantly is as possible as me getting a Chanel coat. Then you get to start to tidy and clean and do all the other stuff that needs doing, just like every other day. And who will notice or care if your sitting room looks perfect?
Presents: If you don’t like wrapping stuff, don’t. Keep it simple. You don’t need fancy curled ribbons. They do not need to be Pinterest worthy. Tell people the kids wrapped them, or better still, buy Christmas gift bags. Sorted. Santa doesn’t have time to wrap presents in my mind. Santa has better things to do.
Waiting for Santa? Yeah. After 2 hours of tiptoeing about the place, forgetting where things are and trying not to wake the kids with rustling bags, as you try not to KILL each other! Then you finally sit down to “relax” before realising that the kids will be up in, oh… approximately 4 hours!
Christmas will come and go. It is magical and wonderful, but it is also what you make it. I just HOPE my Christmas is exactly as I have described, because cheats and realities and all, it’s MY perfect. No one else’s.
The Christmas inspector is not going to visit on Christmas morning to check if your home in Hallmark worthy. NO ONE actually cares that you wrap EVERY SINGLE ONE of the presents. No one cares what your kids get from Santa. No one cares if you have your hair brushed. No one cares if you’re all in matching PJs. And the only person whose opinion matters on these things, is you.
While we like to see people we like and care about looking happy on Christmas morning, remember that you are under NO obligation to post pics or share ANYTHING on social media. You are also under no obligation to even look at other people’s photographs on social media.
If looking at other’s “perfect Christmas” makes you feel crappy, put down the device and look at what’s in front of you .
Chances are, your perfect Christmas is right there in front of you…in the real world. Chaos and all.
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.
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.
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.
Mammy has had a fuckitty fuck-up of a day.
It all began this morning at 6.45am, when Mammy’s coffee was interrupted by a meltdown over an imaginary spider and a pair of knickers.
“Go get your pants and socks please” seems like a simple enough request, doesn’t it?
Apparently, “Go get your pants and socks please” is the code phrase for “Go and imagine a spider that you can’t possibly see on the dark wall without lights on, have an almighty shitbrick attack, refuse to move, scream like a wilder-beast whose nether-regions have been caught in a metal trap until the only way Mammy can get you to shut up long enough to listen is for Mammy to scream even LOUDER than you, to the point that we are both roaring the house down, ending ultimately in a tearstained stand-off.”
You see Darling, although yes, it would be much easier for Mammy to go into the imaginary spider infested room and get the knickers and socks for you, this would also require Mammy giving in to your Primadona dramatics and losing the last string of authority Mammy has as well as the last string of sanity she just about has. No. As much as you dig those little heels in, Mammy HAS to wait for you to calm the feck down and eventually back down enough to at least look into the room (which Mammy has lit up with the amazingly clever light switch) to see that the mahoosive imagined spider is gone so you can run in dramatically and get your knickers and socks, otherwise Mammy will never get you to follow a single, simple instruction… EVER again…amen.
Of course, Mammy should have just sucked it up and given in. Mammy knows that. It would have been much easier on everyone and most likely would have saved everyone from the Hellhole that our home had descended into by 7am. It might have saved us both from the tears and sobs and snots and general feelings of utter shittiness that lingered over us (me anyway) until approximately 4pm. Had Mammy not been such a stubborn, bad tempered, thran wench, and had you not been soooo like your Mammy, (you poor cretur), we might have had a peaceful and relaxed and tear-free morning.
But no, we went full on “apocalypse now” and neither of us won. You went to school, probably knackered and emotional… Mammy walked in the staff-room door and fell to bits when a colleague asked how she was. You might have forgotten all about it by the time you got onto the bus… I’m still feeling like social services are going to arrive on the doorstep this evening while I’m feeding you whatever the feck is in the freezer, because quite frankly, I don’t have the emotional energy to think about cooking.
But for now, Mammy will have to pull up her big girl knickers and try her very best to make sure that this evening is the absolute opposite of the morning. The Mammy guilt is real and Mammy needs the hugs just as much, if not more, than you do. And never worry about what’s for dinner. If we’re stuck, there’s apparently a huge spider in your room. Maybe we could eat him.”
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?
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:
They’re also on Facebook:
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:
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.
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
- You are NOT alone and
- You ARE enough.
The S-Mum xxx
“Don’t tell anyone until you’re past the 12 weeks”
This statement has begun to bother me. Of course, there are many reasons for such traditional views as these. It’s a social norm that couples are supposed to keep their big news to themselves until the 12 week mark, just incase.
Why? Well I honestly don’t know. I suppose it was because the scan could determine that everything is OK so far and that there is actually a Baby in there. And of course, there is the fact that most miscarriages (80% according to a reputable site for all things Babyful) happen before the 12 week mark.
Maybe we SHOULD heed this advice. Or maybe, like so many other aspects of pregnancy and parenting, we are holding ourselves ransom to old notions, afraid to break the norm…just incase.
When I was expecting Mini-Me, we did keep it to ourselves until we were 12 weeks. I’ve grown up listening to this mantra and I accepted it to be “right”. If it was good enough for every woman before me, it’s good enough for me.
While pregnant with Princess however, we found ourselves having to admit our “secret” at only 9 weeks, quite simply because I could no longer hide the bump or pass my belly off as having eaten too much. I showed early and so I told early. Older family members reacted identically…
“Oh congratulations guys! Great news! How far along are you? 9 weeks?” (raise eyebrows and inhale sharply)
“Jeepers you’re not safe yet. I wouldn’t be telling people yet.”
Yup. Pop our bubble why don’t ye?!
Some of us CAN hide our little secrets better than others too. Physically, some Mammies can get to 20+ weeks before the bump becomes obvious. My 2 bumps appeared early. I managed to cover Mini-Me’s with flowy tops until 11 weeks. Princess? From the second I peed on the stick, the belly bumped!
I tried and failed to hide it and eventually just told people. But for some reason, we think that by announcing a pregnancy early, we are tempting fate.
Well here’s what I think about that.
At only 6 weeks pregnant, I had a scare with Princess. I then had to ring my parents/sister to come mind Mini-Me and inform them in one phone call that I was both pregnant (Yay!)…but maybe not for long. Thankfully, it was only a scare, but had that scare ended in miscarriage, as so many do, who was I going to share my grief with? And why should a couple have to deal with such devastation alone? So many mums (and Dads) return to work only a few days later, and carry with them a sadness so great.
It doesn’t matter how early it happens, a pregnancy is a pregnancy and a loss is a loss. Is a lost baby any less your Baby? No. I don’t think so. If you have begun to love the idea of the little person inside, your grief at 10 weeks is just as valid as the grief of someone who loses at 13 weeks. But we’re expected to accept it and get on with it because it was early. And of course, some people can and do, but it must be allowed to be grieved and our Paddy Irish Way of keeping it quiet like a dirty little secret must change. Why is miscarriage always hushed and whispered about? There is nothing shameful about it. Miscarriage IS a big deal, so why is it deemed something that shouldn’t be talked about?
For most people, (and I say “most people” because let’s call a spade a spade, not everyone is happy to find out that they are expecting. It’s not all glows and Miracles and joyeous raptures but that’s a WHOLE different conversation), for most people, the second you find out you are pregnant, you are a Mammy and you begin to love. Getting to the 12 week mark is a relief of course. But so is hitting 13 weeks and 14 weeks and so on. Every day is a relief. But to think that you are safe after the 12 week mark is wrong. Unfortunately, we all know this. A pregnancy can end at any time. Until your Baby is in your arms, there is no relief. And even then, nothing is certain.
Now, of course there are many shaking their heads and tutting as they read this. “I wouldn’t be telling anyone before 12 weeks.” That’s OK. I’m not saying that you should. I’m simply writing my OWN thoughts on it. I don’t assume to be right, but I do like to question things that Mammies and Daddies face. I’m not asking you to agree, and if I were ever pregnant again, I don’t know WHEN I would announce it. I don’t have to know. There are no rules. There are no laws.
I’m not saying that hiding your pregnancy until 12 weeks is wrong. It’s like EVERYTHING in pregnancy and Parenting. Do what is right for you. If you want to keep your happy news to yourself until you’re heading to the Labour ward, good for you. You do just that. You don’t HAVE to announce anything.
And if you want to sing it from the rooftops once you find out, DO!
Your Body, Your call…
But we do need to stop letting our personal situations be dictated by old fashioned notions and remember that there are no rules. Things like this are a personal choice. If someone choses to tell you their happy news at 5 weeks, accept that that is their decision and don’t dismiss them because YOU wouldn’t tell so early. And likewise, if someone keeps their news a secret until 20 weeks or later, that’s OK too. Because unless it is YOUR BUMP, your opinion on when the news is announced, is really not that important.