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 been a little while since I’ve done one of these, I’ve spent much more time binge watching than I’d like to admit. However, the offerings this month are ones I want to rave about, so to save the people in my life from my endless ramblings, I may as well ramble on here. With the Summer in full belt (someone tell the weather please!), theres a bit more time on hand for most people to check out something they’ve maybe been intending to watch for a while. For me, it’s somewhat the opposite – as everyone else is taking a break I’ve returned to the workplace and so am busier than ever. I’ll choose that to mean that my downtime should only be spent doing things I really enjoy – and Netflix has definitely taken care of that this month.
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.
I am one of those people who was clearly talking at the back of class the day organisation was handed out – it’s not something that has ever come to me naturally. That’s not to say I don’t try – my Leaving Cert study timetables were a work of art, I was obsessive about the notes being perfect and I attempt to keep track of my life in a diary. However, unless my phone reminds me of certain things, I can be a bit forgetful – it’s not that I forget things are on, I just lose track of the date. So, even with all of the ads in the shops, Fathers Day rolling around this weekend is still a box I need to tick, for both E’s Daddy and my own. Given that I have a few days left, it’s not as if I can order a personalised anything that will get here on time. I’ve also used up my token amounts of times I can give socks. So here are some ideas for those, like me, who are that bit less organised but want to get something to make the Dad in their life a bit special.
Monday rolls around again so quickly, and with it, another chapter of the Mental Health Monday’s series rolls with it. I could really empathise with this week’s contributor, Josie, who blogs at Mumpreneur Inspiration. She wrote to ask to share her story of dealing with postnatal depression, something that I myself have dealt with in the last few years, and how this affected her career path. Josie faced another mental battle that most of us face – the guilt and feeling of not wanting to leave your little ones for the workplace – and so has worked hard to make her work life fit around her home life, not the other way around. Today’s piece is definitely inspiring from the point of view of the downs that PND can bring, yet the ways that you can flourish out of it and it can make you so much stronger. It’s all about what you do with it, and Josie is a great example of that.
What’s that strange glowing ball in the sky? Ireland has lately been graced by the sunshine, the heat, something that actually resembles a summer. While we’re being told by meteorologists (who may know a thing or two about weather) that we aren’t actually going through a heatwave (apparently that’s FIVE consecutive days of temperatures over 25 degrees), it’s undeniable that we are getting to enjoy some rather lovely sunshine. People are smiling, sales of ice creams are going through the roof. Snapchats are being sent left right and centre with temperature filters over them, and people are baring a whole lot more skin than they have in months. Aside from the glow in the sky, we’re also facing the glow of pale Irish skin in the sunlight. This means it’s time to ensure that skin is being looked after from the potentially harmful UV rays. Being sun safe is something often neglected by us here in Ireland – especially when we’re still at home, not off on holidays elsewhere.
Choosing childcare is difficult and time-consuming. There is a lot to be thought about; flexibility of employers and of the childcare options, cost, how your child is with strangers, proximity to childcare options and workability of it into your commute to work in the morning… the list goes on and on. There are lots of different options that may be available; childminder (in or out of your home), au pair, Montessori, creche, family friend/family member. There are pros and cons to all of them (particularly when it comes to cost and flexibility; some work out better than others!), but it will be down to your circumstances and wants as to what option you will end up going for. If that option happens to be creche, then welcome to the gang.
After a week’s break, Mental Health Monday is back! This week, the lovely Claire of Confessions of a Single Parent Pessimist has allowed me to share her story of dealing with anxiety and depression and balancing it with family life. Claire writes about life as a single parent to Chunk, her son, and details her thoughts and ramblings about improving life for her family as well as bits ofÂ wisdom she has learnt along the way.
The word feminist is bandied around a lot, and there seems to be a lot of puzzlement about the actual meaning of the word “feminist” in a lot of cases. There are mental images of underwire on fire, talk of hairy women wanting men out of every powerful position. The words “feminize”, or worse “feminist bitches”, are bandied about and it seems that any replies to “banter” that call that behaviour out are taken in a remarkably negative way. This is the world we live in, and the world I am raising my son in.
Things have moved on greatly since my teenage years and since 2010, when I was diagnosed with depression.The world seems to have become a much more open place regarding the topic of mental health.Â Though we have far to go in this country especially, it is good to see that there are so many more resources freely available for people suffering from mental health issues. For this week’s Friday’s Five, I’ve put together a list of a few which really stood out to me at the moment. Most of them focus on young people but are really applicable to all, and as well as offering support they offer information for others interested in the topic.
There is sunshine, everyone is far chirpier – the Leaving Cert weather has officially begun and we couldn’t be happier about it (unless there was a breeze of course). June has officially kicked off, so it’s time to look back on the month that was May! Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to lately!
If you missed it on Wednesday night, a rather incendiary debate kicked off on Brendan O Connor’s new current affairs show “Cutting Edge”. In response to a rather thought provoking piece from writer Louise O Neill, which spoke about how being a woman did not necessarily mean you wanted kids, Niamh Horan added her two cents. The piece from O Neill had put forward the idea that women who choose not to exercise their womb are thought of as selfish. In response to this, Horan, who is of the same age bracket, commented that in her opinion it is the parents who have their children but leave them in childcare, creches, while they head out to work, who are the selfish ones. It is, she said, the children who are suffering for their mother’s need to “have it all”.
I’ve described my son as a walking ear infection in the past. The poor pet, he seems to go from antibiotic to antibiotic, frequent flyer in the doctors office, coughing like a 50 a day smoker but a trooper throughout. I remember ear aches from childhood – there are few pains like it, and I look at him, happy and active while according to the doctor he’s suffering from a bad infection. Recently it became obvious that something would need to be done – likely grommets, and so the path to getting them done was begun. It starts with the hearing test.
Happy Monday! To kickstart another week, I’m continuing the series of Mental Health Mondays with a contribution from a very lovely lady, Tracey who writes at Love of Living blog. Tracey is a mama to a gorgeous little boy, who blogs and vlogs all about their daily life and life as a parent in Ireland. She’s also very active on Snapchat, so you get to see all of the lovely unedited bits during the day – a true image of parenting life instead of JUST the shiny instagrammed stuff! She’s written previously about suffering with anxiety, so I was thrilled when she agreed to be part of the series! Here’s her take on her life with anxiety…
A year has gone by, a year since the Marriage Equality referendum passed. There has been no great breakdown of society, no children ripped from mothers arms to be placed into a motherless home, no great scandalising of the Irish people. In fact, nothing has happened at all, apart from bringing more happiness into the world we live in.
I come with a tiny entourage, all 3ft of him, my two year old toddler. I spend most of my days trying to teach him right from wrong, good food from bad food (i.e., leave the stuff in the bin IN THE BIN and come back and eat from your plate) and to say please and thank you to others. Trying to bring a child up is a massive learning curve. I’m a wholly different person to who I was three years ago, before I fell pregnant and my life changed. He’s taught me so many things (yes, I know that sounds cheesy). Here are just some of them…
I’ve not quite hit the midweek slump yet, but I can feel it on the way. I’m over the half way mark of this solo parenting venture, the end is in sight when Himself will be back with us and I will be able to pee by myself. Oh, the little things that bring us joy. It’s been a nice week overall so far, weather-wise it’s been much nicer than usual (let’s ignore getting soaked on the walk home from creche on Tuesday), the scales were in my favour at my weigh in, and I got some very good news at the end of last week, which is always nice. Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to lately!
As parents, we want to make our child as happy and as secure as they possibly can be, every hour of every day. There’s only so much we can do, aside from keeping them warm, fed, clothed and loved. Some things we can’t quite control. Recently E has started having night terrors, which are definitely out of our control, and definitely make me feel like an absolute parenting failure for not being able to prevent.
This week’s Mental Health Monday post comes from a blogger who I’ve followed for quite a while, the lovely Looking For Blue Sky. She writes about her experiences as a lone parent of three, of which two have special needs, in a very honest and loving way. In this piece, the strong Mama who spends her days making sure everyone else is A-Okay speaks of what happened with her own mental health. Not enough is said about the role of carers, in particular those who are caring for more than one person – it’s such a rewarding yet very stressful role and it’s important for the broader society to appreciate and look after our carers too. This post really does speak to the reality of what happens when the proverbial hits the fan with mental health. Here is what Looking For Blue Sky has to say…
I’ve suffered with chronic pain in my back for the last two years, since an incident during my pregnancy with Eliott. It has had a large effect on my life and has made me look at how I do things in a different way. Having read “Pain Free Living” a few months back, I was introduced to the existence of Chronic Pain Ireland, a charity which helps people like me, who are living with chronic pain, providing supports.