We asked Mykidstime Parents around Ireland to tell us a bit about themselves.In this article, Mykidstime.ie talks to Brenda Drumm, a mum of two children, living in Newbridge,Kildare about parenting.
Tell us about your family
We are myself, Brenda, husband Bryan and two children (Emma 15), (Cathal 8) two cats (Mom and Katniss, who is blind). We are not from Kildare originally but living here since 1995.
We do not have any extended family living near us so we rely on good friends for help if something happens!
We love where we live and enjoy what living in a large town means – loads to do, lots of variety for sports and games as well as shops and other facilities.
Describe a typical day in the your house.
We both work outside the home so mornings are hectic. I try to prepare things night before, so we have a smooth up and out each morning.
Emma is doing transition year this year and Cathal is in second class so we will have two very different perspectives from school this year. Emma will be enjoying the freedom of exploring new subjects and options and doing her first ever work experience. Cathal is moving into harder maths and other subjects and we have the joy of preparing him for his First Holy Communion next May.
Once school is over, back home and straight to homework
I try and plan dinner out in advance but that doesn’t always work. My youngest loves to help with food preparation – perhaps we have a budding chef on our hands! We try to sit down for evening meal together as often as we can.
Video games and TV are rationed during the week. Emma is an avid reader, and devours several books each week, and Cathal is getting into reading.The kids have their jobs about the house, which may often be done with moans and groans!
Weekends are a different pace entirely – everything is more relaxed. We try to stay around at weekends rather than visiting family at other ends of the country, as my hubby and I literally come from completely opposite ends of the country. We love movies and music so we might go to a movie or to a concert, at the Riverbank Arts Centre.
What aspect of parenting do you find most enjoyable?
Everything. The things my kids say to me, the unexpected things and the joy they bring to me.
The aspect of parenting I enjoy most is TIME. Time with the kids.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with in incurable form of bone marrow cancer called Multiple Myeloma which was a huge shock and challenge for us. The kids were 2 and 9 at the time and I was in and out of hospital. I had a stem cell transplant which involved being in isolation and unable to see the kids for a whole month. That was very hard.
It's changed my attitude to life and parenting. I do not ‘sweat the small stuff’. All my time with the kids is precious and I appreciate so much all the milestones that I get to be here for, like starting school, sacraments etc.
What do you find most difficult as a parent?
For me it’s the idea of not being around to watch my kids grow up. It is very difficult for me to have to imagine and visualise what it would be like if my cancer was to result in my death, which it might very well do.
It’s trying to deal with that in my head and trying to learn how to prepare them should the worst happen but without scaring them or making them miserable. I can’t be saying to them now ‘look I might die someday from this cancer’
Having said all of that – the kids are fine. We don’t dwell on it and we are not mourning something that has not happened! The kids are thankfully happy and healthy and that is all that matters on any given day.
What is best piece of parenting advice you have ever received?
Spend time with your kids and listen to them.
Sometimes the sitting down in a formal setting is not the way to hear about your child’s concerns as they might not be ready to share them.
Revelations often come while I am emptying the dishwasher with my daughter, and sometimes when I am sorting clothes in the 8 year olds room he will ask me something or tell me something that is bothering him.
So listening and making time and space in the everydayness of life for your child to talk to you.
That was the best advice ever.
And the worst parenting advice you received?
Spare the rod and spoil the child was a mantra I grew up hearing.
I never slap and I don’t think it solves anything. Children have a right to feel safe and unthreatened especially in the company of their parents and those who are on this earth to care for them and protect them. No adult should ever hit a child. FULL STOP.
What's the best thing about being a child now, compared with when you were a child?
My children have better opportunities because of our circumstances. Technology is so exciting for children today, and there are better standards of education and healthcare. Overall, I think they are better off!
What's the worst thing about being a child now, compared with when you were a child?
More peer pressure. More mental health issues amongst children in Ireland.
Too much of a reliance on modern technologies. Children are being forced by so many influences to grow up too quickly. Children who have to grow up without faith or a set of beliefs.
Children are being exposed to drink, drugs and graphic images on TV and in videogames, at much earlier ages too.
What are your hopes for your children?
I hope they will grow up healthy and happy, find what they love in life and make a career from it, reach out for help when needed, find a good partner in life, hang on to their faith and beliefs,and always have their love of reading!
I hope they will have their mother until she is a crabby old person who embarrasses them in front of their spouses and children. Finally, I hope they will grow up to have a conscience, with good manners who open doors for others, give up their seats and who never say no to someone collecting for a good cause.
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.