Thursday, June 21, 2012


The best thing about kids is when they're asleep. 


You struggle to get them to sleep. Sometimes it takes hours of rocking and back-rubbing and tip-toeing and whispering and stories and lullabies and cuddles before they finally nod off. 

You struggle to get them to stay sleeping. My worst night in living memory was when all 3 of them awoke at hourly intervals complaining of scary nightmares and various ailments. That night we all subconsciously played musical beds - each of us moving around and sleeping in every one of the five beds in this house in order to grab pockets of sleep in a bed that didn't contain a wriggly child. Until they wake up again, realise they're alone and seek us out again.

You struggle to get them to lie in bed beyond 7 oclock in the morning. I'm not a morning person. I'm a grumpy, grunter, don't talk to me, "go away noise" arrrgh kind of person in the mornings. I'm a bad mum first thing in the morning.

My kids don't even nap during the day. My baby is supposed to sleep at least 3 hours during daylight, according to an idealistic sleep expert I met recently. He doesn't and never will. He power naps for about half an hour. That's him done. Sleep's just for wimps, right Lorci? I've struggled. I've given up.

My newly-3-year-old girl hasn't napped for at least 2 years. Unless I use a tank of diesel and wear out my patience and tyres on the potholed country roads around here. She doesn't go to bed at night either. She's still wandering around at the moment (it's 9pm), saying "five more minutes", whilst I lose the will to live and try ignoring her as a tactic to get her to return to her room.

A very rare moment when all 3 were asleep

When she finally gives in after being frogmarched upstairs for the 10th time and threatened with all kinds of recriminations if she resurfaces again, I get a breath of peace and quiet. I get my space. It doesn't last long as the baby normally wakes up at this time. 

Eventually there's about an hour's downtime before I crash out, exhausted. Only for the wild animal circus to begin again at 7, if it hasn't already during the night. 

I can't imagine a harder time to be a mother; it's non-stop drudgery looking after 3 small kids who can't do anything for themselves except whinge about everything and scream very loudly (see Torture)

Yet for some reason, every single person I've met recently who's listened to my stories of kid chaos has shaken their head and laughed at me. "That's nothing, it gets worse when they're teenagers," they say, smugly. 

As if it's a competition amongst mums to outdo each other with tales of how our kids (and mums by association) are experiencing the ultimate nadir of our lives. NOOO!!

Don't talk to me about teenagers.

Teenagers don't scream at you to wipe their bums 5 times a day. Teenagers don't cling to you like glue, never giving you a second's peace all day. Teenagers don't try to climb in bed with you every night nor wake you up at 4 in the morning demanding you make weetabix for them. Teenagers can largely look after themselves, can help with jobs around the house and even give you personal space to do your own thing.

I can't wait until they're teenagers. 

Please don't let these words come back to bite me in 10 years time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I was telling a friend I met down the playground yesterday how tough I'm finding being mum to 3 very demanding kids at the moment. 

She told me an interesting fact her doctor had told her. That of a survey of stressful jobs including pilots, firemen and doctors, mums came out on top as being the most stressful profession. 

I'm certainly feeling that right now. 

I feel like the kids have turned on me, realising my weaknesses and raising their demands 20-fold. Screaming is now the only way they ask for something. The older two have regressed to copying their baby brother who screams all the time to get my attention. 

So every minute someone is screaming at me. They know it works - it gets my attention (eventually and in a bad way). It also frazzles my nerves and makes my blood boil.

I hate screaming. I hate noise. 

This is what rocks me to my very core.

It's like torture. Non-stop, day-in-day-out torture. 

Interspersed by tiny pockets of joy at their achievements and seeing them play together. But mostly it's me telling them to stop doing something that could potentially hurt or kill them. Or asking them to do something 10 times, before I raise my voice out of frustration. 

There's a reason why the military uses the noise of children to crack prisoners. 

Last week I felt I was cracking up. This week, after going back on the vitamin D tablets to give me inner sun and Evening Primrose to balance my hormones, I'm feeling a bit better. 

Plus my husband has been around more to help, which has been wonderful. We had a lovely party day for our little girl who turned 3 on Monday, and even got to the beach during a rare glimpse of Irish sun yesterday. 

So I'm taking the rough with the smooth, survival on a daily basis. 

I have a hundred other things I should be doing right now rather than typing on my laptop, but who cares. This week is about trying to regain a sense of 'Me'. 

Even if the pile of laundry behind me is now as big as me, I don't care. 

I'm getting out. There's another rare sighting of sun out of the window so I'm heading out to meet friends for a picnic. Gotta make the most of these breaks in the rain. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I've had Stevie Smith's poem Not Waving But Drowning going through my head in the last few weeks as I struggled with the often 11-hour long days of looking after 3 high-energy kids on my own. This is my version of it:

I saw her out at sea
Larking with her kids
I couldn't see their faces
Were they laughing, or screaming?

The kids held her down
Sinking under their weight
Yet she found the pier 
And gave them safety

They didn't look back
She didn't follow them
Where had she gone?
Taken by the waves

Away from safety
Away from herself
Away from her kids
Now screaming for mummy

She swam for her life
Longing for more energy
To come up for air
As waves beat her down

Clinging to control
Clinging to sanity
A body drained of life
Not waving but drowning

I see her face now
She looks just like me
Even the kids look like mine
Oh God, she is me. 

Friday, June 08, 2012


Keeping it Real... 


  It's Friday...
[[Monica at Ink and Chai
invites us all to share our ups-downs, lows-highs, hits-misses, dark-light,
peaks-valleys, plusses-minuses....]]


Spending less time with my kids so we enjoy each other more.

Playdates swaps. Hard when it's my turn to host but brilliant when I get a break.

Kids happier because mum's more able when not drained by constantly mothering 3 busy bees.

Massive shipment of nearly new clothes from cousins in New York. Won't have to buy any kids clothes for years.

Hosting coffee morning - a lovely sociable morning with mums and kids.

Catching up with my blog. Feeling the urge to write again. 

Finishing a book. First one read in a year.

Seeing my friend in babymoon with her little girl.

Friday morning swim with my two littlest.

My baby becoming a boy


Cleaning up after coffee morning.

 Nowhere to put all the new clothes. Drowning.

Baby teething again. Clingy and screamy.

Husband working all weekend. Missing sanity-helping Women's Group on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


I was looking for a poem to describe the massive changes taking place in my baby since he turned 1 a few weeks ago.

In the end, I wrote down a few of my own musings...

I cradle you in my arms
Spread over me, legs akimbo
How did you get so big?
A year ago you fitted half my arm
Now you're solid, walking, seeing
Everything; it's all there for your taking
As I watch, speechless, your willpower driving you
Able for anything, unafraid, so strong.
Exploring life - nay, attacking it with ferocity
You catch me watching across a crowded room 
Smile, check in, carry on; headlong into
Friendships, adventure, danger, discovery
Nothing holds you back - I never will
I see you different now
Not a baby, more a boy
Watching you explore
I see your head bobbing
A cute blond little head
Bruises on either temple
Scratches and scrapes on your nose
You try to kill yourself every day
I save you repeatedly, thankfully!
Words are coming to you now
You delight in mimicking
"Kiss kiss" prompts a lunge to lips
Open, drooling - a proper wet snog
We laugh, it's cute
You know you have us
We're in the palm of your hands
Oh darling boy

Lorcan on his 1st birthday

Monday, June 04, 2012


Breastfeeding is one of those subjects that newspaper and magazine editors adore.

Readers either love it or hate it - so any article that mentions it, especially if accompanied by a controversial picture and headline, always stirs up a furore.

It gives editors a chance to titillate by choosing pictures of women's breasts. For some reason this sells newspapers.

It gives the hardcore breastfeeders a chance to relish in the discomfort of those who didn't, for whatever reasons, "provide the best start for their children".

And it gives the bottle feeders a chance to look down their noses on long-term breastfeeders as raging hippies with no personal boundaries.

Even though I still breastfeed my 1 year old I don't consider myself to be defined by it. Sometimes I find it a curse - binding myself to my baby when really I'd love to escape for a night and soothe myself in peace and calm. I'd also like my body back because I've either been pregnant or breastfeeding for the past five and a half years.

But mostly I sit on the fence, amused by the passions it stirs up in people. Any article written about it brings out a mass hysteria from both camps - as debates go round in circles and editors keep the story alive by printing fresh comments by extremists guaranteed to enrage more and more people the next day.

I used to work on a few different newspapers in London so I know how cynical editors can be and how they like to spin a story to whip up a frenzy.

Take for instance the decision by Time magazine to stick a Yummy Mummy on its cover with her boy who looked big enough to be 5 sucking her nipple. They knew it would cause a media frenzy and have dined out on the controversy ever since. Personally, I feel they manipulated her, knowing it would guarantee shock worldwide coverage. They chose a picture from the photoshoot that looked cold and clinical, and showed her posing nonchalantly rather than cradling. No mum ever breastfeeds like that!

But it was the headline that really wound me up. "Are you mom enough?" Crikey, the editor was really looking to cause a stir, implying that anyone who doesn't feed like that isn't a proper mum.

Time's controversial cover

Closer to home, I was reading the Irish Sunday Independent just after the Time cover story broke. A woman called Antonia Leslie wrote a piece about why she chose to breastfeed her daughter until she was three and a half, talking about what attachment parenting meant for her. Now, I'm all for these kind of articles in the media but I hate what the male sub-editors and editors do to make the article stand out.

The picture they chose of Antonia was highly sexual and nothing to do with breastfeeding. She was staring directly at the camera through smokey eyes, leaning over so that her boobs undulated down whilst her left tatooed arm pushed forward for maximum impact. The caption read: "Leslie, right, enjoys men admiring her breasts". I read the piece again. Nothing about her words or her honesty in the piece seemed appropriate for the choice of picture and caption. It was only in the final paragraph that, almost as an afterthrought, she wrote "I still enjoy grown men admiring my breasts as objects of desire, at the appropriate time and place".

My bet is that her editor asked for that last paragraph, because it doesn't fit in with the piece at all. It only fits in with the pysche of the newspaper editor who still believes that sex sells. They do this all the time. That's why page 3 of Britain's The Sun newspaper still limply shows a topless model every day. Page 3 should have been dumped years ago - if Rebekah Brooks had been brave enough to stand up to Murdoch and ditch it when she was editor then we might have liked her and had some sympathy for her now as her future looks bleak behind bars.

Nowadays, I can't help but feel that this kind of brainless titillation in newspapers just looks dated and desperate. That's why there is always such a frenzy when breasts and feeding are in the story - because we feel we've been disrespected as people, not because of our lifestyle choices. Isn't it about time that editors realised we don't want to see naked flesh and tornado-inducing stories - we want to see real people who are positive role models for our kids.

And so in the interest of showing an artistic representation of a mum breastfeeding, and deliberately avoiding showing those recent shock-and-awe pictures on my blog, here's a beautiful picture called Motherhood by Polish artist Stanisław Wyspianski.

And yes, thank you Time magazine, I reckon I am mum enough!