Thursday, October 22, 2009

Life Before the Alarm

Ha Haaaa! The new plan is a success! Sort of. You see, I recently came to the conclusion that being a stay at home mom/ not so domestic goddess with two smallies under the age of two is not exactly conducive to the finishing of a manuscript.

Not during the day at least. It seems that the dynamic duo have picked up on my wanting to do something other then cater to their every whim and together have decided to thwart my plans of personal productivity (mmmmmm.....I looooooovvvve alliteration.)

So writing during the daytime is now out.

So how about the night time? what's wrong with that? Handsome J is home to help with the smallies, surely that could buy me an hour or two of quality working time?

Again, no.

You see, by the time supper's eaten and the girls are bathed/changed, it's bedtime for the Snot Queen and time for the Small one to start her nightly "quest for the Breast" in which she makes sure that her mammarian mates are well within suckling distance should the need arise, which it does... the second I open my files and set down to business.

Add to that the fact that himself actually likes us to spend time together as a couple and not just as two child maintainers on opposing shifts and night time is pretty much a no go too.

There just aren't enough hours in the day/evening.

Which leaves the morning.

Yup! I have discovered that yes virginia, there is life before the alarm goes off. A whole great, big chunk of baby free, just for me time to write and edit to my little heart's content.

Which leaves the rest of the day (and night) free for babies, blogs and the boyfriend. Oh, and tweeting.

Yes Jen, I finally caved.

Does that make me a total twit?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wanted: Connections

Want to hear a great way to light a fire under your arse? Get an early morning tip off from a friend that someone else is working on THE EXACT SAME PROJECT THAT YOU ARE!!!!! And by someone, I mean a certain website where I discussed my book and found volunteers to help me out with it. I'm sure that this is merely a coincidence of course and that they're not a bunch of GREAT BIG IDEA STEALERS!!!

Either way, it definitely got me moving and had me looking up agents quick haste. It was while looking up said agents that I came across this article in the Irish Independent in which one of the country's few literary agents explains that, 'recommendation has become increasingly important nowadays. "We have a lot of personal recommendation, word of mouth, or established, but unagented, authors approaching us." '

Hear that splushing sound?

That was my heart hitting the floor.

I know nobody.

I have no connections.




what's worse is that I'm (gasp!) not even Irish.

So how is an unconnected, transplanted Canadian supposed to get a foot in the door of the Irish publishing world?

Buy a pair of reeeeeeeeeeallllllyyyy long shoes :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

How I'm Feeling


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Waste of Money

Funny enough, I had a dream last night that myself and Irishmammy were protesting cuts to child benefit and were each given a chance to talk to Brian Cowen after which we each agreed that he was a lovely man and it was a shame about his shit policies and grotesque incompetence at running the country.

I woke up this morning and checked my facebook only to find this latest news from PACUB (parents against child unfriendly budget) Apparently, a member of the ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute) had made a comment that child benefit (which our lovely government has decided to cut by 20% as well as doing away with the Early Childcare Supplement) was "an incredible waste of money"

The girls at PACUB were also kind enough to provide this person's email. I can only imagine the number of letters she received on the issue...

Here, for anyone interested, is mine:

Dear Ms. Kearney,

As a stay at home mother of two young children, I am disgusted by your comment that child benefit is an "incredible waste of money."

Over the past 8 months, my family's monthly income has been hit time and again, first by the slashing of the ECS and secondly by the hiking of the pension levies. We are not rich by any stretch of the imagination. With a monthly income in the area of (as if I'd put that in my blog!), by the time we remove our rent and bills, without child benefit and the ECS we are left with approximately €500 to cover such luxuries as food for ourselves and our children.

The proposed 20% cut to CB and the 2010 slashing of the ECS will mean a further 17.7% loss of income to my family.

Child benefit has acted as a great cushion to our family. It allowed me to take my oldest daughter to the gp when she was ten months of age and contracted measles and again when she was 15 months and contracted scarlet fever. My second baby came down with what appeared to be measles at ten weeks of age. Again, thanks to child benefit we were able to take her to the doctor. When I was heavily pregnant and and in need of emergency dental work, it enabled me to seek out the services of a dentist.

Child benefit and the ECS help to make up for the income lost by our decision to raise our children ourselves.

It offers us security in the winter months when the cost of heating is higher. It helps cushion the blow when it comes time to pay the car tax and car insurance on a vehicle we may no longer be able to afford once the Carbon Tax comes into play. It helps to cover the cost of shoes and clothing for two quickly growing girls and one day will pay for things like school fees and uniform costs. It is vital when unexpected expenses arise.

In almost every study looking at national schemes in EU countries which contribute to the growth, development and education of children, Ireland is consistently ranked in the bottom rung, if not dead last. We have the lowest number of obstetricians per population, our maternity hospitals are bursting at the seams and dangerously understaffed, we offer no paid paternity leave and our maternity pay ranks amongst the lowest in Europe. Even England, who are regularly cited as the worst EU country in which to raise a child have the decency to offer a National Health Service which takes the financial burden of doctor visits off of struggling families.

Our breastfeeding rates are abysmal, as is the support offered to breastfeeding mothers who often have to pay for the services of private lactation consultants or else shell out the ever increasing cost of a gp visit to help them out in the early days. The state of our schools can only be described as criminal and the current and proposed cuts to education are doing nothing at all to rectify the situation. Instead, they are making an already awful situation even worse. The near complete lack of state subsidized childcare is ridiculous and the proposed year of government funded "playschool" is a joke as most playschools cannot afford to take the loss this program would force on them and offers NO BENEFIT WHATSOEVER to parents like myself who are taking care of their children themselves.

Child benefit is one of the few things this country has done right by it's children and you call this a "Waste of Money?"

The proposed cuts to Child Benefit combined with the 2010 scrapping of the ECS will only further Ireland's race to the bottom when it comes to the education of and provision for, our Nation's children.

I am ashamed to live in a country where the bailing out of banks and the obscene pay offs of disgraced public officials is seen as necessary and our children's well being an "incredible waste of money."


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Unproven Theory and hot mamas...

Okay, so I know that I'm only supposed to be writing about well, my writing, but OH MY GOD!!!! the Universe keeps sending little events my way that just SCREAM "BLOG ABOUT ME!!!!! PUHLEEEEASE!!!!"

For starters, I am yet another step further from being a licensed driver. Having failed my theory test on the first go, I was determined that despite having NO DESIRE TO DRIVE WHATSOEVER (can you hear me love?) I would give the test another go and learn to operate a motor vehicle.

I read the damn book from cover to cover. I learned everything there is to know about driving on Irish roads, which, considering I'm a Canadian and don't even know the rules of the road there is pretty impressive stuff indeed.

I learned that if you want to take the third exit off of a roundabout, you approach from the right hand lane and that those upside down triangles painted on the road at T Junctions are not, as I previously thought, arrows which for reasons unknown never seemed to point the right direction, but are in fact yield signs.

I learned so much that no matter what page you turned to, I could tell you exactly what was on it and how it applied to driving a car in Ireland.

I arrived at the test centre full of beans and greeted the test adjudicators with what some may deem an inappropriate amount of affection. I sat down at my assigned terminal and waited with confidence for my test to begin.

As soon as the first question appeared on the screen, I felt my confidence wane. Question two gave it a desperate beating and question four had me wondering if I was taking the correct test. Surely these questions were wrong! surely there'd been a mix up of sorts! I'd read that book from cover to cover and NONE OF THIS CRAP WAS IN IT!!!!!

How the hell should I know when it's appropriate to use a hand brake?!?!?! I'm not a bloody mechanic! That's the kind of thing you learn AFTER you've passed your theory test and have moved onto LEARNING HOW TO DRIVE!!!!

How the hell should I know what the imaginary cyclist plans on doing when the cycle lane ends?!?!?!? I don't know them! They're IMAGINARY!!!!!!!!

Within the first ten minutes I knew I'd wasted another 33 euros. This was ridiculous. a complete and utter disaster. So it was no surprise when the nice lady who I'd practically hugged upon arrival called me in for my results and the first words out of her mouth were "I'm sorry, but..."

Yup. I'd failed yet again to pass a test that thousands of kids almost HALF MY AGE manage to pass on a daily basis. Not only that, but I let them know it wasn't my first time by screaming "AGAIN?!?!?" as she handed me my rejection letter. Smooth one.

My second bit of "Blogworthy News" occured yesterday afternoon when I was putting the girls down for a nap. I was watching E! Network's "15 Hottest Hollywood Moms" (not recommended when you still have another stone to lose and can't quite remember whether or not you've had your daily rinse. To call it a shower would be a stretch.) which was of course filled with the usual line up of tall, thin, ridiculously wealthy stick insects who managed to spit out babies on a monday and be bikini ready by Friday.

My favourite moment had to be when in one breath, they lauded Angelina Jolie for being such a hands on mom and then in the next breath went on to talk about her FOUR FULL TIME NANNIES!!! Um... Hello? Reality? I'd like to order a check please!

So yes, those are the bloggy things I've been dying to talk about, as far as my writing goes, I did manage to get an hour or two of editing done yesterday as well as a few emails sent out. Today, if the stars line up and the gods smile down on me, I'm hoping to get a survey put together about birth choice in Ireland, an email prepared and sent to the head of breastfeeding and more work done polishing the section on Homebirth.

Hope all is well with you!

Mammy x

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Back to Work


The time has come.

It is time for me to get off my arse and get down to work. The "Mammy Diaries" has been stalled at Just under 100 000 words for the last month or so and as the writing fairy seems to be missing in action along with the editing fairies and the Pitching to Publisher elves, I suppose I'd best be getting back to what I've been supposed to be doing all along...

Finishing the damn book.

I won't stop blogging all together (I think my heart just stopped for a minute), but the focus for the next while will be on my progress so as to keep me on the straight and narrow. Please feel free to continue along with me as I finish the final pages, edit the bejaysus out of the entire thing and then package it up to send out to agents and publishers in the hopes that somewhere out there is someone who sees that yes, there is room on the shelves for one more...

Right so.

Party's over!

It's back to work

Saturday, October 3, 2009

And I love him so...

It was the sound of suckling that awoke me. That incessant "slurp, slurp, slurp" which all parents know as infant speak for "I'm hungry. Feed me now and nobody gets hurt. Wait 2 seconds and I will scream so loud that birds will fly from the trees and worse, the snot queen will wake up thinking it's time to start the day."

It was 5:30 in the morning. On a Saturday. Forgive me for wanting to sleep oh great infant overlord.

Twenty five minutes of enthusiastic guzzling later, I made the mistake of shifting my position causing her to momentarily lose her latch. This resulted in the aforementioned almighty roar which, while I am uncertain of it's effects on local birdlife, had the very unfortunate result of a very cheerful, instantly alert sounding "Bahbee?" from the other side of the room.

The Snot Queen was awake.

For the next three hours, the girls played a horrible, vicious game of "sleep tag" whereby one of them slept while the other did their best to keep mammy awake.

At eight thirty, they called time on their shenanigans and bright eyed and bushy tailed, declared the day open for business.

I on the other hand, was a snarling, rather feral looking creature who wanted nothing nothing more then to wring the necks of each of my offspring as well as that of their well rested father, who took one look at the blood lust in my eyes and suggested - rather wisely - that I stay in bed just a little bit longer and he'd take the girls downstairs.

Being the calm, reasonable soul I am, I immediately rejected his offer, bit off his head and spat it disdainfully on the ground before seeing sense and diving back under the duvet and falling promptly into a coma.

At eleven o'clock (and in the middle of a dream involving David Letterman, my family and a pair of tights that had, amongst other things, a man's face complete with protruding nose printed on them ) I was awoken by my partner who then served me breakfast in bed complete with a wine glass of orange juice before returning downstairs to the tiny terrors.

What can I say?

I'm a lucky woman.