Andrea Mara

Official website

The Parenting Stuff & The Kids

Andrea Mara

Because I need cake

Because I am a therapist Because I am a referee Because I am (apparently) a “fun sponge” Because I am a pack-mule Because I am a (sub-standard) chef Because I am a personal shopper (who gets it wrong) Because I am a shoulder to cry on Because I am the holder of

Read More
Andrea Mara

Dear Teacher

Dear Teacher, I’m writing this down because if I try to say it to you in person, I’ll cry (I cry very easily) and I’ll mortify myself and mortify you, and my child will never speak to me again for all the mortification, and with all that going on, I won’t

Read More
Andrea Mara

Four Go Out To The Shops

This Easter holidays, along with some very nice things (like getting keys to our new house – hurrah!) the kids and I did the following: Went to a tile shop and picked tiles Bought a towel rail Went to a kitchen shop and picked cupboards Went to the new house to

Read More
Andrea Mara

In the interests of full disclosure

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent – even the kindest, most calm parents have off days (and I suspect it’s a good thing for kids to know parents aren’t perfect) but apparently more than half of Irish parents feel they’re failing, and this feeling is amplified by the internet

Read More
Andrea Mara

28 Book Recommendations From my Kids to Yours

One night a few months ago, I made a third attempt to get my six-year-old interested in Cabin Fever, a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book by Jeff Kinney. I read it for him as his bedtime story, promising he could have a second story if he didn’t like it. There

Read More

If I Could Bottle It

“Mum, give me three words that describe me,” one of you said to me last night, as you twirled around the sitting room, fifteen minutes after you first said goodnight. “Enthusiastic, enthusiastic, and enthusiastic,” I said, and you laughed. “Okay give me three that don’t describe me.” “World famous singer.

Read More

The Woman in the Garden

I was driving somewhere – dropping the kids or picking them up – when I saw her. A woman, a bit older than me, kneeling at a flower bed in her garden. Weeding or pruning or sowing or tweaking, one or all of the above. And the image stuck with

Read More
Andrea Mara

Sisters are doing it for themselves

I am the mean-mom who doesn’t let my kids have new toys when it’s not Christmas or birthdays, despite the fact that every single child in the school goes to Smyths EVERY SUNDAY to buy new toys – these are the same children who apparently all have their own YouTube

Read More
Andrea Mara

The Things I Thought I Knew – A Parenting Evolution

“But why can’t I make a sandwich with a burger bun?” my youngest asked, “There’s no bread in the press anyway.” He had a point. And despite being the mother who won’t let her kids have treats in their lunch boxes (I’m the meanest mother in the class apparently) and

Read More
Andrea Mara

And then the pieces fell into place

They came on Saturday afternoon – my almost-last round of edits. This is the time to make final tweaks and find typos. (Typos are so hard to find, but I know they’re there, lurking, grinning slyly, hoping to make the final cut.) And for me, the only way to do this is to

Read More
Andrea Mara

Slow Parenting

“So what did you do for St Patrick’s Day?” asked our lovely optician on Monday. “Did you go into the parade?” “No…” said the child. “Did you watch it on TV?” “No, Dad was watching the match, so we didn’t see it.” I jumped in then, quick to clarify that I’d

Read More
Andrea Mara

What is a Doula and why might you use one?

Most prospective parents are familiar with what’s involved in preparing for a birth – attending antenatal classes, packing a hospital bag, perhaps writing a birth plan, and certainly bidding a wistful farewell to sleep. But something that’s less well known – although growing in popularity – is using a birth

Read More
Andrea Mara

The Case Against Homework – Why I Wish We Could Ban It

“S. Q.” *sniffle* “U. I.” *sniffle* “R. R. E. L.” *full-blown tears* That was my five-year-old one evening recently, doing his spellings for his upcoming test. It was 5.30pm and I really should have stopped at that point, but I figured if he could just get the spellings done, we’d leave

Read More

Fixing the morning I broke

Do you ever have mornings where everything goes wrong? Where you come downstairs and last night’s saucepan is still on the hob and it’s not anyone’s fault because we were all out late at different events and activities, but still, it’s irritating? And the kids are late getting up and

Read More
Andrea Mara

Big Little Milestones

Friday night. We told the kids it was time for bed and switched off the TV. My husband picked up the small boy and swung him around a bit to make him laugh but mostly to carry him up the stairs because it’s easier than telling him four hundred times

Read More
Andrea Mara

An open letter to the person in the place

I’ve read many “an open letter to” posts in the last few years. Sometimes they’re angry, sometimes conciliatory, and  sometimes empathetic. In particular, I’ve read posts about supermarket confrontations – women who have been judged for their parenting, or had some kind of less than pleasant encounter. I wondered when

Read More

An Unfinished Guide To Feeding Fussy Kids

I accidentally ate a smidge of banana yesterday, and the kids were in convulsions watching my own near-convulsion when I realised what was in my mouth. Most people have at least one food they can’t bear, and for me it’s bananas. (Shudder) I’ll eat pretty much anything else though, and

Read More

Those Pesky Parents

This week, my radio told me that my kids eat too much sugar, are obese, have far too much screen time, and that I don’t let them out to play unsupervised. Ever. Well, not just me – all of us. The entire country of Ireland is filled with parents who

Read More
Andrea Mara

Cosmetic Surgery Games for Kids? No Thanks

Like many parents today, what little I know about online games I’ve learned from my kids, and most of what mine have played so far have ranged from clever to educational to downright silly. But one game stopped me in my tracks when my nine-year-old showed it to me recently

Read More