As a chronic pain patient, I spend my days willing the pain to feck off and find a new hobby. I’ve got discs bulging in my neck, lower back joints that decide when they want to play ball and unexplained pain in various other places. I’ve tried tonnes of therapies, medications, procedures and am still here, battling away and waiting for a day where I’ll wake up and magically be pain-free. I’ve realized that is unlikely to happen. When I said that to a doctor a year ago, when I was discussing my plans for returning to work, I was told it was an awfully negative outlook to have “for someone so young”. They saw my realism as a thing to count as a negative attitude instead of just deciding that it’s something I’ll have to figure out how to live with instead of in spite of. In contrast to that, it seems that the new wave of thought for pain management doctors is “pain acceptance”, where the patient is being told that instead of pursuing medical cures to their pain, that accepting it and finding holistic methods to deal with it and live with it are better options. This is being met with some opposition, in particular in the USA, where there is lots of talk about the growing opioid issue at the moment.
Organisation is not something that comes naturally to me. I look at Pinterest accounts of people with perfect bullet journals, schedules they stick to and houses so clean they gleam, and then shrink back into my own life and wipe away the crumbs and stare at unfolded laundry. Every year I resolve that this year is to be the year of organisation. I download the apps. The lists get written. I even manage to keep a handle on the laundry for oh, about a week. I do find writing things down tends to help with this, so I was thrilled to receive a Busy B Busy Life Diary in the post last week to help me get on top of my resolution.
In Ireland, we are in a time of change. While the rest of the world is shouting Me Too, we are shouting “Listen to Me”. In 2018, our government has promised an as-of-yet unscheduled referendum to decide whether or not to repeal the 8th Amendment of the Irish constitution. This amendment gives equal rights to the unborn as it’s mother; meaning that abortion is an illegal activity in our country and disallowing women from invoking their own autonomy over their bodies. The campaign has been raging to get this referendum for many years, and has certainly escalated in the last five years. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about it, and it won’t be the last. This referendum has the possibility to change the lives of women in this country, and allow them rights to gain healthcare they would be entitled to in their own country elsewhere. For that to happen, we need to, in the (paraphrased) words of Mary Robinson on her election to the office of president in 1990, “instead of rocking the cradle rock the system”. There are many facets to this campaign, and one of them is EveryDay Stories.
If you’ve been around here long, you’ll know that I will rave about the wonderful Brené Brown day and night if let go. I discovered her last year on recommendation of my therapist at the time, who thought that her work on vulnerability and shame would do me some good. Since then, I’ve been recommending her work to everyone. If you’ve not yet been introduced to her work, here are 12 quotes which might get you thinking (and entice you towards her books) this January.
We’ve survived another year, 2017 is over and 2018 has begun. All without certain world leaders getting at the nuclear codes, and after gaining some new debatable words into the dictionary. For us, it’s been a mish-mash of a year. I really like the framework of Where Wishes Come From 17 from 17, so here’s a look at the BadMammy Year That was 2017 – how was it for you?
If you’re active on social media, or have an interest in public health, you may be aware of Orla Tinsley, a Cystic Fibrosis patient who has written extensively about her life with Cystic Fibrosis. Orla is a journalist and activist campaigning for many health issues, including the rights of transgender people to gain gender recognition, as well as gaining essential health care resources for cystic fibrosis patients. This December, a few days before Christmas, Orla underwent surgery for a double lung transplant. Seeing her tweet about it made me well up. I don’t know this woman at all. I know of her, I follow her on Twitter, but we’ve never met nor conversed. But seeing the power of what one person’s actions in life and death, by being an organ donor, can do to affect another affected me more than I thought it could.
As December rolls faster towards the end of the year, it’s a time of looking back to see what has been. The wonderful powers of social media have made this even easier, with various round up tools presenting us with a pre-filtered image of exactly how our year went. Last year, I did the Instagram Best 9 and shared it here, and I found it a really nice way to look back on the year. So, in the interests of not fixing what isn’t broken, here’s a look at 2017 through the same lens, my Instagram Best 9.
As the man in red is just about to pay a visit to houses worldwide, there are quite a lot of young people looking to be in possession of new Apple iOS devices, iPod Touches, iPhones, iPads. All of which they’ll be working with skill while lots of parents try to figure out how exactly they’re doing what they’re doing. As much as we want to protect our kids from everything that could possibly harm them, or from making mistakes that they will regret, in the era of the screenager, it is a seriously tough job keeping track of absolutely everything they get up to. There are however some safeguards which you can take to make sure that your child is safe in their usage of this technology, while remaining relatively hands-off and allowing them to embrace the age of technology (while ignoring you as they beat their high score in Candy Crush Saga).
It’s mid-December, which means that we’re truly deep into Christmas mode here at the BadMammy house. We’ve been to see Santa TWICE, his shopping lists updated, and are wrapping up warm against the freezing cold. I was reminded of this format post which I used to LOVE doing because it’s so simple but sums up everything in one piece by brilliant blogger (and friend) Tracey from Love Of Living earlier so decided that it would be perfect to sum up what we’ve been up to this month, and then completely forgot with all the hubbub, so am just getting around to that now. As the December craziness seeps in, it’s great to look back on the month that was. I’m looping in with the #LittleLoves format from Coffee Work Sleep Repeat.
So, what have we been doing this December?
Christmas is a time of magic, a time of wonder, especially for little ones. This is really the first year that Eliott is getting into it – he is very excited about the idea of Santa coming, and has been singing songs about Rudolph for weeks. With that in mind, we’ve been hoping that a Santa experience will give all of us, not just him, that Christmassy feeling we’re seeking in the dark December days. We were lucky enough to be invited to check out the wonder of Christmas at Cork’s Fota Beyond experience this year.
The second the clock struck midnight on 30 November, the elves came out to play. In many houses around the world, and across my Facebook feed, The Elf On The Shelf has invaded. For 24 nights on the run up to Christmas, parents in houses everywhere will be one foot into bed and realize that the bloody Elf is still in the same position as last night. For kids, it’s a magical time, with promises that the elf will ensure that Santa is well-accustomed to words of good behavior. For the adults – well, it’s a decent discipline tool, but it can be a whole lot more effort than it’s worth! While there are lots of great examples out there for things to do with the elf when you’ve ran out of ideas, like these posts from Jill at Proper Fud, here are some of parents who have REALLY had enough of this Elf on The Shelf stuff…
In the run up to Christmas, it can be stressful to figure out just what kind of gifts will put a smile on different faces. Often, it can be useful to focus on a hobby or occupation that the person has when it comes to picking a gift, as it will be something they will use and cherish instead of abandon to the back of the cupboard. Bloggers are no different to this regard. So, if there’s a blogger in your life that you’re scrambling to get the perfect gift for, look no further. Here’s a gift guide to aid you in pleasing the blogger in your life this Christmas.
It’s that time of year again. Billy Barry children loudly singing and tap dancing their way across our screens. Toys running out of batteries at the wrong moment. Adults trying not to swear infront of the numerous children onstage on live television. And everyone, everyone, is sitting in on Friday night, watching The Late Late Toy Show. It’s an Irish institution for a reason. It’s got a routine to it, a familiarity, and it’s the start of the Christmas season proper in Ireland. So, for anyone living under a rock, or who has not been introduced to the nation’s comfort blanket television programme in December, here is a beginners guide to What To Expect From The Late Late Toy Show.
It’s Black Friday, which means that bank cards and credit cards around the world are quaking in their boots and bargains are being sought. The day originally kicked off in the United States as the first big shopping day before Christmas, but in the last few years, the bargain hunting has spread to this side of the pond. So, what’s on offer this year? Here’s a look at some of the top Black Friday bargains I’ve found for parents – let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed!
Christmas is a magical time of year. It might only be mid-November, but the rush has already begun to get everything perfect and to start picking up gifts. When there are kids in the house, the holiday can become all about them, and less about the adults in the house. They definitely deserve some love too. If you’ve got friends who have recently become parents, or have been cohabitating with tiny humans for a while, here are a few suggestions for Christmas gift ideas they’re bound to love.
Inspired by Suzy’s recent post, it’s time to revive the Snapshot post to show what exactly has been going on around here lately. We’re getting wintery and busy and spending days willing the germs in creche to avoid our three-foot-tall-typhoid-Mary(or Michael, whatever you want yourself). It’s gotten so bloody dark. On the plus side, it does mean that big coats and nice coffees are back in vogue. But anyway, on with the snapshot – what has been happening around here lately?
Cervical Cancer. It’s one of those big scary C’s that we don’t talk enough about. The words “Mortality rate” and “most common cancer” are bandied about, but as a society, we seem to stick our fingers in our ears and hum. Much has been done on this in recent years, but we’ve a long way to go.
Advent calendars are something I associate with chocolate, from childhood. Behind each pane, a tiny chocolate, generally Cadburys. However, the market has really expanded over the last few years and you can now find advent calendars of every conceivable type, suitable for everyone’s tastes. As Christmas tends to be a time of over-indulgence anyway, this year I’ve decided to stay away from the chocolate countdown and look elsewhere for daily treats. Here’s a few grownup advent calendars that I’ve spotted that caught my eye – if you’re looking to treat someone this December, get picking them up now before they sell out.
That time of year is rolling around again all too quick. The evenings are getting darker, the clocks have gone back, you’re having to put the heating on. And the toy ads, oh the toy ads are INCESSANT. On one hand, it’s great to have the Santa card to pull out when your three year old is having a meltdown about nothing at all. On the other, the pressure of getting it right and making it a lovely Christmas that everyone will remember happily is quite another. Advent calendars are something I remember from childhood as being great for getting into the festive mood (those and the Folens annuals!).
However, in my childhood, they were the chocolate-a-day type, which in our house will not go down well. It’s not that we don’t like chocolate – as my waistline will attest – but more so our lack of wanting to give chocolate to the three year old. He doesn’t react well to the sugar, it makes him crazy, and the festive season is crazy enough. So, for parents like me who wish to dodge the chocolate bullet but want to take part in the Advent Calendar joy, here’s some of the best store-bought sugar free (ie not confectionary) versions for kids I’ve seen.
One of the best parts of Hallowe’en is getting stuck into the scary movies while tucking into some pilfered treats, right? Thankfully, Netflix has lots of content fit for the perfect Halloween movie binge, with stuff for all ages and tastes. What will you be watching this Hallowe’en? Here’s some of the best of what Netflix have got for you to stream.
This week, a news story hit that the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has begun to use a robot for educating their students on the physical elements of childbirth. The news video included some (debatably creepy looking) footage of the robot in practice. Lucina, Ireland’s only “birthing mannequin”, has been purchased for €75,000 to benefit the surgical education of the future doctors taught in RCSI. The reaction to this news story has been mixed, to say the least. Some are horrified at the idea of a robot being used to teach doctors how to work in a childbirth setting. Others find it a genius idea which will likely improve outcomes for future patients as the educational tool will prove beneficial to the doctors in their training. So, what exactly is the reasoning behind the robot, what is it likely to teach that our current system doesn’t have, and is it all a bit of space age nonsense?
Hallowe’en is fast approaching, and there’s plenty going on to celebrate the night when the ghouls come out to play. With the weather as miserable as it has been lately, hopefully this will be a chance to have some spooky fun without getting rained out of it. Over the last few years, the Hallowe’en spirit has definitely increased in Cork, and this year is no different. Whether you’re a little one or a grown up, Cork has plenty in store for you.
So, what’s going on this year?
In late September, the three of us jetted off on our first family holiday as a trio. As it was Eliott’s first time on a plane, we decided to not go too mad – or rather, we decided to throw caution (and everything else) to the wind, and opt for an 18 hour flight each way and headed to sunny South Africa. It was a wonderful trip, one which I will definitely be writing more on, but it was definitely an educational trip in more ways than one. I feel incredibly lucky to not only be able to go on this kind of trip myself, but also to expose my child at the age of three to a whole different world of things – different weather, different cultures, foods, experiences. We stayed in Durban while we were there and found it to be overwhelmingly child friendly. I would thoroughly recommend it for people with kids, as it’s got so much for them to do, and playgrounds at every corner. However, if you’re thinking about traveling to South Africa with kids, there are a few things you need to have with you.
Ahead of the March for Choice next week in Dublin, there was a Repeal Not Replace demonstration in Cork City on Saturday 23rd September. I was asked by the organisers to be one of the speakers at this event. Initially I was hesitant to speak, feeling like my story wasn’t as relevant of that of many of the women who have suffered greatly under the 8th Amendment to our constitution. However, on reflection, I realised that as a woman who has gone through pregnancy in Ireland, I do have my experiences of maternity care under the 8th to speak about. The 8th Amendment is about so much more than abortion and it’s availability in our state, and I hope that I got that across in my speech. Here’s the full text of the speech, I’d love to hear what you think.
We’re in the process of getting ready to buy a house. The bank accounts have been scrutinised, we’ve weighed up the different mortgage offers and gotten the calculators on overdrive. The deposit has been added to regularly and we’re ready to get looking actively for a house to live in of our own. Along with this, inevitably, comes the dreams of what the different rooms will look like. My Pinterest is filled with gorgeous (probably unrealistic) images, but hey, a girl can dream. As Eliott is now no longer a baby, but a proper big-boy toddler who is losing his baby ways faster than I can handle, he needs a room that fits with that. So, what’s on the dream big boy bedroom list? Here’s just a few ideas I’ve had lately.