What a week!

I don’t even know where to begin. It all started last week when I received  a notification in The M Word writers group saying that The Pat Kenny Show were looking to contact me with a view to speaking on the show.

Sorry what?….. where? who me? I couldn’t quite process the information. Turns out one of the shows producers is a fan of The M Word and read a piece that I wrote and it was very relevant to the topic of their show this week. My article How the Social Welfare System has Treated Me was about the positive effect that the system has had on my life.

Off I trotted up to the TV3 studios with my fellow blogger Niamh from The Mammy Blog at my side for support. I did my piece and I didn’t vomit so that’s a bonus. It was a cool little midweek adventure to be on the tele and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

Pat kenny show

The following evening I was off to the VbyVery Bloggers Awards in The Academy in Dublin. The M Word was nominated for The Best Parenting Blog in the commerical category and guess what?

WE WON!!!!!

I feel honoured to be a part of something so successful and I’m excited for what the future holds. The women that contribute are some of the most interesting women I have ever met. I feel like I’ve known them all my life. They are a constant support for me and my writing and the fountain of knowledge between them all is so vast I can’t wait to dive in!!!

Then last night I attended the 40th celebration of one of my closest friends. Patsie is a mother of five and makes it look very easy. Always looking for the fun in life it’s rare you’d hear her complain. It was a wonderful celebration.

The main theme of the week is the amount of awesome women I have in my life. I feel blessed. Now I’m not going outside the door until 2020 sometime because I am exhausted. I have no stamina!!!!   jsklfa;sd fasjklfa    sorry I drifted off and my head hit the keyboard. Time for a nap I think.

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Repeal the 8th-An Opinion

I am not a political person. I don’t really understand the lingo. I don’t understand the party dynamics.

I didn’t vote on anything until I was over the age of thirty because I didn’t see the point. Now I’m a parent that is running a home and rearing children that has changed. I see how the decisions made by those in power can affect the lives of those at ground level. As far as educating myself on the intricacies of political systems I have a long way to go.

But I’m trying.

There’s one issue that is swarming around my social media and the campaign is entitled Repeal the 8th. Everywhere I look there’s a digital influencer urging me to Repeal the 8th and I had no idea what that meant. Off I went to take a look and it made me examine my own belief on the issue of abortion.

Firstly I needed to look at this 8th. The 8th of course is the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland. The Constitution consists of the fundamental rules that govern how a country is run. No other law can contradict what is set out in the Constitution. The Eight Amendment recognises that the life of the unborn is equal to that of the mother.

This means that no laws that allow abortion can be introduced into legislation. Sitting in my home with my three children it was difficult to put myself in the position of someone who did not want to continue with a pregnancy. For me it was something that I could not do. I believe that from the moment of conception that it’s a baby. Throughout my pregnancies if any referred to bump as a fetus I was visibly irritated. Don’t speak about my child as if it’s some sort of a medical condition.

This is the miracle of life going on here.

Yet despite my own beliefs I believe I am pro choice. I acknowledge that many people don’t believe that it’s a baby from conception and that’s perfectly ok. I believe that there should be a cutoff point of around twelve weeks for abortions without complications and then on a case by case basis after that with the focus always being on the life of the mother.

I do feel like my stance on the issue is a little contradictory. It’s such a complicated issue I can’t pack it into a tiny little box. I visited an exhibition in Dublin and there was a display of every stage of the development of the baby in the womb and the rate at which a baby develops is so rapid. That is what leads me to the opinion that the timescale needs to be quite small.

The real reason why I consider myself pro choice is because even though I could never have an abortion under any circumstances I do not have the right to make that decision for anyone else. There’s always the argument that some people will use it as a form of contraception but unfortunately you cannot legislate for the irresponsible behaviour of a minority.

There are women who couldn’t bear the thoughts of raising a child with a disability. They are entitled to feel that way. There are young girls who fall pregnant by accident and would be disowned by their families with no way to provide for a child. There are women in abusive relationships that couldn’t cope with another mouth to feed in a hostile environment.

They deserve to make their own choice.

The victims who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest deserve to regain autonomy over their bodies.

Even though I’ll never be in a position to have an abortion the attitude in Ireland of not on my doorstep is archaic. Let our women be at home surrounded by people who love and support them after going through one of the most difficult things any woman will go through. So come referendum day I’ll be proudly voting to Repeal the 8th.

My doll called Finn

You cannot beat the feeling of opening something new. I love opening new cartons of milk and new make up. I love unwrapping presents and ripping the tags off a newly purchased outfit. I’m 36 and the excitement is palpable. I can only imagine how a child feels. They don’t have the restraint that we have to control that urge to squeel with delight. Of course some items are more squeelable than others.

Case in point I got offered the chance to experience a new kind of toy on the market. I had to take a few deep breathes as my adult restraint system temporarily failed me. This was a doll called Finn. I suppose I should really explain. My middle son is named Finn. This was a doll called Finn. What’s so special about a doll I hear you ask? Well I’m about to tell you!

IMG_boxed doll and outfit
Lottie and Finn

My son Finn is a wonderful boy full of warmth and mischief. He is kind and generous with a ferocious temper if pushed but that makes him a interesting person to watch grow. As a family we have noticed that Finn is curious about everything. This has even extended to the toys in the house that would be traditionally considered girls toys. He has tried dresses, lipstick and hair bands. Equally he loves guns and archery and all those activities that we class as boys activities.

Therein lies the issue. The marketing of toys to divide them into boys and girls can put off a boy picking up something he might love to play with just because it’s perceived to be for ‘girls’. So when I came across Lottie Dolls I was so impressed. A doll that is gender neutral. Now by this I don’t mean that the dolls have no gender, they come as both boys and girls. What I mean is that the dolls are not covered  head to toe in pink tulle and adorned with lipstick and high heels. The boy doll Finn is not an action figure with a six pack and super powers. They are dolls based on real children. They have child like bodies and wear child like clothes and I just love them.

When my son saw the box he was instantly impressed with the doll because it had his name on it. I know not every child will have that treat but once that novelty was over the thrill of his new little friend remained. Nobody would even think of buying a five year old boy a doll but if they saw the way my Finn carried Finn Junior around for a solid week they would certainly change their minds. He dressed him and undressed him and repeated that hourly. As a mother I noticed how easy it was to change the clothes which was great because he didn’t need my help. The small exception being the socks as is the case with real life Finn also.

The day after Finn’s arrival in the house I had to hide him up on a shelf to avoid him being ripped asunder by the other two. He sat up their until his buddy came home to take him away with him on any number of adventures.

From a mother’s perspective I loved that he had a doll that wouldn’t necessarily bring with it snide remarks. The resemblance to a real child was refreshing, I didn’t need to address feminist issues of make up and body image which would arise from my constantly questioning child. To top it all off it’s an Irish company and knowing this was a home grown treasure made the joy all the better.

IMG_Finn on couch with boxed doll

 

 

If you want to investigate these wonderful characters you can find them at on the  Lottie Website and in store at Art and Hobby Shops

Lottie, Finn and Friends get a big thumbs up in this house!!!

Child you had one job…. where are your thumbs????

 

 

Line lover

It took me almost 35 years to find a hobby I enjoy. I’ve started many things and promptly lost interest. That’s my usual progression but The Line Dancing has stuck. Yes you heard me right Line Dancing and before you break into the chorus of Achy Breaky Heart and ask me if I have cow boy boots ( I don’t YET) it’s not what you think it is.

There is of course a massive country influence because that’s where it started but it has progressed to include modern routines to chart songs as well. It’s really good fun and great exercise too. So the club were heading off to England to a social weekend of dancing and I decided to join them. I haven’t left the country in 8 years and that fact alone shocked me. What shocked me even more is the amount of preparation I had to do to get away for two nights.

It started months in advance with the weekly saving for my fare and spending money. Gone are the days of where I’d book it all on the credit card and worry about it when I came home. When you have little ones depending on you for like food and stuff you have to be a bit more responsible.

The beauty regime pre travel was nuts. I got the hair done, I got fake lashes, shellac and a spray tan… perks of my course. I exfoliated and moisturised I buffed and polished and it took a couple of weeks for me to head off looking pretty much the same as I always do.

me and dee

Then because the children were being minded by family on the Friday and going to their Dads on the Saturday I wanted to have the house nice ( passable ) for my sister to sleep and I needed to think ahead to the Saturday morning and have everything ready for her to send them off. I was a bit stressed that I’d forget something because well I tend to forget things.

Then the packing for the airport. Trying to compress my make up was a week long job in itself. We were only bringing carry on and then all your liquids had to fit into this one little tiny bag. I mourned for the eye cream that I couldn’t squeeze in. I apologised to the toner that had to be left behind and vowed to bring it on the next trip. I was distressed.

I managed to pack for me and for them and to leave the house organised by my standards ( low low standards ) I left instructions and directions and before I even stood foot on a plane I was exhausted.

group

This is where the divide between men and women becomes apparent to me. Take away the fact that I’m on my own. Let’s just imagine as I often do that I have a loving, extremely attractive,well built, tattooed husband who likes to bring me out dancing and who plays guitar and…… Hang on I got a bit distracted there….. What was I saying? Oh yeah… Let’s cut it right down. When men go away they only have to worry about themselves. When women go they have to think of EVERYTHING.

Exhausted as I sat on the plane I got a little anxious. It was bizarre it’s not like I’ve never been away from the children but it was almost as if leaving the country was a bit more serious. I actually cried after take off and was mortified. My emotions were haywire. I felt such guilt because I was going away and not bringing them. Then I made the huge mistake of telling The Sun that I was going on a plane. They’ve never been on a plane. Silly silly silly Mammy.

Once I had let my extremely practical and honest friends talk sense into me I relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed my weekend away. I learned a few things. I learned that I’m shit at line dancing but am going to try harder because I really do love it. I learned that a tan makes everything better… fake tan of course. I learned that it’s ok to have a life apart from your children. In fact it’s essential. I came back in fantastic form and grateful for my children and grateful for the support I had  that allowed be to go.

The next trip is to Latvia in August…… I started prepping yesterday. Honest!!!!

 

from behind

Deep Thoughts

Some blog posts come naturally, they flow and I could write them in twenty minutes at the most. For some reason this one is tough, I just don’t know where to begin. My natural tendency is to write about topics from a light hearted stance. However there is little humour to be found in the subject of mental health.

Even to say the words. I have mental health issues. They get a little stuck in my throat somehow.

I am not ashamed.

I’m an open person I wear my heart on my sleeve but somehow that sentence doesn’t fit me? There are a number of reasons for that.

I don’t really fit the stereotype. The perception is that I’m outgoing, confident and full of the joys of life. Well there was a period in my life that none of those words could have been used to describe me. I can’t remember the first time I felt depressed. It started with bouts of crying. I’m a girl sure  that’s just hormones. I was either pre menstrual, menstrual or post menstrual. But that was the point. There was no end to it. I felt sad all the time. Continue reading “Deep Thoughts”

Phoney

I have an aul gra for mass generalisations but I think it’s fair to say that we would all be fairly lost without our phones. The phone is no longer a privilege of the wealthy but really an everyday necessity. From 8 to 80 everyone has one. Some people even have two. The way we communicate with one another has changed so much. Could you even imagine writing a letter to someone and having to wait weeks maybe even months for a reply? Everything these days is about the instant fix we really don’t like to have to wait for anything and our phones afford us that luxury.

You can chat or text anyone anywhere in the world. Now grant is most of us are texting our other halves to stick the kettle on or to bring some toilet roll upstairs but the potential is there to text someone in Brazil, if you knew anyone in Brazil. Continue reading “Phoney”

The Cross we Bear

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I recently attended mass. I can’t say that I am a regular attendee but this was a mark of respect for the anniversaries of a number of family members. The children were with me this particular weekend so it was time to don the best clothes and put our best foot forward and I was looking forward to showing off my beautiful little family. This enthusiasm was soon dampened when I found out the anniversary mass was at 9;30 in the morning. Three plus myself all to be suited and booted and up and out for that hour on a Sunday. We were not off to a good start!

My darling sister said she would help by taking one of my wee cherubs over on a sleep over so that I only had two to suit and boot.  See who ever said that prayers aren’t answered?

Off we headed to mass and when we parked up on the college road the eldest refused to get out of the car. Did I mention that it was raining? Continue reading “The Cross we Bear”

Other Mothers

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Hellloooo Yes i’m talking to you. You dear other mother that is listening to me right now. I would like to address this strange dynamic that you and I, as mothers, have with one another. We both have children. Whether you gave birth or someone else gave birth for you or you took on a child, we are both now blessed in our role as mother. This role might involve one or more children but the title remains the same. You might have a partner or a husband or mulitple sexual partners that you call on from time to time but again we are both mothers. You may have a job or a number of jobs or you may be a stay at home mother but guess what yes at the risk of being predictable we are both mothers. So now that we have established that we are part of the one team. Why is it we compete and compare?

When I had my first son I had a feeding schedule that I adhered to at all costs. I was rigid to a fault. If I broke from my routine the universe would surely implode. I was totally convinced. I did it by the book and was doing everything ‘right’. Then guess what I discovered?  My besty who I genuinely consider to be an excellent mother had her own feeding schedule and it was so different to mine. How could this be? Continue reading “Other Mothers”

who knows?

Three years ago today I left my fiancé, the father of my two boys and my baby bump which was going to turn out to be a little queen to complete our little family.

5 1/2 months pregnant I left his house that we shared with what I could fit in the back of my aunts jeep and we drove to Kilkenny and I never returned.

It was the hardest decision in my life to date. A decision that not only effected my life but his and the lives of our children.

People ask me time and time again why? Why did ye spilt? Well it’s not something you can wrap up in one nice neat sentence to satisfy people’s curiosity. Sometimes even when we put both our heads together we can’t agree on a reason. Was it him? Was it me? Who knows?

When I sit and think now the reasons actually don’t matter because that is the past. Knowing why doesn’t ease the pain. The pain we have both gone through. The pain of our children or the pain yet to come as we try to agree on how to parent our children together.

I will never know if the decision I made was for the best. We can’t look to the future at a junction and see which road is better. You pick your road blindly and hope for the best.

I know the weight of the decision lies heavy on my heart. I mourn for the family I thought I would have. I’m sad for my children that their parents live apart and I can only pray that in time they will understand.

Blended family’s and parents living apart are more and more common so it’s not as though we are unique in our situation. I’m more content as a person and I always believe happy mammy makes happy children.

We have come so far in three years from sharing a box room with my daughter to having a home of our own. I’m embarking on a career I know I will love. Writing my blog and contributing to community radio. I’ve found friends I love and I have two gorgeous handsome men in big school and do you know what we are doing alright.

When times get tough or I feel overwhelmed I sometimes look back and think. You got through that….. You’ll get through this. My advice whatever you do ……… Just keep swimming.

Teenage Delusions

So motherhood happened. Not once but three times. Yet despite my experience I really don’t feel like a mother nor do I feel like a grown up. It’s like a poster I saw on Facebook. I think they call them memes or something even though I have no idea what that means or how to pronounce it. When a crisis occurs and you look for someone more adulty than you. Woah there Nelly. I’m the adult. Well I must have missed that memo.

adult.

My son told me I was just a kid cause I still had a Mammy and Daddy.  And yes he used the word kid. Because, yes he watches too much American television. He even asked me for candy one day. I was like I’ll candy stripe your arse for you and attempted to get him to watch Fraggle Rock on tg4. That’ll snap any Yankee notions out of ya boyo.  By his estimation I’m not an adult and I’m beginning to think he’s wise beyond his years. Continue reading “Teenage Delusions”