It could have been me

via NearlyVintage/Tumblr

Shopping – From Enthusiasm to Desolatation In Under Three Hours.

The planets must have aligned briefly, the other morning, as I found myself in a shopping centre with some disposable income and only one placid child dozing in her pram. I had money to buy myself a belated birthday present and it was a Tuesday morning. I discovered, whilst on my first maternity leave in 2006, that Tuesday mornings are the optimum time to shop. Shops are empty, there is no queuing and everything is fully stocked unlike a Saturday where you will find an abundance of size 6 and size 20 clothes  but not a lot in other sizes. It is the perfect time to shop. I arrived in Dundrum, bright-eyed and enthusiastic and positive.  The following happened and I left a sweaty, desolate, poorer mess.

I wanted to be this happy stock image shopping woman. It wasn't to be. Via

I wanted to be this happy stock image shopping woman. It wasn’t to be. 


I had to collect some things I had ordered online for the new child, I done that. Then I bought her some hats. Then I went to another shop and saw more baby hats so I bought more. Then I wandered around a bit more.  Then I bought some writing paper and envelopes. Then I spent 25 minutes debating with myself ( in my head, things aren’t that bad yet) did I need a gold jumper and was it a bit Joan Collins esque or actually lovely. It took a while to find something in all the shops that wasnt pastel coloured. Pastel is the A/W colour this year apparently………Pastel colours are no friend of mine though, are they the friend of anyone who is not their goal body weight? Anyway I decided that really I had nowhere to wear a gold jumper to so I put it back. I then realised two hours had passed and time was running out. Mild panic set in. I was meant to be buying myself nice things.

Ten minutes later found me still in  Tk Maxx looking at dog clothes. There is no size guide on the back of them so I was trying to hold them up and judge which would fit a labrador. I have never bought dog clothes or dressed a dog so its pretty hard to call. I then caught sight of myself in a mirror holding up a dog jacket. “Put it fucking down you silly bitch, the dog does not need clothes ,you need clothes, buy something” I had progressed to arguing with myself out loud at this point. I put the dog jacket down.

I went to leave, saw another baby hat, queued to pay for it, picked up some more stationary whilst in queue, left Tk Maxx. I had a pang of regret about leaving without the gold jumper. I had 30 minutes left. I went to Penneys. The pastel fairy had been before me and vomited pale pinks, blues and grays everywhere.

I bought a leopard print bra which wont fit me out of pure desperation.

Pastel Fairy who turned all the clothes into pale unflattering for chubby people colours via

Pastel Fairy who turned all the clothes into pale unflattering for chubby people colours

Nearly three hours in I now had bought writing paper, notebooks, 6 baby hats and a leopard print bra in the wrong size. I started to sweat. MAKE UP. I would buy make up, I needed make up.  The downside to the empty shop Tuesday morning shopping is the immaculate women who work at make up counters have very few customers and they were waiting, waiting to pounce. They terrify me. They are so perfect.They have perfect make up and perfect hair and perfect smiles and they make me buy things I don’t need  nor know how to use . I have a mild real fear of them and their perfect powers to make you spend. I spotted two of them approaching. ” No I don’t want to spend 8k just to avail of a free gift in a shiny make up bag ” I repeated in my head as they came near me. “NO THANKS I JUST NEED FOUNDATION ” I roared, as they closed in on me. My voice came out louder than anticipated in the quiet shop. It was because of the assertive pep talk I had been giving myself in my head. One perfect woman started her spiel. I grabbed the foundation smiled and walked away. It wasn’t the exact colour I wanted but I had frightened myself and no doubt the perfect women with my roaring and it was a panic buy.

Time up. I left. I had no new boots or no new jeans. I had stationary, loads and loads of fucking stationary. The writing paper ( two sets) is really lovely but I have nobody to write to and even if I did have to write to someone instead of emailing them, I never have stamps. I have an ill-fitting bra. I have new foundation in the wrong colour and my child has loads of hats. They are all a bit too big for her and wont fit her till next Summer probably at which time she will have no need for fabulous cosy winter hats unless her head goes through a remarkable growth spurt in the coming weeks. Fingers crossed.

The money is of course gone now. I had an opportunity to spend it and I took that opportunity and stamped on it. Stupid shopping. If anyone would like me to write to them, let me know, in the meantime, I will be making lists in my notebooks with my new pens whilst encouraging my child’s head to grow not wearing lovely new boots or a new coat or even a Joan Collins style gold jumper.

It could have been me via NearlyVintage/Tumblr

It could have been me
via NearlyVintage/Tumblr

The Homework Survival Guide


My brand new junior infant got her first homework this week. We sat together happily at the table tracing the letter S and making s sounds. I lovingly pointed out words beginning with S that we came across over the rest of the day. Taking memory snapshots of how lovely it all was and   enjoying the important role I was playing in her education. I even considered asking the husband to photograph us so we can have evidence of a time when we both enjoyed homework. It’s going to change very very soon. I am still relatively new to the homework lark. I know its only going to get worse as my children get older. Here is what I have learned after four years of it………..


Your Own Academic  and Professional Achievements Mean Nothing Now

It doesn’t matter if you have a PHD in molecular physics, can speak four languages fluently or successfully manage a team of 345 people in work. You are wrong and your child’s teacher is always right. In your child’s eyes their teacher is the fountain of all knowledge and if you don’t explain a maths question or pronounce a word the same way they do, you are stupid. They lose faith in you immediately. They might even sneer. Take deep breaths, don’t be offended. Don’t burst into tears and tell them how many points you got in your Leaving Cert or about your thesis. They don’t care. It’s too late. Smile and nod. Apologise for making a mistake if you have to. Take the simple route.

Be Prepared

This year I have spare pencils and stationary for homework purposes. I mentioned before how my children had to take turns to do homework at the end of the last school year because we had one pencil between them. I wouldn’t recommend it. You want to stave off the meltdowns at least until you are halfway through the homework not at the start. I suggest you keep a discretionary budget of 10k per academic year for the amount of pencils, erasers, parers and rulers you will need to replace on a weekly basis.

You Will Worry About Your Child’s Ability

This starts early. You are practising letters. It is all going well. Your child recognises them. Then you have to blend them to form a word. You child is tired or toying with you. So you are there like somebody pissed slurring out the word said. “ssssssahhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiidddddddddddddd.. Said. You child who has correctly identified all four letters moments earlier will point to the word and decide it spells chair. You start all over again. Your child will see the desperation in your eyes. At this point they might feel sorry for you and will concentrate  or they might toy with you and continue shouting out random words and sit back and enjoy your tears of frustration.


Phone A Friend.

It is absolutely imperative you have the number of at least one other parent in the class for homework purposes. Last year my son had a homework copy for the first time. His homework was never dated though and was written down on random pages which gave no clue to what homework he was actually meant to be doing. My son also had a habit of telling me he had no homework and then remembering that he actually did at 8am the next morning. My poor neighbour ( and friend) not only has to deal with her childs homework she has to deal with regular texts from me verifying the homework.

In the case of my daughter, well over the years, texts about homework have substantially increased my phone bills. Some for the reasons above and some along the lines of “is their teacher on crack?”  A particular highlight was the night she had to make sentences out of the words hoe, hoar, blow and slow. ( hoar is an adjective to describe the colour greyish white by the way)

Having numbers of other parents in the class is essential for homework survival.


Google Is Also Your Friend

 I got through school and college without the internet. Although we did have dial-up internet towards the end of my college years I think. I don’t know how we managed with just encyclopedias though. My eldest child is 8. I should be able to manage supervising her homework without resorting to google yet I have had to more times than I care to recall. The website More Words is one of my most visited sites with google translate being a close second. I was never good at Irish.

Always Read The Question

For you own sake and to prevent embarrassment. One evening last year my daughter was doing her maths homework. She didn’t understand it. I glanced at it and decided it called for fractions. She told me repeatedly she didn’t know what fractions were. I was tired. I just called out what I believed the answers were. The homework came home the next day circled in red with a note about how they hadn’t covered fractions yet and the answers didn’t call for fractions and even with that the answers were still wrong. The red marks were for me. The teacher had basically corrected my work. She knew it .I knew it. It was no good. I apologised profusely to my daughter.


This is where parents come into their own. Children at 5, 6,7 don’t know how to use google so parental involvement in projects is essential. It is too bloody easy to get sucked in. I could go on Mastermind with my specialist topics being Siberian Husky Dogs and the country of Mexico due to my daughter’s projects. We researched the topics together. We have spent ridiculous amounts of time on these projects. The key is not to get too involved. If your child doesn’t want to prepare a video style project go with it, don’t push them and don’t say to her I knew “we” should have gone down the multimedia route when she tells you about the other child in the class who prepared a video instead of pages stapled together. Do not get competitive about the projects. I often wonder what teachers think when they have to sift through 25+ projects clearly put together by parents not kids…….

My phone a friend came in handy for support a couple of months ago. I was able to text her when I was gluing mexican flags at 11.30pm knowing she was doing the same with Greek ones late at night made me feel a lot better about myself.

Character Building

Nothing tests your parenting skills like homework. I have had some pretty serious lows. There have been nights where there were tears and arguments. You need to find reserves of patience you didn’t even know existed and some days you fail and you feel like shit and it’s just awful.

Take solace new parents of school going kids though it’s mostly hard for every parent and you are not alone in the horror of homework and you can look forward to the occasional times when your child will say the magical words after school “My table won a homework pass” or “my teacher wasn’t in today so we have no homework” .  These will be great days. The momentary utter joy those words will deliver is sweeter than any academic or professional achievement you have ever mastered……….


Any and all tips to add to the above are very welcome 

Starting As I Mean To Go On

The children went back to school yesterday. The four year old started. All went ok, she took it in her stride. I took the same picture of each of my three eldest on their first day of school, I put the three photographs together last night.


Nice isn’t it? I am going to call it, thank fuck I have a baby.

They are just growing up too quick. I know that’s what they are meant to do and I am really proud of them but god days like yesterday make you just want to freeze time a bit.

It’s really quiet in the house right now and I miss them. I am a sap. It will pass and by the end of the week we will have readjusted back to the school routine.

Every September I have these high hopes of starting a new more organised regime and envisage myself as a pinterest parent. It lasts for a week or two, it didn’t even last a day this year.

Sunday night at 9pm found me sitting on my bedroom floor trying to remember which handbag I was using this time last year as I knew I left the labels in an envelope in it. After emptying out several, I found them. Organised chaos is I how I roll. At that stage I was too tired to iron on labels so 7am yesterday morning saw me writing initials onto jumpers and ties with a permanent marker instead. Illegible as it turned out and I ended up with more marker on my fingers than the uniforms.  “If you lose your tie remember it has a big black smudge on the back of it not your name, ok?” I explained to the kids.

People have been regularly asking me am I exhausted with a small baby and three older children. I haven’t been at all. I thought it was because my body had finally readjusted to sleep deprivation after years of preparation but no that’s not the case. I was fucking delusional. Of course I haven’t been worn out as for the last two months, none of us have gotten dressed before 11am any morning. We have spent the summer lounging around doing very little with absolutely no routine what so ever. By 3pm yesterday I couldn’t talk with exhaustion. I communicated by nodding my head slowly. Walking up the stairs took supreme effort. How bloody naive was I thinking I was some sort of wonder person who survived on minimum sleep and was able to maintain a sunny deposition? It’s very easy to be cheery and non weary when you are wearing clothing with elasticated waist bands and not making lunches and washing uniforms all the live long day.


So back to starting the school year as I mean to go on. There is no disillusionment  this year. Right now I know there are parents out there who are making heart-shaped pancakes with smiley faces for their children before school and making fucking bento boxes for school lunches. That is fine. Good luck to them. I am fine with that. This year I am not even going to try to compete. My children are just fine with their cereal for breakfast and ham sandwiches and fruit all thrown in together in their lunch boxes. We have started as we mean to go on.  My head nearly exploded yesterday afternoon when I saw the boy going into the playroom with his pencil-case. I was kind of hoping he would hang on to its contents till at least mid-term. To achieve this the pencil-case must stay in his bag not the abyss that is the playroom. It’s not looking good that the pencil-case will survive the month…..

I like to think that what my children miss out in bento boxes and cook book worthy breakfasts they gain in other things. I am just not sure yet what those other things are yet though. I did have the time to jump up and down half-naked on the doorstep this morning to try to get my kids to laugh for a photograph the husband was trying to take of the three of them heading off together for the first time. I don’t think that is a positive though. I can see them lying on a psychiatrists couch in twenty years time “She didn’t even cut the crusts of our sandwiches” they will wail.  Fingers crossed the kids they are sitting beside in school have average low effort lunches too and not this type:



The husband is off work yesterday and today. The two of us have been able to feed and dress and drop the kids, together. Tomorrow morning I have to get out the door alone with four of them and I am flying through my maternity leave at the speed of light. I have no clue how I am meant to get myself ready for work and get four children up fed and dressed in the morning. I am considering, when the time comes, that we will get ready the night before and all go to sleep fully dressed to speed things up in the morning. I am sitting here now in the quiet house. With my baby. And the mess. Worn out. Its day two.  Bring It On.


Tummy Time Charlie Sheen Style

The new one is 3 months old. She had  a judge my parenting, developmental check last week. Lots of questions about tummy time which of course I lied about “Jesus she is never off her tummy, she is a developmental prodigy”  and the like. For the uninitiated, apparently babies need tummy time to learn how to push themselves up and eventually crawl. Now the baby does get tummy time , she is on my chest, on my lap etc but the rules insist that babies be placed on the floor for tummy time. The nurse very helpfully suggested to the four-year old she could help with tummy time. I adore when people tell one of my children what to do with my small infant. Love it.

I suspect this baby was drugged to look so happy during tummy time

I suspect this baby was drugged to look so happy during tummy time

Anyway, obviously not wanting the new one to fail in life, I have made more of a conscious effort to put her on her tummy this week. Turns out, just like my other three ( and I assume all babies ever) she hates it. I am going to guess she gets this from me. If I was incapacitated and forced to lie on my stomach with no way of moving, while people much bigger than me shouted at me or waved noisy toys at me,  I would hate it too.

We started off with the nurses helpful suggestion that the other children could help. Baby placed on changing mat on floor. One sibling to her left, one sibling to her right, one facing her head on. They screamed her name continuously for two minutes while she made a valiant effort to move her head before finally making eye contact with me. She didn’t need to roar, the look said it all “PICK ME FUCKING UP NOW”. So I did.


I tried it again the next day without the assistance of her siblings. This time she did roar, she roared and gave me the look of PICK ME FUCKING UP NOW. So I did.

We tried a few more times with similar results. Last night I put her down again. She promptly spat up, face planted the puke and then snorted it. Charlie Sheen style tummy time. I picked her up. I cleaned her up. I comforted her. She calmed down eventually but that look of horror was still in her eyes as she was getting over it. If she could talk I know she would have been mumbling between the gulps of hysteria “You don’t know what is was like man, You weren’t there” . 

I am going to wait a while before we try it again.

How I Party When It’s My Birthday

Go, go, go, go, go, go

Go shawty, it’s your birthday
We gonna party like it’s your birthday

 50 Cent- In Da Club

Yesterday was my birthday. In the words of 50 Cent, this is how  I party when its’ my birthday……….


I didn’t get breakfast in bed because I got up too early. You would think I would relish a sleep-in because its many months now since I have 8 hours interrupted sleep but I seem to have lost the ability to sleep in. That happens when you get older apparently. So I got up and had breakfast and got realms of homemade cards and drawings and it was lovely, all lovely.

Then I played a couple of game of Connect 4, which I won. Victory is always sweet even if you are playing against a 4 and 6-year-old. Then the kids wanted to play giant snakes and ladders and the lovely birthday morning degenerated quickly. I didn’t enjoy Snakes and Ladders as a child and turns out I don’;t enjoy it as an adult. It has the potential to last for four hours. They are a lot more snakes than ladders. The boy kept cheating which kept sending me into an irrational rage ( I did mention above my competitiveness) and the older girl kept counting the places she had to move including the space she was on. WHICH IS WRONG. I kept telling her it was wrong and she kept doing it. Then she kept moving in the wrong direction and the other two did too which led me to shouting “what is wrong with you all, you can count, why are you pretending you can’t , of course 53 comes after 52, don’t be so stupid” . This is pretty poor parenting I know but in my defense the game had been going on for about 17 hours at this stage. The four-year old was getting as bored and irritated as I was so started using the dice as a weapon when it was her turn to throw. Flinging it at force at her siblings. The husband looked on dismayed no doubt by my behaviour and his children’s lost ability to count . We eventually gave up, which was good for everybody involved. Snakes and Ladders will be making it a midnight flit( or more likely a  10pm flit because I can’t stay awake till midnight anymore) to the bin one night this week under the cover of darkness.

The Devil's Game

The Devil’s Game

Meanwhile the husband kept asking in a non pushy lovely way what would I like to do for my birthday but I didn’t really want to do anything. Downside to having an August birthday when you become a parent the birthday budget is severely hampered by the need to buy school shoes and runners and all the rest of the last-minute school stuff and I didn’t want to go out and spend money just for the sake it. The other downside to an August birthday is the shops are full of end of season neon shite summer clothes that people have spent the last four months refusing to buy and now in my mature state I refuse to go out and buy is as I have done in the past . Next month I will shop for my birthday present and I will buy boots and they will be lovely and I will be so glad I didn’t go out yesterday and buy end of season sale hideousness.

Nonetheless the husband being the rock star ( albeit aging rock star) that he is kept asking what I would like to do. So I decided I would like to nap. Do you know what is worse than no nap? A 12 minute nap. Just as I was drifting off to a deliciousness slumber in an empty bed ( I am never in bed alone at the minute) my 8 year old woke me up as my mum called in. I really wanted to stay in my cocoon or loveliness but figured it would be pretty rude since she gave birth to me and all that on this day many years ago. So I got up again. Now slightly grumpy due to the mini nap. It was flying visit from the mother.


The conversation then resumed……”What would you like to do” asked the husband for the 27th time. I sat and thought about it and said I would like you to go and buy paint and paint the hall stairs and landing. Which was pretty mean of me because I knew he wouldn’t say no to any request I came up with.  I would say at this point he wanted to punch my birthday head in but as I mentioned he is a rock star so off he went to diy shop on a weekend afternoon hell and took the three older children with him.  The English Patient was on the night before but I was too tired to stay awake as I am old as fuck so I recorded it and  myself and the baby sat on the couch and watched that. They arrived back with twenty minutes to go. I had been sobbing obviously as it is the most beautiful saddest film ever. The boy and the older girl sat down to watch the end of it with me. In fairness to them as it was my birthday and they were being extra nice,  they didn’t ask me endless questions just laughed at my  ugly tears.

The reason I really wanted the hall stairs and landing painted was because I done something stupid a few months ago. The walls in this house are full of smeared handprints and marker and just general mess. I always used to keep a spare bit of paint and when it got really bad just painted over the really bad mark. A few months ago I bought one of those sample pots to partake in my lazy as fuck mess hiding .Misty Rain, Dewdrop Morning, Hazy Hallow……….Why do they not just fucking call gray paint gray. Naturally I bought the wrong one. Didn’t realise till I came home and covered up the stains on the wall with it and it dried a couple of shades darker than the original colour. So my hall for the last few months has had what resembled miss thought chinese symbol tattoos in random spots all over it. No more though ,as the husband came home and painted. He is finishing it now, the four-year old is sitting at his feet offering helpful tips and advice, who knew she was such an expert in painting and decorating.


We had a nice dinner last night, we had cake, I put the heating on in August like the mad bitch I am,  we were going to watch a movie but at half nine the baby was unsettled and the big girl was still awake so I went upstairs to lie down with them for a few minutes and didn’t get back up. The husband came up. We watched Match of the Day. Actually we watched the first twenty minutes of Match of the Day and we couldn’t stay awake. So we went asleep before 11pm ………

In summation-I am old. Old as fuck.

I had a lovely day.

I might go to a garden centre today and start sentences with “In my day…….” 

Living With A Small Dr Dolittle

The four-year old loves animals. I found her earlier this evening in the kitchen feeding the dog, actually physically feeding him, placing his food one by one into his mouth while he lay there like the king of all the dogs. When we are out and about she waves at every dog we pass. She likes books and programmes about animals, an all round 4 and a half-year old animal lover.

Dog and Es

She talks to our dog a lot in both English and dog language. Sometimes when he is sleeping, she crawls up beside him, lifts his ear and growls into it. The dog is very patient, in case you hadn’t realised.

Lately she has taken her love of animals a step further and has at various times during the day pretended to be one. A cow. She pretends to be a cow and she moo’s loudly. It is a really loud bellowing moo. When she switches into cow mode she will only moo, not talk, not listen, just moo, loudly.



Now I can handle most noise. This is a really noisy house. I can listen to the tv screeching, arguments between the children, singing teddy bears, I have become accustomed to noise and it doesn’t bother me. The mooing bothers me. It is the most irritating sound ever. It’s not just me, it bothers the husband and the 6 and 8-year-old too. The way she moo’s just gets into your ears and doesn’t leave. I have had the boy and the eldest come to me, close to tears, pleading with me to make her stop mooing.

Now the mooing isn’t a worrying sign nor is it masking underlying issues, for example, the fact that she is no longer the baby and there is a new kid in town. She loves the baby, I have heard her say to the baby “when you get big you can moo with me” ( cannot wait). No she moo’s for the craic and because she knows it drives the rest of us mental. She smirks or smiles when she moo’s. She chooses her victim and follows them around mooing.

Then the mooing nearly caused my marriage to breakdown over the weekend. The four-year old was mooing, the older two were fighting and giving out ( driven mad by the incessant mooing no doubt). I left the room. I was in the kitchen and could hear the husband giving out to them. He cracked. A four-year old impersonating a cow will do that to a man. I came back in when all was quiet and calm again. I don’t know what came over me. I started Mooing. It’s an addictive sound, in my defense, and it just popped out of my mouth. It did not go down well. At all.

We were out today, long day, all tired and worn out this evening. The mooing started. I sat her down, explained that I couldn’t listen to it. No more mooing. No more being a cow. Enough. She emitted a quiet moo. I explained again and was pretty close to loosing my shit now at this stage.

So I got down to her level and looked into her eyes and pleaded, actually pleaded

“Please no more mooing, ok” I begged.

She smiled and nodded and replied

“QUACK. Quack, quack, quack, QUACCCCCCCKKKKKKK”

Fuck it. She wins, again.


Swimwear Hell

Swimwear, I try to avoid it as much as possible. I am just not a fan and have had hideous experiences with swimwear in recent years.  I thought I was safe enough this Summer as with no plans to holiday abroad, I wrongly assumed I could avoid swimwear.

Last week we went on a mini break to a hotel in Ireland. I didn’t pack swimwear because I didn’t have any that fits ,the baby is too small for a swimming pool and I just assumed the husband would take the other children to the pool and I had short-term immunity from swimwear hell. So day one, all fine, the kids had a brilliant time swimming. I watched on from the side, comfortably fully dressed. All was going to plan. Then day two came around. “Mammy, please can you bring us swimming” said the boy  and the other two chimed in, in agreement. As much as I detest swimwear, especially since I gave birth in May and pretty much haven’t stopped eating since, they were really adamant they wanted to go swimming with me, I couldn’t say no.

Fortunately I was staying in the shopping capital of Ireland. Westmeath. Land of many many salubrious swimwear boutiques. No that’s a lie. There were no swimwear boutiques. There was a Dunnes Stores with a really limited end of season swimwear selection. I had two choices. One a Hawaiian style number, so bright you would need to be wearing sunglasses to look at it and you would be visible from miles away when wearing that was €25 or the swimsuit equivalent of mom jeans. Plain black, unassuming, that cost €10. The problem was the Hawaiian style one was a size 16 which would have offered me some modesty and been comfortable on if hideous to look at and the black unassuming one was a size 12. Because I am fucking deluded and also cheap, I bought the black one.

The innocent looking EVIL swimsuit

The innocent looking EVIL swimsuit

I have big boobs at the best of times. I am currently breastfeeding  so I currently have GINORMOUS boobs. Even if I was at my recommended weight and not breastfeeding, there is isn’t a hope of a size 12 fitting over my knockers, I don’t know what I was thinking. The Hawaiian one was really bloody hideous though.

So back to the hotel. I went into the bathroom to put on my new plain swimsuit. It fit fine as I put it on. Wasn’t too snug on my arse (the bottom half of me is half the size of the top half of me) all going well, then I pulled it up. I thought swimwear would be stretchy. Well I tested that assumption. I got my arms in, struggled and got it up and over my boobs. Immediately I felt my chest constricting but fuck it, I had got it on. It was fine. Then I turned around and looked in the mirror and all I saw was my boobs. The swimsuit had miraculously made them appear even bigger than they were. There was side boob, there was top boob, there was everything bar nipples. The swimsuit managed to cover them, just. I couldn’t leave the bathroom like this never mind go to a swimming pool where there would be innocent members of the public there. I shouted out to the kids that I was really sorry but I couldn’t go swimming with them. They gave out. They were disappointed. The four-year old even started to cry. So I was going to have to go swimming after all. I put my clothes back on over the swimsuit from hell refusing to even show the husband the state of this swimsuit and off we went to the pool.

We got to the changing room, the kids got ready, I put on swim hats and arm bands. I used every delay tactic I could come up and then I ran out of excuses and took my clothes off. I was having some trouble breathing regularly at this stage as the swimsuit from hell so was tight.

I was reminiscent of Pamela Anderson in her Baywatch days.


If Pam was carrying an extra three or four stone, hadn’t had her roots done in five months, had skin that was almost translucent in its paleness and was shuffling  beside a pool in Mullingar instead of running along a beach in Malibu.

The pool was freezing. I got in as quick as possible, the cold held no fear for me, I just wanted to be hidden. So we swam, we had fun, the boy almost drowned as he didn’t realise that if you stop swimming to give a thumbs up in pride at your own swimming you will sink. All was fine and I tried to ignore the now crippling pains I was feeling in my boobs to add to the pain of my chest constriction and just kept muttering “please don’t let me pass out, please don’t let me pass out” . The pool was thankfully quiet enough but I reckoned if I kept my arms pressed to my side I could cover a lot of the side boob action. I looked around the husband was sitting outside with the baby. I couldn’t hear him but I knew he was sniggering at my discomfort. The prick. We got out. Do you know hard it is to get out of a pool without using your arms with three children? Very hard, is the answer.  I  Shuffled back to the changing room and I peeled the swimsuit from hell off me. THE RELIEF. I could breathe again. I had a new-found respect and appreciation for non restrictive clothing.

Unfortunately the pain didn’t stop and I had severe cramps in my boobs for about 8 hours after that actually required paracetamol.  The fucking swimsuit  gave me another boob injury ( not my first one sadly – see here )Thankfully I don’t seem to have any lasting boob pain side affects and the kids were happy enough to go swimming without me for the rest of our stay. Thank Christ as I would have had to go skinny dipping and I don’t that’s allowed in hotels. I have plans to burn the swimsuit because knowing my stupidity and continued delusion, this memory will fade and I will  probably attempt to wear it again.

An Open Letter To Persil About My Eyeball Injury

Dear Persil,

I am writing to you about your non bio small and mighty washing detergent. See Exhibit A below.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Firstly, let me tell you a bit about myself. I am an Irish mother of four living in Dublin. I spend an awful lot of money on washing detergent because my children love dirt and I spend a significant proportion of my time washing clothes. I will admit to being fickle in my washing powder choices and will mostly purchase whatever is on offer but nonetheless I am a loyal enough Persil consumer over the years.

Dublin is currently in the middle of a heatwave. It is pretty disgustingly hot, truth be told, but the one advantage is that there is great drying out. Ireland in the sun means there are thousands of Irish people stipping beds, curtains, seat covers and washing them right now to get the full benefit of the great drying.  I digress……..

Let me tell me about my morning, Persil. My youngest daughter is two months old. She was due to get her first vaccinations earlier this month. Our GP runs a ridiculously busy  surgery so you can imagine my delight, when I phoned this morning to be told, that there was nobody there this morning and if I came down quickly, the doctor could administer the vaccinations then and there with no wait time. This is such a rare occurance and so much better than having to sit around waiting in a doctors waiting room with four children in the oppressive heat. I was delighted, then my luck changed.

I decided I would put a wash on before we ran out the door and took out my recently purchased bottle of Persil Small and Mighty whilst telling the kids to get their shoes on and hurry up. As you well know there is a top on the bottle which you need to remove before using. Please see exhibit B below.

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

Its a tricky little bugger and requires some force to get out but out it came and with it came a small dollop of the detergent. This dollop, which I can confirm , is indeed very small and very mighty, shot out of the bottle at great speed into my eyeball.  MY EYEBALL.

I cannot begin to explain the shocking excruciating pain. It was like a thousand burning forks being stabbed into my eyeball. Persil, I am not bad with pain. I recently gave birth at home with no medical assistance or pain relief. The pain of your small and mighty detergent shooting into my eye was more horrendous. I screamed. I wailed. I considered trying to remove my eye myself to make the pain stop. My eldest daughter got me some tissue and my boy offered to get me a plaster. Thankfully they were more amused than scared by my blood curdling screams. I am pretty lax about swearing around the kids but never use proper really foul language. Until today. Today they may have learned the c word.   I wanted to curl up into a ball and scream continously but the doctor was waiting…….

So I loaded my children into the car and off we went. It is only a short drive to our GP. Persil, have you ever noticed when your are concentrating on one sense, your other senses are compromised? For example if I am trying to read a road sign, I need to lower down the car radio. In this instance because I was concentrating so much on trying to see properly , my sense of smell failed me. I got to the doctor, my injured eye was now bright red, bloodshot and throbbing with pain and it was only when I took the baby out of her carseat did I notice she had  had a rather explosive poo. You know the type that soaks through a nappy and  clothes. The doctor took one look at me- Bedraggled, red eyed, surrounded by children, weary. Weary and it was only 9.45am. I had to change the baby on the doctors examination table. I then had to strip the table and the baby because they were destroyed. I too was covered in poo at this point but I didn’t have the option to strip, athough had I, it may have distracted from my hideous looking eye.

The baby then got her vaccinations. Did I mention she is my fourth baby? It doesn’t get any easier watching a needle being plunged into your tiny baby’s soft little thigh and the accompanying look of horror on her face when the pain hits her. She wailed. I cried. Then because of her wailing, my boobs started to leak, badly. The severe eye injury had distracted me and I had forgotten to put on breast bads. So baby screaming, other three children watching, me red eyed, still in pain, covered in poo and breast milk. You still with me? Good.

The doctor asked what was wrong with our eyes……. I looked around confused. My four year old daughter were wearing 3D glasses with the lens removed. I hadn’t noticed. I explained there was nothing wrong . He asked when she had gotten glasses. He asked what had happened my eye. I tried to explain  but it was all too much at this stage and I didn’t want him to touch my eye or explain about my four year old’s fashion statements. I don’t like anything or anybody touching my eyes,Persil. We got up to go. I was broken at this stage. The pain was getting worse.I considered giving in, telling the doctor what happened and getting a referral for the eye hospital and then like magic, the tiny drop of detergent, rolled out of my eye. Very small and very mighty. The pain eased. We came home. The 4 year old got out her doctors set and used the fake otoscope to check my “very sore fooking eye”. She has repeatedly banged this against my eye over the last hour.

Persil, it hasn’t been a very good morning. To be fair there is a warning on the bottle to say keep out of eyes. I did keep it away from eyes. It was a good two feet from my eyes, when it shot out and attacked my eyeball. Perhaps you would consider adding a warning or maybe a line under the kind to skin on the packinging. How about “kind next to skin, fucking horrible to eyeballs?”

Kind to skin, very unkind to eyeballs

Kind to skin, very unkind to eyeballs

Best regards,

From a broken person who thankfully still ,just about, has two functioning eyes.