I’ve got a five-year-old son. Half a decade has gone by since he entered our lives and turned everything upside down. It’s hard to believe, even seeing it there written down (and having heard it on a loop all day, he’s been telling everyone he’s five now). Far from the five-pound baby boy who was so tiny that even the premature-baby clothes we had to rush out and buy were swimming on him, he’s now big and bold, and a fully formed personality. He’s off to big school this September, which is approaching so much faster than I’d anticipated. The quote “The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short” is definitely one which is resonating more and more with me as time goes on. We’re thankfully mostly rid of the sleepless nights (these days I just blame academic deadlines rather than a screaming baby or a toddler who refuses to sleep in his own bed), but we’ve still got weekends where it feels like forever until Monday morning and creche is open again so that I can hear my own thoughts without also hearing “Mammy, if these two Pokemon are fighting, which one is going to win?” on a loop. Still, though, five is big. Five is a long time to be a parent, trundling along and learning on the job.
I used the same format for the last years birthday post (and the year before), a snapshot of his life at the age he’s at now, which is nice to look back on and see what has changed, and what has stayed the same. So here we go, Eliott at five: a Snapshot. (more…)
I’ve been blogging a lot less than I wanted of late, it’s been busy. I’ve been getting into strides with college work, epidemiology is kicking my ass, and when it isn’t, my body is deciding to take over. And that’s all before dealing with the junior tyrant who resides in our house half the time. It seems he’s on a job share with our very sweet, funny four year old. An eternal balance that I’ll write about at some stage when I figure out what exactly I’m doing (he may be 18 by the time I figure that one out). October has been a month of lots of change. Here’s just a snapshot of what we’ve been up to.
I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts of late that I’ve gotten fully sunken into.
The people from Spotlight in the Boston Globe (yes, the same people that the film is about) are doing an excellent investigation into the case of Aaron Hernandez, the NFL player who was convicted of murder and died by suicide in 2017, called Gladiator. It goes beyond the case itself and looks into Football Inc to see what exactly caused the horrific acts which took place and what could have been done to prevent them.
CBC have done an incredible podcast series called “Uncover: Escaping NXIVM” which I’ve barely been able to stop listening to – but definitely isn’t one for in the car with kids as it contains some VERY adult themes. In the investigative podcast series about the “wellness” group which the authorities have now labelled a cult, they look into its leader, Keith Raniere, and one woman’s journey to get out.It discovers what drew Sarah Edmondson to Raniere and his followers and how she ended up turning on him. Not one for the squeamish but definitely a compelling story.
On a less serious side of things, Eliott has been OBSESSED with the song Shotgun by George Ezra. It’s been playing here A LOT. I still can’t believe his face matches his voice, but whatever, it’s a VERY catchy song. And very cute when my four year old, who knows three lines, is singing it happily.
I’ve finally immersed myself in The Crown. I know, I know, I came SO late to this party but I LOVE it.
We’ve also been watching the third series of The Good Place. We’re rather resentful for the weekly wait between episodes, because we arrived rather late to the game and got to binge watch the first two seasons. So it feels AWFULLY forking unfair to have to wait a week between episodes. But they are TV gold and so so worth it. I NEED a Janet in my life.
For the coming month, we’re getting stuck into the final series of House of Cards. (For those not up to date, please be aware that the trailer is for the final series of the show and therefore may have spoilers!)
I’ve been doing a lot of academic reading this month as the Masters is proving to be VERY full on (as I probably should have expected). However, I have had a few good reads which I will compile into a much fuller book review post. Here are just some of them in brief
The Importance Of Being Aisling – the much-awaited sequel to Oh My God What A Complete Aisling. I have a lot to say about this book, but in short – I thought it was even better than the first. Total heart warmer of a read.
All American Murder by James Patterson. Yeah, this one wasn’t such a heart-warmer but it was fascinating. It also dealt with the case of Aaron Hernandez. I’d read the book before starting the podcast so I’m kind of getting a 360 look at the whole case. As a crime writer, Patterson certainly knows how to use the language to keep people gripped and at times it feels difficult to remember that this all happened, it’s all real and these are actual people’s lives and deaths.
The Magic Moment by Niall Breslin. This one was a kids book purchase, introducing children to mindfulness and giving a way to deal with fears, like a fear of the swimming pool. I thought it was a really charming read and a good introduction for kids, one which our four year old is learning day by day.
A whole lot of coffee. And probably not enough water. Must strive to do better. Next month will be better!
Layers. Because between the changeable weather, buildings that have blasting heat on one second and walls made of glass letting out heat the next and medication causing hot flashes, I seem to be an every-season-in-one-day kinda girl these days. Much as I love my wooly jumpers (and I LOVE them, so cosy), having to attempt to discreetly pat down my forehead from sweat-gate while in a meeting with people I would like to work with is MORTIFYING and not worth it.
I’ve recently discovered a penchant for Massaman curry. I don’t do spicy food, so curries have never really been my thing, but oh my god, I have found the food for my death row meal. Now if I could just figure out how to make my own perfect one from scratch so that the local Thai place doesn’t wind up just setting up a direct debit, that would be wonderful. Any suggestions for a good recipe?
In September, I started a part time masters in Public Health. It’s very full on and I’m currently trying to get my head around epidemiology, which is basically statistics on steroids. It’s not been easy, and hasn’t been helped by the brain fog that I’ve been experiencing, but I am enjoying having something to focus on that isn’t my pain levels or my frustrations at life. I’m also looking forward to getting to get stuck into my chosen research topic over the next few months – how I’m going to juggle it with work, parenting and everything else is yet to be determined but fingers crossed it will all fall into place.
Last month, I got a rather incredible surprise by being awarded Best Parenting Blog in the Blog Awards Ireland! I wasn’t able to make it to the ceremony, thanks to a pesky presentation in college, so the very lovely Sinead from Bumbles of Rice collected the award on my behalf.
I am beyond thrilled that my little corner of the internet has been considered to be something more than just the place I put my ramblings. I started writing this blog almost five years ago and never really saw it becoming what it has done then. Back then I was just pregnant, hormonal and needing a place to vent. It’s become a place where I’ve shared my experiences, gotten to meet others who have been there, done that and had their t-shirt puked on. I’ve met incredible people who have not only become online friends but some of them “real life” friends as well. So winning the award has really put a smile on my face and I am so thankful that others out there like what I write.
Darker evenings encouraging the Netflix binges of new shows and reading of books, once we manage to get the little man to get into bed.
Hallowe’en this year was also a bit of fun, given that it was Eliott’s first that he properly got into. He dressed up as Catboy from the PJ Masks in full costume and had a ball trick or treating!
Cold weather (well, changeable weather) has a habit of making my muscles and joints seize in not fun ways. So, there’s that. Also, the seemingly unending whinge. If anyone fancies taking on a four year old, perhaps as a tool for an abstinence-encouraging part of a sex ed programme in secondary schools, he’s open for bookings. He’s lovely really. There are just a LOT of emotions built up in his tiny frame. And he’s not exactly rocking this whole “extra hour” thing by any means. But who needs sleep?
So, that has been me for the last while – how have you been? Let me know in the comments, over on Facebook or over on Instagram, I’d love to hear from you!
Self care isn’t something I’ve been known to be great at. Two years ago, a counsellor asked me what were the things I did for self care and I stared blankly at her, because apparently my morning coffee didn’t count. I was very burned out at the time, working full time while in chronic pain with a very hectic toddler in the house. She set on a mission to teach me the error of my ways, and while I’ve not perfected the art of self care, I have gotten a bit better at it. When Sarah, the woman behind the Mama Moments subscription boxes got in touch with me to ask me to try one of their self care boxes, I thought it would definitely fit in well here, especially since she’s kindly offered a discount code to my readers (see the bottom of this post). She very kindly answered a couple of questions for me too, so that we can get to see the woman behind the company.
When you have a baby, people are full of advice. Actually, once you get that stick to turn blue and start to tell people, the advice is free-flowing. You can’t eat this, you can’t do that, and if you’re not doing that then YOUR CHILD IS DOOMED. As you can imagine, most of this advice is unsolicited, and a fair portion of it isn’t exactly welcomed. As a first time mother at the age of 22, I felt like I had a huge luminous sign above my head saying “SHE HASN’T A CLUE”, based on the amount of absolute strangers popping up with advice on how to raise my child. (more…)
The Irish Health System is a flawed system, there is no empirical evidence at all to show us otherwise. We have seen a medley of errors causing pain and suffering in numerous ways over the past few years. However, sometimes, we do SOMETHING right, and one of those things is the Drug Payment Scheme. Is it perfect? Not at all, but it’s definitely something that everyone should sign up for because it may save you from financial woe in the future.
Here’s a bit of a look into what’s involved, who is entitled to it and how to get yourself sorted out with the Drug Payment Scheme. Hopefully it is something you will never need to use (the majority of users don’t hit the cap each month) but if you’ve got a house of kids, a chronically ill family member or simply want to prepare for the worst, then make sure to get this card into your purse.
As a parent to a four-year-old, we spend a lot of time at Soft Play. It’s a necessary evil. The Irish weather doesn’t allow for playground hijinks as much as we need, and the alternative is absolutely wrecking my house (and my head). So, off to Soft Play we go. He loves it, he’s a daredevil mad to be climbing higher and higher. Me? My love is somewhat less obvious. For me, soft play raises more questions than it answers. Here are just some of them.
“Closing Time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…”
I’m reminded a lot of this song lately, it’s playing in my song almost daily for the first time since my teenage years. It seems like a whole lot is changing and there are a lot of new beginnings going on. This time though, the boy child has graduated his preschool and is moving onto a Montessori in a whole other place, with new people, and is leaving creche, and his baby days, behind. (more…)
I’ve started re-watching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy lately while I’ve been off work. I’ve been a fan of Grey’s Anatomy since the early days and though I fell away from it for a while, I’m straight back in there now. It’s the perfect mish-mash of funny, serious and damn heartbreaking. I’m invested in these people like they’re real, they’ve been a part of my life for a decade.
While re-watching, I’ve noticed in some bits that they’re referring perfectly to how life with a toddler is. So, here’s 22 times that Grey’s Anatomy perfectly summed up what it is like to be a parent to a small child.
In the cast of Life, this leading lady is now mother to a four-year-old boy. He may not look it, or fit the clothes just right, but he’ll tell you very clearly that he’s four. And that means he’s strong, and brave because that’s what “four boys” are. He turned four last Saturday, and we celebrated with a party with some of his friends from his creche in a Cork soft play centre. There was what can loosely be called a PJ Masks cake, at least one set of tears per child who turned up in the two hours and everyone seemed to have fun, so I guess we call it a success! I like the format I did for last year’s birthday post, an update all about him and his life.
Being a mother is hard work. It’s one of the toughest, and yes, most rewarding, jobs out there. It sounds cliched, but it really is one of those things that you’ve got to be down in the trenches to really understand what it is like. It’s a whirlwind of emotions all wrapped into one tiny human who you are SO AFRAID FOR and SO IN LOVE IT all at the same time (while you’re hiding in the kitchen, shoving biscuits into your mouth before their supersonic hearing detects them). It’s a variety of feelings summed up so well by artist Anna Lewis, who has recently released her first book, Sketchy Muma: What It Means To Be A Mother. I was lucky enough to be sent a copy for review by the lovely people at Quercus Books, and have one to give away!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s a song in the movie Mamma Mia which might have drawn a tear or two since becoming a parent. In the middle of the movie, Meryl Streep is watching her fully-grown daughter prepare for her wedding, and singing this song as the scene plays out. The song itself, “Slipping Through My Fingers” was written about ABBA members’ Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog’s 7 year old daughter. It sums up the feelings of watching our kids grow up so fast and not being able to grab them back in for a cuddle on your lap, or a snuggle to sleep to keep the baby days going. It’s gorgeous, and right now, it feels very apt for the stage I’m at with Eliott.
Paw Patrol has been shoved to the back burner. These days we’re all about PJ Masks. Or CD Mac, dependent on how much he feels like working on his pronunciation. It’s not on Netflix, so we work from recordings on the Sky Box from the POP channel. He sees a lot of ads this way, but thankfully doesn’t seem to realise they’re for ACTUAL toys. I hope.
Much like Paw Patrol and other kids shows that have filled our heads over the last three years, PJ Masks leaves me with so many unanswered questions.
Childcare is often declared to be the second mortgage of many homes. Personally, it makes up almost as much as our rent per month, and we only have one child. It’s a major outlay and can really have some families in a bind as to whether both parents working is actually financially worth it. The price of childcare differs dependent on your needs and what form parents use – au pairs, creche, montessori, in house childminders, childminders in their own homes, grandparents and family members. So, how do we ensure we have affordable childcare?
Childhood and teen years are somewhat through a different lens these days. The impact of introducing technology into their hands at a young age has been to change their technical ability, but also opened a whole world up to them that previous generations could only dream about. At our fingertips, we are literally able to find the answers to life’s big questions (Thank you, Google), speak to others around the world and discover things we never would have known about before. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube – they’ve opened our eyes to a much wider world. It’s an amazing powerful thing – but, with great power comes great responsibility!
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.
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.
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?