This week I have mainly been….. rejoicing for Ireland- literally!

Screenshot to ensure I wasn’t dreaming

What news I woke up to on Saturday morning! I actually thought I might have been dreaming for a second. The Irish public had only gone and voted against their constitutional ban on abortion that had been inserted as an amendment in 1983! An amendment that declared ” The state acknowledges the right to life of the unborn, and with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in it’s laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.” The repeal the eighth campaign succeeded and by a landslide at that. Finally some progressive change and a huge step forward for a woman’s right to choose!

It’s such an emotive topic. To be honest I debated even expressing my opinion on it (especially as my dad might read it!). But I am honest about every other aspect of my life, so I came to the conclusion that I had to. I am sure many won’t agree with the outcome of the referendum, but personally, it is the outcome I hoped and longed for. I can’t believe how far behind the times Northern Ireland now seems in light of this monumental overturning. Not only in terms of abortion but, gay marriage also. Frankly I find it embarrassing. I also think the result in Ireland will only serve to ensure that politicians here never hold a referendum on our own abortion laws. Because they now know what would happen if they did. They wouldn’t want to face up to the truth that people here are sick of a bunch of dinosaurs dictating under what circumstances they are allowed to make their own choices at in life. So whilst I rejoice for Ireland, I despair for my own country and it’s backward views in this modern age. I hope to God I am still alive when change is finally effected. One can dream I guess.

When you get a weekend away from your kids…..

Omg- freedom! Actually in a bar. Hope kids still alive! **Drinks more wine, what kids?!**

Last month I was lucky enough to persuade (I mean, force and bribe) some family members into looking after my kids, night about, so myself and hubby could get away for the weekend. We had rather enthusiastically booked a Groupon deal a few months prior and it was now about to expire. I took notes at the time as the whole madness surrounding it made me laugh. To the point I actually wonder if it’s even worth all the hassle. I shall let you be the judge:

  1. Before we even went anywhere we had to secure some naive persons to give up their own free time to babysit three of our spawn. This was no hard sell, especially when you are in possession of a mad toddler and a newborn! Hubby’s sister rather gallantly volunteered to mind ALL three on one of the nights. “She must be mad!” I proclaimed, mainly because I myself do this everyday of the week. Thinking if anything it will teach her a lesson, we accepted.
  2. Next up was arranging night two. As my family are around my kids more (due to living down the road) this was an even harder sell. I couldn’t lie to them that they were good as gold and didn’t batter the life out of each other come six o’clock at night. The only way round this was to offer to split them up into more manageable, bite-sized portions. I managed to fob eldest off to the sister, leaving only  middle and baby to stay with my mum. Neither seemed very keen by the prospect but begrudgingly accepted as they’ve watched me slowly losing my shit over the last few months. Yeah, childcare secured!
  3. Call to confirm Groupon booking only to be informed that they now have a wedding on and we can only stay one night as opposed to two. Arrrgggh! Contemplate only doing one night. Quite quickly think f@ck it, we’ve sorted two nights and no one will ever offer again after this. Arrange to stay in a family members apartment the next night and say nothing.
  4. Organise kids clothing for three days and two nights. PJ’s x2 for each (why do us mums do this? Like I’m away two nights and only bringing one pair) clothes, vests, pants and socks. Will they need coats and jackets?
  5. Slowly lose will to live as middle runs round emptying everything I’ve just packed- multiple times!
  6. Argggh- toothbrushes and toothpaste, forgot those!
  7. Shit, medicine too, what if they get sick and have a temparature? This would mainly be awful as I don’t want called back (sshhh).
  8. Pack own stuff which consists of the only two t shirt’s I own. Some daytime jeans and dressy ones (as in black solely) for nighttime. Oh must pack some super sexy and seductive underwear! Crap! Can only locate some french knickers that are probably two years old (do people still wear these?) and a bra that sort of matches and probably dates to circa 2014.  Hello hubby! Grrr (sexy growl !)
  9. Day has arrived- hooray! But first have to take baby to doctors for his injections  (don’t tell sister in law this for fear she won’t mind them- sorry E!).
  10. Get home rather excitedly! Oh what if sister in law gets stuck and doesn’t know what to do? Lifts out pen and paper and frantically writes list of instructions that somehow ends up two pages long and, (in the words of Ross from Friends), “front and back!”. Hubby comes home, takes one look at my scrawlings, rolls his eyes and begins writing chapter numbers on each page. This makes me look even more mental to sister in law.
  11. Oh my god! The dog! Have stupidly forgotten to get her minded and she is the hardest sell of all what with the barking and flatulence problem. Cue frantically begging mum to revert to keeping them at mine so she can be both child minder and dog sitter. Considers how I am probably out of the will now after pulling that move. Decide will all be spent on her care home payments anyways so all good.
  12. After explaining how prep machine works and who will eat what and who will sleep when, off we go. Woo hoo, this is the life!
  13. Get to hotel and immediately head to the bar. After one glass of wine think how lovely this is not having to respond to “mummy!” every two seconds or change nappies. Get another glass of wine. End up drinking own weight in wine.
  14. Go a nap after dinner only to wake up the next morning. Grrrrr! One whole night wasted due to taking new found freedom too far.
  15. Get to second accomodation the next day and stupidly repeat above process that night again.
  16. Head home to look after three kids with the most raging and horrendous hangover that any person has ever had. Think how I am just not responsible enough to be let away from my kids.

This week I have mainly been…. trying to explain to eldest that it is Prince Harry getting married and not his friend Harry. Also reminiscing about my own wedding

“I’m so excited!” I exclaimed whilst driving about on Friday with the kids. “Why?” enquired eldest. “Prince Harry is getting married to Meghan Markle and I cannot wait to see her dress”. Very long pause. “Why is my friend Harry marrying auntie Megan?” he asked. “No, it’s not your friend Harry, Prince Harry!” I explained. “So Prince Harry is marrying auntie Megan?” he responded. Arrrggh! “No, the Prince is marrying an American actress and it is quite a big thing actually”. Cue Aden protesting how two people cannot in fact have the same names so therefore it must be his friend Harry! Kids (eye roll).

Didn’t she look fab? So elegant and she carried herself so well. I would have been shitting it knowing that many people were watching me. It got me reminiscing about my own wedding which took place in Santorini on the 18th May 15. Supposedly the best day of your life and do you remember any of it? No! I didn’t even start drinking until the nighttime but it’s all a blur of pictures getting taken and checking everyone else was ok. I do remember eldest being nearly two and having a right boogie on the dancefloor whilst all of us cheered him on. He was the only grandchild at that stage so everything he did elicited cheers. My main regret is not getting that on video. But where do you put a phone in a wedding dress? I did consider, but felt it would be frowned upon, to have mine down the front in my bra. Maybe one day we will get to go back, minus the expensive villa. When you have no holiday to look forward to, and haven’t been away for three years, your heart breaks! Congrats Meghan and Harry and enjoy your honeymoon minus any sprogs!

Just before walking down the aisle- eek

 

My boys

 

 

Netflix Picks for Kids and Parents- May 2018

Once again myself and eldest (Aden) have sat together and compiled this. It’s like a new tradition now and he loves contributing (speaking freely without restriction whilst I type manically to keep up). Here’s what the kids have been watching endlessly and what myself and Hubby have just about managed to watch in light of this:

The Kids  (dictated by eldest Aden, typed by me)

Spy Kids: Mission Critical- One season 

There has hardly been anything new on Netflix lately for kids. That’s sooooo unfair, can you phone them and ask them why? There was that Spy Kids thing I watched. It was quite okay actually and was funny sometimes. It’s about a brother and sister and they are like, some kind of spy people who do spy type things. The boy is called Juni and he has orange hair and his sister is called Carmen and she has dark hair. They work as a team with other spy kids to feet (I think he means defeat?) the bad guys. Sometimes the bad guys pretend to be good and it’s only at the end that they know they aren’t so have to fight them fastly (quickly- he needs to start school soon, my correcting is doing nothing). The big, massive baddie is called Golden Brain and he is just super mean and cray cray (no more Jay Z and Kanye for him). I like how this looked like the Pixar films we have been watching and i liked most the fighting because that is cool. Can you be a spy person when you’re big or is that just pretend? Maybe I will do that then so I can fight baddies all day then fight Owen at nighttime (middle). 3/5

The Peanuts Movie 2015- 1hr 28 mins 

This film was sooooooooooooo boring. I changed it over to Horrid Henry like one day into it (one day?). I don’t know why you even put that on as you took me to the cinema to see it years ago and we had to go as it was so bad! I wanted to see the Star Bar’s film with daddy but you made me go see that stupid film instead (whoops, oh yeah- remember now). I never want to see that film ever again, I would rather eat a spider (ok then! I sincerely hope nothing serious ever happens in his life if this is how dramatic he is). 0/5

The Angry Birds Movie 2016- 1hr 37 mins 

This is a film about that game that I am the best in the world at playing (modesty son). All the characters from the game are in it- the red bird, yellow and black one. Oh, and the green pig things! The birds can’t fly which is like the game too as you have to put them in a big slingshot and fling them at wooden things. They live happily in their bird home place- where do we live mummy? Oh Norn Ireland, I never knew that (I tell him that all the time actually). Well, they live in their own Norn Island (Ireland, son) and then the pigs come to live there and this makes them very mad and really sad. The pigs put big bombs all round their houses and the birds have to ask some massive bird (eagle) to help them as he can fly. I liked how the red bird was really cross all the time. This made me laugh. I quite liked how colourful it was too and that it was like the game but more real life. Are we finished this now? I’m so bored! Maybe I can have your phone to play Angry Birds again? (oh no, what have I started reminding him of this- face palm).  5/5

The Rents : 

The Rachel Divide – Documentary (1 hr 44 mins)

I put this on randomly as I am so fed up with there being nothing to watch on normal TV, bar on a Friday- why is this? I will be honest, I thought it would be woeful but, it proved otherwise. Everyone has heard of Rachel Dolezal but, if you haven’t, she is a woman who is white but identifies and classes herself as a black woman. The whole saga is all the more perplexing as she shirked from telling anyone she was white and held a senior position in the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People). In this capacity she campaigned and gained the trust and confidence of many people. You begin watching this thinking it is the most bonkers thing you will ever view but, it succeeds in making you have an understanding as to why she went down this particular route. You begin to feel sorry for her whilst still questioning her honestly. The plight her children face in light of all her decisions will break your heart also. Worth a watch if only to be left scratching your head contemplating whether you accept the reasoning or not. 4/5

27: Gone Too Soon- Documentary (1 hr 10 mins) 

I appear to be in a depressive documentary phase this month! Note to self to watch some less serious shit for next post! But it is a fact that I will watch anything to do with music or artists who are/were truly artists. Those who can perfectly express pain because they can feel it deeper than others. This documentary deals with those artists who sadly became part of the so called ’27 club’. Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin  to name but a few. It explores their early lives before stardom, their lives after fame hit and the demons they tried and failed to battle whilst in the public spotlight. I found this so interesting and learnt about some artists that I hadn’t encountered before. Great snippets of some of the best performing live too and interviews with some interesting people. Hubby even put down his laptop to watch it, so it must have been good! 5/5

 

This week I have mainly been…. shattered, broke and miffed at men!

Well I knew I was in for a bad week with baby’s injections. I just didn’t realise how bad it would actually be! A wailing baby with a temperature is not ideal when there’s two other kids in the house to look after and try and keep alive. I am so wrecked, I can’t even describe it. Baby up every thirty minutes screaming for three nights back to back. Eldest still coming in at 3 am to our bed and middle up mourning the loss of the nighttime bottle I deemed time to take away from him. In hindsight I should have scheduled this mega change for another week. But I had committed to it for two days by time baby’s injections were served on Wednesday. Hubby lost patience by Thursday and decided to make the sofa his new bed. This only served to make me more pissed off with life. Why does he get to sleep and I don’t? I’m the one with them all the next day, running on two hours sleep and everything else still needs done. There’s no daytime naps to recoup with a four year old who wants to be entertained, even if baby is finally sleeping.

Really what I need is a personal chef and a cleaner on the days I have had zero sleep. What am I saying? I need a nanny and a long holiday! Yes, that is the answer. Anyone want to fund all that? Didn’t think so………..

My maternity pay has kicked in this month and it literally went in one hand and out the other. Most of it on nursery costs for middle that amounts to £390 a month for two days a week! So soul destroying. I have no idea how I will keep them all entertained with no money whatsoever. Here’s hoping the weather stays nice and I manage to keep eldest safe from deck chairs!

Next week has to be better- positive thinking and all that!

 

Soft play areas: A survival guide

 Who doesn’t love a soft play area? Me, that’s who! They are literally the most horrendous places on earth. I would much rather spend an hour listening to someone scrape their fingernails down a blackboard than go to one. But alas, sometimes you need burn them out mentally and physically and they are the only option. Here are my tips for survival when you have no other choice but to drag your spawn to one:

1. Never ever go to one hungover. It might seem like the better option to lying on the sofa, trying to die, whilst the kids throw things at you. But trust me, you will live to regret it the second you enter. These places have a decibel of their own range and a fragile brain cannot and will not cope.

2. Other people’s children are little shits and you only become fully aware of this once you have frequented a soft play area. Biters, pushers and thieves are swarming everywhere. Beware of the innocent looking ones- these are usually the worst culprits!

3. Sharing is caring, that is unless your child has something and some little cretin tries to pry it off them. You will find yourself whispering to the would be thief “oh but he/she had it first, you find something else to play with” until you spy their owner out of the corner of your eye and immediately direct to your child  “oh just give the other kid it, you’ve had long enough!”. There are unspoken rules when dealing with other parents, adjust your usual parenting technique to reflect a more serene, unbiased person.

4. Be prepared to do battle with fellow parents still, in spite of the above. Most go solely to drink their tea, read their phones and relinquish any parental responsibilities. With this being the case, they tend to not observe their little darling knocking the crap clean out of your beloved child. Be aware that , in the end, you will get into a fight with them and express language you never thought you’d utter in a venue filled with children.

5. Your child will insist on bringing one of their own toys then proceed to lose said toy in the ball pit, which will of course be huge! This will cause a monumental meltdown from child and result in you on all fours, flinging balls everywhere, trying to locate the item. You will not look good when this occurs but you will resemble some kind of flustered maniac.

6. Condition yourself for the onslaught of climbing up and avoiding swinging things by paying your local gym a visit at least once a week. This will ensure that your body is at optimum capacity to tackle what seems like an assault course and to run wildly after your toddler. The food choices on offer will also ensure that the gym is essential as you will eat your weight in buns and chocolate to keep your energy levels up.

7. The only other thing worse than having to go a soft play area is having to go to a birthday party in one. Kids party + soft play + small talk with parents you don’t know = total hell on earth. There’s no alcohol either which is pretty dismal.

8. “You would save so much more money here if you just took out a membership”. A membership to hell on earth? No thanks, I would save money taking out shares in Echo Falls, not here!  Never ever agree to a membership offer. You will feel like you have to go everyday to get your monies worth and nobody’s got the time nor the energy for that.

9. Thank me later for this advice!

 

This week I have mainly been…. dealing with a regressing four year old and toddler tantrums. Someone shoot me!

Attempting to write this whilst middle naps and eldest has left me alone for a minute. Multi tasking as usual!

This week we found out that eldest got into his first choice of primary school- phew and breathe! It seems this news has only served to make him regress however. As I was putting out my second wash of the day on Monday, I heard him screaming “mummy” from the bathroom. Thinking something was wrong, I abandoned the task in hand and ran in. There he was, sitting on the toilet, tablet resting on his legs, demanding that I “wipe his bottom”. This is something he has been more than capable of doing himself for many years. By this stage, it should also be quite clear to him, that I am literally up to my eyes in shit on a daily basis! Between exploding baby, middle still in nappies and the bloody dog to pick up after! “You are going to school in September” I said, “everyone will think that’s sooooo embarrassing that you ask your mummy to wipe your bottom” I added. He looked at me like I had three heads, then stated, matter- of-factly “well, obviously they aren’t as busy as me with games to complete”. Okay then! It is now Sunday and he is still asking me- FML!

As if a regressing four year old wasn’t enough to contend with, middle is in the throws of the terrible twos this week. Tantrums over anything and everything! Including the fact that I dared to cut up his dinner, opened a packet of crisps for him and took him out of the bath when the water had all gone, to name but a few. He has also decided to become reacquainted with throwing everything in sight. Waking him in the morning is proving akin to tackling an assault course as he immediately stands up and hurls everything he has in his cot at me! It’s literally like he has been lying in wait for oneself to saunter in whilst half asleep and reflex reactions lowered . Bottle lobbed at my head, teddies flung at my face and yesterday I even received a monster truck to the chin- all in the space of a minute! Where did that even come from? I pondered, whilst seeing stars.

The only saving grace this week (my name is Grace, so not going to lie, I like what I’ve done there) is that baby has been relatively calm. I am assuming this will be short lived however as he gets his second round of the bad injections this Wednesday. I await the cluster fu$% of explosions, barfing and high temps that those will bring! Next week’s instalment will just involve me losing my shit probably- just a warning.

 

Why it’s ok not to be ok!

  I want to get serious for one post and one post only- it is maternal mental health week after all!

After having all my boys, I have experienced the so called ‘baby blues’.  With one it went away relatively quickly, with two however, it morphed into something much worse and longer lasting. I wanted to use this post to try and explain why it’s ok not to be ok. If it even helps one person to realise that we are all facing the same things, I will be happy (well, as happy as I can be at the minute with three boys and myself to keep alive).

According to research, eight in ten new mums will experience the ‘baby blues’. They typically hit a few days after you have given birth. With me however, they have hit weeks after, sometimes months. They tend to coincide with the sudden lack of sleep and realisation of what the f@#k have I done! So you typically beat yourself up- why am I not happy? I have this new baby here that I wanted so badly, so why can I not feel anything positive?

Let’s take a look at things from a realistic point of view now. You have carried and nurtured a baby in your tummy for nine whole months. In those nine months you have felt like sh#$ for the majority. From having your head down the toilet the first three months, to resembling a whale with a weak bladder function at the end.  This does nothing for anyone’s confidence at all! The no sleep started already with you having to wake and pee every ten minutes. You would then stay awake contemplating/panicking if you were fully prepared for the bundle of joy about to enter your life.

Then due day (doomsday) suddenly arrives- you are about to have a baby! Maybe things end up going seriously awry at this point. You end up being induced, having a c section or the baby’s heart rate dangerously dips. This is all traumatic stuff for one person to deal with! After all this, they then expel you from hospital faster than it took you to get into a pregnant condition in the first place.

When home, you are hoping for some much needed rest. Instead you end up fending off hordes of visitors when all you really want is some time with your new baby to figure out what the hell you should be doing with it! You are sore, knackered and above all else- human! You are not a machine. You are normal. So it is any wonder that eight in ten of us get these ‘baby blues?’ Actually, why are they even called this? They should just be referred to as ‘the normal way to feel after you have just had a baby’. Why are new mums being made to feel utterly useless from the outset because they are purely exhausted and emotional?

Now we’ve established why this happens, and that we are all similar, we can move onto what happens when it doesn’t get better itself. Which, by the way, is also totally, you got it- NORMAL! I kept waiting for the cloud to lift after having my first son but, six months into new found motherhood, it still hadn’t. I didn’t even want to get out of bed most days (you really can’t have this attitude when you are responsible for keeping a little human alive). Off to the doctors I went. Nowadays it’s the norm to only get a ten minute appointment with your GP. When you actually get into the room though it’s more like five minutes. This isn’t their fault of course. That’s life- everyone is busy! The doctor prescribes me Fluoxetine at this time, after listening to an overview of my current mindset.  I felt really embarrassed by that. I don’t know why I thought that way, but I did. These things wrongly carry a stigma I guess. Maybe I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t strong enough to fight it myself?

Fast forward six months and I was off them and feeling great. Why? I can only think that it is because I went back to work. This, for me personally, was the turning point- along with the extra chemical help of course. I felt like my old self again for three days a week. The me before the little he! Making bottles, changing nappies and responding to cries wasn’t my only role now. I could even drink a full cup of tea in peace and, wait for it, a whole cupful! Oh my god, I could even have a conversation with no interruptions and one that didn’t involve “ma ma” every two seconds. Sometimes you just loose yourself in this having kids business and all it takes is taking your own little time out. Not that I didn’t miss my baby every second but, I was a happier mum for having some space. If you can call ‘work’ space.

The baby is four months old now and I find myself feeling exactly like I did after my first son and the above. Writing is helping (plus the fact I find myself hilarious when I do). I keep telling myself that I came out of this before and will do so again. I have to, there’s a lot of men in my life depending on me who, by the way, can’t do anything for themselves *rolls eyes dramatically*.

If anyone is struggling in this way, please contact me for a chat. Failing this, please check out this mothers to mothers link or go to your own GP for some help and support: Contact numbers for post natal depression