My kids saw me argue….so what?

We all know the idealism that comes when you are expecting your first child is inspiring. With subsequent children these standards slip considerably. Baby one has matching socks and vests and baby three is lucky to have socks at all. It doesn’t mean you love the last one any less. It’s just the more life piles on something has to give.

Our minds are so saturated with rules and regulations in order to excel at life. It’s overwhelming. I f I were to do everything ‘right’ in a day I reckon I’d get about two hours sleep if I was lucky. So every day we prioritise what we can do that day and the cycle continues day in and day out.

Years ago there weren’t as many rules. As long as your children were fed and clean from time to time you were doing a good job. Now you need a degree in child psychology to rear children. Last week I read that saying good boy to your child could have damaging side effects.

I sometimes find myself at a loss.

With that in mind I try my best to rear my children through the gauntlet of do’s and do not’s and I haven’t managed to kill one yet.  There are a few rules that I would surmise most parents try to stick to.

Try and not curse around the children. It’s not the best use of our language skills and funny and all as it is to hear your two and a half year old repeat the word bitch most people discourage it, once they have finished laughing.

Make an attempt at feeding them healthy food. It’s difficult but strawberries and banana’s dipped in chocolate still counts doesn’t it?

The reason I’m writing this is because I broke one of the cardinal rules of child rearing in this day and age.

I had an argument in front of the children.

A discussion between two adults became heated and escalated quickly. My voice rose as it does when I’m angry and my sparring partner asked me to keep my voice down and not in front of the children.

When the exchange was over and both parties had cooled down we both expressed regret about the fact that our children witnessed the row. Then I had time to reflect and I thought, do you know what? What bloody harm did it do?

Now I’d like to make clear that I’m not talking about abusive relationships or households that live in terror all the time. I’m just talking about an odd row once in a blue moon where grown up’s fail to agree and lose control.

What they actually witnessed was two adults having a disagreement. There were raised voices and red faces and then it was resolved. The two adults reconciled and life went on. This is what happens in life. To shield children from it completely is not doing them any favours.

Many children have no coping mechanisms at all. This notion that the children would be traumatised irked me.

The world is a tough place and if we over protect our children we are failing to prepare them for real life. Surely that’s worse parenting than having them witness the odd row?

 

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.

I didn’t know I was pregnant!

There are many experiences in life that you will never understand unless you go through it yourself. From giving birth to the death of a loved one there are no words or advice that will prepare you for your emotions. You can not anticipate how you will react. You won’t know if you will deal with things rationally or freak the hell out. Despite my flair for the dramatics that my daughter has subsequently inherited I’m usually calm and follow the premise that everything will be ok in the end.

In this instance life was pretty frantic in our house because we had just had our first baby. He was a good little boy but on my first I was so hell bent on doing everything right that I squeezed the joy out of watching my little boy grow. I found that the birth of the baby had put a strain on our relationship and it just wasn’t everything that I thought it was going to be.

Still, I took one day at a time and it wasn’t the worst time in my life.

This day myself and himself were pottering around the house and I think the baby was in his rocking chair when stood in the kitchen I felt something in my underwear. Maybe I was due my period that week and I thought, my word, that’s a heavy flow because I literally felt it come out. I went upstairs and he was in the shower and I said ‘I think there is something wrong with me’. I sat on the toilet and looked down to see what I can only describe as a mass about the length and thickness of my thumb. Well I thought I was dying.

‘What the hell is that??’

My first thought was that it was placenta left over from the baby. I took a picture and sent it to some nurse friends of mine I put it in a tissue and brought it to the doctor. She said it was a clot and I disagreed so we agreed to have it sent off to be tested! And I thought no more of it. My cycle continued as normal you’ll be delighted to hear and we went on about our lives as a new family unit.

A few weeks passed and the doctor rang. The phone call floored me. ‘Ms Brophy, we had it tested and it was actually foetal matter.’ I responded ‘I don’t understand? You mean left over from Kyle?’ The doctor spoke and I’ll never forget it. ‘No Ms Brophy you’ve suffered a miscarriage’. I couldn’t even process the sentence.  I didn’t even know I was pregnant. My son was three months old. Had we even had sex? I hadn’t felt any pain. How could this be the case?

Then the events flooded my brain. I had taken pictures of my baby, I had carried it in a tissue and spoke about ‘it’! I was so deeply ashamed. I was trying to reason with the loss of a child I never knew I had, paired with the absolute horror of my actions towards a baby that my heart now ached for. Somehow weeks after the event to be told you miscarried it felt like I had missed my chance to grieve.  I cried and I cried despite feeling like I didn’t have a right to. This was magnified by my unspeakable behaviour towards my baby. Family, friends and my partner all reassured me that I wasn’t to know and rational me would agree but these feelings knew no logic.

I was disgusted by myself.

The pain of miscarriage for me is the never ending list of what ifs? Was it a boy or a girl? If I had given birth would I still have the children that I have now plus one or how does all that work? How would I have coped with two under a year old and all the never ending questions that I ask myself regularly? I gave my baby the nickname of Sweetpea so I had something to call him or her in my thoughts. I’ve forgiven myself because I wasn’t to know. How could I have known?

I’ll shed many tears for Sweetpea for many years to come and when the kids are older I will tell them that in my heart I have four children.

To my darling Sweetpea, you deserved so much better but I hope you know you are loved deeply. I never knew that I could love someone I had never met but I do and the pain doesn’t get any easier. All I can I can do is try to be the best Mammy for the three that are with me, forever keeping Sweetpea in my heart.

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????

 

 

The Cross we Bear

kyle-oakwood

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”

Bedtime Battles

I want to talk about something that is causing me a great deal of anxiety. It’s something I have to deal with everyday and it’s making me very unhappy. I have no way of avoiding it and I do feel like a problem shared is a problem halved. I know I’m not alone and that there are others in my situation. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with it anymore so I’m going to talk it out hoping someone out there will help.

The problem is called. BEDTIME.

Not mine now, I could sleep standing up like a horse no bother to me at all. I can sleep on buses and trains and boats and I think I have even slept with my eyes open on an occasion. No the bedtime that I speak of is that of my three adorable children who, when it comes to going to getting them asleep, I like to refer to them as the spawns of Satan.

As a rational adult I cannot come to terms with the fact that at 7, 5 and 3 the children do not realise that every night without fail they have to go to sleep. I try to get across to them that this whole sleeping craic was not my idea. It’s not something I’ve conjured up to wreck their buzz or just be mean. This is a biological necessity.  When seven o’ clock arrives it’s like a shock to them that they have to go to sleep. It’s like it’s crept up on them unexpected like a big scary spider and the screams and protests are just as loud as if a big hairy one dropped onto their chubby little faces.

Now before the suggestions come flooding in I have tried many techniques. I have tried staggering the bedtimes starting at 7 with the youngest and working my way up to the eldest. Well sure I was putting children to bed for hours. It was like Groundhog Day from one child to the next, the teeth brushing the story telling the rubbing and me all the while doing my best not to fall asleep with each one. I’d start at 7 and I think I was still at it come half nine on more than one occasion.

I tried the whole bath and bedtime routine. Drops of lavender in the bath and nicely warmed towels all designed to soothe and relax. Well not my three reprobates. The water touched them and like gremlins they came alive.  They were drinking the bathwater and splashing each other and wriggling out of my hands like eels as I tried to wrestle them into their pyjamas. It was exhausting.

At the moment I’m at the stage where I’m turning off the electronics a half hour before bedtime to see if it will wind them down and prepare them for sleep. Paired with a story and lots deep breathes I can’t say that it’s getting any better. Macy has to have one story because she’s in a separate room and then to get the boys to agree on a story I’d need to employ a skilled negotiator and all the while I’m deep breathing to stop myself from putting a whole in the wall with my bare hands.

I’m sure it’s the same in every house with young children. But on a serious note I hate putting them to sleep when my last words to them are negative ones spouted out through gritted teeth. Every morning I explain to them how their behaviour was unacceptable the night before and how tonight has to be different and everyday they vow to do better and every day I believe them.

I’m studying at the moment and I need the evenings to get some work done or catch up on the housework and the longer it takes me to get them to bed the less time I have to get the things done that I’ll never have enough time to do anyway.

It’s not all about me despite what you may have heard. The Children need their sleep. I see such a difference in them when they have had a few nights of good quality sleep. It’s when their bodies grow and repair. It’s also the time that their brains organise all their thoughts from the day. Knowing my three the thoughts that they organising is new and inventive ways on how are they going to thwart their mother at bedtime tonight.  Is it 7 o clock yet? No? Great because I need time to prepare for tonight’s battle. Wish me luck.

 

 

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”

And they call it Puppy….. insanity!

 

 

 

cara rescue dogs logo

You have your hands full

These words are directed to me at least once a day. I get it. Three children is a lot. The fact that I’m no longer with their Dad probably makes it seem like more. I don’t do as much as I should from a motherly perspective but between the jigs and the reels life is fairly busy. When they go to their father’s I really do enjoy the peace. The doing nothing way of life suits me down to a tee ( or is it tea ??). In the midst of one of these marathon nothing sessions in which I relish  a post that often pops up in my newsfeed reared it’s head again.

The post was a heart felt plea from Cara Rescue Dogs for foster homes for puppies in their care. Now I’m not overly mad about animals and I’m not overly mad about the number 1 and number 2 that comes from said animals. I’m not overly mad on the smell of dog hair, dog breathe or dog farts. That being said my fingers started moving and I was texting and I was having some sort of a turn because the next thing I knew I was going to be considered as a foster parent for two very small puppies.

How the hell did that happen!!!

Sunday afternoon at 5pm after a home check was completed I became the rather petrified carer of two teeny balls of fluff. One brown and white the other black and white. Cara provides everything you need to take care of the pups for how ever long they are with you. All you have to do is love them. Well feeding and watering them wouldn’t go a miss either but you know what I mean.

The best part is the children had no clue and when they arrived home at 6pm tired and hungry after a busy weekend I was gonna reveal two puppies. Sure what could go wrong?

Two minutes after my grand reveal all hell broke loose someon wet themselves there was whimpering and begging  and that was just the children ( that joke never gets old). The two boys didn’t end up in bed until ten. Yes, Monday morning was torture.

Once everyone calmed and settled in the lovely part of the experience began. I have never heard the children laugh so much. The TV has hardly been on in days and the house has never been as clean. I’m really enjoying having the dogs as my guests.

Our little  fur babies are called Flake and Krispy kindly named by Karla at Cara. My children keep calling her Caramel so Aunty Caramel gave us our dogs to mind. I have explained to them that the dogs won’t be staying and I am fully aware that they will be upset but I’m hoping they will see the good that we are doing. Let’s face it they get upset when I give them the wrong the wrong coloured bowl for breakfast so I’m prepared for the hysteria.

I suppose the purpose of fostering for me is to see if I’m willing to put the work in that is needed to care for a dog. I don’t want to be the type that takes on an animal and realise that it doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle or my children especially. That’s one of the reasons why Cara are kept so busy. People think it’s all cuddles and sleeping. It’s far from it. I can tell you one thing though it’s very rewarding. I’m teaching my children about giving back in this world. Doing what you can when you can. How to care for something other than yourself. Also how important it is to respect other living things. I’m hoping this will be something that I can do regularly.

Cara Rescue Dogs Facebook page is <<<<< there if you click on the link. You’ll find everything you need to know all the contact details. If you feel like taking on a dog is not for you there are loads of ways to donate. You’ll feel great and you’ll make some dog’s day. I would like to just say that it’s a completely vouluntary orgainsation run by people with full time jobs and familys and lives of their own so if you have more than you need build a bigger table… not a higher fence.

Be well

Ellen

 

 

 

I’m eating nothing!!

If you have read other posts you will be aware of my battle with the bulge. Without trying to sound dramatic, that wouldn’t be like me at all, I liken it to a serious addiction. Food is my drug of choice and I don’t know how to become rehabilitated. I literally flip flop from wanting to loose weight and swearing to make a massive effort to throwing in the towel and accepting that I’ll never be slim. That switch could happen at least four times an hour. Every time professing to anyone that will listen…. this time will be different…..and it never is.

Writing this tonight I’m in binge mode and weight loss is the furthest thing from my mind I’m having a fat food Friday and I’m loving every minute of it. Until tomorrow when I try on my jeans and I’m like 7 pounds of rice shoved into a 5 pound bag. (I think the correct  phrase is 7 pound of shit but you know… I didn’t want to be vulgar). Continue reading “I’m eating nothing!!”