The Mammy Guilt

Mammy guilt is a phrase that is now being bandied around regularly, possibly ignited by the fact that the pressure on mammy’s these days is huge. But what is Mammy Guilt exactly? And why do we let ourselves fall prey to it?

Picture this: a well kept, warm and inviting home. The smell of dinner hits your nostrils as you walk in the door. The children are occupied quietly with homework or various arts and crafts. Not an electronic media device in sight. Mummy is effortlessly gliding across the kitchen, apron on, broom in hand, smile on face……Now, lets add on 6 decades and see the contrast between the 1950’s and present day. Well, it would be easier to draw comparison – there is a house, kids and a mum. Everything else is rather different.
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When we think of Mammy Guilt, we think of the mother that hates leaving her kids on a Saturday because she has been at work all week. But this well known guilt trip has evolved. Mothers today are under so much pressure, whether they work full time at home or full time with an employer. One thing both parties have in common is the need to have everything perfect when it comes to raising a family. I have been on both sides of this and have felt the Mammy Guilt in a number of instances:

  • Classic Mammy Guilt – while working full time, any weekend activity that did not involve me spending time with the kids made me feel terrible.
  • Shopping Mammy Guilt – I go to Penny’s to pick up a few bits for me and come home with socks plus 2 bags full of toddler outfits and babygrows. They needed a few bits. Again.
  • Television Mammy Guilt – the baby is crying, the toddler is moving around the sitting room like a mini tornado. I do the unthinkable and turn on the TV so that I can dunk some biscuits into tea. And yes, the baby is looking at it to.
  • Nutrition Mammy Guilt – I fed my toddler a ready made meal. I let my toddler have a sugar loaded juice. My toddler sometimes has a dinner plate that does not contain colours because I am too shattered to get creative in the kitchen.
  • Nappy Mammy Guilt – yep, he’s been in that nappy far too long.
  • Angry Mammy Guilt – I’ve lost it with my toddler and shouted and felt horrible afterwards. I’ve asked the 3 week old baby with the hell she just keeps on crying. And felt quite stupid afterwards.

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There are so many situations, the above are a few honest ones of mine. These days we are overloaded with books on how to raise nutritionally sound, socially adept children; all developmental milestones are hit within a certain timeframe and they don’t see the TV until they are 18 years old. If we so much as stray from this hard and fast rule book, we beat ourselves up and worse yet, judge each other for not maintaining the standard. This is where the guilt comes from – we put the pressure on ourselves.

Motherhood is a rough ride – there are a fair few bumps along the way and it is not possible to be perfect. You will forget to give him lunch on time. You will lose the plot and shout. You need to go out with the girls and let loose on a Friday and feel like crap the next day. You will not have time to sit and interact and play games all day. And you will let the TV do some babysitting sometimes. Its called life, and we must live our own and not judge others for how they live theirs.

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In the words of two famous Craggy Island parishioners – careful now, down with this sort of thing! Mammy Guilt is not good.

Here is my antidote for dealing with Mammy Guilt:

Each day I will do my absolute best to care for my family.

I wont get everything right, but I will learn along the way.

I will take care of myself.

I will hug each one of my kids tight each night and tell them how much I love them.

Before I close my eyes to sleep, I will be proud of myself and the family I have produced.

I am so lucky.

I am a wonderful Mum.
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My Baby Scan – The MD Clinic

Having a baby is a nerve racking time – from the day you conceive there is constant worry about your little peanut. Are they ok? Are they healthy? Are they developing normally? You would think as a third time mum, this worry would have eased somewhat. But I worried over my third as much as any.

There is nothing more reassuring than seeing your little one on a baby scan. The first time you see their heart beating, their arms and legs stretching – it’s an amazing feeling. And most importantly, it helps to take the worry away. The current situation with Irish Maternity services (or lack there of) only adds to the stress. I could not believe it when my 20 week scan was delayed to 29 weeks! This was later amended however it just made me lose confidence in the care that I would receive. That and the fact that no anomaly scan would be offered to me. After my blog post highlighting the issue, I was contacted by the MD Clinic on the Watercourse Road, Blackpool who kindly offered me a Reassurance Scan.

There are very few private clinics in Cork that offer Maternity Scans and the MD Clinic is the only one north side of the city. They are one of only 2 that offer an anomaly scan – which given the current demand is surprising. By far, one of the biggest advantages of this clinic is their opening hours. I was able to have my scan on a Sunday, which meant no babysitters needed to be organised! Not that the little people are not welcome – there is a play area provided for busy bees! Free parking also adds to a stress free service.

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The clinic itself is state of the art – professional, welcoming and well organised. They offer a range of services under one roof including GP, Dental, Physiotherapy and Orthopaedic to name but a few. On my arrival I was pleasantly greeted and seen for my scan immediately – yep, no 3 hours waiting and waiting and waiting.

Reassurance Scan

My gynaecologist was the perfect combination of high expertise and professionalism. I was made to feel like the only pregnant woman in the world, I didn’t feel rushed and all my questions were answered in detail. The Reassurance scan surprised me with the level of detail – it actually was similar to the anomaly scan I received previously on the public system. Baby was measured from top to toe. The picture was so clear that baby even gave us a little close up of the face…..a moment that actually made me melt! The ultrasound machine is so advanced that the option of finding out the sex of the baby was available to me – at only 16 weeks! Did I find out? Well that would be telling…. 🙂

Memories to keep

On this occasion my husband was not able to attend, and after seeing the detail that the scan went into I regretted it a little. So I was delighted when my gynaecologist presented me with not only some snapshots of baby but a DVD full of pictures from the entire scan plus a sound recording of my baby’s heartbeat. It may have looked like the Starship Enterprise to him, but hubby and I enjoyed sitting down when the kids were gone to bed, watching our impending arrival on the big screen at home.

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Given that I, like thousands of others here in Ireland will not receive an anomaly scan, I will definitely be returning to the MD Clinic at 20 weeks. The staff have really put me at ease and I feel like I will be in good hands for my entire pregnancy.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of my next scan photos with you all!

 

If you would like to book your pregnancy scan at the MD Clinic, there are a few different ways to contact them:

You can visit their website here or call them on (021) 450 09 08 for an appointment.

You can also visit their Facebook Page for more details – just click here

Opening hours:

Monday to Saturday 9am-7pm

Sunday 9am – 3pm

The MD Clinic were kind enough to offer me my scan for free. In return for the excellent service that I received, I have written this review. Please know that I do not collaborate with or endorse brands/products that I personally do not recommend.

 

Beware of the Blogger..

Lifestyle bloggers, Fitness bloggers, Parenting bloggers (hello!), MUA’s….is it just me or does it feel like every time I check my news feed a new blogger has been born? Moseltaf!
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It is no secret that the Blogging industry has certainly seen an explosion over the last few years, and oh how the industry has changed. Blogs used to be quite simple – a Web page that was regularly updated by the user with creative or conversational content. Now they are a minefield of social media channels and it is a lucrative industry. Blogging can be so much fun; for me it was a way of avoiding the isolation of being a stay at home mum and embracing my love of writing. I enjoy discussing every day parenting topics and having a good old giggle at life’s mishaps. I guess what you see is what you get.
But is this the case in general?

Hmmmm…

Sadly, no. Not everything is as it seems. And at the risk of becoming the blogging “whistle blower” and being excommunicated from blogging “cliques” everywhere I am going to divulge my pet peeves.

Content
To me, being a blogger means writing articles, pieces etc. I am amazed at the number of top bloggers that actually write nothing. Well, nothing longer than a quick quip about something they tripped over in Penny’s. Sorry, but if you don’t blog then you are really not……? You fill in the blank here.

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Snapchat
Leading on from my previous point, I have taken a major dislike to Serial Snappers. What I mean by this are the Bloggers who do 90% of their work on Snapchat and again, do not write anything original. Now, I absolutley love watching some people, example being Material Boy – always something interesting, thought provoking or just down right hilarious. But what I loathe are those that Snap about making cups of tea, every angle of their baby, more tea and their feet as they walk. Is that really Blogging?

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#ad
Now this is a hot topic. ASAI are finally starting to crack down on Bloggers by monitoring those that do not disclose that they are being paid to promote a product. Basically, if you are paid to say you like something, you need to say so or type #ad so your readers know. Transparent enough right? Nope. We have a grey area. What about if the blogger was sent it for free? Then they don’t have to use #ad. Sorry, but if you get a freebie, you have been influenced.

The amount of bloggers that fail to do this is incredible. And imagine the amount of “reviews” that you have watched that were actually adverts? I have to mention one person whom I love for their honesty – the Beautiful Truth. Her reviews are so genuine…sometimes, she doesn’t like things and says so – my god, the absolute horror!!!! 😂

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Affiliate linking is another to watch out for. “Go to my blog and purchase the product from there”. Absolutley totally legit, but be upfront about it and mention that you are making cash from it maybe? Basically if you click on their link, they get a small percentage of the sale. As opposed to going direct to the website of the retailer and purchasing from there. (Snazzy eh?)

I guess everything has its ugly side, and it almost turned me off the whole thing on a number of occasions. But it also helped me to re-look at why I do this and get back to doing what I love the most. (You may be seeing a whole lot less of me on the Snapchat.)

It is a shame that there are so many fantastic, talented bloggers out there who have built their business from scratch, who work hard to write their pieces, and then a few bring the industry down.

What do I want you to take away from this?
Open your eyes.
Question how REAL something is.
Are you watching a sales person?
Are you comparing yourself to someone  authentic?

Continue to enjoy us Bloggers, but maybe take it all with a pinch of salt. 😉

Congratulations……

Join me in thinking back to when you announced your first pregnancy…..

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“Oh my god, that is sooooo exciting!!!” is the most common response, followed by squealing, excited hopping and over zealous hugging. It’s definitley one time in your life when you are made to feel like the only pregnant woman on the planet – and rightly so.

Now, pop out another one.
Grow it a little.
Then stick another bun in your oven.

“We’re having a third!!”

The reaction for the most part looks like this.

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What is it about anything over two pregnancies that creates this ambivalent reaction? It’s like a reserved happiness with a hint of concern for your mental health all wrapped up with a Sheldon smile.

I have had some interesting responses to the announcement of our family expansion. Some of my personal favourites include:

“Oh, wow – I thought you guys were kinda done..”

How could we be “kinda” done? Yeah no we are almost done, just going try for a turkey this time.

“Jesus, you guys really don’t take a second do you?”

Ah we do. The 4 year old (with autism) and the 1 year old (with attitude) wash, dress and feed themselves, are learning to drive and always pitch in with the housework. It leaves loads of time for us to just have sex all day and make babies.

“Another one? Ah c’mere ye would want to have yer tubes tied”.

I kid you not. This was actually said. Meant in some kind of warped, harmless fashion. I responded to this reaction in a manner that would bring tears to the baby jesus’ eyes. And he’d be bawling if I typed exactly what I said here.

Additonal to that, we very much had an all round ‘less enthused’ reaction this time. Which left me a little flat I have to admit. But then again, it is to be expected. I guess people have grown accustomed to seeing me looking like a coffee addicted, worn out mess and are used to smelling poo in most of the rooms in my house.

But still, just a little squeal would be appreciated?

After all, I am doing that little miraculous task of growing a full human in me, while keeping two mini humans alive and feeding a grown up one. (Who just so happens to be a bottomless pit. Must be from all the ‘trying’).

Yes, I am super sensitive and hormonal. But all the more reason to break out the trumpets and call the City Hall when I announce I am with child!!
Hello?? I am fricking amazing like!

Alright, maybe not. But at least find it within yourself to avoid a mildly apathetic response, sense my excitement and get on board.

To wrap this up on a positive, I also had some truly wondeful reactions – pure happiness, tears of joy, shared excitement. But none of those made me want to bite someone so they don’t get a blog post. 😊 They were appreciated though.

Heed the warning folks – embrace your inner Hallmark card the next time someone tells you “their news”. Regardless of how many bulletins they have shared!

And then the argument started….

To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, til death do us part. Or, until we have a newborn and I want to kill you. There are so many articles out there about how to survive the first three months of a new baby. You know, the tips on colic, lack of sleep and cluster feeding etc. But there is another challenge new parents face that can be overlooked – getting through those first few months and actually liking each other by the end of it!

It’s such a beautiful scene; she surprises him with announcement of “I’m pregnant!” Tears of joy, excitement and nervousness follows. He heads to the local while she orders ‘What to expect when you are expecting’ from Amazon. Six months of bumps, scans and buggy buying follow. All the while, the happy couple seem closer together than they ever have been. The most amazing moment of welcoming their first child arrives, two become three. Then….BOOM! Constant crying, nappy changes, exhaustion – having a baby is a huge shock to the system, life changes big time. And so does your relationship.

Every single thing my husband did drove me mad. Why, why does he have to step so loudly when he is coming up to bed? What part of do not fasten the nappy too tight does he not understand? Yes, please pick up the baby after his bottle feed and do ‘weeeeeeee’, up and down one more time! And can you imagine how annoying I was? I hate to admit it, but I run a tight baby ship. There are methods to be followed and if there is any deviation from instruction there will be hell to pay in the form of torrential nagging. The point being, most couples are fit to kill each other during those first few months. Most if not all really. It is a wonder homicide rates do not increase with each baby boom!

I am not a professional in the field of counseling. But I like to think of myself as a seasoned war veteran. I have served in two post baby relationship battles and survived. So I cannot give relationship counseling, but I can maybe offer some advice. (Note – if you end up killing him anyway, please don’t blame me!)

  • Split the chores – if you find yourself continuously watching how much housework each person is doing, and comparing, stick a list on the fridge. Divide and conquer.
  • Respect each others parenting styles – do not let the baby nap late in the evening, it was all that I asked. Yet, the baby napped because he allegedly needed it. Let your other half parent in their own way. And let them learn from their mistakes without your critique. If something doesn’t work, they need to pick up the pieces. Like in my example, Daddy did the feeds that night and baby never napped late again. (Me 1, Hubby zero. Ok, yes I admit that that is not in the spirit of the article).
  • If you get the child/kids to bed to sleepput the mobile phones down! Time alone is so rare. Do not waste it on social media. Talk to each other about how hard it is. Have a whinge. Or talk about something else completely!  It can be great to switch off from baby talk.
  • Hug – simple I know, but it takes two seconds in between feeds and nappies to give each other a hug. You are going through this together, and sometimes when a child will not stop screaming for three hours, there are just no words.
  • Be a team – give each other time away (let him play football with the lads, let her go shopping for a few hours). If she is breastfeeding during the night, get up and get her a drink, change the nappy, be there. When he does things like wake up and help while you are feeding, say THANK YOU.

I have come through the post baby relationship war twice and not without my battle scars! But you can survive, and it will make you stronger. It will get easier, and if you stick together through the tough times, you will be together to celebrate the good times. Just don’t expect miracles – he will still excessively channel flick, use selective hearing (when the baby cries at night) and use your towel when he showers. These things I cannot help you with. After all, I’m a mother not a miracle worker!