Ask Grainne | If Evolution is Real Then Why do Mums Still Only Have Two hands?

Need parenting advice that doesn’t read like you joined a new age cult? Ask Grainne for the unvarnished truth about modern Irish parenting.

Dear Grainne

If evolution is real then why do Mum’s still only have two hands?

On a daily basis, I am juggling a small baby. A stroller that won’t fold flat (despite the advert that made it look like it would). A baby bag which even just containing the ‘essentials’ weighs more than the camping gear I used in my pre-pregnancy, pre-baby life. And, the icing on top of the cake, the apartment we live in (because who can afford a house these days) hasn’t had a working lift since before the little bundle of joy arrived.

When I thought about motherhood this was not the vision I had. 

Also when exactly between the feeding, the pumping, the changing, the burping are you supposed to have time for yourself? My partner says every time he gets in the door it’s like he’s just entered a hostage situation but I can’t help it Grainne. 

I am at breaking point, sleep deprived, unwashed and still wearing my pregnancy tracksuit bottoms and a top (that I just noticed) has small bits of baby puke on it. I love this baby, it’s very much a wanted child, but when does this get easier? How did my parents survive the lack of sleep and time to think? (Neither of them is around Grainne otherwise I would ask them myself).

Yours, Mum on the edge

Dear Mum on the edge,

I’m sorry neither of your parents are around to ask but if they were, they would tell you; they simply did not care as much. In years gone by people were more practical about the time spent caring for a baby. You could leave them out on the street to get ‘air’ if they were doing your head in. You could give them solids from practically birth, and when it all got too much you could go to a Legion of Mary meeting.

Unfortunately now you are expected to put an endless amount of energy into them from birth to 18 (and even after). God forbid you let them cry for 5 minutes while you take a quick shower or go to the loo!

I take it this is your first, you get less fussy per child if that is of any comfort to you. Get rid of any unnecessary equipment that you carry around and buy a sling. As much as I would love to think your landlord will fix the lift, it will probably be when your child can walk.

Don’t stay in puke covered clothes, it will damage your mental health and put off visitors. Put the baby down, put on a wash, get in the shower. Believe me baby will still be there when you are done.

There may be no Legion of Mary meetings in your area, but when your partner gets in, you walk out. Call a friend, go for a walk, buy a magazine and sit in a coffee shop for half an hour. Whatever works for you.

Don’t worry, you will only feel like you’re putting in the day till bedtime for another five years or so. Then you’ll be too busy running to sports events and school meetings to notice you have no time for yourself.

Dear Grainne

‘I’m bored Mum’ – Why do kids think the person up to their elbows in dirty dishes is the best person to ask about fun activities?

It is not even summer yet and already my youngest has started on the ‘I’m bored Mum’ comments. 

It’s my least favourite statement in the world. When did it become the norm that kids need to be entertained all the time? What happened to ‘make your own fun’? Also, why do they think their stressed out Mum, up to her neck in trying to make the dinner will have the answer? 

Any suggestions?

Come the end of June it’s a comment that will be heard daily in our place and I just can’t take another summer of this.

Carlow Mum of 2

Dear Carlow Mum of 2

Get your hands out of the sink and get the kids to clean the dishes, that’s the choice.. they can be bored or they can clean the house.

Nothing happened to “make your own fun”, it’s still there to be made but somehow we have turned into these servile parents who feel it is our duty to be entertainers to our spoilt children. Let them out and collect worms, make dens and daisy chains. We are bringing up a generation who lack critical thinking skills and hoping they will learn it in school is neglectful. It is your parental duty to ignore them. It is rule number 75 in my guide of how to not bring up assholes. I’ll send you a copy, just send your cheque for €12.99 and it will be in the return post.

About Grainne: Proudly known as a bitch by her nearest and dearest. Surprisingly still married to the father of her three, only slightly dysfunctional children. Has opinions about everything.

*Disclaimer Grainne is not qualified in any way to answer your problems. She doesn’t do feedback but if you want you can leave a comment below or email her at [email protected] We can almost certainly guarantee you she will NOT get back to you, but, one of her cousins who helps her might. Alternatively, you can stalk them directly on Twitter: @Triona_Campbell or @KearneyRoisin or both.