An open letter to the mum shamers

Dear mum shamer/would be shamer

Middle was up so many times on Saturday night. Not only did he awake repeatedly, he took the most monumental of tantrums and cried himself a river (a la Justin T) everytime he did so. This is not middle. He doesn’t make a point of doing this all the time infact, he values his sleep. I went in, cuddled him, told him it was all ok then left. I repeated the same process a few times. By 12pm I had royally lost the will to live and, was concerned he would wake up the other two boys. I brought him downstairs for some cuddles on the sofa. He asked that I put Paw Patrol on. I posted a video to my page of his attempts at speaking to our Google Home which, I found quite hilarious considering the stress I’d dealt with for an hour. After a few Paw Patrol episodes, we went to bed. I brought him into our bed because I was too tired to argue by this stage. Shoot me!

I awoke on Sunday morning to a comment under that video. A comment that basically asked why my toddler was allowed to watch Paw Patrol in the first place and not put back to bed instead. This is the second such comment I have received from this stranger. I burst into tears. I felt so awful. Infact, I felt like a bad mum.  I replied to that comment in a way that wasn’t a true reflection of how I felt. I didn’t want to upset that person the way in which they had upset me but, the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. This person was not just attacking me (as the comments proved) she was attacking every other mother that reads my blog and appreciates the honesty contained within it. THAT, I have a problem with. Let’s get some things straight going forward:

  • We are all on the same journey here. The wonderful/stressful journey of motherhood. If I choose to go visit a country, I might choose to travel to it via a different route than another person. We will still end up at the same place though, right?
  • You do what works for your own, individual family and their needs. Maybe one of your kids needs a proper nights sleep otherwise they cause chaos the following day, resulting in everyone being miserable and a day ruined. Maybe it’s been a long day and you just do not have any energy left to give. Every night is different with children, as is every day.
  • No child is the same. Funny that but, somehow they all seem to have their own personalities. We adjust our parenting technique with all of them because we have to. They all have their own individual needs. For example, eldest needs utter routine, middle thrives on chaos and baby hasn’t decided what his mould will be. When he does, I will adjust to that too. That is my job as their mother- to understand their individual needs and react accordingly. No matter what age they may be.
  • I don’t judge others and, never will. How you choose to raise your children is nothing to do with me. At the end of the day, all that matters is that your children are happy. All I am doing is sharing my side of this journey. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it.
  • We are all entitled to our opinions. Free speech is what makes us question things after all. What I don’t like is someone using that freedom in a negative manner. That comment was read by everyone on Sunday morning. Maybe even someone who had had a worse night than me with their kids. Single mothers up doing it all alone, mums with newborns and probably mum’s up with sick children.
  • This blog was started mainly as therapy. I used to write individual books for the boys each week about what they had done that week. This made my life easier and, my hand less cramped. I also felt it important to share the not so perfect side so fellow mums knew they weren’t alone. Society feeds us a certain image of what we should be like and, what we should do.
  • I want this blog to be about uplifting each other, celebrating surviving another week and discussing what disasters we have encountered that week. What I don’t want is someone who deems it acceptable to drag others down. We are all just doing what we can to navigate all these stages.
  • Speaking of stages, we are all at different ones. Maybe some of us have older kids, others younger ones. Each stage brings its own set of problems. How you deal with them is up to you as a parent. I can only share what I am going through now.

In conclusion, from here on in, I will defend my followers when things like this happen and not just stand back. Because I started this blog to counteract all this perfection and show parenthood warts and all. We may not agree with the choices other’s make but, if it works for them so be it. In future, if you have free time and want to troll, I suggest the Daily Mail comments section. Always some mum bashers/bashers of everything on there. Check out the featured image, at the top, to be reminded of exactly what is important. Please share this so we can eradicate this mum shaming. x

Regards,

Grace (You and Me Plus Three)

This week I have mainly been… date nighting in Fermanagh!

Don’t you just love Wowcher and Groupon? If it wasn’t for them, I doubt I’d ever get to go anywhere. You can’t deny someone a bargain stay after all! We booked a deal to stay at Lusty Beg Island about four months ago then, did our usual and forgot about it. It was only when we received the ‘warning, your voucher is due to expire’ email did we finally get our arses in gear and book it. Booking is the easy bit, finding someone to look after three, mental boys for the night is the hard bit. As usual, eldest and middle had to be split up in order for us to sell the idea of babysitting them for a night. Once anyone has looked after them both together and, witnessed the obligatory 6pm-8pm battering session, they refuse to do it ever again. Eldest was packed off to my sister on the promise of a ‘sleepover’ with his cousin and the other two stayed with nanna. Freedom beckoned. But first, a cheeky Nando’s because, why not?

We arrived at 3 pm, drove the car onto a little ferry and, were transported to the most beautiful little island. So picturesque. After checking in and obtaining our key, we went to explore our room. It was perfect, even if it only had a shower and no bath. Is it a mum thing to want to have a bath in peace once you get away from your sprogs or, just a Grace thing? I’d no sooner sat on the bed when I received a Whatsapp from my sister advising that eldest had been awarded ‘star of the week’ at school. I burst into tears. He has wanted to get star of the week ever since he started school. Every week he has become increasingly frustrated when he hasn’t. “Maybe you would get star of the week if you refrained from glueing your artwork to your face?” I helpfully offered last week. Either something clicked or, she is just running out of children to award it to but, he did it! Trust this to happen the one day I don’t pick him up from school. I know how excited he would have been to tell me. Mum guilt began to set in. Only one thing for it- wine! After a few glasses, the guilt subsided. I could always make it up to him the next day. Off we went to play a game of pool in the hotel’s game room. After a few vinos, the game was rather one-sided I’m ashamed to admit.

We had the most amazing steak and dauphinoise potatoes for dinner, overlooking the lough. Perfectly relaxing. Next, we headed back to our room for a few more drinks (yes, we are that broke these days). Come 10pm the two of us were royally merry. “Let’s go to the bar and ask if they will make me a big bowl of dauphinoise potatoes” I demanded. “At this time?” hubby replied. “Yes at this time! When a girl want’s potatoes, she wants potatoes! Failing that surely they will have Tayto”. Begrudgingly, hubby retrieved his coat. We entered the bar, approached the barman and, asked for some potatoes. “Um, the kitchen closed at 8pm” he responded dumbfounded. “We have Tayto though”. Some people just get it. Tayto in hand, we found a table. It appeared we were the only ones there. That is, until I heard a lot of giggling and four girls came hurtling around the corner. They then joined our table. We got chatting and,  they were all fellow mummies and fellow mum’s on tour. I shared my Tayto and they shared their fishbowl gin. Hubby sat there quite obediently whilst not just one, but, five women proceeded to talk utter shit to him. I have never drunk gin before and, now I know why!

Waking up the next morning to check my phone, I was confronted with a smashed screen. “What the? When did I do that?” I panickedly asked hubby. “I have no idea, I don’t even know what time we came back to the room at” he replied. “You may also check if you have your engagement and wedding ring as I vaguely remember trying to stay awake whilst you repeatedly emphasised how your finger has got fat this week and they no longer fit” he added. I had been thinking that all week in fairness. I leapt up to begin the search. No wedding ring. Gin 1, Grace 0. Eldest may have been bestowed star of the week’ but his mum has been titled ‘twat of the week’. Middle has also disowned me upon returning as my phone is ‘broken’. All my worries that he loves my phone more than me, have just been proven. Never again (until next time I get some freedom).

Star of the week- this would happen the one day I don’t collect him from school!