The Irish Don’t Do Compliments

I’ve never really considered myself to be patriotic. I don’t have a great understanding of Irish history. I’m not a native speaker. The game of Hurling and the furore that goes with it, is well over my head. I don’t like spuds nor do I drink tea. I couldn’t tell you when lambing season is, having only recently learned that there was even such a thing. I don’t go to mass and I don’t bless myself when an ambulance passes. I’m no expert on the subject but I would consider many of the aforementioned items good indicators of Irishness.

Another well known characteristic of being Irish is our inability to take a compliment.

You see as Irish people we are inherently negative.

Not in a miserable way of course but in a charming way that adds to our unique standing in the world. So when somebody says something good about us we just don’t know how to cope. Whether it’s our appearance, a talent or our parenting, we turn into mortified eejits and play down the nicety as best we can.

So in order to survive the horror that is a compliment there are a few things that you can do.

When someone praises your clothing choice, don’t play it down and pretend that you didn’t spend three weeks planning it. As soon as you knew you were going to an event we all know that you scrutinised your wardrobe. Admit it.

You planned everything out from your knickers to your necklace.

Also don’t go through the cost and the shop that you got everything in. We’ve all responded ‘Oh thanks €12 Penneys sure you can’t go wrong!’. I think the best response is simply Thank You.

When someone wants to compliment you on your appearance the first thing they’ll usually do is ask if you have got something done? So the conversation will begin with.

‘ Did you get your hair cut?’

Please, please resist the urge to be smart and respond with such beauties like.

‘No shit Sherlock?’

‘ No it just fell off!’

‘No I just got into a row with a lawnmower.’

Take a breath and admit to the change, the person will follow with something positive, we hope, and again the simple Thank you works a treat.

Lastly and the most difficult one I find to accept is when someone compliments your parenting or your children.  You see in our Irishness it used to be the case that your children were always divils. This is not the case anymore. People put effort into parenting in this day and age. Now I’m not saying that past generations didn’t, it was just different times and wasn’t so academic. There weren’t studies on controlled crying and co sleeping. You just got on with life and it was physically a tougher time.  There was no social media and the pressures were different.

When someone tells you that you have lovely children or that they have good manners, don’t dive into all the bad things that they did the week before or how many times the middle one has wet the bed.

Be proud as punch.

If a person has taken the time to notice something positive in your children, take credit because some of it may be luck and somewhere, somehow, it may be down to your hard graft. So puff out your chest and feel giddy inside that the parenting skills that you spend the night feeling inadequate about may be not so bad after all. Oh and don’t forget to just say Thank You.

Online Friendships

More and more of our lives are being lived through our screens. Everything happens online now and there is no real escaping it. Like everything in life it should be practised with balance in mind. Personally I’m a fan.

I spend a lot of time online and I love it.

There are times where it can overtake my ‘real’ life but I’m working on that.

What I have realised is that I have many friends that I never see in the flesh. We chat everyday and some of these people know more about me than my family would. Our connection doesn’t need to be cemented in weekly meet ups. I find it strange referring to some of them as friends because not only do I never see them…..I never have!

I’m sure some of you are wondering how you can have a friendship with someone you have never met?

Well don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

My online mates are the best. I am invested in them. I care about what happens to them but there is a clear divide between the virtual and the reality. My online cohort knows little of my real life friends and visa versa.

There is one huge gaping problem with having a friendship that occurs strictly in the online world. If anything happened to them, no one would think to let you know! I know it’s a very morbid thought to have but it is the truth. I have had this conversation with a close friend and I have actually asked him to tell one person in his real life about me so that if he was ever in trouble or unwell that someone would think to let me know.

I can’t imagine the horror of talking to someone day in day out only for them to fall off the face of the earth and never finding out what happened.

Hopefully it’s not something that will happen to me but it’s a real possibility. I often thought about compiling a little list of people who I’d like to be contacted if anything were to happen to me. After writing this I think I will do just that. If you have loads of online mates, maybe you should too!

My First Internet Rendezvous

I love Valentine’s Day. First to all you non subscribers to the holiday of love….. baaaahhhh to ye. Yes I get that it’s commercialism at its best but sure our whole existence is commercialised. Our education, our health our homes, are all exercises in someone making money somewhere. Valentines is a bit of craic and I love it.

I’ve been single for an age so I haven’t had that someone special to buy something tacky for. Despite my best efforts I have a foot hold on the shelf and the more accustomed I become to the view the less likely it is that I’ll ever leave. That’s alright though, I have more than enough love in my life. Continue reading “My First Internet Rendezvous”

A Letter to an American Mammy

Dear American Mammy,

I feel like I know so much about what life is like in America. Every evening my screen is flooded with portrayals of what it’s like to live in the good old U S of A. From idyllic sitcoms, where everyone is beautiful and successful, to reality tv showcasing teenage mothers who live in the suburbs, we see it all. I do realise that its television but I have more of an understanding of American culture than any other place on earth.

Your children call you Mom, mine call me Mam.  I drive on the left hand side of the road and you drive on the wrong side! I’m not quite sure what a skillet is but I’m pretty sure that I have one I just call it something else. My daughter has a fringe and your daughter has bangs. We don’t have such a thing as a carpool lane and I don’t know what Twinkies are but I really want one!

I think if you were to sit opposite me and we were to chat over a cup of tea you’d tell me that it’s not very accurate. That everything is a little exaggerated for the entertainment of the masses and that our lives are not much different. We are neighbours separated by an ocean but in many ways life is the same for us all.

We get up each day and do our best for your children.

There is one distinction between you and me. I will never know the fear of sending my children to school to wonder if they will return home safe? I worry that they won’t work hard that they might not finish their lunch but it has never once crossed my mind that they won’t come back home once that school bell rings. I cannot imagine and if I’m honest I don’t really want to.

Since the beginning of 2018 there have been 3 shootings a week in schools in the United States of America. The fear of sending your children to school and something fatal happening to them is not that of irrational nightmares. It’s a very distinct possibility.

I read this week a circular that came home from a school in your country advising children to run in a zig zag line to minimise the chances of being shot. I can’t even digest that sentence:

run in a zig zag pattern to avoid being shot.

Children are equipped with vocabulary like lock-down, Kevlar and code red as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. It is not normal. It is not right.

This cannot be the norm for your children. Now is the time to put an end to this. An outdated aspect of the law cannot and must not overrule the lives of innocent children. Whatever you decide to do to take a stand know that every mother is the world is right behind you. I hope the next time I write it will be to congratulate you on change.

Until then stay safe,

An Irish Mammy.

Monday Stumble Linky

Aslan You Have a New Fan

I love live music. There is something about the experience that feeds my soul. Unfortunately my concert attendance has taken a downturn with the introduction of children into my life. It’s just another thing they have stolen from me along with my sanity and my waist line. Continue reading “Aslan You Have a New Fan”

My First Visit to The National Design and Craft Gallery

On the rare occasion that I get to visit another city I would always look up the various attractions on offer. The selection can vary from restaurants and landmarks to museums and parks. I have rarely afforded my own city the same courtesy. Continue reading “My First Visit to The National Design and Craft Gallery”