An Open Letter to my Kids

The last few weeks has got me thinking about your futures and the world ahead of you all. The world has become a scary place and even though the beauty of ¬†your youth shelters you from a lot of the hatred or evil that is happening in the world I can’t help but think your generation has a lot more stress and worry than any generation before.

I know there is no rule book for growing up and even if there was, lets face it, those rules would not be followed at the best of times. But there is advise or suggestions that me as your mum would love if you could try and remember throughout your life.

The boys are still very young and hang on my every word but there won’t be many years left that they will do this. Chloe you are heading towards the stage of your life that you will think I am the most unfair and unbearable mother who wants nothing more than to make your life miserable. But I promise I am only looking out and after you and the ironic thing about it is, you won’t realise this until you are much older. It is hard to watch that little girl who played with her Sylvanian Families from morning to night grow up into an independent young woman who needs me less every day.

 

So if you’ll allow me, here is some words to remember…

 

Boys right now your career aspirations are as varied as an astronaut builder to a pirate. As you grow remember to keep that creative and eclectic side to your career aspirations. Hey! who knows if they find life on another planet there could be room for a building company to take up the tender!! Whats NASA’s number??! There is so much more to life than a 9-5 job, right now age 6 you have no reason to doubt your ability to be anything in this world…remember that in 20 years, because as you grow older life will try and suck that invaluable confidence from you.

Chloe you are thinking of a career as a midwife, I think this says so much about you as a person. A caring, selfless young girl who loves to bring joy in to people’s worlds…on a good day ūüėČ My advise for you is the same, whatever you choose to do make sure it makes you excited to wake up on a Monday morning for work, that’s a good starting point.

Keep hold of your good friends, when you are older your oldest friends will be like family. Good friends especially school friends will know you inside and out and you can be yourself around them and if you are anything like me that means you can be as weird and as daft as you like!

Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and allow you to shine and be you. Grow up at your own pace, if you are not ready to do something or something makes you uncomfortable that is your gut telling you something. Listen when your gut is telling you something, its like me ALWAYS USUALLY RIGHT!!

In your life keep some traits with you, be empathetic, have genuine concern for people, be kind, be conscientious, try not to procrastinate to much (a little is okay), be as creative as you can, be open with others and most especially with yourself and always remember your brain is the same as any other part of your body, if you think at any stage of your life it feels off or something is broken, talk to someone and try and heal it. Always remember its okay not to be okay sometimes, but what you need to do is as simple as this…talk.

If I could ask you to make sure you did one thing EVERY SINGLE DAY it would be this…to laugh. To have a genuine belly laugh at least once a day, I promise it will do you and the people you are with the world of good… but remember to involve the people you are with in on the joke because well, you will be seen as a bit of a weirdo sporadically breaking out in tears of laughter everyday!!

Travel, feed your soul with travel. Travel the world’d most mystical, concealed and far flung places that’s not listed on any travel books. Fill you life with adventures and not things. There is a quote that goes:

“Travelling, it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”

Remain close to each other as siblings, Chloe tell your brothers all about their Granda Dessie they never met. You are the only one who can tell them what he was like as a Grandad and the funny traits and memories you have of him. Remember to always think of your sister who watches over you, remember you are all very lucky to have a guardian angel like Grace looking and watching over you. Keep her memory alive long after I am gone. Look out for each other, you are family and family means being there, whether you want to or not, its just about being there.

Always keep your heart open and your mind open. Chloe remember you will kiss a lot of frogs (well hopefully not too many) before you find your prince, but if you need a benchmark for a good man, look no further than your dad. That song by Picture This “Take my Hand” when he says “I’ll treat you like your father treats your mother”… I love that line because if you find someone who is even a quarter the man your dad is you are on to a winner.

 

Boys, try and not upset too many girls (or boys). If you say you are going to call them, please call them! Don’t play games, be a gentleman. Its always important to hold a door open, pull out a seat, give her your coat. It may seem like a bit of craic but do not pretend you are your brother (they are identical twins for readers who do not know!) if you are going on a date. It will not be hilarious I promise you! Oh and always, always, always, put the seat down!!

So that’s it! Just a snippet of advice for you as you grow up. I don’t know it all nor do I declare to (that’s a lie!), but if you find you are ever lost or needing guidance take a peek at this.

Finally, and this is very important. Throughout your life if the occasion ever arises or you just feel the need to say it, these three words are so important…

¬†“MAYO FOR SAM!!!!”

Love you lots

 

Mum

xxxx

Thank you for reading and if you liked this post…I would love you to share it! Tracey xx

 

 

 

 

 

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Mum’s Next Chapter…

Today I went back to full time work! The 10th of December 2010 was the last time I punched my card before heading off on a very much (unplanned) extended maternity leave with my twins. I had planned to head back to work when the twins were about 9 months, my Dad had told me when I was pregnant himself and my mam would help look after the twins if I wanted to go back to work part time. Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer when the twins were just 2 weeks old and he passed away less than 9 months later, so obviously any thoughts of me going back to work were forgotten about. My mother moved in with me for a while after daddy died and I was busy making sure she was okay as well as looking after my three kids.img_20170224_161521

So I begrudgingly became a stay at home mum, not a title I relished nor wanted to be honest. I was never one to stay in the house, I was always out either working, in college, in my parents house or meeting friends, so being housebound with twin babies was a shock to the system! You may wonder why I didn’t leave the house, well I have written about this before ¬†you can have a nosey¬†here.!

I set my alarm this morning for my first day at my new job, marketing assistant for¬†Molloys Lifestyle Pharmacy, go on have a nosey at their fab offers, when you are finished reading mind!!I was about to head out the door this morning feeling a little emotional and my toddler shouted “MaMa!” Bear in mind he hasn’t many words yet and bar calling his nanny (“NA”) ,his brothers (“DA”) , wow (“WAH”) and “Oh No!” he has never said my name, so perfect timing Callum, lovely, throw a bit more guilt onto your already wobbly mother why don’t you!!img_20170212_192037

That being said I actually feel no guilt for going back to work, yes I have become accustomed to being a sahm but I feel proud and very lucky that I got to spend so much time with my kids. I spent every day of their lives with the boys and now they are in senior infants needing me a little bit less every day. I was at home for my teenager, I got to be there for moments in her young life that she needed her mum for. Then theres Callum my rainbow baby, he is almost two years old and adores his auntie who I am lucky to have minding him.225995_10150182943968595_5580244_n

So because of the time I have clocked in with the kids, I don’t feel guilty going back to full time work, in fact I believe I will be a better mum, I will appreciate the time we have together and do more with them, have more fun, because sometimes being with each other 24/7 fun can get diluted a little at times.¬†fb_img_1482442715646

So at the grand old age of 35 years and 2 months I have began my professional career, yea I am about 10 years behind most people but ya know what I was busy making and rearing my family. Now I see this as my time, of course the boys are still young but I think we are all ready for the adjustment.

So here is to my short spell as a stay at home mum, it was the best 6 years I never wanted.

Love Tracey xxx

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When the Firsts are the Lasts

I read a blog post recently about a mum talking about her youngest child completing the milestones of their first step, first word and these being the first last step/word she will ever have as a mum as this baby would be the last. When I had my toddler 19 months ago I knew he was the last, but its recently as I am¬†throwing out his bibs and thinking about cutting out his bottle that it has dawned on me to soak his ‘firsts’¬†because these will be my last firsts. *Disclaimer:Now I can guarantee you (and Mr. Mumsmakeupbag!) that this does not make me broody in the slightest, my ovaries have stopped skipping a beat when I see a newborn or smell that baby smell (even though no smell will ever beat it).*

I first became a mum at 19 and now about to reach the grand old age of 35, I am watching my baby turn into a toddler way too fast for my liking. I have spent almost 16 years on the baby train and I am more than happy to jump off. I am not sad that I will never be a new mum again, but I have had to mourn it. I know I will never feel my baby kick inside me again or waddle around at 30 weeks wearing stripes and I am content with that, but I wish I could have that last kick one more time just to remember it better. Now I am determined to embrace every last first my children go through. Its so easy to get lost in the busy moments of parenthood and work and basically life that we don’t see the times we wont see again, we miss out on the lasts. My oldest is almost 15 and her firsts do not mean any less than my youngest ¬†but I have gained (obviously maturity) but also the gift of hindsight to take a step back from a busy day (not every day) and lock in memories that were forgotten about before with the older kids. Its hard bloody work to get them all through the day and fed and to bed without too many tears, I just want to collapse on the couch and watch TV once they’re all snoring! But once in a while I will lock in a memory, it could be the 4 of them having dinner at the table together, it won’t be for much longer the youngest will be in a highchair or in a couple of years the oldest will be gone off to college and her chair will be empty but I just make a mental image to remember… Like Phoebe’s boyfriend (Alec Baldwin) in Friends “Click!” !!!!

Its not even the big firsts, I don’t remember that last time I helped my daughter with her homework, like I helped her everyday and then one day it obviously stopped but I don’t know when that was. I complain about having 2 sets of homework to help out with the twins but there will come a day when they won’t need my help anymore and I want to remember when this happens. Silly things are standing out to me like, when did the boys stop asking me to get them a drink or buttoning up their school shirts or zipping up their coats. I am still very much in demand with tying their laces and fixing their school ties but the tasks they have that only mum can help with are reducing at a rapid speed.

Now I am not saying I am going to be standing in my hall at 8.55am on a wet Tuesday morning going “Oh this could be the last time I took your shirt in and fix your tie, let me soak it up” with a tear in my eye…Jesus no. I am just saying once in a while I will take a step back and embrace been needed so much.

With the baby its different, his needs and his firsts will never happen again.Its a melancholy kind of outlook I suppose. As his independence grows with little steps like being able to walk or feed himself, my duties as his mum grow a tiny bit smaller.

His firsts are my lasts.

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Survival: One Mum’s story of her first family holiday

img_20161021_121135Okay, so we headed off to Vilamoura last week our first family holiday as a family of six!! The featured image might give you an insight into how it went but you would be wrong, apart from this moment caught in time (when twin 1 was playing out a scene as Damien from the Omen and the teenager was “NOT getting in a photo in the middle of the airport!”, my doodle really brings out her eyes don’t ya think?!) the holiday went well! Grab a coffee and have a read and hopefully a giggle!

I am the most unorganised and feathered headed person you might ever meet, but, I knew for a task this epic I needed to get my shit together. I toyed with the idea of heading over to Pinterest to get some ideas for packing up a large family (in number that is! although on the way back I was sure I was gonna get charged for being over-weight…me that is, not my cases!¬†images-13

But I was too stubborn and I decided I was gonna tackle the 6 people into 5 cases head on, on my lonesome. I had been collecting t-shirts and shorts along the way since we booked the holiday, but somehow unbeknownst to me over the, what, 5 hours of summer we had here in Ireland the twins ended up wearing the majority of them and not keeping them crisp and clean like they should have been. I was faced with: 7 days = 14 t-shirts and 14 pairs of shorts, 14 pairs of socks and you get the gist! I did not have 28 summer outfits like I thought I did, improvisation was needed. Now any mum will know when they pack for boys especially, there is zero chance of getting a second wear out of any garment they have worn… if you are lucky to be greeted by a clean uniform at 2/3 pm after school its like a military operation to get them changed into their civies “Go go go get changed quick! There’s a suspicious looking yogurt lid edging its way to your jumper!!!”

So what became my best friend while packing for the three boys was sandwich bags… I put together an outfit for each day including underwear and socks and i rolled them into a sandwich bag and labelled the day…¬†dsc_0708

I hailed myself the new Martha Steward (or whoever the Irish version is). Okay, okay I’m guessing this is not a new concept for most mums…but I will revert you back to the opening paragraph…I am the most unorganised individual this side of the Shannon so this was my Everest…yes I have completed a masters (in case you didn’t know already!) but being somewhat pedantic was a new feeling for me!

So packing was done, now all that was left was the check in case…the over-spill case. Obviously all liquids went in there…I have not checked in a bag in about 10 years so to throw FULL SIZE SHAMPOOS in there was liberating! Now in the interest of full disclosure the shampoos had to taken out again because it was them or my makeup case and brushes…no contest, I enjoy sporting hun-buns regularly anyway.

On arrival at the airport we sailed (drove) into the car-park which I prepaid a few days before ¬†22¬†and jumped on the bendy bus (huge holiday highlight)to the terminal. In the airport my previous homer smug face droops a little, I should have paid extra for fast track through security… myself and the twins made out way through the x-ray thingy barefooted to the arms of a rubber gloved security man, there he began to swab me and the twins (not a huge holiday highlight for mummy) while I held the baby. EVENTUALLY I pulled on my trainers (the sparkly ones on the Facebook page…did ya see them?!) and gathered all my worldly possessions together and I grabbed the kids and made our way to MECCA aka DUTY FREE. Now this is how I seen duty free ¬† ¬†¬†download-11¬†the gate was just too far away and boarding too soon to chance browsing with the kids, now I didn’t mind this too much as I knew I was going to Sephora over in the Algarve (if you read my Facebook post on this you will know how that turned out!).

So the flight went as well as possible, the baby cried for a bit and fell asleep (I usually suffer from fear of flying but I am telling you, if you suffer the same get a lend of a friend’s¬†baby/toddler and you will be well cured!). We arranged for a transfer to pick us up and they included baby seats and booster seats, top class service, if you wanna check them out here.¬†We stayed in Eden Village, Vilamoura. The apartment was fab, all amenities covered and the place was spotless. Now we had a 2 bedroom apartment, there was 2 single beds, 1 double and a travel cot, I searched for a pull out couch or futon but there was none. They knew there was 6 of us, but i guess they presumed the boys could share a single… now do not get me wrong they are skinny 5 year olds who could easily share the bed comfortably but for their own safety we like to keep them apart when possible as they fight like savages. We had to make a bed up from couch cushions for one of the twins which was another holiday highlight for them. Reception was never opened so I couldn’t complain and by the time I seen anybody behind the desk the boys did not want a bed and requested we create a floor bed when we get home as it was ‘so cool’. There was a children’s pool and a full size pool on the property, the children’s pool wasn’t the cleanest and the tiles were cracked. The teenager, boys and hubbie spend every morning in the full sized pool which was ice cold, they used to have to come up to the apartment at intervals to have hot showers! But they loved every second…this is where baby napped and mum caught up on Gilmore Girls (November 26th people!!). ¬†They splashed around with footballs and water guns every day, the sun worshippers that seemed permanently glued to their loungers enjoyed the show by all accounts as every so often they would look out from their Ray-Bans and smile…or sneer I’m not quite sure as the glare from their oiled skin blinded me a little. On our last day we noticed a sign that read “NO: water sports, rubber rings, inflatables, balls, water guns and NO to basically anything the Smith family were involved in during the week…download-13

The apartment’s location was very remote and in the end we hired a car along with my sister and brother-in-law to bring us to Albufeira and the beach near Vilamoura. Vilamoura is a beautiful resort but once you go around the marina and the beaches once, you’ve seen it all really, but this is purely subjective as I’m not one to go off the beaten path especially with the kids so if it wasn’t signposted near us we didn’t see it, its just the traveller I am! All in all we survived the trip away and more surprising than that me and the hubster didn’t have one row or dig at each other, even with a sick toddler clinging to us! High Five Mr. Smith!

The sandwich bags came into use on the way home too, dirty clothes were put into them so to not mix them up with what was left of the clean clothes! Again this is probably normal for travellers but I’m usually the type to throw it all in and wash everything just in case!I had my suspicions on a dubious bottle of sun cream that looked a bit delicate, so I sandwich bagged it for the flight home and low and behold it exploded but all within a confined area (highlight of mum’s holiday!). All credit to Tesco on their sandwich BAGS¬†(your saying that in Radio Roy’s voice, aren’t ya?!).

So our the kids and our marriage survived our first family holiday! I cannot say the same for my washing machine though, it hasn’t stopped since we came home…I am back to the gym Monday and detoxing for Christmas in Functional Fitness¬†(I can feel the pain already), but for right now, there’s a little room left for more carbs and sugar…and dream about¬†those delicious Gin Fizz’s… Tchau! T xx

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Wanderlust Kids

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