Tired of reading parenting magazines and articles featuring ‘perfect’ parents, warning against having babies too young, too old, too…middlely…. and that if you don’t plan to breast feed for the first ten years of your child’s life, you’re already a terrible parent?
Well you won’t get any of that rubbish here. Read our honest and enlightening blogs from Sharyn Hayden and other truly entertaining contributors – some of them don’t even want kids and we say that’s fine too! It’ll all put a smile on your face, promise…
‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Yearr…’ we sing in our house as Halloween approaches.
do love it – from the second school is back in session we are planning our decorating
theme, our costumes, the movies we will watch every Friday for ‘Movie &
Pizza Night’ and genuinely, it’s pretty much all we talk about in September and
isn’t any different despite the fact that it is, well, different. We have our theme ‘The Witches’ and started building an epic
cauldron from scratch which will take centre stage in the middle of the garden
great for lots of different reasons;
keeping the kids busy when otherwise we are, really, not so busy at all. Do you
have any idea how tedious papier mache is on a large scale?!
B) When it’s done I’m going to wedge it between the posts of our garden gate so that it isn’t possible to come in and knock on our door this Halloween. It’s a Witchy Barrier, you see. Look, someone is going to try to call on doors in your neighbourhood and that’s is a fact – this is our creative way of saying ‘Bitch, you crazy?’.
Making Halloween Day special is top of my agenda for the kids (and us!) – and it can be done with a bit of effort and some imagination. Some of our neighbours who also have small kids are talking about having a little parade of costumes up and down the road during the day which is cute. The kids will still have good reason to still get excited about costumes and face paint. If the neighbours all left treats on their walls the kids can still fill their bags and everyone feels like Trick or Treating somewhat happened. I’m going to get some Halloween choons going outside my house too, to cheer them on. Don’t worry, I won’t sing. Halloween is terrifying enough.
know if it’s very early, or if people are reluctant to bother putting up
decorations in case it encourages unwanted callers on Halloween Night, but
there seems to be way fewer houses with decorations up in our area.
Which is a
shame, because, like Xmas, little kids love to walk around their neighbourhoods
in the lead-up to Halloween and see the spookiness that other people have going
on in their houses and gardens.
I say make
the effort; decorate your home, drop some sweets to the doorstep of your
friends and family who have kids, embrace the Pumpkin Latte and Ghosty Cupcakes
of it all.
You can still let people know that you are not available for knocking on doors Halloween Night – put Crime Scene tape across your gate, pop up a sign asking for No Callers Please. Just don’t forget all the other potential fun stuff besides just that – the little monsters are still all super excited. Let’s not let them down.
My mind has been blown by my kids and their veggie ways this year. Jacob (9) has been vegetarian for just over two years now and is really, really into it. Like, in a major, I-can’t-order-fish-without-him-having-a-meltdown into it.
‘WHY would you eat fish? Fish are our friends! MAM!’ The guilt is too much so I go ahead and eat veggie just like everyone else, except Alan who is vegan and usually settles for chips with a side of air when we’re out.
Or should I say, when we used to be out.
I bought jellies for a treat recently. You know, the Natural Confectionary ones because they’re more healthy, right? No nasties, no artificial colours, no.. well, no MEAT BONES, you would have thought, right? Right?!
Wrong! Jacob took the packet, ate one and then took a look at the ingredients list (which I never do) and promptly burst into tears. Because of the gelatin.
Gelatin is a product derived from the skin, bones and collective tissue such as cattle, chicken, pigs and fish. And it’s in our kid’s sweets.
Beyond being veggie or vegan, who the hell wants this in a treat for our kids? How is this allowed? Surely rather than calling itself a ‘natural product’ it should scream ‘CONTAINS PRODUCTS TAKEN FROM ANIMAL CARCASSES’.
Too much? My kids don’t think so. Check out our chat together on the topic yesterday on my Instagram Stories. The knowledge that our kids have these days blows my mind, and I’m kinda glad that they’ll be in charge of the planet some day soon x
When Lockdown The First hit us in March I instantly lost all sense of time and space. We closed our two Skinny Batch Bakery locations, sent all the engineers and staff home from Dynamic Ltd; as everyone locked the doors and pulled down the blinds while we waited for the CoronaZombies to fuck off.
Which they did not. That sentiment of “I know the government said 2 weeks but I’d say it’ll be 5” whittled away and ultimately just got longer and longer as one day and week blended into the next.
What day was it? What week were we in? Was it still even 2020? I saw a few of my fellow parenting bloggers measuring the time in monthly periods and realised I had started to do that too.
“We are two periods into this lockdown now!” I would announce to Ass Monkey as he was shoved off out into The Scary Outdoors to buy tampons (the yellow pack, for my still average vagina, thanks for asking).
But as dementing as the global pandemic has been, it is NO match for the change in hormones I have experienced around my periods this year. The raging, the wailing, the incapacitation (I feel like Vanilla Ice should do something with those lyrics if I’m honest) – and then the guilts that ensued afterwards when it was all over were too.. obvious to ignore.
As a woman who got her first period in the late 80s I can tell you that all I have been accustomed to doing is ‘getting on with it’ with regards to my monthly cycle. There was an unspoken blanket-ban on the mention of any of the following in my house growing up; blood, periods, tampons, pads, cramps, back pain, feelings, hormones, menstruation or monthly cycle. Jesus, I don’t think we even ever referred to them as ‘Women’s Problems’. The sad truth is; we just didn’t talk about it.
So here I am in my 40s, just beginning to learn how the hell my body works. I’ve been to the GP, I’ve had my hormone levels checked, I’m taking supplements, I bought a book and I’m inspired by the great advice of Erica Quinn who, in her own words, is ‘Obsessed with Periods’. Finally, somebody is.
If 20s are the new teens and 30s are the new 20s, 40s the new 30s and so on.. when does middle age officially begin now?
I recently turned 42 and let me tell you.. all hell is breaking loose. If I compare photos from last year to this, there are outrageous differences – I have aged, people, really aged – in my face, on my body and perhaps, most regrettably, in my teeny, tiny mind.
Mentally flipping from ‘Hanging onto my youth, getting away with certain clothing and perhaps a trip to Ibiza passing for someone in my 30s’ has morphed into ‘I can’t believe my hot water bottle burst how am I going to survive, will I establish a neighbourhood watch group, oh my god I’ve turned into my parents’ – in the space of a few short months.
Ass Monkey and I decided to embark on ‘One Year No Beer’ in January, which also coincided with No smoking, No meat, No dairy, His entry into full veganism, and My vague, ill-informed registration for the Dublin Marathon 2019.
So off we set in January, doe-eyed and optimistic about how our lives were to be positively transformed from all these epic efforts – we sprang from our beds at 6am and went running, gymming, I took up dancing again and signed up for yoga, reformer pilates – anything to compensate for the huge energy void I was sure not drinking would leave behind.
I claimed I would be full of excess energy, now that those nasty hangovers would no longer be present, sucking the goodness of the day away with headaches and narkiness.
I claimed I would get my old dancer body back – toned, trim, nice bum and toned abs. Hell, I might even find my Madonna arms again with all that planking and dancing and Reformer-ing.
As the weeks wore on, I studied myself in the mirror religiously, waiting for the pay off. But the results were the opposite – the exact opposite of what I had anticipated.
How was I putting all this effort in and now beginning to look… well… like shite? My body seemed to be expanding rather than toning up, my eyes more wrinkled and tired looking than ever and – dare I say it – my arse looks like it’s starting to droop. THE HORROR.
In truth, a part of the problem is.. CHOCOLATE. Having previously held a ‘take it or leave it’ approach to the eating of chocolate, I find I am now obsessed with it. Thanks to my ‘new healthy lifestyle’, my sweet tooth has literally exploded and won’t be satisfied until it eats every bit of chocolate in the house.
I am a woman possessed – looking for it in the morning, dreaming about it at night, hiding my eating of it from the kids ‘coz I don’t want them to know where my stash is in case, horror of horrors, I might be asked to share it.
Is this my new alcohol? Am I now on the rocky road (mmmm…) to becoming ‘that’ lady who spends her days seeking out a nice slice of lemon drizzle cake, a tasty chop bun to accompany my pot of tea (that I will keep asking the waitstaff to refill but never paying twice).
The answer, from me and my expanding arse-line, is a resounding, ganache-filled YES.
I wanted to write something about all these lip fillers you see everywhere.
You know, on the 19/20/21 year olds about the place; the ones serving your coffee, taking the train to college, teaching your kids dance class. The ones whose lips look too big for their little faces & you know they don’t truly belong together.
I wanted to say how worried I was, that to enhance your already beautiful face at such a young age must have a detrimental affect as you get older?
I wanted to ask if you are vulnerable, if you don’t feel so great about yourself, that you feel as though forking out €200 to have some crap injected into your precious lips was really going to solve whatever is going on?
I wanted to be judgey, and blame Instagram and those fucking Kardashians, and say that everyone is starting to look alike, and that isn’t good.
I wanted to say, why the lips? Is it about pouting? Is it about blowjobs? Is it because you’re trying to attract guys? Why it that important?
I was going to write that I’m 42 and, despite really wanting a boob job in my 20s, didn’t go ahead with it and I’m glad now that I didn’t, because I don’t know that the decisions I would have made in my 20s are necessarily the ones I would be proud of now (think ex-boyfriends..shudder)
I was going to say I am happy now in my skin, and that I don’t need enhancements, and that you should be proud of who you are and happy in your skin too, and stop messing with your gorgeous face.
But the truth is we are none of us completely happy in our skin. There are so many things I would change if I could. There’s the sudden middle-age weight gain (next post!), the wonkiness of my ‘Hayden Nose’, and how my ponytail doesn’t seem as thick and long as it used to.
I MAY go looking at a l’il fix here and there but as a qualified ‘ole wan’, I think now is a good time to start looking into all of this. Not 19/20/21 when I was springy and line-free and had the metabolism of my now dreams.
And also, I woke this morning on holliers to find I have acquired a bit of a swollen lip overnight… and, truth be told, I might just love it…
Last year it was Minecraft. My then 6-year-old spoke only in Blocks and Villagers, Obsidian and EnderDragons. By the time I got around to Googling ‘WTF Is The Actual Point of Minecraft?!’ he had developed a whole new language altogether.
This one consisted of Energies and EX’s, Evolutions and Legendaries. Prone as I am to the dramatics, I was just about to lift the phone to enquire as to whether my now 7-year-old might be a candidate for Mensa with all this new extraordinary vocabulary.. I realised he’d gotten into Pokemon.
I am 42 years old. When Pokemon was created in 1996 I was a singing waitress at Ellen’s Stardust Diner in NYC and thought I was Madonna. Makey-uppy characters with awesome names and even more awesome powers really wasn’t on my radar.
I worked at HerFamily three years ago when the Pokemon App came out. The ‘young people of the office’ were going crazy for it as I nodded and smiled in that way you do when you haven’t a fucking clue what’s going on. And to be fair, I was busy anyway writing about Top Tips for Parenting, an’ all.
Well, here’s a top tip: the crazy shit that your kids get into can actually be pretty cool if you get involved yourself. I LOVE Pokemon now, thanks to Jacob and his wiley gang of hardcore Pokemon card-trading mates. There have been playdates where my kid will come home, exhausted, sighing; “Finn/Sean/Cillian/Ethan/Jack made some seriously harsh trades today’ as if coming from a hard day at the office. They would seriously give Wall Street a run for their money.
The general release of the highly anticipated Detective Pikachu movie was coinciding with our holiday abroad and I was gutted for Jacob, thinking we’d get home and all his pals would have seen the movie without him.
But then, Picka-CHU! we had a miracle – our pals at Warner Bros invited us to the Irish Premier! And not only that, they let us take along all of the Wall Street Traders with us. This Mammy is on brownie points FOREVER.
Held at the Odeon Cinema, the morning was super cool with face painting, games and even a full-size Pickachu for photo ops and cuddles.
The movie itself is really good fun – witty, clever and top notch CGI which all flows seamlessly with the action.
And Ryan Reynolds is in it. Need I say any more?
Detective Pokemon is on general release on May 10th – you really want to take the kids to see it, it’s brill.
Huge thanks to Nick and all at Warner for a great experience. From the mouths of Traders, ‘It was the best day ever’ xxx
Eva starts school this September. We got the letter at the beginning of the year, asking us to nominate our school preference for her, and I thought, ‘They have this wrong. She doesn’t go until next year, right?!’
WRONG. Our baby girl turns 5 this July and off she pops then to school after the summer holidays.
But where did that time go? And have I spent enough time hanging out with her, doing girlie things and just staring at her perfect little face?!
Of course not, so I did what any normal parent would do – freaked the f*ck out, tossed and turned with mammy guilt and anguish, pondered all of my options and.. cut her pre-school hours in half to spend more time with her.
Now, instead of collecting her at 3pm every day, I cram as much work as I possibly can into a 3.5 hour morning and get her just after noon.
And we’ve been having A BALL. We’ve hit all the playgrounds and cafes in our local area, we’ve snuck off to Smyths, we’ve done each others nails, we’ve danced to the Lego Movie 2 soundtrack (it’s actually brilliant) and I’ve stared at her perfect little face a LOT.
The benefits of all of this to our relationship, I know, are endless, but on a personal level I’ve gotten so much more than I bargained out of it.
I’ve stopped for a minute. And I’ve realised a few things – for starters, I’ve bloody missed writing (so hurray! Here I am!!).
Then there was the stress I hadn’t realised I’d been carrying – and ignoring – for who knows how long. I went to the dentist with a sore tooth recently to be told that I was grinding my teeth so much in my sleep that I had essentially given myself a pain in my face (!). Slowing down with Eva has made me notice and deal with that.
My house is finally getting some attention! I had been mostly ignoring the mess and the clutter and the unfinished-ness of it all for the past two years. I don’t know why. I used to be extremely house proud and just sort of.. gave up.
From hanging out at home with Eva a bit more than I usually would, and seeing it through her eyes, I’m starting to love our home again. I mean, I’m not quite Ellen O’Keeffe level (love her) but I am really putting effort into it again. And it’s making me feel good.
I’ll be 42 this year and the more that I think about this ole thing called life, the more I battle with what my life should or shouldn’t be like, the things I feel I should or shouldn’t have achieved by now (constant annoying thought process), the more I realise that really, at the end of the day, I just want to be in front of the fire, dancing with my family to Everything is Awesome.
Because everything IS awesome, right here, right now xxx
I like living by the beach – especially when we have summers like this one – because the age-old question in Ireland of ‘WTF am I going to do with them all summer?!’ is easily answered by packing everyone off to the seaside for a long, lazy day.
I like the ‘no school’ buzz – the NOT having to get so much done by 8.45am before battling the car parking and the wrestling with tired and uncooperative kids, bags and uniforms and F*CKING homework and reminders about fundraisers and half days and head lice alerts…
I like the casual drinking. The ‘sure we’re on summer holidays, aren’t we?’ as we chug spritzers at 3pm and ‘test’ new ciders because it’s an official summer drink.
We had the VIP treatment at Chapter One recently thanks to our friend Daniel who is the manager there!
I like the bra-and-shoeless-ness of it all – wearing vest tops and flip flops forever is my idea of absolute heaven.
I like getting into the garden finally – painting a few windowsills and popping a little flower pot on them that I will ultimately forget to water makes me feel like the house is somewhat in order. Yes, I am officially peak ole wan. I know you know that.
But. BUT! I would love the kid’s summer holidays so much more if I didn’t have other shit to do.
Like work. Like deal with my car and the NCT nonsense. Like make a doctor’s appointment. Like go see The Snapper at The Gate (ok I figured that one out – and it’s bloody brilliant!)
The 8 weeks off means that, unless you have the privilege of paying for childcare, summer camps or some helpful friends or family members around to give you a dig out… you literally have to put everything on hold until September.
At the moment, I’m doing most of my work when the kids are in bed or after Ass Monkey comes home from work. At 6 and 4, they are very cute and all but JESUS CHRIST they need so much attention.
I’m happy to give it to them. I’m happy to spend lazy days at the beach, swimming and eating sand-infused sandwiches.
I’m happy to have breakfast in the treehouse and snooze together in the hammock.
I’m happy to kick footballs around the green and go for long walks in the woods.
I know theses are the memories that my kids will carry with them forever.
But we could have done all that in about one month, couldn’t we?! There’s no way I can get my hands on enough valium to last me another 4 weeks… ;o)
Yes, this is a real post and yes, this 100% happened yesterday.
As if getting our little darlings back to school wasn’t excitement enough, Eva approached me as I sat on the couch yesterday evening after dinner, with just a tiny bit of trepidation.
“Mam, I just wanna tell you something. I just sort of didn’t mean to do it but I just sorta accidentally stuck some Lego up my nose and I can’t get it back out with my finger”
And there she was, my beautiful 3-year-old, in her flower girl dress she insisted on putting on after school, trying to stick her chubby finger up that nostril and ultimately, make things worse.
Step 1: Internal Panic. Ass Monkey is working late for all of January because he has a RIDIC number of restaurant fit-outs. Mam and Dad are at a funeral all day. If you have to go to the hospital to get this thing professionally removed – YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN, goddamnit.
Step 2: External Calm. Reassure lovely daughter that everything is fine. Enquire as to the shape of the Lego piece. “Roundy”, says she. Well, that’s either a blessing or a curse. Time will tell.
Step 3: Sub It Out. Enlist the help of Big Brother Jacob. “Could you perhaps chuck the dogs out into the back garden please?” I nod knowingly at him, like it’s a big important job. (Mostly it’s because the new puppy just LOVES to jump all over Eva and distract her and I needed him out of the jaysus scene).
Step 4: Light Up. No, not a smoke, we haven’t gone that far into panic mode yet. Get lovely daughter up onto the kitchen counter so we can get a good look up that shnozz in the bright light. No sign of the Lego piece. Balls.
Step 5: Go Oprah On It. Soothingly reassure your worried maggot that everything is fine and get them to stop sniffing up OR sticking their finger back up there, which is all she wanted to do.
Step 6: Check Your Biology. This is honestly what was going through my head; “If she sniffs it all the way up, will it go into her brain? Or is that what happens if you stick a lead pencil up your nose and you whack your head off the table in school? Oh no, that’s it. The lead pencil. So if she sniffs it up will it come down and out of her mouth? WHY DIDN’T I PAY ATTENTION IN SCHOOL???”
Step 7: Breathe. Together, Eva and I practiced sniffing down instead of up, all the while watching Jacob struggling to get the two dogs out the back door (which never happened) until finally, happily, a tiny green ’roundy’ piece of Lego dropped from her nose and into the lap of her princess dress.
“Why did you put it into your nose?” I (still calmly, I was so relieved) asked her.
“Because I was holding it and I needed my hands and I had to put it somewhere” was her reply.
I am generally a pretty positive person, but with a healthy dose of self-awareness.
It’s great to have platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter et al to filter messages about our lives and the way we would like for it to be portrayed.
But what’s really going on? Are our kids always smiling, standing by the front door in their best clothes ready to leave the house on time? (Are they fuck). Are our career choices always on the mark? Are our relationships perfect? Are we HASHTAG BLESSED 24/7?
I know I’m not, so here’s a look back at all the shit I definitely fucked up in 2017:
The Downers: I was so flipping depressed last January, when our wedding was over and my head was no longer filled with lists and busyness. I was surly, lethargic and bored. And really, I should have done more to get out of that funk rather than let it fester right into February and rule my emotions. This Jan, I’m keeping an eye on my moods.
The Business: Ass Monkey and I opened Skinny Batch in May and we were SO underprepared. We didn’t put enough time into planning out something that had, in reality, been a dream of ours for so long. Next time.. I’m doing more homework.
The Health: I was diagnosed with a form of colitis around the same time we opened Skinny Batch and I have done precisely nothing but avoid the issue. It’s childish and irresponsible and I’m sure has only served to make the matter worse. This year.. I’m taking my meds.
The Skin: My psoriasis has been off the charts in the past 12 months (since I got married, wha?). There are things I should be doing; seeing a dermatologist, not drinking, de-stressing, eating better, sorting out the colitis which I’m sure is related.. this year will be ALL about the appointments.
The Kids: The kids are ok. We spend a lot of time together and they are happy. But I’ve realised that I don’t get them outdoors as much as I should, and I don’t plan adventurous day trips the way I used to.. this year we’re getting the wellies back out.
The Relationships: It’s hard to maintain all the relationships that you care about when you open a new business. I was lucky to get away for friend’s 40ths this year and have some fun days out with each other’s families, but other than that my free time has been spent asleep (there has been much crawling into bed with the kids at 8.30pm and being gone for the night) or scrambling around, trying to stay on top of the admin for the shop. This year.. time management.
The Hubby: We need more quality time, stat. Last year we said we’d go on a date a month in 2017 and we definitely failed at that.
The Smoking: How did that even happen?
The Family Time: We need to get Sunday Lunches with friends and family at our house back on.
The Technology: My phone has been broken since November and I haven’t bothered to deal with it in any way. Also, I’m thinking about downloading Snapchat (you can talk me out of this at any stage)
The Travel: We need to see more of this country, and the world. When did my hometown of Rush get so.. comfortable?
The Social Awareness: I am as mad as the next woman about all that has been going on in our country and worldwide but I haven’t been shouting as much as I should be about it. This year.. more shouting.
The Art: I’ve been missing performing, and writing and making videos. This blog post is likely one of about.. 6? this year. BOO TO THAT.
The Craic: Less seriousness and more craic needed. Crank that shit up.
The Dreams: Ass Monkey and I have lots of great ideas and never seem to get around to putting them into place. Or it takes years. We have one big dream that I am going to REALLY look into this year. It involves wellies and muck. You’ll be the first to know.
The Reading: I have 8 half-read books on the go. Brutal. The amount of reading I do is of course directly proportional to the amount of baths I take so.. more baths please!
The Community: I am really proud of where we live and the community who live in it. But there is so much lacking from an environmental and services perspective and I’m so guilty of being one of those people who stands around, complaining, and doing nothing about it. So this year.. less talk and more action.
The Negativity: How easy it is to be drawn into negative thinking and talking and vibes. I’m getting my Wonder Woman wrist shields on and bouncing that shit away from me from now on.
The Future-proofing: Jesus I need to care more about the planet and environment than I do. I couldn’t even BEGIN to tell you what really goes into the green bin..
The Love: I have lots of love for everyone but I need to show it more. Even when I’m stressed out. Even when I’m tired. Even when I might not be feeling it coming my way. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love yourself. Love your family. Love your friends. Tell them all, every day.