Busy times, being Mammy and some book and blog updates

Woah. Stop the world. And let me off. Only joking. Faster faster!

Things are going so well at the minute. I’m sure I’ll look back on this period in my life as very positive. And maybe as a bit innocent.  A 21st again, of sorts.

In a month’s time I launch my debut novel December Girl. I’ve been working round the clock to put things in place to try and give it the best chance as possible of being successful. That includes making sure the edits are the best they can be and the proofing – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process with Bombshell Books and I really hope when you read the book that it’s reflected in the text.

Because my day job is in marketing, I’ve applied my marketing planning skills to the book. At least I’ve tried. Himself says I’m obsessed. I say I’m just enjoying myself.

I can’t help but draw comparisons to the wedding.

There’s the booking of the venue, the search for a dress, the invite list and then there’s the loan. Yes, I took out a loan. A small one mind, but still, after six months of maternity leave it’s safe to say I wasn’t exactly flush, so I wanted to be able to spend on the launch. We took out a big loan for our wedding too – in much the same mindset. We want to have a massive party and sure don’t you make most if back anyway.

I’m already preparing myself for not making any money back – but if I broke even, well I’d be over the moon with that. It’s weird to be talking about money and breaking even. I never went into this to make money. I fully expect to be writing away for the rest of my life for little to no profit – sure isn’t that what I’ve been doing all my life anyway?

But it would be nice. I do dream of selling big and saying to the husband – dinner’s on me – and the Caribbean cruise. The dream till now was to write a book and publish it. Now the dream is to be successful, to sell a lot of copies, to become established, to be a PROPER writer.

If it doesn’t happen – any time soon anyway, I don’t think it will stop me from researching and writing and carrying on as normal. To come into your thirties and finally discover what you REALLY want to do is quite eye opening. I feel that I am lucky to discover it so young really.

So, as you can imagine, between the impending book launch, the children, working, looking after the house and a new singing project I’ve taken on, things are a bit busy. There’s a lot to juggle and there is lots of guilt and feeling bad about things – mostly about not being here enough for my children – the same struggles millions of parents all over the world are faced with.

We are so lucky in this household. We manage to mind the kids between us, with the help of family and a fabulous childminder. It means our children get the one to one attention we would like for our children. I know not everyone is in a position to have this.

The toddler lays it on thick though. She has me wrapped around her finger. Himself doesn’t think I can see it. Of course I can. I can read everything she does just by looking at her. I can tell what she’s thinking. I can decipher her language, her mood, her needs in that bonded, extension of myself motherly way.

I love knowing all these things about her. I love feeling sometimes, that I’m the only person she wants in the world. It makes up for all the terrible, stressful times.

She has become a bit clingy since I’ve gone back to work. Most of the time, it breaks my heart. So I hold her in the mornings, both of us in our pajamas. It’s different with the baby. The baby smiles when she sees me, but she doesn’t cling to me. I feed her, but she’ll also happily take a bottle. It’ll be a long time before she expresses her love for me. There’s something so precious about a small tiny girl telling you they need you. Telling you they’ll miss you when you’re at work. Telling you they love you, in the way they run to you, springing, then just resting, silently, on your shoulder when you come in the door.

I love watching her personality develop.  I am fascinated by her beauty – taking in her big eyes, that sparkle under dark, long eyelashes. I didn’t look anything like that as a child. I fear that being pretty will do her more harm than good. That she will receive the wrong attention from boys – that she will grow up feeling privileged, a mean girl. These are ridiciulous things to worry about an innocent three year old, but they are what run through my mind. I’m always thinking about her future, about what sort of person I hope she becomes.

The speech troubles she’s suffered seem to be righting themselves – she can chat and talk now, but her pronunciation is not great and often it can be hard to decipher what exactly she is saying. It doesn’t help that she’s developed the strongest bond to any doddy she can get her little mitts on and we’ll often be heard roaring – TAKE OUT THE DUMMY I HAVEN’T A CLUE WHAT YOU ARE SAYING!

She has started playschool and while originally I worried that it might be too much for her, that she would be exhausted and tired every morning getting up – it’s been the opposite. She is flourishing – energised by the social interaction of other small children and driven by the arts and learning activities. She’s always singing new songs at us and even last night she helped clean up while singing ‘the cleaning up song’. Wonderment.

She still takes a nap everyday – at least I try to get her down for one. It works for us and she has the energy then to do something else in the afternoon. She loves to go to the playground or her Nana’s or anywhere really out of the house.

The baby too, at eight months is really starting to develop. Sometimes I feel sorry for her with her second child placement in the family. It’s just different. A little ‘seen before’. Instead of whooping with joy when we see her flip over or wiggle from the mat to the floor and back again, it’s.. oh no… stop growing up. Don’t crawl yet! I thought I had ages before you’d be on the move! Having a child who stays in the spot you dropped them in is very convenient as a parent.

That said, she brings the utmost joy to our family. We say ‘Bonnie by name, bonny by nature.’ She’s a smiler and placid and when she sees something she likes or hears music she kicks her legs like crazy and laughs her head off. It’s hard not to be melted by that.

With her development comes the interaction between the two children. A few people had said this to me before – wait till you see how your children play together – that’s what’s really rewarding about parenting.

It is divine. It makes us feel complete. I feel so blessed that we have two healthy girls and for all the moaning and whinging I do about how hard things are – there are so many moments of pure joy.

I got a bigger sense of appreciation for how attached I am to the girls at the start of September when we went away for the weekend. It was my first time that both of us left them for two nights and I wasn’t even down the road having waved goodbye to the girls when I started missing them.

Granted, slumming it as a festival and having hangovers don’t to a lot for your sense of mental self. But I missed them terribly. Particularly the baby. As we’re still breastfeeding I just hated being away from her. It always feel wrong. Like I’ve dropped a part of myself somewhere and don’t know where to find it.

When I got home from the festival, I hugged the heads off the children. I realised something very important. That this is my place. That this is what makes me happy. I don’t think I quite understood how close I am to the girls, that as their mother, I need to be with them, to touch them, to rub their heads, to dress them and look after them and make sure they’re fed, and content and happy. It’s my job – what I’m now programmed to do .

I swore I’d never leave them again.

Then Netflix came calling and asked me to go to London for a night.

Lads, you didn’t see my ass for dust. BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE I roared from the steps of the plane.

This was different though. This was a five star hotel experience at Nobu.

So the real lesson here is not how long you leave your kids for and who with. But where YOU are going. Festival and slumming it – miss the kids. Five star treatment – proper break for Mammy.

Ladies in London. What kids?

I’ll be posting about that separately but it was an amazing experience and contributed to my overall vibe at the moment that everything is going really well and I have to pinch myself a little just to check if it’s all really happening.

My final bit of good news (I’m just a really Chirpy Charlie aren’t I?!) is that I made the finals of the V by Very Blog Awards Ireland. This is my third year entering and in the past two years I made the shortlists but not the final.

To reach it in the best blog post this year is a big deal for me, particularly as a writer and for the blog post involved. I’m not sure of the numbers but I think there were over 130 posts longlisted and 10 have made it through to the final. To be one of those ten is a big achievement and I am so proud to have done so.

I’m going to go to the awards this week – I doubt I’ll be placed, but I guess I’ve as good a chance as any. Wish me luck and hopefully the twinkling stars that have been reflecting on my life over the past few weeks continue to shine.

I’ll let you know how I get on. Next time I get a chance to blog. Whenever that will be.

You can read the blog post that made it to final of the blog awards – it’s called Standing, Blinking, Into the Light.

You can see my new author website here – there’s still work to be done on it but it is live!

Follow me on Facebook here, on Twitter here or on Instagram here.


December Girl is now available on Audio. Visit Amazon or Audible or click on the cover below to download.

December Girl audiobook

13 Comments on Busy times, being Mammy and some book and blog updates

  1. Good luck on Thursday night. I’ll be there too (in a Sherlock hat, say Hi if you see me) for Wordfoolery (books&lit and arts&culture). Never made the final before either. Good luck with final steps on your novel – exciting times indeed.

    • Damn it I’m only seeing this now! I’m not seeing comments unless I log into the back end of the blog. Did you have a good night? I def would have said hello if I’d seen you! I had to go up on stage for the first award – and it wasn’t even me winning it haha. Had a great night.

  2. The depth of the love you have for your daughters comes through so well in you words. Got a little teary over here remembering my time as a young mum to two beautiful girls who wiill be 22 and 19 next week. Enjoy this special time. Well done for everything you have achieved.

    • Ah wow, they’re a similar age to my two. Oh it’s such a special time. I love them to bits! They’re my little rays of sunshine even though I’m like a madwoman half the time! Good tears I hope!

      • Yes, good tears. Happy memory tears. I think our girls are the same age difference perhaps but my two are young adults now. What a strange concept that is! I don’t know how you find the time to do everthing you do. Congratulations.

  3. Hi again Nicola, I promise I’m not a stalker. i just read your post Standing, Blinking, Into the Light and wanted to leave a comment at the bottom but the comments section has been closed. I just wanted to say it’s one of the best pieces of writing I have read for a very long time. Brilliant!

    • Oh thank you so much Juliet! Wow, that’s so lovely to hear. Do you know I wrote it up in about half an hour and just posted it – I didn’t put a lot of thoguht into at all, it just flowed. There was an issue with my comments, I didn’t know they were turned off, but back open now so thanks for pointing that out! Thanks so much for your comments, it’s so nice to get feedback like that x

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