There’s another woman in our lives ….

Sarah about to head to the other woman's house for the very first time with her body guard!

Sarah about to head to the other woman’s house for the very first time with her body guard!

There’s another woman in our lives. She’s been a permanent fixture for almost two years now. My man goes to her house regularly. His sister knows her well too. Indeed he loves nothing more than to call to her house.

Before you all go lambasting Daddy Chambers, I am in fact talking about my little man and his other woman. I’m talking about Aidan and Sarah’s second mammy; their childminder, and a woman I quite simply couldn’t do without.

I’m not great at saying my feelings out loud sometimes but if I was I’d tell the other woman just how much she means to all us Chambers’.

As my maternity leave with Aidan neared an end I had to go in search of someone to look after him. Creches weren’t on my agenda so I went looking for a childminder and dreaded the thoughts of it. I met with two ladies; the first a perfectly lovely woman and then I came face-to-face with the ‘one’. I instantly knew she was the woman who would look after my precious first born. The freshly brewed coffee and homemade scones on her kitchen table sealed the deal! I was so relieved that my search wasn’t labourious.

Aidan has been with the other woman ever since and in June of this year she took Sarah under her wing. As a ten-month-old, my youngest isn’t quite proficient in verbal communication but each mid-week morning when the other woman opens her door Sarah outstretches her arms and almost leaps out of mine to get to her..

Aidan, on the other hand, is well able to talk. There are no mistaking his feelings for the other woman. He adores her. Luckily I’m not the sensitive sort because most evenings when I collect him he bawls his eyes out when he has to leave the other woman’s house. At weekends he frequently looks to go and visit her and cries if we pass by her neck of the woods without stopping.

The other woman is their second mammy. She doesn’t just mind Aidan and Sarah, she treats them like one of her own. And speaking of her own, her children have embraced my two like siblings.

In two years I don’t recall ever getting one phone call from her while at work. There’s never any drama. She’s cool and calm, which is no mean feat when you have Aidan to look after! She’s a natural. She juggles her own children, mine and others at times with remarkable ease. I’m literally dumbfounded by it sometimes. Nothing seems to be an issue.

One evening recently when I collected Aidan and Sarah she mentioned she had been out to do her weekly grocery shop earlier in the day. No big deal you might think. But she did it with six children in tow. Superwoman is actually alive and well in Newbridge! The thoughts of that has me breaking out in a cold sweat! At a push I bring one of mine to the supermarket!

When the weather is fine I hear Aidan out in her back garden playing when I pull up to collect them and he always seems to be roaring his head off laughing. I suppose that’s the bottom line; he’s so so happy there and I’m so happy he’s there.

The cost of childcare in Ireland is a hot topic and yes it’s is mega expensive but I personally won’t be searching for the lowest bidder.

So to you other woman, we are so amazingly thankful to have you in our lives. If Carlsberg did childminders …… well you know the rest!

Now, moving on and changing tack, last week I wrote about ‘operation lose the spare tyre’ and about how I’ve embarked on a twelve week fitness and healthy eating course with mammy fitness expert Brid McGill from Fit With Brid. Well, I’m pleased to say I’m still on course and I’m still managing to find time for my 40 minutes of exercise five days a week. I usually do it after the kids go to bed but last Saturday I attempted to do it while they were up so I could have an evening off to relax. Eh bad move!

Sarah, from the comfort of her highchair, thought I was hilarious as I buck leaped about the place in front of her. The other fella though wouldn’t give me a minutes peace. I finally gave up when he hopped on my back as I was mid-plank. Those bloody things are hard enough without adding a two-year-old in to the mix!

Morning madness with kids and a weird eye!

Morning madness with kids

Morning madness with kids: Aidan, just before he fired his breakfast at me!

I pride myself on being organised. I have to because I fluster easily. Very easily. This is particularly true since returning to work in June.

My freezer is full of dinners for Aidan and Sarah and some lunches. I don’t have time to be cooking when I get in from work so it’s handy to whip out a spag bol that has defrosted over the day and fill their bellies before they head off to the leaba for the night.

It’s only after they go to bed that the real work starts. Every evening a load of washing goes on, bottles have to be washed and sterilised and left ready for Sarah for the following day. Myself or Daddy Chambers chop up piles of fruit, make the sandwiches and pack it all into the kid’s bags ready to accompany them to the childminder’s house the next day. Dinner’s accompanying carb, be it pasta or rice, is cooked up, cooled and shoved in the fridge. I even go so far as putting the uncooked porridge into bowls with spoons for the morning (yes I really am that anal!).

With Daddy Chambers up, out and long gone to work before the rest of us arise, all the previous night’s organisation pays off. It makes for calm, stress free mornings.

Who am I kidding?! The morning madness with kids never ends! Stress free my behind. No matter how much organising I do, the proverbial still manages to hit the fan and I leave the house a dishevelled stress head!

Some mornings are worse than others. Take last Tuesday for example. I got up at around 6.30am and hopped into the shower for about 20 seconds. In the middle of trying to lob on a bit of make-up I hear Aidan bellowing ‘mammy’ down the hall so I leg it and get him before he wakes Sarah. Into the room he comes and within seconds he had covered his face with eyeshadow and spilled the glass of water that was on the bedside locker.

Next thing Sarah is awake so I stick on the television for Aidan and head into her. She smells like a sewer so I throw her up on the changing table and whip off the babygro to discover it’s a poonami. A baby wipe would not suffice in this instance.

I leg it into the bathroom with the soiled baby under my arm and put on the shower before taking off the nappy. I hose her down and problem solved. Until I turned around that is.

The television failed to hold Aidan’s attention, instead he was part taking in a dirty protest with his sister’s nappy that I had foolishly left on the floor!

I eventually manage to wrestle the nappy off him, clean up and march him back to the sitting room for a spot of Peppa Pig. I get Sarah dressed and plonk her on the bed drinking a bottle while I get myself dressed.

Next minute I hear one of the neighbours in my kitchen. She had found Aidan wandering outside in his pajamas after I forgot to lock the door when I put the nappy out in the wheelie bin.

At the end of my tether, I give him a bowl of porridge, which he throws at me, while Sarah pukes hers all over the fresh clothes. Time is ticking away at this stage, I need to be on the road. I change herself quickly and scrub the breakfast off the floor. I then herd Aidan out to the car as if he was a cow. There’s tears and lots of them for no apparent reason. He’s still bawling when the minder opens her door but at this stage I don’t care! I’m just glad to be handing the madness over to her.

When I hop back in the car I catch a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror. I have eye shadow and mascara on one eye, the other is as bare as a baby’s bum. There is porridge stuck in my hair; I basically look like a hobo. All my organisation was for nothing. I’m going to have to start getting up at 3am if I’m to get out of the house looking human and avoid the morning madness with kids. I take my hat off to mothers who arrive to work looking glam as hell, as I cower in the corner hoping nobody notices the weird eye! Even with mammy make up tips from my make up artist Pamela, I still look disheveled! 

So, just how do you other mammys and daddies manage the morning madness with kids or is that even possible?