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…
Ass Monkey and I have moved house now a total of FOUR TIMES since Jacob was born.
That’s four counts of “I am going to punch you right in the face if you don’t bubble wrap my favourite coffee mug properly before chucking it into the moving boxes” in the last eleven years.
So.. what’s wrong with us? Well, first we were renting near Dublin City Centre and fell foul of one shit landlord and one sound landlord but ultimately we were saving for a house.
In 2014 we moved into what we thought was our ‘Forever Home’ when I was pregnant with Eva in Rush, North Co. Dublin.
And while we LOVED that house and raised our two kids from babies in it AND welcomed Poochi the Wonder Dog #2 – it really never felt like we settled there and we just couldn’t put our finger on it.
Carn Hill House
Until we saw Carn Hill House for sale – an amazing 1930s home between Rush and Skerries in North Co. Dublin. It had, “I’m broken, come fix me” written all over it and you know Alan and I are suckers for a structural sob story.
Cue to almost a year of fighting with the banks (more about those pricks later), some serious doubts about the state of our mental health in taking this on (like, there’s no central heating in the house – AT ALL) and we moved the kids and dogs into their new home.
There is still SO MUCH WORK to do but we are cracking into it. You can follow the progress Here on it’s very own Insta page if you like!
8 Top Tips For Moving House With Kids and Pets:
Don’t do it.
Just kidding – definitely do it if and when you gotta do it.
Don’t tell the kids too much too soon. The entire of Eva’s class and therefore, the town we live in, knew that we had ‘bought that house on the hill’ LONG before we had signed the contracts. Scarlet.
Bring the pets for regular visits before Moving Day. They need a sniff around, they need to feel safe – you don’t want them flipping out and hopping the wall to back and take a dump at your old front door for the new owners to find on their morning commute.
Don’t move in with your parents while your husband is getting things ready (more on this later).
Don’t believe your husband when he tells you it will only take approx 3 weeks to get things ready (more on these ABSOLUTE LIES later).
Interior Design is not and should never be, a family sport. Sometimes I fall foul of having the ‘What colour curtains would you like in your room?” chat and suffer two hours of serious pondering, group trips to Ikea, painted illustrations of all the things someone might like, instead of just going and chucking up what I wanted in the first place behind their backs.
Keep this mantra alive: “You Can Only Do What You Can Do In One Day”. Set a timer, do a small bit, take a break, drink some wine, hug your kids, thank your other half – you’ll get there and it will be FABULOUS. I promise x
Jacob and Eva were so happy to see the sign go up!
Eva is now in second class. AKA ‘Oh lovely, she’s in communion year’.
Except that she’s not making her communion because we are not a religious family.
Yes she’s in an Irish Catholic school BECAUSE THEY ALL ARE (I know, I know, Educate Together are great but not always accessible to everyone) and they are genuinely a super school.
One of the best.
If it wasn’t for the religious aspect.
At age 8, Eva is in that fabulous phase of being curious about everything, reading every book she can get her hands on, making flower perfume, studying nature, wanting to know what the inside of the moon looks like, practising maths – just aching for knowledge.
And she would have acquired considerably more knowledge by now in second class if her teacher didn’t have to task her with making pictures of glowing holy chalices from teeny pieces of yellow crepe paper – y’know, to decorate the parish church.
Today I am told that the entire class went to said church by bus to run through the ceremony and the three kids who won’t be participating in the communion sat at the back of the church with nothing to do. They didn’t even have a book between them.
The saddest part is that there is a library right next door that would have enlightened their brilliant minds with stories and history and art that they didn’t step foot in.
If it is important to you that your kid goes through the motions of making their communion for whatever reasons you hold personal to you, that’s fine, you do that.
But my kid was hoping to go to school to get an education.
“An eleven year old with a dream of being an astronaut was surprised on the Late Late Toy Show with a visit from a NASA space engineer’.
You’d think, ‘Cute, that little kid had their dream come true!’. Right?
Except that Jacob is not little, in size or in typically child-like anecdotal behaviour, although he does seem to have developed a whopper attitude. What a joy.
The thing is, he’s sort of become a man and I’m not even quite sure when it happened.
He’s as tall as me and his granny, and although neither of us are supermodel height we’re still, like, average size adults.
He’s independent in a way that I wasn’t ready for – not at all interested in reading books or cooking together or, dare I say it, have a cuddle on the couch while watching a movie. He would rather eat his own schoolbag.
He’s growing up, physically, mentally and emotional rate that is so speedy, my head is spinning.
It feels like we blinked and somehow time-hopped from him building a snail motel in the garden with his sister to his needing size 10 football boots. That’s right, he’s a giant.
I’m trying not to be too emosh about it but it’s hard. Jacob was my first baby and we have been the best of buds since the day he was born.
In the ‘Wha?’ moments (you know the ones…Me: ‘Good morning honey, would you like porridge for breakfast?’ Him (blank stare): ‘Wha?’, I’m digging deep to not take it too personally.
And also to keep on loving him. Because some days, you want to take their Size 10 football boots and shove them up their…
… I’ll let you finish that sentence.
Good luck with your teens. They are going to be living with you sooner than you think.
As someone who is, ya know, busy enough like the rest of us, I have never felt more inclined to believe that I am a complete underachiever every time I pick up my phone and see the content that is being shoved at my eyeballs.
Or that I can’t possibly have any semblance of happiness in my life if I don’t get up two hours before the rest of the family to clean the jacks every day.
Or that I’m not a real woman of the world if I don’t know how to use colour corrector or where highlighter goes.
Where is the content that tells you to curl up on the couch with a great book and a jumbo packet of Doritos on the weekends, delegate the jobs on that long list of shit you have to do around the house, eat pizza in bed and watch movies with the kids, deal with it tomorrow if you don’t have the energy today and be happy in YOUR OWN WAY.
Pals, that content is right here. I am here to tell you that no one knows when your ‘Now’ is except you. Or your closest friends and family. Or maybe even your incredibly insightful and fabulous hairdresser.
Let’s make a promise between us to get UN-influenced by social media and figure out how to spend our time in a way that is 100% true to ourselves and what really makes us happy.
For me, it has always been writing. How about you?
PS: I have no idea where highlighter goes.
Also.. Self-help Singh is all of us. Check his wisdom out ;o)
‘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