A Bit of “Mammy and Me” Time

We went on our “midterm holidays” last week, a sleepover in Granny’s- “Mama says that we can stay TWO nights” Cathal told anyone who would listen excitedly. Getting up the first morning the sun was shining so we decided to go for a walk on the beach and survey the damage that the recent storms had brought. It was a beautiful day but very windy. The boys galloped down the street with glee, detouring in to “Peggy’s Shop” for a midterm treat, one chose an ice-cream the other a chocolate bar.


We got down onto the beach and met the full force of the wind. Cathal turned to Granny, his three year old frame shivering and asked to go home. Ciarán, never one to miss an opportunity suggested that Granny should bring Cathal home and we’d continue. Granny agreed and took Laoise away too, leaving Ciarán and I to explore the whole beach alone. Just Mammy and Ciarán, some special time.

I’ve found since I’ve been home on maternity leave and Ciarán has started school that he thinks that he’s missing out on Mammy time. He sees Cathal spending most of the time that he’s in school with me and he feels a bit left out. I remind him that he was at home for just as long but he doesn’t quite buy that explanation. So we’ve started making a big deal of time for both of us, (even if Laoise is with us sometimes) going for a hot chocolate while Cathal’s in playschool, going to Tesco together while Granny watches the other two and picking out what’s for dinner.

Just everyday stuff but I say to him how special it is that we’re getting all that time together. Saying it makes it real, reinforces the point and makes it stick with him.

So we set off across the beach, with Ciarán dictating the pace. We surveyed the storm damage that had ravaged the coastline and “eaten” the dunes, we talked erosion and he wondered where the beach would get new dunes. He found a piece of seaweed that he decided was an octopus arm (he later admitted that he knew that it wasn’t but like to pretend).

The “octopus arm”

We used the “octopus arm” to play a game of tic tac toe, Ciarán won.


We noticed shells stuck together, pieces of rope, gloves filled with sand. I tried to convince him that the gloves were hands but he was having none of it.


We came to the river across the beach and had fun trying to step our way across, splashing and giggling. We realised afterwards that the rock we stepped on looks EXACTLY like a crocodile…see!

Crocodile rock

We found a dead bird washed ashore, and Ciarán suggested that we should bring it to the graveyard. We compromised and buried it with the head of a shovel the was abandoned nearby. He solemnly marked the “grave” with a piece of wood. A few feet on and we discovered a second dead bird, he turned to me and asked with an angry tone “Mam WHY did God have to make the storm that killed the birds?”. What do you say to that?

We buried the second bird with less pomp than the first, then shortcutted up to the playground. There were workers erecting a new sign at the entrance, he had a chat with them. Concerned that the new sign said that it was for children aged 2-12 only he sought clarification from them that his baby sister could indeed come and play there the next day.

We played and I watched him climb and jump, just him, no siblings to distract me from giving him full praise for his endeavours.

As we headed in the road home and he complained of sore legs so I offered him a little piggyback, something I couldn’t manage if pushing a buggy or holding hands with another child. He was thrilled, my back less so.

He declared that this was “the best Granny sleepover ever”. Delighted, I asked why “Because I’m getting my own way ALL of the time”. I think what he really meant was that he was getting do to things that he enjoyed all of the time, thanks to great planning by his Mammy. Or not.

One on one “Mammy and me” time (and absolutely equally “Daddy and me” time) is so important to children. Life is so busy that taking to the time to listen to one child alone, being silly with them or laughing with just one child and nobody else, gets forgotten but it’s worth investing the time when you can. Ten minutes here, twenty minutes there, bringing just one child along to do an errand (call it a “special mission” to make it more interesting) or to go for a walk really pays dividends.

You’ll get to check in with that child and see that child out of the context of the family and for what they really are. It makes memories for them, and for you too. Make an effort to try it and see what I mean.

Me and my biggest boy

15 thoughts on “A Bit of “Mammy and Me” Time

  1. I am a big advocate of love bombing too. It works particularly well with one of my boys. Sounds like you had a lovely time on the beach and he was thrilled with his one on one time.

  2. Lovely post Sinead, and a great reminder if the importance of one on one time, I struggle to do this as I feel guilty that the others will feel left out but will definitely make more effort x

    1. It’s harder when you’ve more than one who gets it Elizabeth, with ours Cathal is with me all day most days when Ci is in school so it’s Ci who really feels like he’s missing out. Even a few minutes to do something makes a difference though I think

  3. Looks like you had a lovely day together. One-on-one time can be so hard to orchestrate, but is always, always worth it. Like you mention, even a quick trip to the corner shop can have a big impact if it’s presented as special time with mama/dad!

  4. Lovely post Sinead and great that you got some time with your boy, it is something I am getting more aware of as the next baby’s arrival gets closer.

  5. Gorgeous post, and yep, totally agree with the one-on-one time. So hard to find ways to do it but so, so worth it I think! Beautiful photos too, and a lovely record of your day together

  6. Ah that’s lovely, glad you both had such a nice day 🙂 my two are 3 and 5 and the eldest often feels the same that she’s missing out while she’s in school, it’s hard for them but little moments here and there definitely make up for it 🙂

  7. Absolutely agree about this, particularly with the eldest when there is a new baby on the scene. My son and I go out on Sunday mornings while Daddy and baby have a nap. We go to the beach, playground, or just to a cafe and do puzzles. It gives me a chance to give him my full attention, and he loves it. Just finding the time can be the challenge!

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