Tag Archives: Parenting

Is 11 the New 14?

Jacob is 11.

11. Sounds like a little kids age, right?

“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.

Sharyn x

 

Lovely, Just As Your Lips Are

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…

The Good, The Blog & The Ugly

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.

 

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This little lady is always treated like a VIP at @blowdrysandbigeyes ❀️❀️❀️

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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

We’re Not Feelin Ya, Ophelia

“Well..did you survive the night?!!”

That’s all we are hearing this week in the wake of Mz Ex-Hurricane Ophelia who hit the south west coast of Ireland with the MAJOR rages on Monday morning.

Us Irish, as usual, had been fairly chillaxed about it’s arrival.

Except me. I’d been flinging garden furniture and toys into the shed since Friday afternoon (thanks to my trusted bringer-of-all-the-weather-updates – Twitter – but by Saturday night at dinner, most of my fellow diners hadn’t even heard that a hurricane was about to hit.

And I thought I was the one who generally had my head up my ass.

Am I Hurricane Prepping? What made you ask me that?! πŸ‘»

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By Sunday evening, as soon as we all knew that the kids were getting the day off school, we were taking that shit seriously.

“The WHOLE day?”, cried we. “Sher it’s not even SNOWING!!”

Kids strapped to the crafts table, X-box, games board and hunkered down in forts, we braced ourselves for the inevitable cabin fever that comes from having to entertain our kids all day when the weather isn’t playing ball.

Hurricane Prep Step #1: Build a Fort πŸ‘πŸ»

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That we can deal with – but throwing our PARTNERS into the mix? Ass Monkey was off and house-bound with us for at least 7 hours.

That’s just damn torture.

(Hope you all ARE ok after Ophelia. I know that lots of people are without power around the country and homes and businesses have been damaged. Thinking of you all x)

Snapshot

I am doing my best to be better organised on Raising Ireland – it was all somewhat abandoned last year while we built the house and got married (I know, I know, I’ve hardly mentioned either of those things for HOURS now) – but now, I’m getting back into it.

You see, the thing is, I LOVE writing and I love the fact that I have a little website that is all my own and when the kids are ignoring me or asleep or I just want some time to myself – I write. So why wouldn’t I do it more often, huh? WELL EXACTLY!

This is the first contribution I’ve ever made to another blogger’s link-up and I’m excited! Maud from Awfully Chipper has come up with a fantastic idea to just give a quick snapshot into our lives right now, and as I’m usually so busy running around, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take stock of where our bonkers lives are currently at!

So here I go;

Listening to:

Florence and the Machine, mostly. Nothing like epic anthems to get you going around the park with the dog at 7am.

Watching:

RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix. Like, addicted. Can’t stop. May enter next year ;o)

Playing:

Catch-up, mostly. The house, the laundry, the jaysus unfinished garden!

Reading:Β 

The last two Sunday’s newspapers – why won’t anyone let me do it the day I buy them?!

Looking forward to:Β 

Booking a holiday. We’re still trying to decide what to do. And find the money. Doing the Lotto and regularly dreaming.

Drinking:

All the champagne. We were off the booze for most of January and February but have just begun to pretend like that never happened and we’re starting to open all our wedding presents. And drink them. WOOT!

Wearing:

Only new clothes. Chucked everything out at the beginning of the year that was tatty and wrecked. Have been clinging onto an old padded maternity coat which is the next to go, fact!

Channelling Avril Lavigne this morning πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚

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Eating:

Meat and dairy-free. No I have no idea who I am either!

Working on:

Opening a coffee shop and bakery. We’ve been talking about it for 10 years and I think the time might be now!

Permanently frustrated by:

The news. I’m so over it. Planning on having a week of digging my head in the sand and avoiding it all!

Enjoying:

The good weather. Even the lollipop man was in good form this morning!

Not enjoying:

Two short work weeks ahead of me. Jacob’s school are off this Friday for Paddy’s Day, obviously, but the following Monday too. Noooo!!!

What is going on in your life right now?! Let me know in the comments on Facebook!

 

The 10 Kinds Of Parents You Meet At The School Gates

When I look back over some of the articles I wrote for HerFamily, I realise how much actual craic I was having while I worked there. I mean, where else would I get away with this kind of boldness?!

Wishing editor Sive O’Brien the very best of luck in her next adventure as she moves on from Maximum Media. I feel like I had an intense digital media training under her mentorship for the year that I worked there which was all kinds of priceless (and crazy fun too!)

See you under The Spire for a Johnny Blue some day, Sive (right before we do our Luas passengers makeover!!) x

Every parent is different and everyone has their own way of doing things, we hear that all the time and it is true.

Those unique styles are always really evident, I think, when a range of different types of parents are bunged together by the choice of school, or even pre-school, that they make.

You are all forced into the one carpark, the one line outside while you wait for the doors to open, and the one corridor when picking the kids up again – and you get to meet lots of parent types on the way.

Here are the 10 Types Of Parents You Always Meet At The School Gate:

1. Hot Dad

Let’s just get this one out of the way, shall we? Amidst a sea of mammies doing the school run, are one or two gorgeous dads, who make the wait for the doors to open that little bit more enjoyable. There, I said it.

2. Chatty Cathy

Even if you’ve stated 17 times that really, you must go or else you’ll be late for work/the childminder/your own funeral, Chatty Cathy will keep ‘er lit until you literally lock yourself into your car and drive off while she’s mid-sentence.

3. Aero-dynamic Mum

You can’t miss her in neon pink or green sweats, as she zooms pass, clenching her buttocks as she goes, en route to a half-marathon before elevenses. Guaranteed to make you feel exhausted just by looking at her.

4. The Recruiter

Whether she works for Herbal Life, Aloe Whatsit, a Jewellery company in China or hosts Tubberware parties – there is a woman at the school gates who wants you on her ‘team’. Don’t worry, she’ll tell you, it won’t take up too much of your time – you just need to have a launch, attend weekly motivational group meetings and hand over your bank details. Er, no thanks.

5. Mz Perfectly Turned Out

“I don’t come down the stairs without my make up on!” she’ll trill at the rest of us, as we mentally scold ourselves for wearing the hubby’s football jersey again, and wonder when was the last time that you chucked on a slick of mascara.

6. The Expert

‘The Expert’ will have been a physiotherapist, nurse or doula in a past life, and wants you to know that she has the answer to all your problems, even if you haven’t particularly asked any questions. Casually chatting about approaching 40 and thinking about having another baby? The Expert will put paid to that, based on her past professional experience, leaving everyone sort of..well, depressed.

7. The Over-Sharer

You won’t know this woman very well, apart from politely smiling the odd time as you rush off about your business. But one day you will find yourselves alone together, and she will tell you details about her life that you don’t even know about your closest friend. Her husband’s erectile dysfunction? Check. Their plans for divorce? Check. Her burst cysts and subsequent laparoscopy? Check and double check.

8. Earth Mother

She who cannot for the life of her understand why you are mainlining coffee by 8.55am without acute knowledge of the coffee bean’s origin. I mean, how can anybody’s brain be operating at such a wholesome level at this hour? Oh yes, constant juicing and bursts of yoga throughout the night, while breastfeeding the twins simultaneously. I forgot, my bad.

9. Nosy Nelly

If you feel like you’re being interrogated by someone, then you probably are. If, like me, you live in a small town, then lots of people tend to know your business by osmosis.

“I see you’re thinking about going on holiday to Tenerife”, they’ll nod sagely as they greet you in the car park.

“But..my husband and I..just talked about it for the first time last night!” you’ll stutter.

Nosy Nelly doesn’t apologise for their actions. They merely pat you reassuringly on the shoulder and add, cryptically:

“I know”

10. She Who Is Wrecked.com

Even if you or someone you know falls into any of the categories above, the chances are that you will join the rest of us in looking, feeling and acting wrecked at some point. Teething babies, nightmares and terrors or sick kids can all rob us of those precious Zzzz’s that we so long for at the end of the day. Wrecked Mammy gets a free pass from all of us at the school gates, agreed?

I love HerFamily, I hope you’ve checked it out!Β 

Our Alternative Valentines: Doing It When You Have Kids

Well, we all know how to ‘do it’, otherwise we wouldn’t HAVE kids, right?!

But if you’re a fan of Valentines (and I AM, despite being a grump about most other things), you might need to adjust your way of doing THAT each February 14th.

Now that Ass Monkey and I are an old married couple (!) we agreed that having just had two weddings in the past couple of months was probably enough romance to last us another while yet, and we’d keep it in our pants this year.

(You know what I mean)

Anyway! The kids were excited about Valentines and at 5 and 2 respectively, were very busy in school and pre-school making cards for their mum and dad.

As they were all jazzed up about it, we decided to have a Big Family Valentines Day Out to celebrate little chubby Cupid’s day.

We took the kids to The National Sea Life in Bray for the afternoon, something we’d been meaning to get to for ages.

The weather was pretty bleak, grey and windy that day but the colourful aquariums inside The National Sea Life were all kinds of colourful and gorgeous by contrast.

We’re having a blast in @sea_life_bray today. Full craic in Instagram Stories 🐠🐟

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The kids loved every minute of it and I have to say that the staff were particularly amazing. They gave every family lots of attention and answered every kid’s questions (Jacob had about seven thousand of them).

You can spend a good hour and a half visiting each section, learning about the fish and hanging on for feeding time at the ‘Nemo’ and ‘Dory’ tank.

There’s also a cute little merchandise shop at the end of the tour where Miss Eva insisted on having a pink pirate costume to bring home. And who can deny her?

There is only one real way to be a pirate and that is IN HEELS πŸ˜‚

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If you want to go for something to eat afterwards, Bray has many, many great places to eat along the seafront yet sadly we didn’t choose one of them.

Not that I am one to name and shame but someone should tell the manageress of the Shmocean Shmar And Shmill to never, ever, EVER pour the dregs of one woman’s white wine into the fresh new glass she just put on the table.

(Also, the food was shit)

But the company was TOP CLASS and I love our new family tradition for our very own Valentines Date For Four.

Tickets bought online for Sea Life are €10 per adult and €7.50 per child aged 3 – 14 years.

When Is It Time To Say Goodbye To The Baby’s Bottle And Blankie?

We left Eva’s ‘Bop-Bop’ and ‘Blankie’ behind us in Tenerife.

Accidentally on purpose, of course.

While our young 2-and-a-half year old never took to the soother as a baby, she formed a major attachment to this tatty old fleece blanket that once belonged to her big brother which she affectionately named Blankie.

Whenever the mood took her for a little comfort, she would announce ‘I’m very tired’ and dramatically lie herself down on the couch while someone filled a bottle of milk and went on the hunt for the ever elusive Blankie.

Miss Eva would then spread the Blankie out evenly over her entire body, up to her chin and covering her toes, before demanding Umizoomi from Netflix before shoving the ‘Bop-Bop’ into her gob.

She is a lady of leisure, my girl.

But we felt as though the time was nearing for her to give both of them up. Her dependency on the bottle was too frequent and besides hoping that less milk would mean a better appetite for her regular meals, we also want her to be dry overnight while we continue to potty train her.

While we were in Tenerife recently, we realised around Day 2 or 3 that Eva hadn’t once asked for Bop-Bop and Blankie and so we seized the opportunity to eliminate them from her life.

We’d been down this road before with Jacob whose source of comfort was ‘Froggy and Do-Do’ -is it us or is it them who comes up with these names, I can’t remember! – his soother and a suckable teething toy in the shape of a frog.

When we moved house when he was two-and-a-half we just ‘didn’t bring them with us’ and he didn’t once ask for them ever again. The new environment and house just never had any association with them for him so… BINGO.

Eva has asked for her little comforts since returning home, eyeballing the couch where she normally has her siesta and seeing Umizoomi on the family TV again, but we’ve stayed strong.

“Bop-Bop and Blankie minding the pool in Spain” is what she now keeps telling everyone and while it breaks my heart a little bit for her I know she’ll be better off without them in the long run and soon she’ll have forgotten about them completely.

AND she’s had a dry bum every morning so far – winning!

When did you get your kids to give up their comforters? Or are they still going? Let me know how you’re getting on!

Have you checked out Mum’s Box yet? It’s Raising Ireland’s monthly subscription box dedicated to fabulous mums! Our very first boxes are headed out next week and we’re so excited about it! Click in the logo below to take you to the site and remember: #loveyourbox

18 Stages Of Bringing The Kids To A Local Swimming Pool

Looking for activities for the kids to keep them entertained over the Xmas holiday break? Your local public indoor pool is most likely open and not terribly busy. Although – be warned – taking the kids swimming in Ireland ain’t no walk in the park!

(This article originally appeared on the fabulous HerFamily.ieΒ parenting website)

Single-handedly taking our two small kids (5 and 2) for a swim is a challenge that I do not take lightly.

I know that I must be in the full of my health to achieve this family outing: I must be rested, feeling positive and have an otherwise flexible schedule on the day in question to ensure that it is a stress-free event.

Will all the preparation, mentally and otherwise, in the world – it never ceases to amaze me how the whole effort of going for a swim always goes completely wrong.

Here are the 18 stages of this delightful family activity:

1. Hope

You feel confident that you can master this and that everyone will not only have the time of their lives, but they will thank you for days afterwards. Hope is an asshat.

2. Excitement

You let the kids know that a trip to the pool is definitely on the cards and they rummage through their wardrobes for arm bands and swimming hats with glee. You feel completely proud of your decision.

3. Regret

As the toddler empties the packed swim bag for a third time, you wonder if you can get out of this now. But you’ve already told them and one of them has their float jacket on over her clothes, waiting by the front door. Damnit.

4. Nervousness

You mentally check all the things that could go wrong in your head. What if the water is too cold? What if the fancy wave machine isn’t working today? What if your daughter takes a dump in the pool and it has to be evacuated? Take a deep breath and keep driving.

5. First Round of Relief

You get to the changing rooms and everyone is in good spirits and happy to hang about while you get them into swimming costumes and rubber rings. You imagine it will be the same on the way back out. You are 100% WRONG about that.

6. Panic

Every square inch of the wet changing room floor is a death zone. You shove bags and towels into the locker while roaring at your kids to just. stop. running and hold onto mammy!

7. Stress

One of them just slipped on the floor anyway. You contemplate not even dipping one toe into that pool now.

8. Rage

The rubber wrist band with the key on it for the locker is half broken so it won’t fasten to your wrist. You can’t bear taking everything out and finding another locker so you just shove it down between your boobs instead. Be grand.

It won’t be this cute at your local public pool, promise (just thought you may have needed some hope!)

9. Glee

We’re in the water! We’re in the water! Everyone is happy now, we’re floating around without a care in the world. The kids are having a BALL.

10. Boredom

You look at the pool clock and wonder if they’ll know they’ve only been in for 15 minutes if you start giving them the countdown to get out now.

11. First Row

“No, we’ve only just got here!!!” your five-year-old roars at you when you give it the ole ’10 minutes, guys’. “You’re the meanest mammy ever!!”

12. Second Round of Relief

The pool staff just sounded the alarm for ‘Big Waves’ – that’ll buy you another 5 minutes or so.

13. Big Love For The Baby

“Mammy, poo poo”. Fair play to her, she didn’t shit in the pool. You instruct her big brother that you guys have to get out now one way or the other because you have to change her nappy.

14. Second Row

Carry-on and wailing from the pool to the changing rooms, no matter whether they’ve been in for 5 minutes or an hour. Threaten to never bring him to the pool ever again and mean it.

15. Regret

Yes, you will feel regret several times throughout the course of this exercise. It’s just the way it goes.

16. The Getting Dressed Dance

Getting you and two wet kids dry and dressed successfully in a slippery, and often gross, changing room at the pool is enough to drive anyone over the edge. We’re talking negotiating, ordering, pleading, re-sitting them on the bench 14 times so they won’t get their socks/bums/feet wet on the floor, shoving packets of crisps and raisins into their hands to keep them distracted, packing everything up, deflating EFFING rubber rings.. epic multi-tasking required!

17. Defeat

You pass the pool mirrors and realise you completely forgot to brush your own hair and look exactly as demented as you feel. Will you open up that backpack and search for the hairbrush? Not a hope. Carry on, soldier.

18. McDonalds

There is only one way to successfully cap a trip to the pool and that is a drive-thru at McDonalds. Nothing says ‘I’m sorry for being such a crazy mammy today’ like a Happy Meal and a thumbs-up through the rearview mirror.

What are you lot up to in trying to entertain the kids until they go back to school? Would love to hear any top tips!

Have you checked out our new monthly beauty box dedicated entirely to Mums? It’s called Mum’s Box and will be full of gorgeous gifts and treats that hard-working Mammies truly deserve. We are making our first shipment on January 20th and can’t wait to share it with you! Make sure to sign up – it’s just €20 per month! Click on the pic below for more info.

 

Keep On Truckin’: When Career Dreams Become A Reality

In my almost 40 years on this planet I don’t think anyone has ever described me as a wallflower.

‘Messer’, ‘Mad Yoke’ or ‘Little Bitch’ are more along the lines of the phrases used, intended, I am sure, in the nicest possible way 😬

I was born a feminist – a flaming ginger haired toddler with a great imagination, in-built compassion for vulnerable humans & animals – and the desire to stand up for everyone’s rights in a very loud way.

Loud, of course, because as a woman, you have to shout sometimes to be heard & that’s ok. Coz if we need to shout.. fuck it, we’ll just shout.

And then someone gave me a microphone. I can’t remember who that first person was but I’m sure they regret it now.

I’ve been shouting through my art & creativity for a long time. I wrote plays, I did stand-up, I created shows & gigs which parodied the bullshit & injustices that certain unequal members of our country & others have to deal with.

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My gaf was taken over by sound men and cakes for the afternoon

I created Raising Ireland & wrote a book because I thought it was important to empower young mothers to see that they were part of a great support network & that they were fabulous.

I put on my big girl shoes when Sive O’Brien & HerFamily.ie came knocking on early 2015 & I grabbed that job by the (let’s not say pussy) HORNS because it was a dream job and a half.

Today, Maximum Media has announced is super exciting plans to evolve into a broadcast platform, to rival current tv offerings which are already struggling, as we all know.

img_4544

I like silence in my kitchen ;o)

I am GIDDY with excitement to tell you that I am going to be a part of it!I get to present HerFamily’s flagship Facebook Live show The MotherLoad in 2017.

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Sinead from fab skincare range Peachy.ie and Dr. Ciara Kelly from Newstalk joined us for the pilot shoot – how lucky was I?

The MotherLoad will interview parents with stories to share & discuss parenting issues of the week in the usual HerFamily style – relaxed, real & most-importantly, with zero molly-coddling!

As you can imagine I’m so delighted with myself that I’m having a glass of bubbles in the bath so – cheers!! X

*The full link to today’s announcement in The Irish Times is here if you want to give it a read!*