I’ve become the archetypal Irish Mammy – worrying and nagging to beat the band. I try to resist, but at the first hint of winter frost, I start my “Put on your coat, wear your hat!” mantra, especially when colds and flu strike. Is it just me or do other mums do this too?
Junior, for example, usually has to endure a slew of reminders before each bout of soccer training. “Where are your skins, fleece, coat, jogging pants, woolly hat?” I’ll pester. “For God’s sake, Mom, I’ll look like the Michelin Man if wear all that stuff. I’ll be running, anyway, and won’t feel the cold!” Rain or hail, he’ll sneak off in skinny bare knees and soccer shorts.
Even his dad thinks I’m over the top. “That light jacket won’t keep out these Artic winds!” I remonstrated one chilly weekend. “He’s only going to a match,” he rebutted, “Not the glacial reaches of outer Siberia.” Junior donned the anorak but was probably only humouring me, planning to leave it in the car when they got to the pitch. His older siblings show no such subterfuge and blatantly ignore my coat reminders when they set off for school. It’s a losing battle – I now ‘zip it’ and let them off, coatless.
However, this offhand “What do mothers know?” attitude can be their undoing. With the recent bad weather the kids got sick. I did my Florence Nightingale bit by dosing them with remedies, while fighting the urge to crow “I told you so!” Junior suffered the worst, taking to the bed of his own volition. Being midterm, he didn’t even benefit from a day off school.
However, clouds have silver linings. Boyo happily endured the snuffles as he lapped up the in-house room service. “Can I have biscuits /toast/ breakfast in bed?” became his refrain. “What happened to your last slave?” I grouched, “Enjoy it while you can!” He sure did – snuggled under the duvet, devouring toast and watching DVDs on the laptop.
Do our kids ever learn? Despite Junior being sick and daughter sniffling, she was about to go on a long walk with rain clouds threatening. While delighted she wanted exercise, I couldn’t refrain from warning “Don’t get caught in a downpower!” “Stop fussing and don’t you DARE collect me if you see a little drop of rain!” It lashed. Should I be cruel to be kind? Part of me was irked at being taken for granted. A good drenching might prompt her to appreciate her mother more!
How do other mums deal with this ‘coat’ stuff? Do we hope that life experience will teach our kids to respect the weather, mind their health and maybe one day, even pester their own children to follow suit?
I don’t know which is worse – kicking them outdoors in uncertain conditions or tolerating them indoors playing PlayStation? I’d prefer if they braved the rain and did some sports. So what if they get soaked? Mammies – we’re never happy!
Have you similar memories or stories to share? Post to my blog or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Maeve O’Keeffe, the Frazzled Mammy! ©Maeve O’Keeffe 2014
Maeve O’Keeffe is a Cartoonist, Illustrator and Journalist in Cork, Ireland