Meet a Mykidstime Parent – Paula from Carlow

We asked Mykidstime Parents around Ireland to tell us a bit about themselves.In this article, talks to Paula, a mum of three girls and a boy, living in Co. Carlow, about parenting.

Tell us about your family

We are a family of 6 – four children, 3 girls aged 18, 17, 14 and 9yr old boy, Mum and Dad.  Dad has a physical disability.  Children go to a variety of schools, eldest 2 to Gaelcholáiste, 3rd to St Laserians and youngest at primary in the gaelscoil. 

Both of us parents work from home, so are always pretty much available!  I’m the driver for all activities for everyone! 

Describe a typical day in your house.

Early start for us – all the children get buses to school as we live a few miles from the town.  The first bus comes at 8 for the older girls, followed by 8.45 for the boy and last bus goes at 9.15.  I breathe a sigh of relief as the last child heads to school.  Lunches all in bags and all wearing correct and hopefully clean uniforms! 

My husband and I get on with our work after a coffee boost.  Most days some of the children have after school activities.  The older ones either study in the library or at school and are collected later. We try to get homework done when younger children come home by bus. 

We will have dinner around 6.15 which may be followed by another activity, ballet, cubs, hurling.  Our youngest spends quite a bit of time playing with lego at the end of day!  The older ones will probably finish watching some tv and usually everyone is in bed by 10.

What aspect of parenting do you find most enjoyable?

Aspect of parenting that is most enjoyable to me would be seeing how much the kids enjoy and get out of the activities they participate in, from art lessons to dance and sport.  I love seeing the work they produce and even though it’s a huge effort for me to bring all 4 to various places every day I can see the pleasure they get from it. 

As a fairly non sporting person I find it surprising how much I enjoy bringing our youngest to all his sporting activities, from training to matches – gaa football, hurling and rugby.  Our third daughter loves animals so horseriding gives her enormous pleasure. 

What do you find most difficult as a parent?

Most difficult aspect of being a parent at the moment is being torn between dealing with the different age groups and temperaments and trying to keep everyone happy.  Perhaps I try too hard to make sure they’re all doing things each are interested in and sometimes get caught in the routine of afterschool activities, not getting a chance to step back from it and stop to stay at home and perhaps take a break from it all. 

Keeping the peace between hormonal teenagers and boisterous young boy can be a challenge sometimes too!

What is best piece of parenting advice you have ever received?

Best parenting advice has probably been to have a bed time routine, read to the children,  acknowledge and praise good behaviour and encourage chores at home.

And the worst parenting advice you received?

Letting a baby cry, using the play pen and not allowing the child to crawl around too much!  I ignored that advise!   I should have taken the good advice to encourage and insist that the children do household chores!

What's the best thing about being a child now, compared with when you were a child?

A child’s voice and opinion is heard now.  Most decisions are not taken without consultation and respect for the child.  There’s so much more positivity, possibilities and activities available – sports & arts.  Children are encouraged to enjoy and take part in more activities.

I was brought up in a small village where the only activities were football, camogie, irish dancing, piano and possibly if lucky swimming 8 miles away.  Now my children have a huge variety of activities to choose from – chess, scouts, guides, art, hurling, football, rugby, horseriding, singing, drama, dancing, athletics………all available in most towns and accessible to most families. 

What's the worst thing about being a child now, compared with when you were a child?

The phenomenal peer pressure to be grown up and older than their years – childhood seems shorter.  Internet and social media makes everything so immediate there’s no time to slowly absorb knowledge and life experience.  It's all on display 24 hours a day.

What are your hopes for your children?

That they are happy foremost, confident, capable, respectful, decent people. 

That they go to third level education and study and work in an area they are happy in.  

That they appreciate the efforts we have made to expose them to many sides of life so that they will be able to make informed choices in their lives. 

That they will be healthy and safe and that they avoid falling into bad company, getting involved in drugs or  crime. 

That they fall in love and perhaps have children of their own. 

That the world they grow into is safe and free from war or misery. 

That they know their family history and where they come from. 

We are looking to talk to more parents about everyday parenting. If you would be interested in chatting to us, please get in touch.

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