It’s not you, it’s me.



I heard myself defensively saying “we go to lots of playgroups, classes and play dates” before I could stop myself. It was only afterwards that I reflected and realised that the “preschool is good for them socially” wasn’t about my choices, it was about her’s. That a smile was enough. That she was nice. That just like me, she has worries in the back of her head about whether she has done / is doing the right thing.

I’m yet to meet a mum who doesn’t want to feel good about her choices or who doesn’t try to make them for all the right reasons.

I haven’t sent T to preschool because I wanted him to have what I had and because I am lucky enough to be in a position where it is possible. Because I feel I have been able to offer him everything he needs with what is on offer for preschoolers in my area. Because it felt like the right thing for him. Because it fits my skills set (most of the time…) and I enjoy it. And that’s fine.

And the lady I chatted too would have made her choice for different reasons; social reasons obviously and probably a whole host of other good reasons too. And that’s fine too.

And the relative/friend/neighbour who tells you how she got her children to sleep/behave/eat probably aren’t judging you either. Even if it feels like it. And even if they are, the overriding thing they’ll be doing is reassuring themselves. They need to feel that what they did/are doing was the right thing for their children. Because nothing is closer to their hearts than their children. Because they have never done anything before or since that matters as much.

So next time I will try and just smile…






If it makes you happy…

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The pictures of the books are there to show that I really care about doing the right thing by my kids. I am not saying that you need to read books to care and/or do right by your kids. I guess my thinking is that most people who read parenting books are trying to do right by their kids, but obviously not all people that are trying to do right by their kids read parenting books. Phew.

This isn’t even what I’m trying to blog about today. Bear with me. Basically I think I might sound trivial so I want you to ‘get me’ a bit first. Essentially – despite what my two year old says – I am not a “doker”.

Aaaarggh. I digress, I digress, I digress. What I want to blog about is the importance of metaphorically throwing out the books and finding you and your connection to your kids.

I am lucky to have worked and to work with some awesome teachers. One quite recently said how he made sure that every lesson had something that he was looking forward to in it. Selfish? Maybe. Beneficial? Definitely. He is a Chemistry teacher so the something can be pretty cool and literally explosive. But more importantly it means the students get to see him happy, engaged, enthusiastic and relaxed; doing something that he loves. I don’t want to go down the teacher blog route and you can probably see where I am heading with this. Stopping parenting and doing something you love with them (ignoring the extra mess, noise and chaos essential) can let them know you that bit better, make everyone happier and help some of the day to day stresses melt away.

The thing ‘you love’ can be a big day out or a quick dance to a favourite song. Small things can have big effects. My two boys trash the place prove this every day in an amazingly small space of time.

I have read some amazing books* and taken something from each one but I can’t believe the authors are/were rigid parents. Surely they couldn’t have written such great books if they were?? You need to freestyle a bit to discover right? More importantly you need to freestyle for your sanity. I think we should be brave and not worry that everything will turn into a dreadful habit. I spent my early parenting months worrying that everything would become a habit. Now I just think sod it, I’ll adapt this solution when it stops working.

I would argue that it is okay to have ice cream for breakfast once in a while (we’ve only done this once…so far), abandon tea and let them have toast (it was minging experimental) or let them safely run amok. Indulging every now and then in an ‘end of term’ spirit is sometimes the best thing to do. Letting the bus go rather than chasing after it can give you an amazing feeling of calm control.

If something makes you happy (and stops you tearing your hair out) it has to be a good thing all round surely??

I just want to check the following with you as I think I’m being a bit naughty….

My two year old has this great thing at the moment where he asks me to “put his bogies back” when I wipe his nose. Its brilliant. Basically I get to have another go and another go and another while “putting them back”.   Meanwhile my three year old will only apologise if “someone else says sorry first” which means I get to air my frustrations with phrases like “I am sorry we have to go through this facade every time you need to apologise”. He looks as pleased as punch and my irritation regarding whatever he has just done to his brother evaporates so much quicker.

Basically I’m quite confident up to the bogies and apologies bit. This is okay isn’t it? I genuinely worry (a bit) that they may somehow be scarred if they work out (on some level) that I’m laughing at them. Is this bonkers or is there no place for infantile behaviour when you’re a parent?

What I tell myself is that a happy mum is so important and rightly or wrongly I thrive on this low level humour. Its born out of love and me wanting to keep my patience. But is low level humour ever an acceptable activity for the thing ‘I love’ for the day??

UPDATE** At tea tonight my two year old wanted me to pick out ALL the YUCKY BITS (basil) from his pasta sauce. Instead I covered it with cheese and told him it had gone. To quote my three year old again “I just can’t stop being naughty”.



Small Print

*I’ve not read them all yet!

**In my defence I was at work today so I am very zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Irish Twins


“Josie Jump is Mikey’s name.”

“Me not Josie Jump.”

“Jumping up and down is Mikey’s game.”

“Me not Josie Jump. Me not lady.”

While this goes on in loop at least I have got them into their car seats without any aggy….

“Mikey’s in my seat. I want to sit there.”

“You can’t. Me sit here.” (Perks up).

“I’m in your seat then.”

(Unmoved. He’s learning.) “No, me in YOUR seat.”

Cries. “Josie Jump is Mikey’s name…” (fail safe)

Cries. “No me not Josie Jump.”

A lady on the checkout asked if they were twins recently. When I said not she laughed and said Irish twins then, which I assume (as well as being a bit rude) was some reference to us opting to have them close together. They are eighteen months apart.  He must have been an easy baby she says nodding to the eldest. “No he just took three years to make. The second one three minutes.” The last bit was voiced only in my head. I smiled instead opting to reinforce the easy baby myth.  It is  myth right??

They love each other so much and it’s so nice when they pick the same odd socks so “people know we’re brothers” or when they tell each other they love each other or hoot hysterically at each other’s jokes, especially the classic “bum, poo, wee” joke. That is the joke btw. But wow can they wind each other up. The skills the two year old is already mastering leave me almost proud…I heard the classic “Can you see now?”, “Can you see now?”, “Can you see now?” routine from the kitchen yesterday, when the little ‘un was clearly slowly and deliberately visually editing his brother’s favourite Peter Rabbit programme with bizarre moves in front of the television.  I’m sure I was still wheeling out that classic on housemates as an undergraduate.

I remember googling and reading about an 18 month gap when I first knew it was a situation that was hopefully on its way.  “Like twins, but where one can hurt the other” being the description that I remember most clearly and which has rang the most true. Normally through exuberance. Sometimes through blind copying. Sometimes through ferrel biting.

And its true, you should always worry when they’re quiet.  With my two it generally equates to building a “captain stinker”, which basically means putting everything that moves into a pile and jumping on it or most recently managing to open the front door (and get no further – thank goodness they went so quiet when on the brink of such excitement).  At what age do they start bluffing….yikes …

The best bit about a small age gap to date is definitely what great buddies they seem to become.  Then there is how much they learn from each other and this is a two way exchange already. It’s been lovely to see, especially the moment when the eldest relaxed instantly (from being very prickly!) when the youngest just threw his head back and laughed as an elder boy joined in their game.  I so so hope their special bond lasts and that they look out for each other as they grow up.  And when they tell each other that their favourite toys are in a dirty river I have so many happy times to remind them of (once I’ve stifled a laugh / pulled out my hair / cried into a cushion – depending on the day).

If you’re facing a similar age gap; it’s tough but what situation involving one or more child isn’t?!  Its especially hard when you have essentially two babies in the first few months.  I remember both of them crying at the same time, and then my mum starting up at the sight of two babies who both wanted their mum!  In those early months – it was intense. But it’s so very worth it and on the days when you can laugh (not every day by any stretch) so very funny.

Overheard at Christmas.  “I will open this present as long as nobody says ooooh.”


“Nobody must say ooooh.”


“Oooh. Ooh. Oooh. Ooooooooh.”

NOBODY must say ooooh.  Mum, Mikey’s saying oooohhh.”  Cries.


And repeat many times.  Before.  The classic.  What we are all waiting for….

“Josie Jump is Mikey’s name.”