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Family, Motherhood

Summer 2016.. the story so far

July 15, 2016

It’s been approximately 3 weeks since the boys schools broke up for the Summer and it’s been non stop fun!

No, no I will mention a positive first.. This is the first year since 2007 that I can have semi lie-ins. Rian is always first to rise at 6.30 ish and comes into my room demanding “warm milk and his tablet”; I’ll provide these and warn in a treacherous whisper that he is not to wake anyone else. He will then approach my bedside 5 or 6 more times with crises that range from “my blankie is broke” (fell off his bed) to wanting a new app downloaded. This morning he cried to watch Iggle Piggle on Netflix and I tried to calmly explain that it’s a CBeebies show for 10 mins while inwardly shouting “get the fuckity fuck out of my room and let me sleep!!”

19fopi85psdcvjpgInevitably he’ll wake Koray in the top bunk and copious bum talk and muffled giggles begin; someone will go too far and Koray’s pterodactyl like screams will begin… this is the point at which I snap. I become part Old Testament, part rabid dog and stomp into their room growling about smiting them as god and all the holy donkeys are my witnesses… I will bring a plague of locusts on their bunks and set fire to all their false prophets (angry birds stuff). They quiet momentarily and as I put one leg in the bed, I can hear them collapse into giggles.

I’ll doze off and be woken by one word increasing in urgency POO. Rian will be sitting proudly on the potty and I’ll have to clean it and him. I’ll do this and get back into bed and Ossie (he works nights) will intimate that I should give up and get up and I mentally smother him with a pillow.

Rian will have enjoyed the poo drama and will often squeeze out an unnecessary pip once he is sure I’ve dozed off so he can scream POO once more. Koray will try to sneak into my room to steal my phone, knocking my water on the floor and at this point I hear Conall’s door open and I take one last loving look at my pillow and leave the bed. So when I say lie-in, I really mean a series of disturbed naps that do more damage than good.

elvis-1977Conall’s summer holiday goal is to stay in pajamas for the entire thing using every piece of technology in the house, stopping only to use the toilet; He’s doing exceedingly well as the other two keep me so busy that it’s difficult to police him. I am enforcing trampoline and reading breaks… imagine these things are a chore to him. Rian plans on wallpapering and carpeting the entire house in tiny pieces of play doh and Koray is causing maximum mental anguish with his emotional neediness. I am surviving by comfort eating, drinking wine and popping painkillers; I’ll end up like Vegas Elvis by September. And there’s Game of Thrones… I am so late to this party but I have watched about 43 hours of it in the last 2 weeks… it is sooo good and all I want to do is lock myself in my room and binge what’s left. It’s also helping to assuage my parental guilt; I may not be doing loads of outdoorsy, memory-making shit with the kids but I’m not selling them into marriage or slavery…yet!

Koray is in lego camp this week and seems to love it but is such a cranky little shit when I collect him, it’s as if he’s had to fake niceness with the teachers all day and then sees me and thinks.. “She’ll take a verbal beating and not leave or call the police (even though she constantly threatens both). It’s similar to when I leave work on a Sunday and Ossie calls to ask me how my day was and I bring up the time he forgot my birthday.

69b01f73-395c-4a00-b0bb-21ae96ecd875_16x9_788x442Conall will be starting his camp in DCU next week; it’s called Whizzkids and is an IT camp and aged 8-17 so I hope he can steer away from watching youtube videos towards the Mark Zuckerberg/ Bill Gates stuff… an easy transition, I’d imagine. Yes I’m aware that I am moving him from technology in my house to technology elsewhere but at least this way I don’t have to feel as guilty.

Again.. A positive; we are halfway through July which is the only full month they have off and August will be broken up with a hens and a family holiday.. to Leitrim; Both of which will be fraught with stories, disasters and drunkenness I imagine and I will be reporting from the front lines.

Bring on the end of August and my first time to be kid free 5…. Yes 5 days a week.. Oh the things I will do, the places I will see (I’ll sleep the first 3 months that’s for sure).

Family, Motherhood

Screen-sitter

September 29, 2015

As a mother I deal with a lot of guilt, small things like:

Are the kid’s lunches too bland?

Is it right that 95% of Rian’s clothes are hand me downs?

I really should bake with the kids and nurture a love of cooking fresh and wholesome food.

Then there are the big guilts;

Do I let them have too much junk food, specifically happy meals… a euphemism if ever there was one; should be called mammy is just not feeling it meals ?

Am I cruel and restrictive to veto my son’s desire for a pink mid-sleeper? I’m reading so much about gender fluidity and I certainly don’t want to inhibit my boys, whatever their preferences but a pink bed? That’s a lot of husband-persuading and I don’t think I have the energy for the gymnastics that may be involved. 

martha-stewart-kitchen-wisdom-9780307396440_sqThe issue that I spend most time obsessing over and trying to justify to the little Martha Stewart who lives in my brain, judging me mercilessly, is the amount of screen time allowed to the boys.

The era I grew up in the term screen-time did not even exist. The only media available were TV, radio or the giant stereo system in the good room. My Mam was really strict about the TV and it was not allowed on till late afternoon. When I lived back with my parents for a year after we moved home from Turkey I’d often turn on This Morning and my Mam would arrive downstairs and I’d feel as if I’d been caught watching porn. She’d say “it’s a bit early for putting the TV on” and head into the kitchen and drown out Philip Schofield with Joe Duffy.

Sony_watchman_fd210As a kid, I had seen handheld TVs in movies, big clunky things with a black and white picture and a large aerial. I marvelled at the technology and wondered would I ever possess something as cutting edge and conducive to my slacker life plan. In my teens I got a gameboy and would spend hours in bed playing Tetris, not much has changed as I now spend hours playing Suduko (I need an intervention or a hobby).

tumblr_nkeymjQtON1tdo3rqo1_1280I discovered the baby-sitting abilities of a screen late with Conall. He was 3 and I put him into my bed while I cleaned the floors and put the Bee Movie on. He had spent the previous 3 years attached to my leg or being needy close by and shouting MAM repeatedly. After 15 minutes of silence I peeped into the room and he was enthralled, I wanted to sing and dance with my new found freedom but instead cleaned the house from top to bottom. He watched that movie till it wore out and I had to replace it and then came Monsters Inc, followed by Toy Story. Koray was born and Conall now had a little portable DVD player and it allowed me to feed the baby and change those never ending messy yellow baby poos in peace. As Koray grew, he wanted to watch movies but that ended badly with him throwing the DVD player down the stairs once because the screen froze (we’ve all had one of those moments). I could do an entire post on cracked screens but if I was to total everything paid out it would upset me greatly. I am currently TV-less as Rian frisbeed a wooden jigsaw at Koray last week who ducked impressively and the screen took the brunt, I suppose a smashed TV was preferable than a trip to Temple Street.

maxresdefault (1)Koray started to take my phone when he was 2 and figured out how to go on youtube and use voice recognition to watch his strange little videos. He began the kinder egg opening obsession that was passed on to his younger brother. He also loved to watch people making cakes. I put the settings to kid friendly and hoped for the best as I now had another demanding little boy needing exclusive mammy time.

In the meantime Conall had discovered Minecraft and he got an Xbox for Christmas and loved to play. This led him to youtube where he watched guys like Stampy Longhead (nose) and Dan TDM narrate the games they were playing. These guys have 6 and a half and 8 million subscribers respectively. Who knew this could be a career choice? You sit on your ass at home and video yourself playing games and post it online… this certainly wasn’t discussed by my guidance counselor. (Possibly something similar but that required nudity and intimate bleach)

2015-09-29 13.49.03Rian copied Koray and began to watch the insufferable Kinder Egg opening. For the uninitiated there are hundreds/ possibly thousands of youtube videos of adults (and kids) opening kinder after kinder and expressing surprise at the contents. There isn’t much talk of eating the chocolate which concerns me. I couldn’t narrate those videos due to a loathing of thumb rings and a full gob of delicious chocolate. (A little way into that particular career and I wouldn’t find a thumb ring in the land to fit my sausage fingers)

  20150728_205947vjfkgfi_7261Conall is the trailblazer as the oldest and he is not interested in Pixar movies or the squeaky clean Dan TDM anymore… he wants controversy. He wants JackSepticeye… I love and loathe this guy… his language is fucking shocking and he seems to have bypassed the child settings on youtube by wearing a flat cap and looking 12 years of age. He’s Irish and has 6 and a half million subscribers! He is John Lennon to my son and the reason he wears a flatcap everywhere and says “top o the mornin to you” to everyone (even his headmaster). He is also the reason my 4 year old likes to shout nipple-twisty-fresh at inappropriate times. I berate myself for letting Conall watch him but he will do his homework on the promise of some Jack-time and go to bed early! He works better than Santy-threats.

My children’s bedtime routine now consists of bath, then bed with a fully-charged (they’d better be or the consequences will be Game of Thrones-esque) device. Koray in my bed playing Plants Vs Zombies, Conall in his own watching something highly unsuitable on youtube and Rian in his bed watching netflix. It buys me time to tidy up and I do go take their technology one by one and spend time reading them a story and having snuggles. I seriously don’t know what I would do without my digital babysitters.


20150917_171739I spend most nights in bed obsessing over everything I’ve done wrong that day and promise myself that the next day I will be the best parent I can be, What I don’t take into account are my kids and how their asshole behaviour will diminish me to a gibbering wreck. I sit on the floor to play puzzles with them or take them for a walk and it all degenerates into chaos so for now I’ll take the help in whatever form it comes in…After all, Conall says he wants to be a youtuber when he grows up and while this doesn’t match my plans of him becoming a neurosurgeon, the pay would be better and in the meantime he is building an invaluable vocabulary.Mummascribbles

Family, Mental Health, Motherhood

Baby-proofing your marriage; my experience

September 22, 2015

I had forgotten about the curveball/ grenade a baby throws into your relationship until I read an article on it recently. It completely changes how you both feel about each other and the manner in which you deal with these feelings will ensure your survival or destruction as a couple. I was completely unprepared for how much I would dislike my husband after baby number 1 as he would me but let me back the story up a bit..

223537_6142043137_8921_nMy pregnancy on Conall was as lovely as expecting your first baby can be; I would stroke my belly while smiling up at Ossie as he caressed my hair and kissed my head lovingly. We walked everywhere (no car at the time) holding hands and imagining what our little man would be like. “I’ll be happy if he has your nose” I’d say and he’d reply “I’ll be happy if he has your lips”… We’d then laugh at the possibility of him having my teeth and his ears.

At night we’d look in the empty moses basket longingly, willing the weeks to pass.

It didn’t happen like in the movies; For a few nights in a row, I’d get up to pee and as I’d make my way back to bed I’d feel a trickle down my leg and think ffs and go get a pad and do a baby wipe job on the undercarriage. I began googling and thought it could be my waters so I went to my GP who gave me a little pee container and said if I could catch some that that would be my ticket to the labour ward. That night I managed to catch some and I did the smell test… it smelt sweet, bingo! I was starting to get some light contractions so off we went.

I was in very early labour but the magic vial of amniotic fluid ensured my stay and Ossie was fantastic walking me the length and breadth of Holles Street to make things move faster and he let me gouge his arms with my fingers when a bad contraction took hold. His face was pressed to mine in the final stages as he told me to push push… “I can’t I answered, I’m going into the light.” (It was BAD)

37180_436518501866_8271316_nWhen Conall was put into my arms, I smiled at Ossie and I had never loved him more… “he has your nose” “and your lips” he answered with tears pouring down his face. We noticed his ears then and laughed.

2015-09-22 11.55.42We were living with my parents and the segway into parenting was not so smooth. I had adopted a uniform of giant nursing bra, disposable pants and an oversized nightdress. I had gone from glowing and “all bump” to a saggy, leaking mess. Conall would not latch and my nipples were cracked and scabbing and I was getting little or no sleep. The moses basket was still pristine as our angry man had made his way between us. Then I contracted a kidney infection that spiked my temperature and had me shivering and in pain for a week. There was an ugly moment where Ossie tried to strip me of my fleece dressing gown and blanket and threatened a cold shower to bring my temperature down; I turned my pleading eyes to my parents who were putty in my hands and a row broke out with Ossie storming off and me agreeing to remove the dressing gown. I started to resent his light snoring at night and prodded him to wake when Conall cried even though he couldn’t feed the baby and had work the next day. I was insanely jealous that his life continued more or less the same while I had this screaming dependant that wouldn’t let me shower and I felt broken inside and out. I found myself narrowing my eyes and searching for “mistakes” Ossie had made so I could point them out and say “see, see you’re useless” (implied and not said). They were tough times and I began to plan my life as a single parent and I’m sure he did too although he would never dare admit it.

4113C06438L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_It was only when a couple of months later I was on the phone to a friend, Michelle who asked “well have you noticed how useless men are yet?” and I almost fainted… yes, yes! I’m not proud it was a phonecall full of misandry (it’s a word) and husband-bashing at it’s worst but it was cathartic and she recommended a book on how to babyproof your marriage. I bought it the following day and read it cover to cover. It’s hilarious and includes real stories and I came to the realisation that this is a thing. I’m sure some of you didn’t experience it and were blissfully happy but many women I talk to agree. Having a baby is HUGE… it changes your perception of the world and those around you. You realise quickly which friends will offer practical support and advice and which ones are pissed off that you’re not their drinking buddy anymore.

MkII_07The romantic world that you built the foundation of your relationship is stripped away and he has seen you at your worst/best with your vag in tatters and your boobs leaking. You now pee in front of each other as opportunities to use the bathroom are not as easy (I draw the line at pooing, never, ever do I want to see his poo-face). Sex is off the cards for a minimum of 6 weeks and new ways of intimacy have to be initiated. I remember telling my mother that Ossie was in a bad mood and she asked “have you had the other yet?” (her euphemism has always been the other) and I said “no”. She told me that it would be a good idea to keep him sweet and that there was “more than one way to skin a cat”. I will never forget those words…. they haunt my nightmares but she had a point.

Communication is the key… he kept asking me what I wanted and I would answer “nothing” and cry… (I still do this) but I should have told him I wanted him to tell me I was doing a good job, I wanted him to hold me and tell me he loved me and that I was still the same sex bomb I had always been to him. In hindsight he probably wanted these things too but we sat side by side and watched TV in bloody-minded silence while Conall fed oblivious to the chaos he had caused.

I baby-proofed our marriage when the next two came along simply because we talked about it and knew what to expect. It isn’t a fairy-tale, it is bloody hard but if you survive it together you have a strong foundation to lead you through the minefield of raising children.
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Family

Joe Duffy is the bane of a rep’s life; summer nights part 5

September 21, 2015

I began my job with Sunworld as a transfer rep in the Summer of 2004. I worked Saturdays and Sundays doing many, many coach pick ups and drops offs to the airport. I was terrified about the little bus spiel but realised I could do it sitting down with my back to the crowd so it wasn’t too difficult. The hard part was rounding up the people on your list for the night time collections. I had to prise microphones out of drunken guests’ hands mid I did it my way and shove them physically onto the bus. I witnessed girls in signed Jimmy’s vest tops clinging onto their holiday romance, mascara running down their faces as the guy tried to prise her off him and give her a little push on to the bus so he could go home and shower in time to meet the next bus of “fresh chickens”. I’d see many the Turkish guy in the rearview mirror frantically texting his next hook-up.

GucciLuggagePossibly a trained sheepdog could have done the same job herding the masses into the airport and getting them to form an orderly queue. Then the drama of excess luggage charges would arise; a couple of sun wizened oul wans would start shouting in raspy emphysema-riddled voices (chain smoking L&Ms for the week) “where’s the rep?” and when you got to the check in counter they’d throw you the filthies and point at the pretty Turkish check in assistant…”she’s bleedin tryna charge us €200 for our bags”.. I’d look at the frazzled girl and we’d both be thinking the same thing in different languages (here we fucking go again).

I’d eye up the women’s bulging genuine-fake Gucci suitcases and then the scales which read 40 kilos per bag. I’d start off patiently.. “you’re only allowed 20 kilos”. “Wha? No one told us tha, I’m ringin Joe Duffy”. Deep breath; “I said it on the bus on the way to and from the resort and at your welcome meeting, it was also printed on your tickets.” “We got a taxi with Mustafa and we’ve our own house here so we didn’t hear ya say any of tha” “Right, so you’re not even Sunworld customers? (smug smile)…good luck to yiz!”

image_update_e57736c065f034c6_1374322610_9j-4aaqskThere was no better feeling than getting the sheep on the plane and having a smoke as we watched them take off and prayed for a nicer shower of people the following day.

The money was shite by Irish standards so when I was offered a job repping the Thursday and Friday Sunworld boat trips, I was thrilled. The hardest part of that job was waking the guests at 8am and getting them on the coach. Nothing spells trouble more than a small boat of violently hungover people in 40 degree heat and choppy waters. The Thursday boat trip was particularly problematic as it was called a booze cruise and all alcoholic drinks were included in the ticket. I began to hate this job and battled my own seasickness on each trip but hey I was getting €16 for the full day so it was SO worth it.

Around this time I met Orlagh for the first time at a restaurant having dinner with all the reps. She was working for a rival travel company and we bonded over our love of food and compared similar stories of how we met our then boyfriends/ now husbands.

12019121_10153636679691411_1578151398_o12029061_10206740479925994_1554012941_nI had to take a holiday in July for my sister’s wedding so I flew home for two weeks of fun and I am at my absolute best in all the photos from a Summer of tanning; the over indulgence on bar street and in restaurants hadn’t yet caught up on me. Anyone who has family overseas will know that airports and goodbyes are horrible and you are in a state of perpetual unhappiness and wish to bring everyone and everything you love to some middle ground and live in unified happiness… I had my fantasy middle ground as possibly Prague… is this geographically sound? I didn’t do geography for my leaving cert and my sense of direction must have been accidentally removed (perhaps with my excess teeth that time?).

I can’t remember which trip home it was… probably at the end of the season of 2004 and I was on my way to baggage reclaim with tears still streaming unchecked down my face when I bumped into Orlagh who was on her way back to Kusadasi and she saw a kindred spirit in my angst. She promised that if ever there was a full time repping job going that she’d pass on my name.

That Winter I was desperate for Ossie to visit and I completed all the million visa forms required in Turkey. I must have spent a month on hold with the visa office and scrolled their website constantly. Eventually I got through to a girl called Regina and she told me his visa was good to go and I promised to name our first child after her, thankfully we had 3 boys, sorry Regina.

20090918SAWG_fg11aI rang Ossie and he said he’d be over for Christmas and he’d go book a ticket… little was I to know that he had a vague idea that Xmas was a time period and not a specific day and so he booked the 26th of December to come over. I had an altercation with my Mam as she was expecting us to sleep in separate rooms as we weren’t married; I went nuclear and my Dad surprisingly backed me up so she stropped off in a sulk and said a few decades of the rosary. I was so excited on Christmas day and told my nanny all about him and she said she was delighted that he was a muslim and not a protestant.

There was some awkwardness as I couldn’t drive in those days (a wasted youth) and my Dad had to bring me to the airport and we sat in the back of the car on the way home to Artane sneaking kisses and giggling while my Dad listened to RTE’s Coastal Reports And Sea Crossings very loudly in the front.

i73762I brought Ossie on the hop on hop off tour around Dublin and learnt loads myself… we visited the Guinness brewery, did the Jameson tour and had a drink in the smallest pub in Ireland…. bit of a theme. I got an email from Orlagh and I was offered a full time job for that Summer.

Ossie went home and I worked a few more months in Boots before packing for the Summer of 2005 in Kusadasi, one where I would go to Ossie’s village to meet his family and learn the dark repping arts…..
Happy Diaries

 

Family, Motherhood

A bad day

August 25, 2015

I’m having a bad day. Mondays are generally bad because I’m tired after a weekend’s work and could do with a lie on but the kids don’t take that into consideration and wake me at 7am.

This morning I was ensconced in a comfy spooning situation with my husband who had only returned from working through the night when I heard the first of the thousand MAMs I would hear today.

giphy (7)I wearily put my feet on the floor and decided today was the first day since April that warranted a dressing gown. I put a cloth headband on to complete my glamorous attire and began the day emptying the potty, making food for the kids that wouldn’t be eaten by anyone but me (enroute to the bin), and muttering obscenities under my breath.

I glanced longingly at my laptop many times only to hear my captors shout and I would run in shushing and issuing threats. Koray was playing Harry Potter on the Xbox and kept shouting “Mam I’m stuck on a level” and I’d have to youtube a walkthrough and help him out while the potty trainee (95% there) peed like a pregnant lady.

tom-and-jerry-starsI found time between potty washing and youtubing to put a wash on and when it was done I grabbed the wet clothes to bring to the dryer, and I dropped a sock; I bent to retrieve it and when I straightened up I cracked my nose off the corner of the wall. I heard a crunch and saw stars, like in a Tom and Jerry cartoon. My face went completely numb and I thought shite, I’ve broken my nose, the only semi-decent feature on my face. In these circumstances I revert to being a child so I went upstairs and woke Ossie to have a weep. He had a look and told me I looked like Owen Wilson.

giphy (8)I had a shower and put some make-up on and feeling a little better took the kids to an indoor play area. It was the usual chaos of bursts of energy followed by sweaty shouts for snacks. I did manage to have a coffee with my friend Susan who told me she was very proud that a) I was drinking coffee and b) I hugged her (I have issues… awkward hugger). We confessed to each other about how shocking our parenting skills were and then almost got competitive I’m a bad mother… no I am… I’m worse. This led on to our favourite topic about how we’d do a Thelma and Louise but not drive off a cliff… just book into a hotel to sleep uninterrupted.

On the journey home I made a rookie mistake and let Conall and Koray sit next to each other. They were playing with my phone in between torturing each other. Conall likes to call Koray Corey and make him cry and Koray retaliates by calling him Conor. At one point they got so crazy that I screamed JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH I’LL MURDER THE BOTH OF YOU at which point I noticed Conall was holding my phone up and he said “Mam, someone’s on the phone for you”.. Fuck… I grabbed the phone and noticed it was my work number and realised I was expecting a call from my boss regarding me doing some work for the new parenting club, fantastic.

269-5053947024269-IDShot_225x225I got home, took some paracetamol for my aching nose and made them dinner (yes I ate most of it). I got them to bed and set to tidying some of the day’s carnage when Rian yelled for the potty. I picked it up without realising it was full and poured cold piss down the front of my Harry Potter nightdress and bare legs…. I didn’t get to clean it off for a good 10 minutes while doing the pee/ brushing teeth/ bedtime drink waltz.

I’ve come straight to bed to vent and regroup, Ossie is off tomorrow and he can spend some quality time with his progeny while I lie on my bed and stare at the ceiling vacantly for an hour… it’s the little things.

Mummascribbles

Family, Motherhood

The Shoe Situation; Our Family Trip to Turkey Part 2

August 18, 2015

We were picked up in the airport by my husband’s oldest brother Mehmet in a mini-van and brought to his holiday home. The kids were delighted at the lax seatbelt laws and ran about the van alternating between screeching and whingeing for the hour and a half it took to get there. My wonderful husband had sat up front chatting with his brother and was unaware of the crisis in the back.

When we arrived, Ossie was reunited with his sister whom he hadn’t seen in 15 years and it was like a scene from Long Lost Families. His other brother Yakup and his Mam were there too, along with his sister’s two boys aged 13 and 10.

20150807_145627Nanny Ozdemir was thrilled to see the boys and babbled away to them while playfully slapping their bums (now I know where Ossie gets that particular trait). My boys are used to having an authoritarian granny (see Mom Corleone) but it proved helpful that this one doesn’t speak any english. The amount of times that Rian told her to fuck off was shocking but myself and Ossie just smiled indulgently as if he’d said I love you nanny. Koray was easy to bribe; I’d say go and kiss your nanny and I’ll give you money for the shop… and Conall much the same (note to self: undo the message that it’s ok to take payment in exchange for kisses).

20150806_203937It was difficult getting them to adapt to the shoe situation… never EVER in the house but they needed to be placed outside the door and slipped on immediately upon leaving the house.. the theory being no dirt would touch your feet and contaminate the inside floors. I was a nervous wreck shouting SHOES constantly. It didn’t help that Mehmet appeared to have OCD and was forever hosing stuff (including my manky kids) . My boys loved the freedom of no shoes and would leg it to the dusty playground across the road and appear to roll in dirt and come back to the house like they’d been up a chimney. Nanny Ozdemir was shocked at first as the other 2 boys were super-obedient and would sit quietly on their tablets, speaking only when spoken to. She soon became accustomed to the wildness of my progeny and would often burst out laughing at their shenanigans.

11825695_10153256096503138_1518317933831901748_nIt was a great place for kids, a pool, a playground and fruit and veg growing all around us. Koray loved to take seeds from the Sunflowers and shell and eat them. Our outdoor eating area was shaded by meandering grape vines (ironically). The back garden yielded tomatoes, figs, peaches, apples and some that I didn’t recognise.

I once helped the mammy prepare some okra for dinner without having a clue what it was, but t’was yummy. Breakfast consisted of a buffet of tomatoes, cheese, olives, peppers, boiled eggs and bread. Rian with his egg obsession (blame Kinder) would insist on “hatching” all the eggs.

I liked all the meals, mainly vegetarian and tomato based but the men did a BBQ one night for the Irish person and even made me chips to my shame (secret delight).

I did my best to help Fatma (sister) to prepare the food as she seemed a bit of a dogsbody (when I asked Ossie to ask if she was ok legging it around after everyone she answered “but what else would I be doing?”) but she would chop like Gordon Ramsay and look sympathetically at me as I autopsied a tomato, slowly. The only downside to our week with family was that the weather was in the mid to late 30s and the sleeping arrangements weren’t ideal. I was in a room with 2 single beds pushed together with Conall and Rian… I would invariably end up sideways with the gap sawing at my spine. There was no air conditioning and I felt like there were a thousand hair dryers styling me to suffocation.

I stuck out enough among my olive skinned, black-haired in-laws but it was impossible to wear make up so I paraded my boiled-shite look as brazenly as I could. There was no question of alcohol but the boys would sneak to the beach every night for some beers so I bought cigarettes (an occasional habit, mainly with drink) and smoked in secret to hold on to a bit of boldness.

11754543_10153255008728138_8712106861760590134_oWe had a few outings, one particularly disastrous one which on paper seemed fun. The local bus is a tractor pulling a cart (more tourist attraction than backwardness) and was to bring us into the town. We piled on, 5 kiddies, me, Yakup, Fatma and Mammy Ozdemir (Ossie was at the dentist…. a reoccurring theme on this holiday). My already battered spine was forced to sit on a wooden bench with Rian on my knee for 40 minutes while the sun bet the shit out of me. When we got off, it was clear to me that no one knew where we were or where to go. There was an arcade and we let the kids run amok in there. When we had to leave all kids (mine) started screaming and had to be physically removed and put back on the tractor…I think Yakup rethought fatherhood in his future that day.

I had really low expectations for a week with the in laws but it proved to be bonding, low maintainence and nutritional. Plus I always fall a little bit more in love with my husband when I see him in his natural environment and how lovely he is to his mammy (take note, my little shits).

I was ready for some air conditioning, gossip and most of all wine….Mehmet packed us up in his van of death again and off we sped weaving in and out of insane and illogical traffic, seatbeltless….. A glorious week in a fabulous hotel beckoned….surely there could be no dramas there?

To be continued…..

 

Life Unexpected

Family, Motherhood

Potty Training Blues (Browns)

July 20, 2015

Here we go again… potty training for the third and definitely final time; two words that strike terror and apprehension into any parent’s heart. I am remaining positive and dreaming of a new carpet (very necessary) and enough money saved on nappies to finance a Penney’s spree.

I can remember training Conall 5 years ago; we were optimistic enough to have his name down for playschool that September. I figured we’d the whole Summer to do it and any parent worth their salt will tell you that’s the best time, let them run around in their pants without getting hypothermia.

The first few days there was no success whatsoever; he would cooperate and sit on the potty for hours, getting off only to pee on the carpet. His thighs held the imprint of the potty and there were times that I put a blanket over his legs and a movie on to relax him. He seemed happy with what he thought was a new seat. The house was sodden with pee but that wasn’t the worst of it.

giphy (2)He loved the freedom of unbridled pooing. I caught him out the back once actually dropping a log on a log. Another time he pooed his pants and his feet got tangled in the mess as he tried to remove them and he tore off up the hall leaving brown footprints. I realised what was happening (my parents were over for dinner of course) and I screamed at my husband to catch him but he was like the gingerbread man (dropping chocolate chips). He tore up the (carpeted) stairs and across the (carpeted) landing and jumped onto his (freshly laundered) bed. I was rooted to the spot and when I eventually made my way upstairs, my Dad intercepted me like the butler in Downton Abbey saying it might be best (for her ladyship) if I went downstairs. Ossie had Conall in a football hold and looked at me shaking his head, tears in his eyes. The smell hit my nostrils and I screamed “NOOOOOOOO, we’ll have to move house, or at least burn it for the insurance!” I could hear my Mam downstairs unscrewing the top of a vodka bottle. The clean up was a blur and the more we scrubbed, the more tangible the odour became… fart-fragrance febreeze, shake n crap, Cilit bangs… you get it. We ended up hiring a steam cleaner.

At this time Conall was a big fan of watching nursery rhymes on youtube and while watching humpty dumpty he pooped his pants. Being a curious 2 year old he had to have a look so he had a rummage and getting bored went back to changing the clip by clicking the mouse and then had a bang at the keyboard. I did my best to clean both with cotton buds and dettol but for months my hand smelt of poo if I sent an email and all had to be binned.

We ended up deferring playschool for a year and postponing the training as I’m sure you understand due to our house was becoming bubonic at this stage.

2013-05-02 09.20.20Koray was much easier and was fully trained a few months after his second birthday. The carpet did endure some more urinary accidents and his pants have seen more than a few skid mark situations but nothing on the armageddon scale of Conall’s training.

This brings me to number 3, Rian. He has been ready to train for a long time but we had to wait until he had healed fully from his willy operation. We started last Monday (and when I say we, I mean Ossie as if left up to me I’d have them in nappies for life, much more hygienic than their crop-circled pants and I wouldn’t have to deal with toilet seats being left up and piddly puddles on the floor and sometimes the wall!!!??). He has been brilliant, every poo has hit the potty, although the other two have been taking lazy wees in his potty in the sitting room when my back is turned, MEN!

When this is done, I may start a carpet fund if anyone would like to donate as it is currently held together with years old milk, bodily fluids and miscellaneous gross stuff. I think it’s time to bring back “the good room” that nobody can enter. My Mam is a big fan of them and I’m starting to see the sense, one room I can let visitors into without their nose crinkling in disgust and a look of incredulity at the torn wallpaper, writing on the walls and nameless stench.

Twinkly TuesdayAdvice From The Heart

Family, Motherhood

Desperately Seeking Susan

July 4, 2015

I can’t have stuff, my small army won’t let me. They have stripped me of my youth, decent clothes, dignity and now they are taking my possessions. The catalyst for the following rant happened last Thursday morning. I planned on taking a morning shower which takes some military planning. The oldest two were playing Lego Batman on the Xbox but my two year old was wandering around the kitchen trying to sniff out treats. I sat him at the kitchen table where my laptop was charging and put on youtube, a 17 minute long kinder surprise opening video… just enough time to shower and dress. I hopped in the shower with my mammy antenna humming loudly; I ignored it as the hot water was so delicious and closed my eyes pretending I lived a leisurely, minimalist existence. I dried off… silence, hmmmmmmm.

As I descended the stairs Conall (7) shouted ”Mam, don’t come into the sitting room, you won’t be happy!” “Shit, shit, shit, I jumped the last few steps only to see Rian grinning and wiping the windows with a tea towel. There was a discarded Dettol spray on the floor. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t care that he’d smeared the window but I had just washed them the night before for the first time in possibly a year…. argggh, why now, it’s like he knew.

I made my way in to the kitchen and sat at my laptop with a cup of tea; I opened it and liquid seeped out… and what was that familiar smell? Dettol!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO

i have NothingThe three boys ran into the kitchen to see why mammy was wailing. Rian piped up “ I broke your laptop mammy”. Conall and Koray looked at each other as if he had admitted to playing Grand Theft Auto. I’m not proud of this but I began to sob and I said “this laptop was the only joy I had in my life and you took it from me, I have nothing left, nothing!” Yes, it was dramatic but I was PMSing and channelling Bodyguard Whitney. Koray said quietly, “I’ll get you tissues” and came back and mopped my face while saying “you’ll be ok “ softly over and over while Conall awkwardly massaged my back. The culprit stood his ground with an angry little frown taking the carnage in and clearly revelling in it. I then got a things could be worse speech from Conall where he listed everything from being burnt alive to being on the Titanic.

jackieo-60s-pillbox1I got everyone in the car, put on my Jackie Onassis sunglasses and drove to my friend Susan’s.             The journey was silent, peppered only with Rian’s Father Jack impression although instead of feck and girls, he sporadically shouted fuck and laptop. giphy

Susan answered the door in her dressing gown and proudly announced she had showered for my arrival which I said was a lovely thing to do and then promptly burst into tears again.

She was taken aback and looked confusedly down at her dressing gown; I explained it wasn’t the kindness of her personal hygiene but that my youngest had destroyed my social media and Netflix addiction. We then played our favourite game, swapping assholery (kids not piles) stories followed by a half hour of here’s what I’d love to do right now. The second game always involves a hotel room, room service, alcohol, a bubble bath and hours of alone time, on a bad day an airport or even a hospital stay (nothing serious but requiring bed rest and alone time) may be involved.

Thank you Susan for having kids that are assholes too, and for admitting you struggle. Thanks for getting your husband to try to salvage my laptop and when it couldn’t, it was nice of you to comment on it’s cleanliness and dettolly smell. Next time you call, I will do my best to shower for you but I may need to lock the kids in the shed while I do so.

Family, Motherhood

Boys Don’t Cry (yes they bloody do, all the time)

June 29, 2015

Growing up with one sister and no brothers and also attending an all-girls school till the age of 17 left me clueless to the world of men. As a child they were feral creatures to be avoided at all costs. We would visit cousin’s houses and I would try to make myself invisible while observing their behaviour…I was the David Attenborough of the male species, storing the information for a future life. I witnessed the hyperactivity, messiness and violence first hand. These were also the days of unrestricted E numbers which could have had an effect on this..  generic coke and sugar puffs rounded out the 80s kid’s diet. I would veer between pity and jealousy for my female friends and cousins with brothers.  On the one hand they had someone to protect them from the mean suburban streets and a potential for hot friends but they also faced extreme forms of torture; chinese burns, forced fart smelling and having to watch football.

Now here I am at the mercy of three small men (and one big one) and while I know that most kids are messy assholes, here are some traits that seem to be primarily male ones.

giphy (15) 

  • The toilet seat. From the dawn of… well toilet seat invention this has been the cause of many arguments and possibly divorces? murder? It isn’t  just the laziness of not replacing the lid but the petrie dish of germs and stainage left on the rim that causes palpitations for me and I won’t even get started on the non-replacement of a new roll of toilet paper. I’ll give a nod also to the crop-circled (often skid-marked) jocks loving left 5 inches from the washing basket and always crotch up.
  • Not playing with toys. I have said many times before that I am forever searching for the elusive toy that my kids will attach to and while away a quiet few hours. They cry and beg for toys like any kid and when they get them they play with it for 30 seconds and then resume their assholery. Point in case is my two year old’s obsession with Kinder Eggs. He loves to open them and then throw the chocolate away (I eat it, sometimes off the floor). He looks at the toy briefly and then walks away. Right now 2 year old is pushing the double buggy around the house, knocking stuff everywhere while my 4 year old is climbing inside a quilt cover. I have heard from friends that their kids will sit and have tea parties or brush their dolls hair, all nice role-play stuff. tumblr_mgbuq5Ie3u1rnr47go8_250The only role-play mine know is possibly John and Mary from Father Ted or a WWF wrestler. As a disclaimer, my husband and I don’t wrestle or beat each other with garden implements (not in front of them anyway).
  • They like to mess with their junk.. ALOT! enough said.
  • They have so much energy. No matter what time I put my 2 year old to bed, he wakes at 6.30 every morning and is marathon ready. They were cursed with a lazy ass mam who is allergic to parks and the outdoors (psychologically). I may invest in a treadmill for them to run. Before bedtime they like to chase each other around the island in the kitchen for a half hour. This raises an eyebrow from visitors but is a successful full-of-beans remover.
  • They love their mammy as I’m sure girls do but the boys are unabashed in their love. I am told many times a day that I am loved and how much (to the moon, then to mars and back to earth again). Conall still likes me to walk him to the door of school and kiss and hug him while his female peers prefer to be dropped at the gate and walk in independently. He has faced a dilemma when his girlfriend Emma bumps into us at the school gates and informs me that she is walking in parentless. Conall is then faced with a Sophie’s Choice of mammy or girl? He looks beseechingly at both of us and I know in an ideal world we would both hold his hand and skip in together but Emma is insistant and he chooses her. I’m happy he’s made the right choice but can’t help mutter “ungrateful bastard” and “harlot” under my breath.
  • I don’t have to watch Frozen on repeat or any Disney princessy shite.10343616
  • Poos, farts, willies, bums (front and back) are guaranteed to get big laughs. Forget your sophisticated knock knock jokes, our house is more Farrelly Brothers than Coen. Don’t get me wrong I like a poo joke as well as the next but it’s hard to listen to them shout poo and laugh hysterically on long car journeys.
  • They wear whatever I put on them which is fabulous, no arguments at all. They wouldn’t notice if I put Borat’s mankini on them, they’d skip out to play oblivious. Haircuts are a pain in the ass as they are so often and as I know short hair is difficult to manage… putting hair in a ponytail is an easy option when compared to sticking down a multitude of cowlicks.
  • They like to eat! My middle son is built like a rugby player and it is so hard to keep him full. He’ll eat a steak and a half in a sitting and will want more. He spends half his day standing on the ledge inside the fridge staring at food. He’ll ask “what are you eating?” I’ll say “prawns” and he’ll ask “can I try?”. Then he’ll say mmmm and steal my dinner. The other two are a bit more picky but I am envisioning future food bills when they are teenagers and have started to research the price of camper vans and gas masks.
  • The washing, the motherf**cking washing….. it’s too much! I dress them, wash them, gel their cowlicks and five minutes later they are like a miner. How can their fingernails get dirty inside the house?

 

This list is certainly not exhaustive but I’m sure as they get older I will have more bullet points. I am well aware of the hell that teenagerdom will bring, or am I? The washing….although I have heard they take a hankering to washing their own sheets, how thoughtful.

I know that raising girls brings it’s own hardships and if anyone is up for a challenge, I will gladly post for you on my blog. One point I must mention though is the absolute annoyance of people asking if I’ll be “going for a girl?” Do they not think that my family is complete? Sweet Jesus, one more baby and I’ll lose the last few brain cells I have left so PLEASE stop asking, it ‘aint gonna happen. I am queen of my semi-detached castle and I will continue to clean all those socks and jocks in return for all the sweet hugs and love I get in return, I just put feminism back 50 years didn’t I? Apologies future partners and Emma.

A Cornish Mum

Family, Motherhood

Assholery

June 25, 2015

Being a parent has so far been an eye-opener and a complete shock to my system. It has been nothing like I ever thought or expected. I was so judgy pre-kids and rolled my eyes at tantruming kids and their frazzled parents blaming bad diet and a lack of discipline. I read every pregnancy and parenting book I could get my hands on in the first couple of years. When things began spinning out of control with my first, organically-fed child I began to watch Jo Frost with a pen and paper.http--i.dailymail.co.uk-i-pix-2008-07-19-article-1036217-0200ACAF00000578-428_468x534

What nobody warned me about was the level of assholery I would have to put up with from my progeny. They astound me with their brazen demands and torture me physically and mentally. I once thought I was a patient person but they would provoke Gandhi into giving them a clip around the ear. Their proficiency in whinging is at an olympic level. I CANNOT abide whinging, I’d rather listen to a tap dripping, a fly buzzing, Rosie Perez saying mass. I don’t deserve this as I have never been more unselfish… I give them my food if they want it (even though they’ve had theirs and it’s the first thing I’ve had time to eat all day); I clean their asses (while dry-retching sometimes); I don’t sleep more than 3 hour stints; I am literally at their beck and call and yet they treat me like a Kardashian’s personal assistant. How is it possible that I can love these three boys so much while they relentlessly abuse my sacrifices?

 

PP005 (Peppa jumping in muddy puddle-CMYK) copyI will list some examples : (please note that all examples happened in the last 10 days)

    • They wanted a sandpit and to stop them digging up the grass in the back, I succumbed and bought a plastic pit, 2 bags of sand and all the paraphernalia. A half hour later I looked out the window and they had sprinkled all the sand to the four corners of the grass. Koray took it up a notch by pouring water on a patch and turning it into a muddy puddle.. damn you Peppa!
    • One of them will ask for a specific meal ie; ham, grated cheese and pasta and on presentation will say yuk, I actually want nuggets. I used to like cooking but now it’s a loathsome deli-assistant job akin to catering for people with imagined food allergies.
    • They can be stubborn little shits, “Mam, I want a gintair” “It’s called a guitar love” “IT’S NOT, IT’S A GINTAIR IDIOT” Fast forward 5 minutes to where I’m on the verge of tears and he’s apoplectic with rage and I’m agreeing… “alright, alright it’s a bloody gintair”. Then I catch sight of his smug face in the rearview mirror arggh.
    • “Mam, you’re pretty…..pretty ugly” cue hysterical laughter
    • Look at what I’m doing!” “I can’t, I’m driving the car”LOOK LOOK LOOK LOOK…. for the next 10 minutes
    • Check out that old guys face, it’s SOOO red” “Stop shouting, he’ll hear you!” “But it’s RED”
    • 4am: “MAAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, My blanket fell off the bed”
    • The two smallies decided my sitting room carpet wasn’t stained and damaged enough so they poured conditioner all over it and then rubbed flaky, powdery play doh into the mixture. Not satisfied with their carnage they then rolled in it and ran up the (carpeted) stairs touching everything in their path (jackets, my handbag etc). I have often joked about burning the house down for insurance purposes but this time I half-meant it.

 

 

 

hoo-ahIt’s a form of torture and I don’t have Liam Neeson’s unique skill-set to deal with this. They like “the step”… it doesn’t faze them and my shouting voice has become my normal speaking tone. I’m like Al Pacino HOO HAA! I thought motherhood would soften me and I’d acquire a glow and parents worldwide would flock to me for advice and a slice of my famous home-made bread.

giphy (14)Instead I am a broken woman, dealing with three ninjas… I am Clouseau to their Cato but alas forbidden to karate chop. I make sure they get their 5 a day while I make do with the odd Coke Zero and biscuits… sometimes I’ll find time for a crisp sandwich… I’ve probably got rickets.

It’s a thankless, messy and difficult job and the only thoughts that help me sleep my intermittent sleep are those of revenge (these involve embarrassing pant-shitting stories told to potential love-interests) and dreams of successful sons’ accepting an oscar, a nobel or a booker prize and thanking me for all my sacrifice and serenity in the face of their absolute assholery.

 

Modern Dad Pages

 

Family, Like Magazine

Daddy’s Girl

June 20, 2015

Father’s Day is approaching on June the 21st. It’s not as easy to buy for the men in our lives as it is the women, the same goes for praise. I’d like to pay tribute to an unsung hero… my Dad, Damo, a gentle, kind man with a sharp brain and his light planted firmly under a bushel.

My Dad is exceptional (I’m not in the least bit biased). He has always been a solid rock of support for myself and my sister. No man was ever going to live up to the precedent he set and the men we married are reminded (and agree) about that frequently.

In our house as kids if we heard wait till your father gets home, we’d roll our eyes and giggle whereas if we knew our mother was on the warpath, we’d start looking for alibis. He was old-school, going out to work Monday to Friday and spending weekends wallpapering or breaking down a wall (my mam directing wildly from the sidelines like a crazed Anna Ryder-Richardson). 20150620_214559

 

Here are some of the reasons I love him;

 

  • When I got bitten by a dog at 12, he calmly held the wound together till we got to the hospital and it subsequently didn’t need stitching. He somehow managed to calm my hysterical mother who was driving and keep me from passing out with shock all the way.

 

  • He taught me how to wire a plug and which wire was the live one (brown) although he should’ve heeded his own advice as I witnessed him getting electrocuted several times. He can fix anything…electrics, plumbing, ikea furniture, maxed out credit cards..

 

  • I learnt how to swear from him although he replaced all the Fs with Bs so it was buckin this and buck that. I once overheard him call someone an antichrist on the phone and asked my Mam the meaning, earning myself a wooden spoon encounter and the silent treatment for him.

 

  • He taught me to drive; it was only a few years ago and he took over from my husband who’d washed his hands of me and my corner-reversing. He lost his cool and I ended up crying but he didn’t give up and in the few minutes before my driving test we cracked it and he was waiting at the test centre for the good news and the best hug ever. 20150603_125738

 

  • He thinks all problems can be fixed with a drink, I tend to agree.

 

  • He calls everyone Mickey and if they’re lazy he’ll say “pull the finger out mickey”, I don’t know why.

 

  • He’s an expert exaggerater and he’ll start a story with “there were thousands there”… I’ll say “Dad?” He’ll say “ok… maybe hundreds”. After some goading, he’ll admit it was him and two others. I may have inherited this trait.

 

  • He’s a hypochondriac. I’m not denying his chronic back pain, his brush with prostate cancer or his hip issues but you can’t tell him about any illness without him adopting it.  I was in early labour at my parents house in 2008 and my Dad started to complain of stomach cramps. When he starts my Mam looks at me and we burst out laughing while he gets indignant (and possibly indigestion) I’m glad he’s a technophobe as google would mess with his head altogether and his pension would be spent on lengthy and invasive tests. I may have inherited this one also.10685531_10152575761648138_4611795287399279905_n
  • Kids love him. He’s always been a messer and would feign putting some of his nephews and nieces in the washing machine or goad them into punching his stomach (abs of steel). He would chase me and my sister to bed, turning off the lights and making scary noises as we howled in terror; he’d also dangle us over the banisters which could explain his bad back. He is my 7 year old son’s hero, so much so that he dressed up as him for Halloween sporting his signature white hair, moustache and leather jacket.

 

  • He has copious amounts of patience as my Mam will testify; laid-back she’d call him but in a family of hot-heads and hormones he is the voice of calm and reason and if his voice is raised we will all pipe down knowing we’ve gone too far.

 

  • He is a voracious reader and reads 2 to 3 books a week. He may not remember what any of them are about but we share a passion for Stephen King and Ross O’Carroll Kelly.

 

Thanks Dad, for my red hair and freckles; for my love of books; my open-mind, my profanity and my proficiency with plugs. You are my hero and I hope the socks and hankies I got you adequately convey this.

 

Family, Like Magazine, Mental Health, Motherhood, Musings

Won’t Somebody Think of the Children?

May 14, 2015

I’ve always loved referendums, it’s an exciting time to vote. Elections can be confusing and, let’s face it, a little boring. Referendums tend to get people animated, and heated debates can be overheard in the workplace, the home and the pub. May 22nd is no exception. We’re being asked to vote on marriage equality and as the date approaches things are heating up. It’s starting to feel like a fight between the insular Ireland of old and a modern Ireland encompassing many different nationalities and lifestyles .

father-ted-careful-nowThe No campaign have tried to muddy the waters on what should be a clear cut decision of marriage equality for all. They have made the argument about children and in doing so have gone for the human jugular. If it wasn’t such a serious matter I would find their posters funny in the way that Father Ted’s poster down with this sort of thing was  Children deserve a mother and a father” and “surrogacy? she needs her mother for life, not just for 9 months”. They have managed to alienate a vast number of the population asides from the LGBT community; single mothers, widowed parents; adopted kids; surrogates etc

I am doing my best to raise my kids to be as open-minded as they can be. I want them to grow up in a world where they are accepted and loved. They have each had a shaky start; My 7-year-old has aspergers. He struggles socially and I worry for his future relationships. I have never worried about the sex of his future partners, to me that is irrelevant. My only concern is that someone will find him as amazing and hilarious as I do. My middle boy has a heart condition, and I worry for his future health. I don’t worry about his love life… He will be loved wholly and completely, two minutes in his pouty, wide-eyed company and anyone would fall for him. My baby boy had major surgery at age two for craniosynostosis. He was born with a metopic ridge down the centre of his forehead that gave his face an unusual look. Faced with the difficult decision to proceed with major cranial surgery for what were primarily cosmetic reasons, we did it for him because life can be hard and cruel and we wanted him to feel acceptance and not to be judged by his appearance.

Your life changes forever when you have kids. You become almost primal in your desire to protect these helpless little beings. To flourish, they need someone batting for them. They need to feel pure love with a side order of discipline. There are many parents out there doing this alone and I take my hat off to them. With two parents you can take some time out for yourself, have some support with family decisions along with all the good bits a relationship brings.

The sex of that other person has no bearing on things whatsoever. Someone to teach them ball? My husband doesn’t play sports and the boys aren’t interested anyway. Would two men raising a daughter have difficulty preparing her for periods? My Mam didn’t have a notion about biology and my Dad explained it to me factually and it wasn’t slightly awkward.image

Raising boys I’m always conscious to keep the lines of communication open. I have a worry book that I use each night with Conall in which we draw and discuss anything making him anxious. I lie beside each one of them at night and tell them to feel free to tell me anything.I would be heartbroken if I thought that they felt they had to hide some key part of themselves- after all, statistically young men are prone to suffering from mental health issues that end tragically. Boys are taught to be self contained and can become emotionally stunted as they get older. They need to know they can disclose anything and we won’t love them any less. Well almost anything- I could accept them telling me they’re gay, bi, transgender anything but a priest. That I would struggle with – but I would find a way.

We are told by the no side to “think of the children”, and indeed we must. We must think of our own kids and the kind of world we want to raise them in. We must think of the children growing up in Ireland right now, and realising they might be gay. What will a no vote say to them? That they are less than their straight peers? We always tell our children they can be anything they want to be*. Do we want to put a small disclaimer at the bottom of that lovely sentiment? (*As long as you’re not gay and wanting equal rights.)

So, I urge you, DO think of the children and vote YES; yes to equality, yes to love and yes to being anything you want to be!

yes_ballot-235x300