November has been a bit of a hectic month. I’ve somewhat fallen off the blogging bandwagon. Not for any major reason, aside from PLAGUE and Â ILLNESS that has ravaged the house. Only a slight exaggeration that. The boy child, of course, brought it home from creche in the form of a lung infection. Ridiculous high temperature (39.4!), scary lethargy and all. He was miserable and refused to sleep alone. So, off toddles Mammy to his room, co-sleeping for about a week. Surprise, Surprise, he passed it on. And in the way only I seem to be able to do, I managed to multiply it, getting struck down with an ear, throat and chest infection that will NOT go away. So, I’ve been out of work and unable to write because…. well, because my brain is fogged down with medications and illness and thoughts of naps.
So, this blogging malarkey has opened a whole lot of doors for me. It’s introduced me to wonderful friends, gotten me into situations to work with fantastic companies and occasionally has managed to even get my name in print. I write for the love of writing, as a form of expression and venting, and I couldn’t have imagined just how much more than an online word-vomit this blog was going to turn out to be.
My writing particularly about mental health has been cathartic and reassuring. Between comments from readers and posts from others involved in Mental Health Monday, I’m made to feel like I am not alone, and that others are being made feel that way too. That feeling of validation (yes, I need external validation from time to time, I’m only human) is furthered today by the fact that a fairly massive picture of me and a piece interviewing me appeared in a supplement of the Irish version of The Sunday Times.
I’m a big advocate of the internet and how it has enhanced my experience as a mother. Through my online communities on Facebook and beyond, I’ve met some incredible parents who have shared their experiences. I’ve made fantastic friends who I never would have met otherwise. I’ve had conversations late into the night about the frustrations of motherhood and been made to feel less like I’m going crazy and more like I belong. I have found my village. It’s a wonderful resource, a fantastic element which many people find essential to their daily lives. However, with all great power (the power of the online community), comes great responsibility, and I feel that this is something which can be easily ignored in the heat of the sleep-deprived moment.
I’m always a fan of a good list post. I saw that Kate Takes 5 has revived her old blog linky, Listography, for a once off in celebration of her 6th Blogaversary, and thought “Yeah, that I can get my teeth into”. It’s somewhat of a love letter to the blog, this one, a list of my favouriteÂ posts. I’ve been writing this blog for two andÂ 3/4 years, it’s gone through various face changes, a name change, the birth of a child. It’s documented ups and downs and really shitty days and days where I’ve punched the air in pure joy, and lots of moments begging for more coffee (in an IV) in between.
My blog is still very small fry in the grand scheme of things. I’ve been very lucky to get to work with some fantastic companies and bloggers, I’ve gotten to meet so many people and gotten to do some very exciting things that never would have happened otherwise. This blog started as a rant at being housebound and pregnant, much like many older abandoned blogs before it. This one thankfully has stuck and allowed me to share my rantings on toddler tantrums, sleep deprivation, mental health and the general clusterfuck that can be current affairs.
As a thank you to the lovely readers and folks who have been liking my Facebook and Twitter pages, I’ve teamed up with Baby Elegance this week for a giveaway. As someone who spends rather too much time looking for different things to buy to make parenting a baby (now a toddler) easier, I spent rather a lot of time on their website, so was thrilled to hear from them.
Getting out and about with your baby or toddler can either be a joy or an ordeal, it depends on the day. Some days everything goes great, you’ve got that child who smiles and is happy. Others it’s more like bringing the Spawn Of Satan to Tesco, or worse, a full on trip into town. In the two and a half years I’ve had a tiny posse, we’ve definitely had a mixture of the two. Days can be made or ruined by little things – not having the stuff you need in the bag, people not moving out of the buggy spots on the bus, and one of my pet peeves, lack of appropriate changing areas. I’ve written before about my list of baby friendly places to grab a coffee or some food in Cork City, and have been told others found it helpful. Sudocrem recently ran their Baby Changing Room Awards 2016 and I’m thrilledto see some of my favourites on their list! Here are my top six places to head when baby needs changing and I’m out and about in Cork (city and suburbs).
It’s time for the ghosts, zombies and numerous Elsa costumes to hit the streets, and sugar levels to hit the roof. Yes, it’s Hallowe’en! As well as being a time where spirits cross over, it’s also a time the kids have a break from school – so it’s important to have things to entertain them! Here’s a look at some of the kid-friendly scare-themed activities which should put smiles (and shrieks) into your family day out this Hallowe’en in Cork City and County.
It’s been a while since I’ve written much about the little man. It’s not that he’s not been around, he certainly has been, it’s just been manic and monotonous at the same time. Parenting seems to ebb and flow in and out of a Groundhog Day situation. We have the same routines, the same arguments, watching the same episodes of Paw Patrol until I can recite them. The more things change, the more things stay the same. He’s changing, but doing it on the sly, while I’m not looking. He wakes up an inch or two taller. He comes home from creche with new words. He’s half way to five, I realised the other day. Half way to schoolbag on his back, out the door, being a proper little person.
This post is one I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s not the first time I’ve spoken about my thoughts on the Irish education system. I’ve previously lamented the level of religious indoctrination in our primary and secondary schools. I’ve given my thoughts on consent education, and sex education as a whole in Irish schools. Today’s post is somewhat similar to those, but more with a retrospective look at the education I received in second level about mental health. Moreso, what mental health education I wish I had received, instead of the lacking amount that I did.
My heart is sore. I’ve just finished listening to an incredibly brave woman, Siobhan Whelan, talk about her pregnancy in an interview on Prime Time. Prime Time never gets the good news stories from maternity wards, and this interview was no different. Siobhan, who was pregnant at the same time as I was in 2013/2014, was treated in Cavan General Hospital. This hospital has been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, home to numerous tragedies caused by medical misadventure. Pregnant women have entered and left empty handed, mourning the loss of their babies, believing in many cases that it was their fault. This isn’t the first Prime Time interview I’ve watched with women who were treated there, not the first I’ve welled up to. It draws little surprise, even though the topic is heart-wrenching. The lack of shock about the conditions is what hurts my heart most of all. It’s not exactly the only example of pregnant women losing their voices in the course of pregnancy as far as the medical profession is concerned. Bodily autonomy isn’t something afforded to those with child here.
I am not a fan of bedtime. The child going to bed, yes, perfectly happy with that (what parent isn’t?) but it’s an ordeal at the moment. No matter what kind of routine we try to put in place, it’s a bit of a non-runner. Basically my two year old has skipped childhood and gone straight to the teenage years. Refuses to sleep until late at night, is a GRUMP in the mornings and doesn’t want to listen to a word I say. I’ve not yet gone seeking a refund from the midwives in CUMH just yet but I’ve been close. However, the one bit I do like of the whole farcical routine is curling up with bedtime stories and reading together. It’s a nice time for the two of us and once I’ve got the books that I can’t stand out of the way (I’m talking to you Stickman!), it can be nice and relaxing. So, what have we been reading lately? A mesh of old and new books on the shelves, some I’ve spoken about before, but this is what the two and a half year old is loving right now (and I’m not tearing my hair out reading).
My return to work has left me resentful of public transport. Without a car, I’m somewhat dependent on it. The last time I was in work, we lived in the city centre, which meant it was a 20 minute bus journey from the bus stop 10 minutes walk from my house. The current commute, including creche drop off on the way, is a 20 minute walk, creche, 10 minute walk, 20 minute bus journey – and inevitably the waiting times between the buses. The journey home can take more than an hour in the evenings, which isn’t ideal when you’re already working past the closing time of creche and are depending on help to collect small man in the evenings. So, I decided this wasn’t for me, and after putting it off and allowing my back to rule the roost, I went for automatic driving lessons.
The child has a life in politics ahead of him I think. With a straight face, he will be able to tell the media that the money was only resting in his account, and get away with it too. I’m not sure why my child’s life in politics is set to be filled with corruption, however I do know he’s in training to pull it off while still looking good. Bertie, the Teflon Taoiseach, will have nothing on him. What has brought me to this conclusion? Just a stage we seem to have hit in the BadMammy house.
This week’s Mental Health Monday piece is from my archives – not my personal story, but a piece I wrote in conjunction with others for a magazine piece. It was eye opening for me to learn about prenatal depression and to speak to Madge and Rosey who have experience in the area. It’s something that is so rarely spoken about, which can lead to more feelings of isolation in pregnancy with women who do suffer with it. Hopefully you’ll find it insightful and a useful read.
The day you find out youâ€™re pregnant is a life-changing day. Whether it is your first or your fourth, a planned new addition or an unexpected surprise, when that test changes to a positive sign, your heart will race and everything changes. For some it is a moment of absolute bliss, but for others, it can take a while for the news to sink in and to process whether or not this is a good thing. The image of a panicked woman and a pregnancy test in hand is not just reserved for the teenager terrified to tell her parents â€“ even when youâ€™ve got your life sorted out, that positive test can rock you to your core and make you think about what you really want in your life.
It’s awards season around these parts. Get ready for the shouting of “What are you wearing” and for the main answers not be “Whatever I found that was some semblance of clean and not attacked by the child!”. Yes, the awards for bloggers are coming thick and fast, and I have been lucky enough this year to have readers who considered my work good enough to be considered for more than one award. This week I got some fantastic news, my blog has made it into the final of Blog Awards Ireland. (more…)
As a general rule, I have this depression/mental health thing sorted. I’ve gotten help from my GP, I’ve an understanding partner and family, I’ve seen a psychiatrist regularly over the last two years. I take my meds every night, I make sure to try to get sleep, I know it’s good to talk. For all intents and purposes, for the most part I like to consider the black dog my bitch. There have been a few dips, of course, to teach me my place, but I put a lot of it down to having too much time to think while out of the workplace. So when I returned to work I assumed I wouldÂ be on the home free road. And we all know what they say about people who assume.
My toddler is a curious fellow, an ever changing personality. I’d point out some manufacturing flaws (the lack of love of sleep, the mess) but I did make him myself so I’ve nobody else to really blame. However, flaws aside, he does provide me with endless entertainment, a new perspective on life and some thoughts on the kind of old age home he’ll be paying for to make up for the 5am wakeup calls. Something new changes every day – whether it’s learning new words, or stringing together sentences, or managing to scoot through the entire apartment flawlessly – he’s an ever growing lovely little thing.
If I’m asked to describe him, there’s no real single word I could choose, there are too many things to just pick one. I quite enjoyed a similar post about myself that I did last summer, so here’s a look at an A-Z of my toddler, a bit of a fun idea to capture a little snapshot of him in time, right now, aged 2 and a quarter.
Parenthood is a life changer, no two ways about it. Things that you took for granted before you had children get viewed in an all-new light, through bleary eyes and caffeinated dark hours. It’s a fantastic change, filled with lovely moments that will last in memory. Soon, you’ll start to wonder what life was like before the little pet came into your life and changed everything.
That quote about the best laid plans of mice and men? Someone definitely had spent time with a toddler that week. I’ve got the Monday blues, looking back at all of the things I had wanted to do last week, to do this week, feeling utterly muddled.
At the end of last month, I was very lucky to be offered the chance to attend Inspirefest. Inspirefest is a technology and science conference, but one which not only shows a lot of merging with the arts, but also issues about diversity and gender. As someone who hasn’t studied science since her Junior Cert exams in 2006, I was definitely much more driven towards the diversity and gender side of things. Who’d have thought by the end of it I’d be rethinking my entire vision of future careers?
I’ve been livingÂ in Cork for almost seven years. I moved down here in early September 2009, seventeen years old, terrified that I’d hate it, that I’d know nobody, that I’d miss my home too much. College was what drew me here, it becoming home is what has kept me. When Sadhbh from Where Wishes Come From started up a linky about loving the place you live, it inspired me to get writing!
Last week, E underwent the procedure to have grommets fitted. I initially wrote about my worries about him needing this procedure because words like “general anaesthetic” and my tiny toddler (who appears all the tinier when such things are mentioned) played on my mind. E has had chronic ear infections since he was a few months old. At times I’ve described him as a “walking ear infection”.
For all but one of these infections (and we’re into double digits), he’s needed an antibiotic or two to kick it fully – not ideal on his little developing immune system. So the procedure in my mind, while scary, was wholly necessary to rid my boy of his painful and incessant infections. As with most things in this parenting lark, I went hunting online for information, and while I found forum posts and answers from other parent friends useful, the focus on information about these things was aimed at the child patient rather than the parents. So using what I’ve learned, here’s a bit of a guide to the whole grommets procedure, in the hopes that some other parent will find it of use when trying to prepare for it with their child.
It’s decided, it’s set. Next week, after an unpredicted break of 16 months, I’ll be headed back into the workforce. Back to the (hopefully, for the next while at least) 9-5 grind. After more than a year out of the game, I’ll be ditching my comfy hoodie and walking shoes and donning my more appropriate work clothes, dropping E at creche and contributing to society. I’m headed back to being a working mother. It’s a good change.
The world has been a scary place of late. It feels rather on edge, like we’re waiting for the next shoe to drop, there’s a feeling of tension. Perhaps it’s my own anxieties magnifying the scale of it, but the world is some days so dark and gloomy with news of murders and health cuts and imminent doom that all I want to do is duck my head beneath the duvet until it’s all gone away. They’re scary times. We think we’re doing so well, and then BAM, a shooting, a terror attack, a tragic death rocks the world. They are times that make me wonder if having brought life into the world was such a good idea – this isn’t a situation you’d willingly throw someone into. Times where we have to look on the bright side just to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I live with a dictator. Things are rarely on my terms, but on those of the short angry man I live with. His physical force rules the household, a fear of waking up to a variety of MMA moves on my head, the destruction of the living room a daily reality. There are days where I feel in control, but within minutes it can come crumbling down and we are under the thumb again. He practices techniques like water boarding (using a milk bottle, chewed through) and sleep deprivation, makes us ponder escape methods, ways to run away and change our identities.