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 So not a Pottering Mum

Oh Joyful Joyful Joy! It is FriYay.

As it is the last Friday of the summer holidays, Mammy figured it was PROBABLY about time she started some Back-to-school shopsy. I dropped Princess to childcare and headed into town with Mini-Me, fully intending to “potter” around the shops for a few hours, casually picking up the bits and pieces she needs for returning to her wonderful, joyeous, heavenly educational establishment.

I anticipated a leisurely day of “pottering” with my first-born, where we would hold hands and giggle and have treats, and Mini-Me (free from the competitive…sorry, companionship, or the Wobbler) would lavish in having Mammy’s undivided attention and behave like a Walton child…

And THEN I remembered that I am NOT one of those InstaMammies who can “potter”, especially when accompanied by a 5 year old She-Witch who HATES shopping, starts sentences with “Mammy, in the olden days when you were little…” and had asked “Are we going home now?” 1275 times by mid-day. 😣😣😣 No.

Mammy doesn’t potter. Rather, Mammy TROTS. Like a drunk Pig who can smell the truffles under the muck, I scrummaged through the rails of grey and navy tracksuit bottoms only to realise that every single fecking Mammy in the County had bought the 5-6yrs and 6-7yrs while THEY did their Back-to-school potter BACK IN feckin MAY! The WENCHES. 😈😅 I swear to you. There will be 11 year olds turning up to schools next week wearing 5-6 trousers, just so their Sanctimammies can scoff and tut “I told you so” at their screen tonight.

I eventually found trousers, only to discover that I had been truffling in the boys’ section, and after the kind lady directed me to the girls’ section, my futile search for the right size began again… (Seriously, the trousers are IDENTICAL. Why they BOTHER with separate sections, is beyond this last-minute Mamma.)

On top of the Back-to-school shite, we also had to scour the town for something nice for Mammy to wear tomorrow night for The Him and Jim’s Summer Shape Up Presentation night. I HAD ordered a FABLIS sexyful, lowcut (to the bellybutton like) jumpsuit, which looked AMAZING on Mylene-of-the-Klass online…

When it arrived however, I remembered that I shouldnt shop on the interweb after 2 glasses of malbec and that Mylene actually HAS boobage,so unless Littlewoods deliver instant boobjobs, the beautiful jumpsuit must be returned. How terribly sad I am about that. (I may writento them to suggest that their returns sheet should have a box marked “Not suitable for fried eggs” or “I forgot I don’t have boobs” or “WTF was I drinking?”😂😂)

I didn’t get anything. There’s NOTHING in the town, just like all the NOTHING in my wardrobe. But whatever. Mini-Me is now asleep after her day of torture, Princess is snoring and there’s a grape in a glass, begging for mouth-to-mouth. 😂😂🍷

How was your Friday? Any Feck-it-ups?

I am So not ready for Back-to-School Mum

Mammy is super-organised…

Mammy has started her Christmas Shopping.

Mammy has started thinking about next year’s summer holidays.

Mammy has started making plans for 2 or 3 significant birthdays in the family next year.

Mammy has thought so far ahead, that she has hotels AND Babysitters booked for the 2018 weddings she KNOWS she will be attending.

This is how THIS Super-organised-Mum rolls.

What Mammy HAS NOT started however, is thinking about the dreaded HELL that is “Back-to-school shite”.

Mammy HATES this time of year more than you can ever imagine. The Back-to-school Shite now starts in the middle of MAY… Before ANY school finishes up for summer break. May… As in MAY, the 5th month of the year and 4 whole months BEFORE Septemeber? Wtf?

When we were kids, the grey and navy skirts and shirts and lunchboxes and tin mathematic sets with the map of Ireland didn’t appear in the shops until the end of July. And by then, we’d had our weeks of sunshine, siblings, Zig & Zag and nothingness, and we probably didn’t MIND starting to think about the S word.

But now? NOW, Mammy wants to find the store managers who have signed off on putting Back-to-school shite on the shelves in mid-MAY. I want to find them and I want to HURT them. 😠 I want to poke them in the eyeballs with the metal tools in the tin mathematics case… (they’ll be more useful to me now and they were in 1989.) I want to beat them over the head with a cheap plastic-lasts-until-halloween-lunchbox, Snap their noses with elastic neckties and then lock them in a container with nothing but copies of Ann & Barry and Sugradh…but NO PENCIL. 😈😈

But Mammy is a sane and calm lady who would never entertain such thoughts. Since June 1st, I have been increasingly flummoxed by the status updates appearing on my timeline from other ACTUAL Mums who have the Back-to-school shite done and dusted already. I have hovered my finger over the “unfriend” button in some cases, wondering if Bookface would entertain my proposal for an “unfollow until September 1st” button. 😛

Now, if YOU have all the stuffs for all the minions sorted already, good for you. I’m not feeling jealous, or inferior or intimidated by your organisation skills AT ALL. 😂 (There is a slight chance that a psychologisty person MIGHT argue that my anger towards the aforementioned shop owners, and my annoyance at the Super-organised-Mums, stems from my own insecurities and weaknesses being highlighted to me by the clever forward thinking Back-to-school Experts.)

I would argue that NOPE, my anger and flumoxing are perfectly justified. Maybe it’s because I have had to do the Back-to-school shite for 32 CONSECUTIVE years. Since starting teaching, I have managed to avoid thinking about it until the ACTUAL night before school starts, when I sob into my grapes, knowing that summer is over and I have to now dress in something other than my gymgear and that makeup will have to be used every day.

But now, as a Mammy, I DO need to get everyone else organised a few days earlier than when it was just ME going back to school… But, I MEAN a FEW days earlier. I refuse point blank to go near the dark, bleak section of the store until AT LEAST the final week of her holidays. I convince myself that I am more clever than the Early-Back-to-school-organisers, and I browse through what is left over on the shelves of synthetic smelling geansaí and pleated skirts, because at least there is no chance of Mini-Me taking a growth spurt between the Back-to-school shite being bought and her putting them on. 😅 #lazymammywin

See. Clever Mammy. (And pleated skirts? The Gobshite who invented those little bitches needs to be locked into the container WITH the shop owners along with 2000 of those skirts, an iron and an ironing board…)

So go on. Sicken me… Hands up who’s all organised already? 😙

I am Shopping Stupidity Mum

“Hello My Him. Welcome home from work, Love of my life, Winner of all Bread, Head of our home.”
“What are you looking for Wife?”
“Oh nothing. It is a Saturday and you are home at last! I know! Let us pop our minions into the car and drive to the lovely store and peruse the wallpaper, potter around the paint section and purchase all of the everything required to make our lovely living-room Walton-esque. Doesn’t that sound like fun?”

The Him looks about as excited as a Turkey at an invitation to a Christmas dinner…

What I MEANT of course was “Let’s put everyone in foul humour by going to the sensory-overload store that sells all-of-the-everything and DISAGREE on everything, spend our time telling the kids to “Shhhh” so we can hear each other disagree on everything, listen to the minions take it in turn to complain and whine, before leaving with absolutely NOTHING for the house except 3 samples of wallpaper, which NEITHER of us actually likes anyway… Doesn’t that sound fun Darling?”

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Seriously Ladybelles… WHY the feck do we bother?

Mini-Me decided from the second we entered the shop, that she was having absolutely NONE of the pottering. She made it her mission to be speaking for EVERY single second of our journey around the store, especially in the pauses in our conversation where we stopped to, you know, BREATH? She did the OPPOSITE of what we asked and of course because she had the other adult in the family to play me off, she did.

Princess was fine for the first 20 minutes, until we walked past a Peppa Fecking Pork cushion and didn’t give in to her “Miiiiiiiiines!” She took that as her cue to start the song of the She Devil.

Now see, while Mammy here is perfectly capable of continuing on the task at hand, despite the best attempts of my two proteges, The Him is not quite so capable. After 45 seconds of Princess’s shrieks, he had lifted her out of the trolley.

Game over Douchebag.
That, my friend, is the end of that.

Any hope we had of agreeing on all of the DIY crap we were perusing, went out the window, faster than she went out of the trolley. She looked at me with a smugness that said “Pahahaha Mammy Bear. You lose.”
And lose I did; my cool, my patience, my will to live. Ok, an exaggeration perhaps, but what I DID lose was ANY interest I had in looking at anything OTHER than the cake in the coffee shop. (Mango and Passionfruit… slabberlicious)

And as we had our coffee and the two screaming Trolley Trolls stuffed their faces with overpriced crap long enough for us to HAVE a conversation, The Him suggested “Why don’t you come back in during the week without the girls. Bring your Mum. You’re going to chose what you want anyway…”

And in fairness, he’s right. I always do this. I drag him around these places, apparently needing his opinion, when we both know that I’m going to chose what I like and he’s going to tut that it’s awful until it’s up on the wall and then he’ll admit that ACTUALLY it’s lovely and “See, you didn’t need me did you?”

So we agreed that next time, we’d just go straight for the cake, and save everyone the hassle of the pretend “Pottering”.

Look at the pair of them. “You are our slave Mr Him. Dance for us!”

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Cheers Supermums xxx

I am Shopping & Obituaries Mum

(Read in the voice of Mr Donal K – him off the radio box.)

The death has taken place of Mr Hot Point and Mrs Dy Son at their home on S-Mumble Hill.

Mr Point died yesterday evening after a long illness. It was thought after 3 months of symptoms and complaining, that he was suffering from Man-flu and that he was indeed immortal. Turns out, not so much.

His wife, Mrs Dyson was so shocked by her husband’s passing that she died suddenly, only a few minutes later, in the arms of her loving housemaid, Mrs RU Fecking-Joking.

The Coroner, a very nice man called Mr Dom Appliances, sadly declared both dead early this morning, despite attempts to resuscitate Mrs Dy Son. They are survived by their aging son, Mr Dumble Drier, who won’t be long behind them by the looks of things.

Removal this evening, courtesy of Irwin’s Removal Lorry for deceased appliances.

No flowers please. Donations in lieu to the Support fund for Pissed off and Broke husbands, ℅ The Him. They say that things break in threes.

After the battering The Him’s bank account took this afternoon, I’d say THAT counts as number 3… And his wee broken heart is number 4, so we’re done!

On the bright side, I’m finally getting one of the fanciful hoovery yoks that stick on the wall. The Him shall have clean clothes and a spotless house, EVERY DAY from now on… well, until the novelty wears off.

RIP my Friends.

I am Sunday before September Mum

​Well is it a Sauvignon Sunday or a Shiraz Sunday in your house?
It’s Screw-it-it’s-the-last-Sunday-I-can-have-a-glass Sunday here.🍷🍷
Final-Dash-Walton-style-Family-Day-Out was very successful. 👪

W5 is fricken BRILLIANT for a day out. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it AND it’s edumacational and EVERYTHING!

(I’ll put a wee review up tomorrow.)
We DID make it to the Disney Shop and UNFORTUNATELY I fell into Zara on the way past. 😲😲
There was a very inconvenient (perfectly timed) downpour (joyful rain) that caused The Him🕵 to duck into the doorway which just happened to be ZARA… (YAAAAAY! Baaaahaaaaaaa!)

So I HAD to have a quick look around while it rained (joyful rain…joyful joyful rain!) and some tops FELL off the rails and insisted that I adopt them.

So being a very AngelinaJoliesque lady, I obliged.

I adopted them.

And technically, it was HIMS own fault because HIM dragged us all in.
Don’t you love Irish weather? 😂😂😂


I’m seriously considering breaking my “My kids won’t need screens in the car” rule.

The only thing that saved our sanity today was that our Bloke was between the two CrazyFrogs in the back seat, so he fielded the mayhem from us a bit. (Poor Cretur!) 😂🕵😂
This week is going to be nuts.

  I have some getting Mini-Me ready for school to do, some VERY exciting meetings about my  October BUMP & BEYOND and of course, I’m back to school myself… (sigh.)😋😋

I also have 4 days to complete ALL of the jobs I had on my to-do list when I STARTED my maternity leave last September! 
Let’s see how much I can do lastminute.com! 🙌😙

Isn’t my new mug FABLIS?

Actually it’s more ladylike than a mug. 

It is a cup.

For I is a LAYDEE who sups Magic Bean Broth from A CUP. 

Pinky out please! 😅

And it has lovely inspirational words on it, so even while I’m supping my magic bean broth, technically I shall STILL be TEACHING AND INSPIRING my babbies.

Teacher Win.

#SMum  #badteacher #W5 #Belfast #Zara #blog

I am Shopsy Mum

​Well feck-it-up Friday was FABLIS!
Today’s Mummy wins were:

1.  Keeping everyone in one piece, fed and entertained.

2. Not getting puked on.

3. Princess SLEPT for the 2 hours we were shopping.  And No, I didn’t put wine in her bottle. 🤗

4.  Only making very animated faces behind Mini-Me’s back 3 times before bed.  😲

5. Getting same Little Miss “I DON’T LIIIIIIIIKE CHICKEN!” to eat a big bowl of CHICKEN by blitzing it up with bolognese sauce, calling it LAVA and pouring it over a pasta VOLCANO! Oh, and calling it Secret recipe lava helped.  She DEMOLISHED it! 😂👇👇👇👇👇👇

In fairness, the only thing I fecked up today was my credit card. 💳💳💳
I went to McElhinneys with my Mamma Bear and accidentally fell into some clothes.
I got a few bargains actually…a few teachery type bits to make me feel a bit of fab when I mix them with the old faithfuls from Penneys! #penneysbest
Then I ACCIDENTALLY bumped into the Chanel Counter and I felt SOOOOO bad that I had to buy shiny tiny little black boxes filled with shiny tiny but very FABLIS little pots and bottles. 

 (Sssssh! The Him🕵does Not need to know this.  It’s our secret K?)
S-Mum shall face the HELL of going back to reality with a shiny “Chaneled” face and smelling of aromatic floral bouquets of very spensive orchids and peonies or pee-the-beds or whatever.
It’s all still sitting in the little tiny bag on the bed because the packaging is WAY too exciting to open just yet.

Seriously, that little white bag has SERIOUS magic powers.

It really has helped me to feel better about going back to work. (And not just because I am going to need wages again to pay for it!) 😂 
I know I’m supposed to say things like “The only jewels I need around my neck are my children’s”, and “The prettiest thing a mum can wear is a smile or her baby or whatever.”

But sorry Ladybelles.

Feck that…
Sometimes I NEED the tiny roped handles of a tiny but crisp and structured white bag with one little word in divine black font around my wrist.

AND nice smelly creams can REALLY help with the pretty!

 I SWEAR I look 10 years younger ALREADY and I haven’t even opened it yet!
Now, speaking of aromatic floral bouquets, Shiraz or Merlot? 🍷🍷🍷
Share your Mammy Wins today? Or go ahead and tell me how you Fecked-it-up! 
I am SHOPSY MUM!

😍😍😍

#SMum #mcelhinneys #ballybofey #mammyheaven #chanel #sprayme #regretittomorrow