I am Share the Daddy Bloggers Mum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My three Favourite Daddy Bloggers!

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

#dadsarefabtoo

I am So Delighted Mum

It is no secret that myself and my Him LOVE Christmas.

We’ve been discussing a few ideas for fundraisers over the past few months and decided one wet and dreary Sunday in October, while we were all snuggled up with the girls watching The Polar Express (yes, Christmas Movies start in October in our house!), that it would be amazing to see it on the big screen again. (It carries memories of our first Christmas together…aaaaaw!)

So! Lightbulb moment!

An hour and 2 phonecalls later, and we had it sorted!

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AnneMarie and Mark in Century Cinemas Letterkenny  were as excited as we were at the prospect of showing this Christmas Classic as we were.  They have kindly offered us the use of their largest screen on the 2nd of December at midday.  The rights for the movie had to be acquired and paid for, so Mr Rushe Fitness offered to sponsor this and all the tickets for the movie.  The advertisement and tickets were designed for us, (as usual) by the incredibly talented Lorraine from LorAyn Designs.  I swear this girl can see into my brain.  That in itself is a talent!

The proceeds of the event are going straight to two very wonderful charities which benefit families all over Ireland:

The Jack and Jill Foundation

which provides care and love to so many children each day

and

The Victoria Thompson Scholarship, a Donegal charity which supports the creation of palliative care services for young children.

On Friday last, we announced our plan.

We put tickets on sale for 90 minutes yesterday. 

We sold out. 

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And so now, the golden tickets have made their way into hundreds of Donegal homes and we will all gather together to enjoy OUR favourite Christmas movie on December 2nd.

Apologies to those who didn’t get tickets and thank you so very much to everyone who has supported this event.

ALL ABOARD!

#rushetoraise

 

I am Some Really Virtual Friends Mum

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.
It’s virtual.
It’s fabricated.
It’s lies.

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.

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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.

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