I hadn’t even time to browse Amazon to order glow sticks!


Thankfully, my buddy, Gerry, had sourced tickets to see “Jenny Greene and the RTE Concert Orchestra” at The Marquee in Cork. His hotter half, Donna messaged me to tell me we should leave at about 6pm. I just had to get myself out to the front door looking semi-decent. Easier said than done!


Pre motherhood, my ‘beautification’ ritual would probably have begun early in the day and at a leisurely pace. Painted claws, face-mask, exfoliation, de-forestation, tanification - the works. I would have left the house feeling like a bouncy blow dried “My little pony”.


Pre-party preparation changed once I became a Mama to my beautiful little girl, aka the Scamp.


I was to be the designated driver, which is usually the case as I have procured enough daft genes from my paternal line, rendering the need for alcohol in social situations unnecessary. The ‘ding dong’ and padded bounce of toddler feet at the front door meant Granny had arrived to babysit. Hubby was in the back garden, scraping the bovine char from his beloved BBQ in his “house shorts”. Thirty minutes. We had plenty of time to get ready for a rave.


Ascending the stairs towards my bedroom, I mentally perused my wardrobe. I was pretty sure the navy shorts and striped blue, sleeveless top I bought in Penneys were clean and wouldn’t need an iron. I’d wear them with my denim Skechers, the ones I wear to the supermarket, the playground, well, everywhere.


Quick sniff test. Yes, as I thought. Clean. I’m in business.


Should I do a quick sniff test of my pits? I showered this morning so I should be alright. Let’s have a whiff. Strike two! Roll on the roll on, girl!


I needed to construct myself as efficiently as possible. The clock was counting down.


Take my ‘Mom clothes’ off. Put my ‘Mom rave clothes’ on. I FORGOT TO SHAVE MY LEGS! Why was I born with such dark hair? I’ll just have to do them at the bathroom sink. Whilst the warm water ran into the sink, I scrummaged in the cabinet underneath for a disposable razor and foam, all the while mentally preparing the attack that was to commence on my hair follicles.


“Where are they? I’m sure I bought a heap for himself the other day. Look, you can have your pins landscaped in under two minutes – towel on floor, slop water on legs, a blob of shaving foam in each hand up the legs, rinse the paws, throw said leg onto the side of the sink, six upward strokes with the razor, rinse, dry. Repeat”.


A few stragglers remained but parenthood has taught me that it is unrealistic and unhealthy to strive for perfection.


Right, legs done.


Quick time check. Less than 20 minutes. Enough time to brush the gnashers and paint the face. I’ve made a serious rookie mistake by moisturising my legs before putting contact lenses in. As a result, my attempt at the smoky eye is more ‘pokey’ eye but I doubt anyone will notice the redness in the whites of my eyes. Is that a hair growing out of my chin? And what’s that grey haired antenna sticking out the top of my hairline? I’m like a geriatric version of Dipsy the Teletubbie! Regardless of the myth that three more may grow back in its place, I’ll have to pluck that sucker out. I can hide the rest of the silver slivers with a quick back combed ‘half’ hairstyle and a spray of dry shampoo and hairspray.


Ten minutes left. Descending the stairs at warp speed, I decide a handbag is an unnecessary hindrance. Hubby has pockets which can hold my phone, keys and pockmarked lip-balm. Scamp has taken a likening to all things makeup related lately and many of my cosmetics resemble the surface of the moon.


Hubby ascends the stairs in a hurry to begin his transformation.


“Irene, Scamp’s left a present in her nappy for you!”


My smoky-pokey eyes try to bore a hole in the backside of his shorts but he disappears into the bathroom.


“Baby girl, let me change you quickly please”




Do I really need to chase her smelly bum around the house now?


“Don’t worry love, I’ll change her”, says Granny. Thank Buddha for Mommies.


Three minutes to go. Himself is sauntering down the stairs.


“Have you seen my wallet and the car keys?”


Why can’t he put them in the designated drawer in the hallway as I prescribed when we moved into the house two years ago? Do my instructions fall on deaf ears?


“Well, where did you leave them last? Check your coat pockets or the kitchen table!” 


“They’re on the mantelpiece”, calls Granny from the sitting room.


Ding dong! Gerry and Donna are at the door. To the show!


On arrival at the Marquee, I complete my ensemble with an oversized, blue flashing hairbow. Voila! Mama Is ready to for a plethora of nineties ‘choons’ mixed with the poetic sophistication provided by the RTE Concert Orchestra. Bring on DJ Romanthony’s ‘Ball and Chain”. Let’s ‘Ride on Time’ peeps. Because ‘Only love can set you free’.  


Irene Halpin Long lives in Blarney, County Cork with her beautiful daughter and, rather tall, husband. She is a freelance writer and aspiring novelist. Her blog “Her voice from the kitchen window” chronicles her voice since returning to Ireland in 2015, along with the voices of those she meets and interviews who impact the society in which we all live.
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