If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that I’m passionate about the topic of mental health and in particular postnatal mental health. It’s something which has personally affected me and others that I love, and in this country, it’s something that isn’t dealt with in a big enough way. So, back in April when I was asked to be part of a public forum organised by INFANT (Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research) in CUH, on the topic of perinatal mental health, I was thrilled. And then terrified. But mostly thrilled.
Argh, it’s rolled around again. I could have sworn there was a whole other week left before Father’s Day, but no, here it is, this Sunday. So, if you’re like me and need to make the Dad in your life feel a million bucks, but have left it to the last minute, here’s a guide to gifts he’s sure to appreciate!
Another day, another horrific tale in the news. It’s unfortunately part of life in Ireland in 2017. In the last few years, the topics of mental health and the 8th amendment have been in the news seperately and together, but yesterday’s news had something different. The Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland reported on a case from the Child Care Law Report Project which took place in 2016, and opened our eyes to fresh horror.
Late last year, I started seeing a therapist. It was after my return to work (I’ve since been out again), and I wasn’t coping particularly well with my schedule and other pressures. It wasn’t my first foray into therapy; I’d seen counsellors in college on two separate occasions for a number of weeks each time. I was good with the idea that it worked, just not that I truly had time for it.
My therapist this time was a wonderful woman, who spoke in THAT VOICE, the one that says it’s alright to talk and cry and let it all out without judgement. She could bring me to my knees in the first sessions, letting out feelings of guilt, insignificance and anger. She left me with two major discoveries: the work of Brené Brown, and the need for self care.
I’ve been a fan of Claire Hennessy since my early teens. Her writing spoke to me at my different ages that I was reading it. Published in 2000 (when she was thirteen!), Dear Diary was my first introduction to a writer who would reoccur throughout my teen and early adult life. Through the teen angst years Abi and Emily (of Stereotype and Good Girls Don’t) were my touchstone. Adulthood has not changed their charm. That’s the thing with the YA fiction genre – when it’s good, it doesn’t matter what age you are. So, when I saw her latest novel “Like Other Girls” was about a teenager from Dublin, but dealt with things like the 8th amendment, questioning sexuality and the obligatory pop culture references, I was hooked.
When your friend or family member has had a new baby, it’s natural to want to see them and their new bundle in the early days. As anyone who has held a newborn for any period of time can tell you, there’s something in their freshly-born scent that just makes the world a nicer place. Oh, and your friend is fairly kick ass too, you know, for that whole making a human and bringing them into the world thing. However, as much as you want to see them and are looking forward to visiting, here are some common pitfalls to watch out for. Here are the 15 Cardinal Sins you need to avoid when visiting new mum for a stress free visit!
We all have little memory trinkets that we want to keep. Some people keep baby books, others keep shoeboxes full of memories. In the modern era, there are entire apps and computer programmes dedicated to a technological way of keeping your precious memories safe. Sometimes however, old school is the best way. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that theres a book, an album, to rifle through for the nostalgia. As parents, we want to keep the memories safe. We make sure that our children (and theirs) will be able to look back and see their childhood. What is the best way to preserve these memories?
It’s almost the end of May. We’ve managed to survive another month which included some solo parenting, while D has been away. I’m grateful that the trips have gotten a lot shorter in recent months. Random weeks are much easier to deal with than long stretches that feel like they’re home less than they’re away. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag of a month. So, as a bit of a catch up on real life, here’s a snapshot of our lives today as part of the My Little Loves linky on Coffee Work Sleep Repeat.
Have you got plans this June Bank Holiday weekend? The Cork Harbour Festival stretches over the Bank Holiday weekend through to the following weekend. It runs from 3-11 June. It’s filled with lots of activities suitable for everyone in the family. If you’re looking to embrace the maritime spirit, this festival may be the one for you. Head to Cork for lots of fun, free entertainment and great family events.
I’ve got a three year old little boy. He’s a proper little boy these days, absolutely no baby left. We got through the “Terrible Twos” and have launched head on into the “Threenager” phase. It’s a time of much discovery, for everyone involved. So, as a quick guide to what it is like, for the unfamiliar, here is an A to Z guide to Parenting a Three Year Old.
The month of May is chosen by the Green Ribbon campaign as their month of promotion of their campaign to de-stigmatise mental health issues. Part of the month includes a National Time To Talk Day, where they encourage people to speak openly about their mental health and that of others. The campaign has run for a number of years now and from the statistics they report on their website, it seems to be an overwhelming success. This is the first year I’d heard of the Time To Talk Day, not that it’s stopped me speaking out before. I’ve spoken quite a bit about mental health and my experiences on this blog. You’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking “Here she goes again”. But why do I write about it so much? Why do I share my story?
I’ve been a bit slow to the Pinterest game when it comes to blogging. It’s taken me a while to get into the swing of it. I understood the basics – make sure pictures are bright, good quality, and linked to content you were proud of. I’ve been working a lot on developing a style for my images on my blog over the last two years. And unfortunately, the long-form style which Pinterest adores doesn’t do it for me. So, what’s a girl to do? I wanted to make my posts as Pinnable as possible without compromising the way I liked them to look. How did I do it?
Parenting is a learn on the job kind of gig. There’s no training course, no book, no YouTube series that will prepare you for how full on it all is. I read a LOT when I was pregnant, and through the sleepless nights of feeds and windy babies. But the experience itself is something that you have to live through – which sounds like one of those things THOSE parents say, the ones we all resent “oh you just don’t know, you don’t have kids”. It’s life in a war zone. A beautiful, funny war zone that will leave you with scars and tears but laughter lines and good memories too. I learned a lot about life, about myself and about the whole keeping-a-human-alive thing. So, what would I do differently on a second baby?
If you’ve got a long journey ahead of you travelling with kids, you’ll know that it’s tough to keep them amused throughout. On our journeys to Wexford from Cork (2/3 hours in the car), we used to try to balance nap time, youtube videos and cow spotting. Sometimes, the lack of decent phone signal would cause a serious deterrent in the youtube use, which was a major pain.
The things we were able to set up for him to watch were also a bit more limited, inevitably the stuff he demanded wasn’t on there at the time. Also, with a ridiculously small data budget on my contract, it was super expensive for a few hours of streaming. So when Netflix announced that they were introducing the ability to download and watch later, we were thrilled. These Netflix Downloads have made road trips and upcoming flights seem a whole lot less intimidating with toddler in tow!
When life gets busy, trying to fit in time to sit down with my laptop to get a few posts out becomes more difficult. Such is life with a small tornado toddler, a full time job and an apartment that you’re trying to ensure doesn’t look like an explosion has just happened at all times… One solution I’ve come up with is to utilise my commute on the bus for blogging from my phone. While I’d done this a bit in the past, I had found that it was more cumbersome and less satisfying visually to do it this way. However, I’ve discovered new apps recently, and some have hit the app store that weren’t previously there, that have bridged the gap and made it so much easier and nicer to blog from my iPhone. Here are my 13 Essential iPhone Apps for Bloggers – and most, if not all, are free to boot. Hopefully you’ll find this list useful in your own blogging!
Keeping toddlers entertained can be a constant battle – especially when you’re trying to vary things up so you don’t go mad yourself. Kids are expensive little people, and activities to keep them entertained can really rack up the costs. So, as its coming into the longer days, here are four free things to do with toddlers in Cork City.
It’s 1 May – which means that April is all over and done with. It’s Bank Holiday Monday, E is staying in his grannys, and my body clock has decided that being awake at 8am is still par for the course. Still though, it’s nice to have the time to sit down and reflect on the last while. I really liked the format used for the linky from Awfully Chipper a while back, so I’m going to use that again. Here’s a look at a snapshot of April in our house.
Today, Saturday 22nd April is Earth Day. It’s a day where we look a little bit more at how we treat the environment and the impact it has on the world around us. In particular, this year it’s a prominent topic, with climate change denial being part of the current American administration. While this terrifies me, as it will inevitably lead to years of damaging policies ahead, I am thankful for the tireless work of the scientists who are working to save our planet.
Over on Netflix, they’ve got a variety of documentaries which should definitely open up your eyes to what is going on with this planet of ours. They’ll open your mind, get you thinking and hopefully make a change in what you do. These are just a few of the ones to look out for this Earth Day.
The news came to the fore yesterday that the new National Maternity Hospital was to be placed under the ownership of the Sisters of Charity. The Sisters of Charity is a religious group who in the past were one of the groups who ran the Magdalene Asylums. Under their watch, terrible abuses were carried out on mothers and children alike. In State redress schemes since the news broke of what went on inside these Mother and Baby Homes, the Sisters of Charity have neglected to pay their fair share. In 2013 the Sisters of Charity, along with the three other religious congregations which managed Magdalene laundries, announced that they would not be making any contribution to the State redress scheme for women who had been in the laundries. The Sisters of Charity were involved in five industrial schools – including St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s, Kilkenny and Madonna House in Dublin. They were party to a €128m redress scheme with the State in 2002 for child abuse which took place. According to a December 2016 report from the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Sisters of Charity offered €5m towards the redress scheme – but have only paid €2m. They are currently in debt to the state, and the victims as a result, to the tune of 3 million. So, gifting them a hospital sounds par for the course, right? Only in Ireland.
In the run up to Easter, it’s been great to see a load of kid-centric activities to fill up the holidays popping up. Egg hunts, fun days, these are the things that memories are made of. So when we were offered the chance to try out the Rathwood Easter experience, we jumped (bunny-hopped?) at the chance. Rathwood is a home and garden centre in Tullow, Co. Carlow. I’d been there a few times previously, but never taken part in any of their experiences (I guess 25 is not their target audience age), however armed with the three year old we decided to try it out.
The school holidays are here, so it’s time to get out of the house to beat the cabin fever. If you’ve not got kids in Easter Camps, it may be nice to have some activities to look forward to as the week goes on. Here’s a look at what Cork has to offer in the way of fun for kids and grownups alike over this Easter Holiday season. Hopefully these Easter Activities will help keep your kids occupied and stave off the holiday rage!
Now that the days are getting sunnier, we’re looking for more things to do outdoors with our little man. As much as possible we’re trying to keep it local – the less time getting there, the more time we get to enjoy outside! One of the big favourites around here is Fota Wildlife Park. So, when the weather was beautiful the day after his third birthday, we decided there was no better way to celebrate as a family.
Binge-watching and Netflix go hand in hand, it’s an inevitability. The level of new content they’re creating of late is fantastic. It’s a great platform which is allowing creation of shows which may not have worked on a network level, and is changing the way we watch television. One of the more recent additions to Netflix is 13 Reasons Why, the adaptation of the Young Adult novel of the same name by Jay Asher. While it’s all about high school and the drama that ensues, the content is definitely something that all adults should tune into. So here are 13 Reasons Why you should be watching 13 Reasons Why (With No Spoilers).
On the 24th of March 2014, I became a mother. At 7.05 am, my son was born by emergency caesarean section. Since that moment, my life has changed forever. It’s been a tough journey at times, but it’s also been so, so rewarding. And now he’s three. THREE. A proper “big boy”, there’s no baby left here.
So, what is he like at Three? I really liked the framework of the linky post I took part in recently with Awfully Chipper, so I’m going to use the same for him here. So, here’s a snapshot of my little boy, as he turns three years old. (more…)