Validate me, love me.



The blog has been shortlisted in the Blog and Online Publishing Awards. Which is lovely ,of course. It is a public vote and At The Clothesline has been shortlisted in the Best Lifestyle and Family read. Now I very much appreciate my blog is far from a lifestyle blog or certainly not a lifestyle anyone would look to emulate and my parenting skills leave a lot to be desired but if you want to throw me a vote anyway, that would be very kind of you.

You can vote via this link. There are ten categories and I am up in the last one. If you dont want to vote in the other categories just click skip. Anna Saccone of  massive huge Youtube fame is up in the same category. The vlog of her second birth went live this evening, I believe. I am happy to set up a YouTube channel with a promise to live blog my upcoming labour and delivery just to put us on equal footing, like.  ( I may be lying). Also there are some fab blogs in the same category from Team Irish Parenting Bloggers too so I am in esteemed company.

Anyway you can only vote till tomorrow so I thought I would ask so as not to languish in last position.


Please and thank you.

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Pinterest Makes Me Feel Like A Shit Parent And Other Reasons Why I Gave Pinterest Up

Pinterest- the happy place where people go to catalogue all the lovely things they would like in their lives. A pinboard to collect all the nice things you see online and share with other people. Sounds so harmless doesn’t it? Well it isn’t.


Popular pins on Pinterest are collections for the home, fashion and style, kids, weddings. All lovely. You can just spend hours looking at all the lovely things and pinning them and sharing them and its all lovely fantasy land niceness. Then you start to think hey I could do that. Wrong. Just because it looks easy and nice on pinterest, it isn’t and do you know what you are left with? Emptiness and desolation because you realise not only are there all these people out there with time to conduct intricate crafts with their coordinating dressed kids in their perfect house, they then have time to photograph their efforts and pin them. That is how perfect they are. Meanwhile I’m sitting amidst chaos in my average house while my kids draw on themselves or sellotape their artwork, which they came up with by themselves, all over the walls.

Some of the things the Pinterest parents are doing with their kids -




Naturally they do these crafts in “their craft corner”. Although I have my doubts that some of these crafts were actually completely by kids. It sometimes makes me feel better to think the parents pack their kids off to school then spend hours completing these crafts, photographing them and uploading to Pinterest and pretending their kids did it. I give my kids some paper and markers with the wrong tops and my poor kids don’t have a craft corner.

There are no ham sandwiches in school lunch boxes on Pinterest. No. This is what exists in Pinterest lunch boxes.


What time would you have to get up to make school lunches like this every morning? Do they not sleep? All Pinterest has done for my parenting skills is highlight them as being inadequate and make me thankful my children do not know that other children are living this kind of life.

Then there are the “for the home” boards which basically just leave you feeling shit about your home. I used to make myself feel better by thinking its good to have these ideas pinned and ready to go for when I get rich but then it dawned on me if I win the lotto I wont have time for Pinterest because I will be so busy spending money so there was no point in pinning pretty home things any more. The thing that hurts me most about the for the home boards though are the playrooms

But but but playrooms are for kids….. Kids thrash playrooms. Is this only true in my house? Our playroom consists of broken toys, scattered lego and paper everywhere. I don’t go in there. I can’t go in there. Occasionally if there is a bad smell the husband will venture in and try to sort it out so the kids don’t contract MRSA but otherwise its a dead space in our house where toys go to die. Then I look at the Pinerest playrooms and a little part of me dies too.

Despite Pinterest making me consistently feel like a shit parent who lives in an average house and berating myself daily for not having a clearer career path and for choosing the wrong undergraduate subjects in the 90′s and if I hadn’t Id have more disposable income to live a Pinterest inspired life, I still kept going with it. Have you seen the birth announcement boards on there? They sucked me in for a while.

When we found out about baby number 4 and were ready to tell people, I said to the husband oh we should get cowboy boots and write May 2014 on the soles of them and go lie down in a meadow, get a professional photographer to take our picture and announce the pregnancy that way. He wasn’t really into that idea. No Pinterest announcement for me so.

I realised things were going too far though when I start looking at wedding boards. If you want to see Pinterest in its shining glory the wedding boards are where it’s at.

Thing is though, I have no reason to be looking at wedding boards. 99% of the time I’m very happily married and I have no plans ever to get married again. I worked out that even if I was to get married again it would be years away. We’d need a few years of not getting on, then five years to get a divorce , then time to meet a new spouse so even if we started to split up soon I could be close to 50 before getting married again. Too old to host a grand vintage style wedding in the meadow I was banned from having my pregnancy announcement photo shoot in. Or, in summation, a complete waste of fucking time looking at wedding boards.

See that’s what Pinterest became to me – an abyss that sucked away all my time and left me feeling like shite. The temporary high from looking at the pretty things wasn’t worth it anymore. And like any good addict, I was pinning in secret. Sitting at my laptop innocently it looked like I could be working or doing something useful. Nobody watching me could see me pinning things for the wedding I was never going to have or the cutesy school lunches I was never going to make. If I whipped out a scrapbook , glue and some magazines and started sticking pages with ideas of nice things at my desk at work or at home when I should be doing something else, an intervention would be staged pretty damn quick but nobody knew. So the wedding boards broke me, I staged my own intervention and quit Pinterest. As a result I have more free time and don’t feel so bad about my lack of homemaking skills or the fact we don’t have a craft corner or I didn’t have wild flowers at my wedding. Its a win-win.




All images via Pinterest

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Raising Delinquents

So tomorrow is April Fools Day. My children are wildly excited by this. The three of them spent ages upstairs this evening plotting. Tonight when I walked into the boy’s room he was about 3ft higher in his bed than normal. They had hidden most of the husbands clothes under the boys bedsheet’s presumably with the idea we wouldn’t notice him in bed at an abnormal height and the husband would have no clothes in the morning. Not a bad effort.

april 1

They have been saving most of their plotting for the best way to trick their Granddad though. Their plans started normally enough for small children, changing time on clocks and the like. Then they degenerated. Quickly.

I know, lets throw loads of water on him” said one

“I have a better idea lets rob the dog” said another

No, no no, I have the best idea” said another “Lets ROB HIS CAR”.

“YUSSSSSSSSS” agreed the other two



So the plan is to hotwire it,I assume, one will do the pedals and another one will steer.

They are 4, 6 and 7. Worrying.




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Antenatal Appointment Awkwardness Part 71

The #nomakeupselfie swept across Irish and the UK social media last week, raising phenomenal money for the Irish Cancer Society, Cancer Research and other charities. The majority of my photographs on Facebook feature me make up free so I decided to post a different photograph over the weekend.



My #nomakeupselfie – The Bare Bump

I wrote last week about going on in great detail about my sex life or lack thereof and my penchant for inappropriate underwear at antenatal appointments so roll on this Monday morning and I had another midwife appointment. I had showered since but kids markers don’t come off easily.

So there I am lying on the bed, mindful of my previous behaviour, I was wearing a t-shirt and plain knickers, nothing was going to embarrass me today, t-shirt lifted, confident for once that the conversation would only be pregnancy related.

The midwife asks “Eh is that a face drawn on your stomach?”

Me “Yes. Yes it is

Midwife: “Oh did your kids draw it?

Me “No actually my husband did

Conversation ended. I’d no energy to explain and I’ve very little shame left at this stage.

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In Which I Continue To Embarrass Myself

I don’t know what is wrong with me but I generally lose my sense of general cop on when I’m pregnant and go to great lengths to embarrass myself. I wrote about in the past how I rocked up to be induced on my first child wearing inappropriate underwear which I forgot to take of, 8 years later and now on my 4th baby and I haven’t gotten any better.

All my ante-natal appointments have been first thing on a Monday morning. At all of both my midwife and doctors appointments I have dressed inappropriately. I should know better. I have repeatedly struggled to pull up tight dresses to unveil my bump whilst also unveiling tights caught halfway down my legs during this pregnancy. This thing is the midwife and/or doctor probably wouldn’t even have noticed but I feel the need to point it out. Every time.


I have loads of normal mammy sensible comfy knickers. Plain black. Are they ever to hand the mornings I am rushing out to an ante natal appointment? No, they are not. What I end up wearing are Penney’s knickers that cost .50c and have ridiculously inappropriate slogans written across the crotch of them. Again the midwives probably wouldn’t notice should trivial matters until I point it out. One midwife however when monitoring the baby’s heartbeat a couple of months ago did actually ask me what was written on my knickers. “Eh I’m not sure” was my reply. She squinted at them while I lay there and said  “Ah truth or dare”. “Right” said I.  Totally appropriate knickers for an ante natal appointment. I then launched into a five minute case for cheap Penney’s underwear. The midwife wanted to hear my baby’s heartbeat not my thoughts on cheap knickers.

images (1)

I took it to a whole new level though last week. I ended up in hospital suddenly, a small glitch in my till now normal pregnancy ( all is fine, baby is fine, I am fine). Anyway I was lying there on a bed in a delivery room hooked up to a trace.  A team of doctors came in to assess me.  One of them asked me had I had sex in the last 48 hours. I had already had this conversation twice with two separate midwives. What I should have replied with was “No” and left it that. I didn’t though. I was nervous. I had been admitted to delivery ward two months before my baby was due so off my mouth ran. Instead of just a “No I haven’t”, I launched into a full three-minute monologue on how and why I hadn’t had sex in the previous two days. I mentioned the fact my husband was out of the country. I then continued on to state how I wasn’t having an affair and continued with I wouldn’t ever have an affair but especially not at 7 months pregnant and sure who would want to have sex with me, the size of me and on and on and on I went. At first the doctors were kind of looking at me, then they were looking at each other, then they were looking at the floor. I even threw in a few lame jokes. They didn’t laugh. They didn’t stop me and even though I was screaming at myself in my head to shut the fuck up talking, I didn’t. I went on and on until finally I had exhausted the topic and had nothing else to say about my non-existent sex life and I stopped. The doctor said right thanks , ticked something on his clipboard and off they went.

It wasn’t great, It wasn’t great at all.

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Now She Is Four

My youngest child turned four a few weeks ago. It’s a big age, four. Your newborn arrives with a bang, a whirlwind of broken sleep, wonder, chaos and love. She transforms to a toddler with a bang. One day she is a pleasant smiley cherub with an angelic smile and chubby thighs and the next she is lying on the ground kicking her legs, screaming hysterically in the most inopportune public setting. She leaves this stage more gradually and then she is four and you realise how big she is, how she has grown and how some of the ties that bind you together are unravelling away. This is a good thing, she is becoming her own person, she is becoming independent, she is finding her little feet in the  huge world.


Now that my youngest daughter is four:

She wears all the accessories. All at the same time.

She talks about things she did not learn from me.

She can master the art of negotiation.

She dresses herself.

She sometimes takes herself off to bed.

She walks into preschool without a backward glance.

She eats Cheerios one by one from the bowl and drinks the milk at the end. It does not matter that this is extremely time-consuming at the time precious time before we leave the house in the morning. This is how she does it so the rest of us need to wait.

She will sit through the scarier parts of a Harry Potter,without flinching, even  the parts that make me jumpy.

She draws on her hands.

She draws on her siblings.

She can write her own name. She thought herself how to do this.


I could draw many similarities between herself and the North Korean leader King Jung Un. Sheryl Sandberg would say she displays future leadership skills if she met her. Others would call her bossy.

Its taken two years but her fringe has grown out. We can see her face now and her full range of facial expressions which instantly convey her mood.

She laughs a lot.

She can use the words, fuck it, correctly. This is my fault.

She will go to school this year. I hope to have removed the word fuck from her vocabulary by then.

She dances with abandon. Unaware of how she looks. I hope she retains this.

Her dog is her best friend.

She can win any argument.

She tells knock- knock jokes without a punchline.

She sings out of tune.

She doesn’t ask the  but why questions the way her siblings did at her age. She knows all the answers. Even if they are the wrong ones.

Her hand still feels tiny in mind.

Maybe it is because she is my youngest child, maybe it is because I am in my third trimester of pregnancy, maybe it is because I am prone to dramatics but there are days where it feels like she is slipping through my fingers. In a heartbeat she has gone from newborn to four. Just like that. I’m very proud of her. It’s a big age, four.


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Making The Bed

make bed

I’m a 35-year-old mother of three and I cannot change a bed.

Last week, I needed to change my bed. The husband was away. He usually does this job because I can’t. I do not know why I can’t. I don’t think I have particularly short arms. I have never noticed that my arms are short when clothes shopping nor have my possible short arms stopped me doing anything. I think my spatial awareness is fine too. I can parallel park, I just, cannot put on a duvet cover.

Do you know how long it took me to change the bed? 55 minutes. 55 long sweaty frustrating minutes.

  • Do you know how many times I got caught in the duvet cover? 5 times.
  •  Do you know how many places in which my armed ached by the end? 17.
  • Do you how many pillowcases I managed to put on back to front? Two or 50% of them.
  • Do you know what happened when I had finally finished making the bed? The sheet popped off one of the end corners.

This made me cry. For 25 minutes. My inability to change a bed alone became a symbol for all the things I manage to fail at in life. I lay on my badly half made bed and sobbed.




I cried because of the bed and because I can’t make roast dinners even though I detest roast dinners and because despite being of reasonable intelligence I cannot work out some system for my laundry and because I have turned into a person who texts their husband when is on another continent because I cant’t find the remote control. Then I cried because I am bringing up my children in a world where despite being good at lots of things I still felt like a failure because of the stupid bed. Then I thought burning some bras or something might make me feel better but realised I couldn’t burn a bra because I only have two that fit me because my boobs are so big and sore and then I cried again and then just as I was gearing up to proper hysterics  and composing a lengthy text to  the husband ( who was on the other side of the world, fortunately , for him)  about how I was drowning in a sea of mediocrity, it passed. I fixed the corner of the sheet and the bed was ok and somewhat comfortable that night.


The fact that I am approaching my 7th month of pregnancy may just may have also have been a contributory factor in this meltdown.

I fucking hate making the bed though.

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