The one thing that I love about the long, dark evenings of winter, might seem strange to some.
“You’re doing it again aren’t you?” Himself will say to me in the car as we drive along, if I’ve gone quiet beside him.
I’ve been doing it since I was a little girl, sitting behind Mum and Dad in our seatbelt-free VW Golf as we drove through the winding Donegal roads at night.
Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I love looking through the windows of people’s homes.
I don’t mean that I walk around playing “Peeping Tomette”. NO, of course not. But when you’re sitting in the passenger seat of a car and it’s dark or getting dark, and people have yet to close their curtains, it’s amazing the little glimpses you can get into the worlds of strangers.
I look. And for a split second, I see a tableaux; a freezeframe – a photograph if you like of the home and sometimes the people in it. I imagine who they are; what they’re saying and what it’s like to be there, among them. Who has just walked into the room to make the child jump up like that? Where is he going? What are they talking about? My imagination creates full scenarios for the “characters” of these snapshots.
Christmas is my favourite time to do this, and with Christmas trees in windows, it’s the perfect time to catch beautiful moments. These are where the real Christmas-Card-worthy moments happen; A Granny laughing by the fireplace. An uncle arriving home. Windows being cleaned. A dog being scolded for jumping on a sofa. A child being lifted up high.
Snapshots, if you will.
Obviously, on Christmas Day, I don’t do this… because I’m not in the car much.
And so, I thought I’d get glimpses into the homes of others in a different way. I asked some of the top Parenting writers in the country what I would see if I happened to look through their windows over Christmas?
Each of them has kindly sent me a description of their very own perfect freezeframe; what they hope you’d see and what they hope to be doing while the world drives by next Monday.
Jen from – Mama-tude loves Christmas Eve most.
“My favourite moment of Christmas is Christmas Eve morning when the children wake up. It’s the one morning of the year that I’m very grateful for their early morning rising tendencies. They always bounce into our room, fit to burst with excitement knowing that Santa is coming that night.
My mum always arrives super early that morning with a special Christmas chocolate cake. She has come to terms with her daughter’s lacking of domestic goddess skills so in the interest of her grandchildren’s palate, she does the baking! Then we turn on the laptop, log onto Norad Santa tracker and countdown the minutes until he leaves. And so begins their excited running commentary on his whereabouts for the duration of the day.”
Ross from – The Stented Papa
“If you were to take a peek through my window on Christmas morning, you’d see a busy, excited household.
The funny thing is it depends on what time you’d be taking a peek! We’ve actually had to wake Nip #1 up for the last two Christmas mornings!! Even knowing Santa was coming, she was happy to sleep in! But I’ve a feeling this year will be a bit different.
So once everyone is awake, it’s a busy & excited place. Wrapping paper everywhere, the nips playing with their new toys, showing & telling us all about them. Christmas tunes in the background, dressing gowns on, fresh coffee brewing.
Then we get dressed & head over to Granny’s house for a big breakfast & more presents. Then around 1pm we head for Great Grandad Shay’s house with about 30 family (my in-law’s side) for some fun & yep, you’ve guessed it – more presents!!!
Finally back to ours this year for Christmas dinner with all the usual trimming & the odd glass of vino – sure it is Christmas ya know!! Cheers to the perfect day!”
Kellie from – My Little Babóg
“I would love to say all happy and merry but in reality you will probably see absolute carnage and one or both parents swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels by midday. Christmas morning with a 1, 2, 3 and 7 year old is gonna be like any other day except with a skip full of new toys, wrapping paper and boxes upon boxes of selection boxes like the old days. It will be messy but hopefully full of fun and laughter.”
Jolene from – One Yummy Mummy
“Daddy of the house running down the stairs in his pjs to check and see if santa came; He lets us know with an excited roar up if he has.
Bursts of excitement from my 4 year old running down and crashing thru the living room door to see all the presents. Then you’ll Catch a glimmpse of few tears as I get caught up in the emotion of it all. Then to the kitchen were you,ll spy a few of my dance moves with a bucks fizz in hand, basting the turkey, with christmas FM in full swing.”
Becky from – Cuddle Fairy
“Christmas morning if you looked through our window you would see all of the Christmas lights on. Three kids happily tearing off wrapping paper and parents assembling toys. We are all in our pajamas with sleepy heads and unwashed faces. It’s straight downstairs when the kids wake up. There’s nothing as magical as Christmas morning.”
Benny from Daddy Poppins
“What would you see if you looked through out window on Christmas morning? In a word, Mayhem. We’ve two hyperactive children at the best of times but the magic of Christmas will send them over the edge. Think Santa’s elves high on sherbet and candy canes (but in child form, obviously). There’ll be wrapping paper everywhere and our little terrors will be flitting from toy to toy, unsure which to settle on for their first proper play. Mammy and Daddy will be trying to coax them into posing for pictures with their new acquisitions but it will all be in vein. Nothing will hold those little magpies attention for long as they dart from one shiny new thing to the next. Mayhem, but the good kind.”
And as for THIS Donegal Mammy? The carpet shall be clattered and camouflaged by wrapping paper and toys. Michael Buble will be crooning from the tellybox. Daddy shall be building stuff and Mammy shall be eating, starting the day with the obligatory Football Special and Terry’s chocolate orange! The girls will be hyped up on life, excited to the brink by cousins and presents and Grandparents and fun. Mammy and Daddy shall be screenfree, intent on not scolding for the day and stealing kisses every time we pass under mistletoe… And there still shall be tears and jobs to do and maybe the odd tantrum, and probably a few dirty nappies, but in the midst of it all, there shall be glitter and sparkle and love. And even the jobs and nappies and tears shall be dealt with with extra smiles and magic; with that special, inexplicable feeling that comes only with Christmas Day.
Whatever is happening in your window frame this Christmas, I do hope it is wonderful and joyful and as stress free as possible. I’d love you to share your snapshot in the comments.
Sending much love and Christmas wishes to all,
The S-Mum xxxxxxx
It’s officially Christmas and I’m officially back on my heels after 3 days of horrid flu. It’s a long, long time since I’ve been forced to my bed for a few days, but I am up and ready to rock once again!
And what better way to start the final month of the year, but with an email from the prestigious eumom.ie with a link to their featured “Writer of the Month”… who just happens to be little old ME for the month of December!
I am so excited to be featured by eumom.ie and even more chuffed that it’s this month. I am taking it as a sign, a sign that after another crazy year of writing and blogging, I am on the right path. Where it will take me, I still don’t know, but it’s fun and it’s going somewhere… And I am ready to walk it, bumpy or not!
Here’s the link to my post. I hope you enjoy!
Teacher Maria Rushe has been blogging as The S-Mum for almost three years about her life with her husband, Emmet, and their two daughters.
“I write about the realities of being a parent,” she said. “I try my best to dispel the false perfections and perceived ideals that are portrayed online. As mammies, we all do what is best for our own kids and what another mum thinks about your style of parenting is quite frankly, not your problem.
“I don’t hold back. I sometimes swear. I post and blog about the highs and the lows and I like to make people laugh.”
Maria describes blogging as “therapy” and she loves connecting with like-minded people.
“I enjoy the interaction on my Facebook page. My favourite thing ever is when I read a message or comment from another S-Mum saying how I’ve ‘read her mind’ or how she ‘could have written this’. To know that your words can have a positive impact is such a treat. And realising that I’m not the only one who feels like I’m about to lose my marbles helps too!”
The mum-of-two is cautious of social media but embraced blogging to better understand the students when she teaches English.
“Social media is our ‘Terrible Beauty’; it’s wonderful but so dangerous. I enjoy the communication and new people it brings to me, but I find it difficult to keep up with it all.
“Blogging helps me in my job as being submerged in Social Media definitely helps me to understand the world of my students. I try to teach them how to read it; how to recognise it as a genre, rather than a reality.”
Maria found remaining anonymous challenging and sometimes struggles with trolls online.
“At the beginning, I tried to remain anonymous. After a few months, that became difficult. I grew more confident in my writing and the response was encouraging.
“I do use my poetic licence sometimes. I have to inject a little bit of fiction into the S-Mum to prevent it from being too intrusive to our lives. I chose what to share. I chose what not to share.
“Your first hater or troll is a challenge too. I don’t take them on. I ban and block. End of.”
She says the support she received from fellow parent bloggers has been encouraging.
“I have found them to be such a supportive and honest bunch. It’s refreshing talking with like-minded people and it’s intriguing how many different avenues people take their blogs.
#irishexaminer #onlinelives #thesmum
It’s Cesarian Section Awareness Month and so I thought I’d reshare this one with you all.
I suppose like EVERYTHING we Mammies have to go through, we all have our own perfects. We all have our own rights and wrongs. We all make our own choices. And sometimes, we have to trust the choices of others. Regardless, most of us don’t care how we give birth, as long Baby is born safely.
I’ve had 2 sections, neither by choice, but would I do anything differently? Nope. And does it make me less of a Mammy because I didn’t push my babies out? Well, I think you can imagine my answer to that one.
“Are you hoping to do it properly this time?”
I kid you not. This is what I was asked recently by another Soon-to-be Mum with whom I was having the “When are you due?”conversation.
She’d asked if this was my first. I’d answered that it was number two.
“Me too” she smiled. Then she asked if I’d had a tough time last time. I replied that I’d had to have a planned section. Her next line floored me.
“Aw, so are you planning to do it properly this time?”
Now in her defense, she was an absolute stranger, who probably didn’t intend any harm whatsoever. I don’t think she even realised that she’d said it…but she had.
I smiled politely and said Goodbye. As I walked away, my smile remained on my face, somewhat forced… I wasn’t quite sure whether I wanted to laugh or to cry.
Smug I-push-mine-out-Mum carried on, oblivious to the fact that she could have just offended or upset the other very pregnant lady. I carried on about my day, and it was only when I was telling my friend about the conversation that evening that I realised that her comment was lingering in my mind.
The word “properly” has been bothering me since.
Because not only did it dismiss my first childbirth, it suggested that I did something wrong; that my first birth was improper.
Did she automatically assume that I was “too posh to push”? Did she think that I asked to have my stomach sliced open and my baby lifted out by surgeons? Did she really class a c-section as a sub standard, improper way of delivering a child? If she’s told that she needs to have one this time, is she going to say No because it’s not the proper way to do it?
What is the proper way? I listen to conversations all the time about childbirth and babies. There seem to be so many proper ways to do things.
Without medication. With just gas and air. With classical music on in the background. Without bright lights and alarm. Mammas who breathe through the pain are fantastic. Those who refuse drugs are wonderful. Those who have 60 hour labours are phenomenal. But those who take as much pain relief as we can have are equally as brilliant.
I don’t know of any new Mother who had Andy Peters standing waiting at the bottom of the bed to pin a Blue Peter Badge onto their properly born child afterwards.
I applaud and congratulate these warrior women, in the exact same way as I applaud and congratulate the woman who, for whatever reason, may it be medical, personal or indeed emergency, has to undergo the trauma of childbirth on an operating table.
A caesarean section is not what any woman anticipates when thinking of how their baby will be born. It’s terrifying. It’s painful. Your body goes through all of the same physical and indeed hormonal reactions to having just given birth as the body of a woman who has been lucky enough to give birth naturally.
There are stitches. There is afterbirth. There is pain…by God is there pain.
There is recovery time. There are hormones.
But most importantly, with the help of some higher power and whatever wonderful staff that are on hand in the hospital, there is a baby.
And that is what childbirth, in any form, is about.
It’s about getting your precious little darling out of your big swollen tummy as quickly and safely as possible. It’s about causing as little trauma as possible to your newborn, regardless of what your own body must go through. It’s about love.
And there is absolutely nothing proper about any of it.
Every woman dreams of a quick, pain free labour and uneventful delivery. How many do you know that have achieved that? I’d love to meet them.
Of course I’d love to have experienced childbirth like most women do. But do I feel like I have missed out on anything?
Do I feel that my darling daughter is any less born than her friends or cousins? Nope.
If my next child is born by VBAC, will that be more proper than Mini-me’s birth? Eh…no!?
But If I do manage proper childbirth this time, does that mean I’m finally a real mum and that I can finally be admitted into the proper mum club? Well I think you know where I’m going with this!
I’m already a real mum. I’ve already had a proper baby. I’ve already been through the horrors of childbirth, perhaps just a little differently to others.
In the same way as some women judge others for not breast feeding, or for taking whatever drugs are safely available to them from the doctors, or for giving their baby a dodo/soother/pacifier, that lady judged me for having to have a c-section to bring my baby to me safely.
And of course she didn’t intend to offend, but when we so flippantly share our own opinions on bump and baby matters, (and we do!), we sometimes dismiss experiences that we have never had ourselves.
And we should consider that before we speak.
My experiences of pregnancy, birth and of being a Mummy are very different to every other Mummy’s experiences. My experience isn’t exclusive. There is no such thing as properly when it comes to being a Mum..
So if this time round, my consultant advises me that I should have another section, I’ll listen to her, because guess what? That’s her job. She knows best and I trust her. And because it’s my job too…the only job a mother has when they go into hospital, is to get their little bundle out of their belly!I
And I will happily hang upside down from the rafters, singing Jingle Bells, buck naked and high on horse tranquilizers if that ‘s what it takes to get my little one here properly.
I am Section Mum x
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