In our Meet a Mykidstime Parent series, Mykidstime.ie talks to Anne-Marie, living in County Roscommon, about parenting and being a stay at home Mum of four.
Tell us about your family
Hi I’m Anne Marie, I’m married to Tony, we have four children Jack is 10, Kate is 8, Grace is 3 and Amy just 7 months. We live about 2 miles outside Boyle in the countryside.
Describe a typical day in the Murphy house
My day usually begins about 6.45am with Amy reminding me that she is ready for her day to start, we are then swiftly joined by Grace who wants to snuggle in for a few minutes before we all get up.
Tony has left for work about 5.30am as he works in Dublin for 4 days a week. Then it is breakfast, get dressed, call Jack and Kate for school, school lunches, breakfast for Jack and Kate and helping who ever needs helping in getting themselves ready for the day.
The school bus for Jack and Kate arrives at 8.45am and once they are on their way we tidy up a little and it is time to get Grace off to Croi na nOg Steiner Kindergarten in Boyle. She is usually dropped by 9.20am and Amy and I head into the Parent and Toddler group which is part of Croi na nOg.
Here we meet other parents and their little ones. Along with 3 other parents over the past 18 months I have been involved with the setting up of this Kindergarten and Toddler group so this has kept me very busy but it has also helped me to create something special for my children. Here we get a chance to slow down, play with some of the toys that are all made from natural materials, many handmade by parents, plan for a festival or do a little craft work.
We all share a meal together and then we enjoy the garden for some outdoor time. At about 1pm we collect Grace and we all head home. We have lunch and Amy goes for a sleep. Grace and I have a little time together, prepare dinner and get some house work done. Jack and Kate arrive home at 3.40pm and are always starving! So we eat dinner at this stage and then it is into homework which can drag on a bit depending on how focused they are feeling!
Usually there is an activity for Kate or Jack e.g. Kate may have Gymnastics in Carrick-on-Shannon for 6pm so it is a run to Carrick and Tony would try to pick her up on his way home from work, they are usually home by 7.30 pm. Amy and Grace are in bed by 7 or 7.30 this would be preceded by supper, stories etc . Supper time for Jack and Kate and dinner for Tony, maybe a check on homework, chat about everyone’s day and organising for next day, Jack and Kate in bed by 9pm. Then final tidy up maybe a little telly or emails, read a little and catch up on what is happening in rest of world and head off to bed!
What aspect of parenting do you find most enjoyable?
The most enjoyable aspect of parenting for me is just simply when we all get to hang out together when no one has to be anywhere else, so I guess we all love the holidays and we try to commit to as little as possible.
Then we get to do the simple stuff, walks, play board games, bake really nice food, teach the kids a few new things e.g. how to light a camp fire, knitting etc. or indeed let the kids teach us a few new things!
What do you find most difficult as a parent?
The most difficult aspect of parenting for me is the juggling, tuning into the needs of four little people, by this I mean their physical, social and emotional needs, trying to make the house resemble a home, get a little time for myself and also time for our marriage. It takes an awful lot of energy and time and some days I think I do okay and the other days not so good!
What is best piece of parenting advice you have ever received?
I think the best piece of advice I got in relation to parenting was simply, let the children be children for as long as possible, go slowly with them and let their little world have a little magic.
And the worst parenting advice you received?
And I think the worst piece of advice I got, was that I could spoil my baby by giving her too much attention, she was 3 months old at the time!
If you were Minister for Children what one change would you make?
If I was Minister for Children the one change that I would make is that I would reduce the school week from five days to four. I think a much broader view of education is needed, while school accounts for the academic education of children other activities e.g. sport, music, art, scouts, dance contribute a lot to many other aspects of a child’s education and development.
All of this should be taken into consideration when young people are applying for third level education or indeed for jobs. If there was just four days in school then the fifth day could be for developing other aspects of the child’s education, rather then trying to squeeze these activities into evening times after a full day at school and homework.
What are your hopes for your children?
The hopes that I have for all of my children are that they will know what real happiness is, that they will enjoy the simple things in life and that they will always feel precious and priviliged and as they grow together I hope that they will be good friends and watch out for each other.
We are looking to talk to more Mykidstime.ie parents about everyday parenting. If you would be interested in chatting to us, please get in touch.