Tag Archives: Raising Ireland

What Would YOU Do To Protect Your Kid?

I was in a shopping centre with the kids recently & Jacob wanted a go on one of those Peppa Pig carousels. I had a look and there were three six-year-old boys hanging out of it, reefing it around and generally trying to wreck it. So I persuaded Jacob to sit in the nearby cafe with me first, have something to eat and wait another few minutes until it was ‘less busy’.

Eventually they moved off and I sent Jacob over. Halfway there, he was intercepted by one of the six-year-olds who had returned. Jacob, in his three-year-old innocence thought he was making a new friend but I watched this other kid putting it up to him, asking him repeatedly ‘D’ya like Peppa Pig, do ya? Do ya?’

It might sound funny, but the other kid was towering over him and was being sinister. At six, this other kid already had that bullying ‘way’ about him and I knew it. I called Jacob back before his little moment was ruined, and the older kid followed him back over, continuing to goad him (the message was going to be, of course, that Jacob was either a baby or ‘gay’ for liking Peppa Pig).

So I told the other kid to fuck off.

You know, without saying the words ‘fuck off’.

He did, and returned to the other older kids and they all proceeded to point and stare at Jacob until I stood up and stared them down. Were they afraid of me? Were they fuck. They just got bored because Jacob had no idea what was happening.

I looked for their parents and there were a gang of women that the boys ran back and forth to, who were generally ignoring them. So that’s where they got their shit attitude and shit personalities from. I didn’t approach them, but had one of those boys touched a hair on Jacob’s head, you better believe that I would have.

It got me to thinking on the way home, ‘If I am so protective of Jacob now that I want to murder some six year olds, what will I be like when he goes to school?’

Hopefully, I’ll be like this dad whose video I found online. It’s very emotional and contains some very strong racist language, so you have been warned x

Won’t Someone Think Of The Photographer?!

If ever you and your siblings are stuck for present ideas for your parents’ upcoming birthdays/anniversaries/cheer-you-up-day…then look no further. THIS. IS. IT!

Three Brothers Recreate Old Photos For Their Mum

Was your favourite the fancy dress photo? ME TOO! And when MY kids grow up, remind them to do this for me, will ya?!

Needy Me, Needing You (Ah Haaaaa….)

awards-300x300Oh yes, here I am, looking for shtuff. On my knees, you might say (what do you mean, ‘AGAIN’?!)

I am wondering if you’ll do me a flavour and nominate me for an Irish Parenting Blog Award please? I’ll cut to the chase and just give you instructions on what to do, so you can get back to watching House Of Cards. Fair enough?



1. Log on to The Nominations Page!

2. Add your name & email address.

3. Click on ‘Raising Ireland’ in as many of the 10 categories as you think I deserve. I’m particularly interested in ‘Best Parenting Blog’, ‘Best Personal Blog’ and ‘Most Entertaining Blog’ (she says, humbly)

4. For the last one, ‘Best Post Of The Year’, could you please give a nod to the amazing interview I did with brave and proud mammy to her gay son, Marc Cleary and enter this link: ‘I Cried For Ireland’ – Pamela Cleary

That’s it! I thank you for your kind consideration. After all, I’m just a girl, sitting in front of a laptop, asking you to love her. Y’know?!

(Now get back to wanting to punch Kevin Spacey in the face).


Watch: Michael Keaton and Jimmy Fallon Read A Kids’ Story

This is so funny. I LOVE Jimmy Fallon and I wish he was my boyfriend…. oh shit, did I type that out loud?! Ok, I don’t wish he was my boyfriend, I wish he was my best friend so that we could do this kind of stuff all day long and never stop laughing. Watch him and Michael Keaton read out this cool story from a seven-year old boy. It’s the biz x

Jimmy Fallon and Michael Keaton

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Mucus…

funny-plumber-pregnant-woman-comicThat is the title of the opening number for my brand new musical – ‘Up The Duff’.

Other songs will include ‘There’s A Hole In Your Johnny, Dear Asshole, Dear Asshole’ and ‘If You’re Happy In Your Nappy Then Why The Fuck Are You Still Crying’.

Reviewers will say ‘This show will have you in stitches (oh my god did we say stitches?!)’ …because they are HILARIOUS.

It will be an outdoor event, held in the carpark of every maternity hospital in Ireland so that the smoking about-to-give-birth mammies don’t miss out. They are humans too, you know.

Doughnut-shaped cushions will be available for those who have just given birth or for those who now consigned to having 50-shades style sex only, in an attempt to feel desirable again after birthing 6 children.

Refreshments on offer will include nipple-shaped cupcakes, alcoholic breast milk with soda water.

For those enduring hot flushes and/or immense excitement at being out of the house, sanitary towels dipped in ice water will be offered in place of hand held fans (so distracting for actors, the delicate creatures).

Comments, during the song breaks or interval, on other people’s parenting choices are strictly forbidden.


Actually, I haven’t written that musical (yet), but I did come across this fun satirical video called ‘Postpartum – The Musical’. It’s really good until the advertising bit at the end – then I was like ‘Ahh RAGIN’!!!)

Watch Postpartum The Musical Here!


Resource: Help My Kid Learn

Help My Kid LearnI am ALWAYS on the lookout for tips on things to do with Jacob at home – especially on those days when it’s either pouring down outside OR you’ve got a sick child and can’t leave the house OR you’re wrecked and can’t bear to leave the house one way or the other. He totally gets cabin fever just like the rest of us so a planned activity at home can really break up the afternoon.

Then of course there are the weekends and mid terms and days off and holidays to fill with as much fun as possible (phew!), so I was delighted to come across the this online resource to help me with some cool ideas.

Help My Kid Learn is a website developed by the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA). It promotes family literacy by giving parents, guardians and family members fun ideas to help build their child’s literacy and numeracy skills. The activities range from traditional games and activities to suggested online games and apps and are aimed at kids from age 0 to age 12. You don’t have to register, and it is totally free. On the website you can sign up for a monthly online newsletter to keep you up to date with new items on the website, or like them on Facebook

Breastfeeding, but not breast-feeding. Another Option!

After last weekends’ Great Twitter Chat on my ‘Breastfeeding: A Pain In The Tits?’ article, I can’t stop talking about it to everyone I meet. Most women are in agreement that whether you or I breast or bottle feed our kids is nobody else’s business, and everyone just needs to get on with their own lives. BUT, there was a definite sentiment amongst many of the women I spoke to who hadn’t breastfed either for a long period of time, or at all, that a their reasons stemmed from a lack of information and support on the matter.

So I’m gathering up shit-loads of no-nonsense, practical advice for anyone who might be interested, on the subject of breastfeeding.

Step in my good pal Sinead, mother to the most adorable, dainty princess Harlow. Sinead and I were due our babies on the exact same date – we were ‘Competitively Pregnant’, you know (they bleedin’ won) – so Eva and Harlow are almost the exact same age. I breastfed Eva for two months and switched to formula feeding. Sinead is still feeding Harlow breastmilk exclusively – but not with her boobs. I’ll let her explain in her own words.

Sharyn x

“I had my little one nearly 8 months ago and becoming a mum has been the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. But, like most mums, I have had my challenges.

I come from a family who are very supportive of breastfeeding and when I was pregnant I read everything I could find about it. I decided I really wanted to breastfeed my baby. I even YouTube’d how to get baby to latch on properly so that I would feel confident on our first try! I did what the advice said and when I had my baby I fed her immediately skin to skin. While in hospital my baby fed without difficulty, latching on well and no pain, I thought I had hit the jackpot,” what’s all the fuss about”??

Then, after 2 days, we went home. She started to scream…., and scream. She screamed the house down. I couldn’t get her to latch on in all the hysteria. Thankfully I remained calm, thinking “she can’t scream forever”….well, she gave it her best shot! This proceeded to happen every night, the sun would go down and BOOM, screaming! In the first few weeks my little one wanted to be on the boob around the clock. She might drift off after a few minutes on the boob, looking like a tiny cherub in my arms, but as soon as I would take her off the latch the hysteria would start again.

I slept in 30 minute intervals those first few weeks and felt like I was losing my mind with tiredness. During the day she was a lot more content so I’m sure people thought I was mad telling them just how hard it was.

Then I got mastitis – lovely. This is no joke ladies, not only is your boob really painful but you get the shakes and feel like you have the flu. Naturally, it just so happened I was on my own with Screamer all that day so couldn’t do what I needed to, which was rest. So I was carrying Screamer in my arms at the top of the stairs when the shakes got really bad and everything started to go fuzzy. I have never fainted before but it definitely was not the glamorous swoon I have seen on the telly. I just sort of lowered myself to the floor with Screamer tight against me and lay there, on the stairs until the fuzz ebbed away. I knew I couldn’t keep going as I was.

I really wanted breastfeeding to go well. I felt everyone would be terribly disappointed if I stopped, especially me. I knew all the health benefits of breastfeeding for both the baby and myself and felt I would be devastated to stop at that time. So, I rummaged out the little breast pump I had bought before Screamer’s arrival. I had bought it with the intention of using it on the odd occasion I would be away from Screamer. I had invested €125 in a Medela Swing which is a tiny electric pump, about the size of an old disc man. So anyway, on hideous mastitis day, baby was about 4 weeks old. I knew the best thing to do was clear the blockage in the painful boob and go the doctor. But, as I was on my own that day and too sick to leave the house, I just pumped until the infection cleared. Now, as you can imagine, this hard earned breastmilk was treasure, I couldn’t just bin it! With a little research I found you can refrigerate breastmilk for up to 5 days, so I kept it. That evening, I gave said bottle to Screamer, and something magical happened; Screamer slept. She slept for 3 hours straight. An absolute miracle, glorious. It meant I could get help. Every time prior to this that Screamer was, well, screaming, she was handed to me with “she needs the boob”, when in actuality, she didn’t always “need the boob”, she just needed someone to hold her and love her through the screaming. But I know it is hard to differentiate between crying due to hunger and crying for reassurance.

So anyway, that’s how I started pumping my milk, and how I felt I could continue breastfeeding and keep my sanity. Pumping might not be for everyone and I know breastfeeding your baby is best. It just is. No one can argue the facts. But this is how I got through. I consoled myself with the knowledge she was getting all the nutrients nature intended, but, selfishly, I gave her a bottle so I could get some sleep. It slowly went from one feed of pumped milk a day to solely pumped milk when Screamer was about 10 weeks old.

It took time for my body to get a routine established but now I pump 4 times a day. First when I wake up at 8.00 for 30 mins, then between 12.00 and 13.00 for 20 mins, then at about 17.00 and 22.00 for 15 minutes each. I found out you make the most milk in the morning, fascinating!

So there you have it, Screamer doesn’t scream anymore. She grew out of that at about 8 weeks. She is a very healthy and contented baby. Far more relaxed than her mother. I went back to work when she was 6 months old – I’m a nurse so I do long hours both night and day shifts and I still feed my baby solely breastmilk. To be honest, I am proud that we are still plodding along together pumping as we go but I still have guilt. That niggling in the back of my mind that she is not breastfed from the breast. I think mums put a lot of pressure on themselves. No one has ever said or done anything other than being totally supportive of my choice to pump but it’s me. This just happens to be the way I muddled through my first time being a mum.

No one ever gave me the option of pumping as just that, an option. I wrote this so that other mums might know that this is a viable option if you feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall breastfeeding a screamer. Pumping is a rarely discussed method of continuing to breastfeed with its health benefits included, while getting the positives of bottle feeding, like getting your other half to give you a hand the odd time. I don’t know how long we will keep going, but if I can do it, you can too.



Breastfeeding: A Pain In The Tits?

Firstly, let me say this: I am 100% a fan of breastfeeding our babies. And I am 100% a fan of bottle feeding our babies. Therefore, you might conclude that A) I have done both and B) I am taking my usual judgement-free stance on what other people do to feed their babies…and you’d be right.

But all the statistic waving on the subject of breastfeeding in Ireland of late is giving me, quite frankly, a large pain in my tits. Surely I am not the only person who realises that the real reason we have such low numbers of breastfeeding women in our country is because NO BODY TELLS US THE TRUTH ABOUT IT.

Newsflash: Breastfeeding Is Hard For Some People. Why won’t anyone just admit that to expectant mothers, instead of saying ‘Breast Is Best’ ad nauseum, without outlining the realities of how breastfeeding works? Wouldn’t our young mothers do better with realistic expectations, instead of believing it’s going to be all ‘babe-suckling-at-the-boob-by-the-candlelight’; only to become disheartened when the breastfeeding begins and it doesn’t follow what they’ve been told?

Nope, our health service continues to omit the relevant info, and leave our poor new mothers to fend for themselves when the new baby comes along. If you attend any of our maternity hospitals’ ante-natal classes when you are expecting a baby, you will most likely come away with the following (false) info:

1. If it’s your first baby, you’ll be overdue. You will know you are in labour when your waters break and you feel something like a period pain. Definitely stay at home for another two hours until the pain in unbearable before you come in to the hospital because we’re mad busy.

2. Don’t ask for the epidural until you have been in labour for hours and hours and hours. At the point that you do ask, it may or may not then be too late to actually get the epidural. And sure why would you want it anyway when you’ll have a quicker birth without it? (See Point 1: ‘We’re mad busy’).

3. Breastfeed your baby. It is the most natural thing in the world. Sure they do it in India.

Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot!

First thing off the cliff should be that statement ‘It’s the most natural thing in the world’, because it isn’t for lots of people. What breastfeeding needs is time and patience and support and a demo video of how to get your baby to the boob successfully in public. These are the logistical challenges that modern mothers should have the answers to.

If the Irish health service really wanted to increase the numbers of women breastfeeding in Ireland, I would suggest that they perhaps send all expectant mothers a pack called ‘The Truth About Breastfeeding’. The cover letter would read as follows:

‘Dear Mother-To-Be,

We hope you and baby are healthy and well. In the event that you choose to breastfeed your new baby boy or girl, we wanted to send you the following items out of the goodness of our hearts:

A nipple guard, some super-robust breast pads, nipple cream, a realistic schedule of when you should expect your baby to feed week by week, and when you should be resting your boobs and body, a demo of how to do it in public, a decent breast pump, a bottle and carton of instant formula for when you need it (and THAT’S OK), a list of non-arsehole-riddled coffee shops and restaurants where your baby can feed in peace, and a voucher for M&S so you can get fitted and buy yourself a nice new bra when the time comes that you stop breastfeeding.

Also, everything you decide is up to you.

Love, the Irish Health Service’

[Like this ranty madness? See more over at ‘Breastfeeding Is Back!’]



She That Is Without Children Among You….

I LOVE headlines like this: Nun Gives Birth To Surprise Baby

And I LOVE the other nuns in this story, surrounding the nun who had the baby, denying that she is in fact, a nun. Because the idea that she could be a nun and procreate AS WELL is so ridiculous.

And most of all, I love that they are called ‘The Missionary Sisters for The Love Of Christ’.



Interview: Amazing Parent Pamela Cleary

Pamela and MArcEvery time I sit down to edit an interview in the Chitter Chatter series, I am reminded how great the world is and can be. This interview with Pamela Cleary says everything we need to know about being a parent – mix together the right amounts of love, worry, respect, acceptance and guidance with our kids and reap the benefits. Marc and Pamela’s relationship is closer than almost anyone else I’ve ever met and it’s a joy to see. Enjoy the video (dare you not to cry) x