Things I’ve Learnt During Lockdown

  1. Lockdown is the absolute pits.
  2. Lockdown with kids is even worse than the pits. I mean, I’m seriously beginning to question the path I took in life and am fairly certain I should be in lockdown with Jamie Dornan right now. Fate dealt me a very cruel hand.
  3. I started off homeschooling like Miss Honey from Matilda but within two weeks had morphed into Miss Trunchbull. Flinging them out the back, minus the pigtails of course!
  4. I am a hairdresser, albeit the worse one that ever existed. The kids are walking around with haircuts that only Joe Exotic would be proud of. Thank god only the neighbours can see them! It’s Carole Baskin’s fault anyways.
  5. I tried to Tik Tok, I failed to Tik Tok, yet I’m now addicted and can’t help myself. I have officially fallen into the ‘over 30’s who are tik toking’ category and I’m not even ashamed. Eldest disowned me after I proudly showed him my Blinding Lights challenge that took me a week to master. Aw well, one less one to talk to.
  6. I miss my mum and I miss her helping me. But, the second this is over, the boys will be flung into her house and left for at least a week. She “misses them so much” after all. Let’s see if she is still saying that afterward.
  7. I’ve started to dance and sing along to the BBC news bulletin every time it comes on. This is uncool on many fronts but mainly because I’m trusting the BBC to disseminate information that isn’t biased. I can’t help it, it’s easier to get to as just after CBeebies on the guide.
  8. Routine is becoming harder and harder to maintain. I mean, I don’t even know what day it is! The BBC should add the day to their ticker that has the time on it. Maybe I should email and ask them?
  9. Mrs Hinch can f right off now because there is zero chance of me keeping my house in any kind of order at the minute. I’ve no sooner tidied one room, turn around and they’ve wrecked the next room. I’m too busy tidying, I haven’t even looked at my Zoflora or bleach. RIP the loves of my life. We shall meet again when this is over! Thank god for the robotic hoover.
  10. Boredom seems to cause children to eat your entire Tesco shop in two days. I feel like all I do is shout “but you only had a drink and snack five minutes ago!”. It’s driving me bat shit crazy (excuse that unintentional pun).
  11. Toddlers during lockdown are the absolute worse. I thought Baby was bad before all this but, tantrums galore! All whilst I try to homeschool. If he continues his shenanigans, I will post him to Boris who can deal with him personally. What’s one more to him after all?
  12. The kids moan all day to go out on their daily walk then when we do, it descends into chaos and at least two of them in tears. Baby also insists on bringing the electric quad every time, going at a pace of 1 mph. Arrgghhh!!!
  13. For all the moaning I did, thank God I bought that trampoline last year.
  14. I’ve learned that although difficult, I have survived and will keep on surviving. Did I just quote Destiny’s Child there? I’m such a philosopher! I really believe that one day we will look back however and will these days back- despite the stress and chaos. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway!

Lockdown Log (Day three)

Well, I didn’t see that coming- not! Here’s how we have fared during the first few days of lockdown. Disclaimer: May have lost it more than once.

Day announcement made

Get up at the usual time and dress kids. Grab a cup of tea and proceed to homeschool. Eldest is highly receptive and enthusiastic- weird. Homework never goes as easy! Middle loves doing his worksheets but needs a lot of guidance. Eldest continually tells Middle that his effort at circling words is “absolutely rubbish!”. Middle begins to cry. Too early for wine? Yes, it’s not even 11 am (sigh). Morning work done, tablets permitted whilst I get ready. Any point doing your make up if you can’t go anywhere? What if there is a worldwide shortage of concealer? Decide to just leave it. Coronavirus doesn’t care if I have makeup on I’m sure. By the time I’m ready, the boys have started knocking lamps out of each other and are getting restless. Make lunch then head out for a walk. Every elderly person in the area has decided to do the same. FMAL. I have one flying mad on a scooter, Middle is on the Paw Patrol ride on and Baby is on a toddler trike and moving at the pace of a snail. Have to shout like a madwoman for them to pull in somewhere and keep a distance from others. All of us are coughing so I’m frightened one of them will cough in the presence of others. Seemingly no one knows the correct protocol for social distancing and we are all suddenly afraid of people. Very odd. Come home and have a wee sob. Is this real life even?

Official day one of lockdown

Decide to jump on the bandwagon and start the day with Joe Wick’s PE lesson as opposed to worksheets. Eldest attempts five minutes of said workout and begins to cry as he “can’t do it!”. Middle ignores all Joe’s instructions and has stripped off his jeans and pants and is raving in the corner. Baby is wailing due to my lack of yoghurt getting. It’s 9:10am. Yes, 9:10am! This bodes well. Get myself ready (finally) and prepare to do battle with something called SeeSaw Class for Eldest all whilst Middle’s teacher is sending work through for him to do on an entirely different platform. Resist the urge to scream and cry simultaneously. Having navigated both and, ready to lose the will to live, all are forced outside. Make a cup of tea and enjoy five minutes of peace and tranquility. Forget that the boys cannot spend five minutes on a trampoline without battering each other. Bring them back in. Tea goes cold as I run around getting them what feels like a million different snacks and drinks. In an effort to expel boredom, I try and get all of them to draw a rainbow to put in the window. Eldest adamant that instead of a rainbow, we should draw Mario from Super Mario. Try and explain the whole concept behind the rainbow drawing. No, still insistent on drawing Mario. Middle gives it a good go (see picture above). Possibly the worst rainbow in a window in the whole of Northern Ireland but, God loves a trier.

Day Two

Struggling to even get out of bed as my anxiety levels are through the roof from the second I wake up. Take a call from my mum who is in tears as two confirmed Coronavirus cases in my nan’s care home. I haven’t seen her bar leaving things to her door on Mother’s Day. Feel utterly helpless. I can’t hug her nor make her a cup of coffee. Even have a face to face chat to soothe her worries. She laments the fact she is missing the kids. They are missing her also. I am missing her more. Reality is setting in for everyone. Try and maintain the routine with boys but find it difficult as my head is all over the place. Get them to bed and pour a glass of wine. Read on Facebook that the NI Executive has declared that all off licenses should close with immediate effect. WTAF?! You can take away my freedom but you cannot take my wine. Arlene, have you been in lockdown with my kids? Just plain selfish! Discuss with a friend on WhatsApp about how we could do a weekly booze cruise to Dublin with her sitting in the back to socially distance ourselves. Feel placated and no longer worried about the lack of toilet roll.

Day Three

F#’k homeschooling. I will never ever again say anything negative about a teacher. The novelty has worn off. Meanwhile, I still attempt it as I am so worried about Eldest falling behind when he has a referral to Occupational Therapy in place. We may not survive this. Oh, stand-alone off licenses can now stay open! Maybe we shall survive after all! Middle appears to be taking the lockdown very seriously and has self isolated in his bed for most of the morning. That one loves his comfort! Up you get! Jesus Christ, Baby has started asking “why?” about everything going. Also, anything I try and do for him results in him screeching “I do!” whilst having a complete fit. If there is a God, is he there? If so, can you send a cleaner my way? Just realised my house has fallen to absolute pieces. Thanks!

To be continued. If I survive the next few days…..

Coronavirus Chaos

I couldn’t even have dreamt this happening. That’s coming from someone who once had a highly questionable dream about David Cameron and Nick Clegg. If I could have divorced my own brain after that, I would have. I will never ever be able to look at either the same way again, especially Nick Clegg. (shudders).

It all seemed to happen so fast, I think I’m still in shock. I imagine you are all the same. We’ve gone from thinking “it will all be ok” to “holy sh#t the schools are closing!”. I won’t lie, I had a monumental breakdown once that was announced. Firstly because this is unprecedented and, secondly, because I have zero faith in my own ability to teach Eldest from home. He gets so frustrated even doing his homework each day. If I dare to rub something out, he throws an absolute fit. Once it’s finally done and dusted, the two of us have to socially distance ourselves until he succumbs. Usually when he needs some milk. Guess we were prepared for that part at least.

Middle I am worried about for different reasons. He will be four when he starts P1 in September. So he will already be at a disadvantage. I’m so lucky I had his parent-teacher interview last week and no issues were raised in terms of his capability bar scissor work. Which I’m rather ok with because Middle + scissors sounds like a nightmare combination! But, on the other hand, he is a sociable child and I imagine he will miss that aspect enormously. Even if everyone is an “idiot” and he “hates girls”. He doesn’t seem to act this way when I’m peeping at him through the window however and tells me continually that he has three girlfriends. Contradiction much?

Baby is terrible twoing (as per last post). I took him to the park today only to spend thirty minutes dealing with multiple meltdowns that his hood wouldn’t stay up! We were the only people in the park. Maybe that say’s more about me than anything. But, there is no way I can keep three boys couped up in the house. They will batter the daylights out of each other and I will be locked in the bathroom sobbing or rocking in a corner somewhere. Mental health is so important during all this too.

I don’t know how I will fare, as I’m sure you don’t. But I kind of figure that we’ve given birth and kept them alive up to this point. Is it ideal? No. Is it going to be highly stressful? Yes. Will we require lots of wine? Probably.

The lack of clarity around everything children related, be it with schooling and the effects of the virus itself, has been disastrously managed. They have left a nation of mothers in a state of anxiety and panic. I’m still unsure as to whether my own mother should see the boys. Mainly because of the mixed messages and statistics that are slowly being released. My sister is also a midwife which will add to any decision that has to be made.

It’s a frightening time for all of us in every aspect. I will be making a point of sharing anything I think might help us. Anything that will relieve some pressure. If you have something you think might help someone else, message and I will share. If you run a business that is having to rethink how you are operating, message and I will share too. If you are royally losing the plot, message and I will lose it with you! Disclaimer: I will definitely be losing the plot! #Mumpower

This week I have mainly been… celebrating the fact us non breastfeeder’s will no longer be vilified (and still drowning in bills)

This week the Royal College Of Midwives released a statement essentially saying, that, whichever way you choose to feed your baby is fine. Whether that’s by bottle or breast, it’s all good. Your choice should be respected and supported now. Whilst I wholeheartedly welcome this change of tune, I can’t help but wonder, what took them so bloody long? Talk about stating the obvious! It’s 2018 and I really don’t think it’s justifiable that anyone is shamed for their choice, no matter what that may be.

I tried desperately hard to breastfeed eldest. I had my heart set on it infact. Mainly because, at every appointment, I had been told ‘breast is best’. After I had given birth and, he had been weighed etc, they placed him on me to feed. It seemed like he had latched on. How would I know? I’d never done it before in my defence! But he had no sooner started when he was abruptly taken off me and I was ordered to “go have a bath!”. Thinking there was nothing wrong with this, I did as I was told. My sister (a midwife) later told me that this should never have happened. After what was the most unrelaxing bath ever, we were sent to our room. Eldest wailed all night long (hubby rather annoyingly slept, what with having been through a strenuous labour and all that.) I kept placing him on my boob and being unable to get him latched on. After several failed attempts, I frantically hit the buzzer and sobbed to the midwife that I needed a bottle. “No, just try again sure” was the response, and off she went. I continued coping on zero sleep with a newborn squealing (and hubby peacefully napping) until the shift change occurred. Hubby, finally awake, demanded they give us a bottle for him. It was even obvious to him that I was struggling to feed our first born. “Has anyone sat with you and showed you how to do it properly?” the new midwife enquired. “No!” was our swift response. She advised that she would send someone in to show me, and, that she did. I was so grateful to that lovely midwife who took the time to explain everything and even show me what way to best position myself. She answered any questions that I asked and put me at ease. I mean, I still didn’t have the slightest clue if he was even getting anything but I was better equipped with knowledge at least.

Alas, our breastfeeding journey would cease soon after we got home. I still couldn’t ascertain if he was properly getting anything and that didn’s sit well with me as a new and anxious parent. This was even more apparent when the community midwife would ask how much he was feeding! I made a decision there and then to give up and I felt like a complete and utter failure because of this. I truly believe that the guilt from this contributed to the enormous baby blues that hit me shortly after. Surely, as a society, we should be protecting new mothers? Shattered ones at that as they are kicked out of the hospital so quickly after giving birth, with no time to recoup and rest. Of course, everyone knows by now that ‘breast is best’ but, each to their own, like everything else. As my mum said to me “I bottle fed you and there’s nothing wrong with you!”. Maybe that’s a bad example, I am slightly bonkers.

Because of all this, I made sure (with my second and third) that I wouldn’t be made to feel guilty again. At every appointment, when asked if I would breastfeed, I would stubbornly reply: “No, nor will I be made to feel guilty about it either”. I actually wrote this in capitals on my birth notes with the third. Probably why they handed me a bottle straight away without prompting. “Anti breastfeeder in room two, get a bottle and fast!”. In my view, every new mother should be made to feel that the choice she makes with regards to feeding, is the correct one. As long as that little baby is getting fed, surely the way they are fed is irrelevant?

In other news, I would like to issue a public appeal. Can all utility companies out there please refrain from sending me even more bills? Thanks! I thought last week was bad enough until the dreaded electric bill appeared through my letterbox on Tuesday! Just F off postman and give this mum a break, please.

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.

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

 

 

The Ulster Rugby trial, my concerns as a mother and why I’m happy they were sacked

I’ve struggled with how I feel about this case from day one. The moment it even appeared on my radar, I was horrified. My first thought went to my boys and how I would feel, as a parent, if they had behaved in the same way. Secondly, my thoughts wandered to that poor girl and what a huge thing she has faced personally and publicly to highlight her plight and make a difference to someone else. Even if they were found not guilty, she has still done this, and I hope she realises that.

When certain evidence was made available to the public, I found myself even more shocked and appalled. The WhatsApp messages specifically were they proceeded to talk about women as ‘Belfast sluts’ and bragged about ‘spit roasting’. This panicked me. Mainly because I am raising three boys, well, attempting to. Would I expect them to ever talk about a woman in that way? Hell no! I would hope I’ve raised them to treat women with respect. I expect they will be ‘lads’ about certain things, but to speak in that manner after an encounter- over my dead body!! Upon discussing this with my husband (who I always assumed was unbiased and slightly with it) he was of the view that they are just young guys with huge egos. “These men have girls throwing themselves at them everywhere they go. So of course they will act that way”! and, this is my favourite one  “girls like that go to VIP parts of nightclubs with the sole purpose of attracting a famous person and sleeping with them”. I was quite taken aback by that last comment and, slightly enraged if I am honest. Who replaced my husband with this sexist person ? Alas, I am always up for a bit of debating so this presented a great opportunity. I argued that his point didn’t make sense. Belfast nightclubs are not the place where celebrities are certain to be found. The most famous person you usually encounter is local radio host Pete Snodden. He must have half of Belfast throwing themselves at him if that’s the case! We also have no idea what this girl looked like as her identity is protected. I asked what made him think they weren’t just being those type of men that go to these places with the sole purpose of attracting girls, expecting to have their way with them and never taking no for an answer? He looked at me blankly then stated “well, all those types deserve each other”. I said both were merely people making assumptions based on the way someone looks or which part of a nightclub they were sitting in, its not a true reflection. I then asked him seriously if, our boys all become famous sports stars, he would be ok with them acting in such a way towards women. He very quickly replied no. So it’s not ok for your sons to embarrass you in that manner but the rest of mankind can? I thought us women were meant to be the confusing ones!

I think Ulster Rugby have made the right decision to terminate both Jackson and Olding’s contracts. Ok, maybe it was a decision based purely on the fact that Bank of Ireland threatened to pull their sponsorship as opposed to the #ibelieveher movement. But it’s happened and I feel it will make a huge difference going forward. Not only to little boys who look up to these men but women who run their boys back and forth to practise and actually follow rugby. It had to be done. So as much as people droned on about everyone accepting the verdict of not guilty, they should accept the decision to kick them out of the team. I for one would rather my boys looked up to someone who is capable of showing respect and compassion to everyone whilst also being an exemplary athlete. This means so much more than purely being good on the field. It shows strength of character, as well as physical strength . The ultimate role model.

I do believe her and I stand with my fellow ladies in condemning their behaviour that night and in the following days. As more truths seep out it becomes even more shocking to me that this verdict was reached. More blood on Paddy Jackson’s bed that his solicitor asked to be withheld from the jury as ‘he had no intention of explaining where it had come from’ to Olding’s semen being found on the victims crotch. I’m utterly astounded that these facts were allowed to be hidden. What an awful precedent we are setting in this country for those affected by rape! I am certain that this will deter women coming forward in future. I can’t help but think, in a way, it’s good I never had my longed for girl as I would be so embarrassed trying to justify and explain all this to her. No, you cannot have an abortion in Northern Ireland, it’s illegal, even if you have been raped. Not that they would believe you anyway, no matter how much evidence you presented. It’s so Irish, it’s laughable- and I’m Irish.