We asked Mykidstime Parents around Ireland to tell us a bit about themselves. Mykidstime.ie talks to Theresa, a mum of 5 and 2 step children living in Laois about parenting.
Tell us about your family
Tom and I are together almost 10years. I had 2 daughters when we met, he had a daughter and step son. We went on to have 3 more children together. The boys are 24, 6 and 3, the girls are 19, 19, 18 and 8. This week will see the last of the teenagers full time in our house (well until summer) as both of my daughters will be in college.
Tom is a "grandpa" since May. He has taken to watching the Waltons and Little House on the Prairie – ensuring he plays the role just right I reckon
Describe a typical day in Theresa's house
Sorry but there is no such thing as a typical day in our house! I hope some routine will become typical now that our "baby" is in playschool and the taxi requirements of the teens are finished! Tom has been out of work for 4 years, discovering a brain tumor 3 yrs ago. Hopefully we will have some peaceful time together every morning!
I have a housework routine that has been shelved for over 3 years which I hope we can reinstate – together The definite "typical" is that the small ones are great for looking after the hens and emptying the dishwasher every day.
What aspect of parenting do you find most enjoyable?
Spending time with everyone, together. I had to get rid of my 8 seater so that doesn't happen any more. I do love to throw as many as I can fit into the car and head off. I really enjoyed this summer – we visited loads of relatives and friends. Over the course of the school holidays I loaded up the car when the forecast was good and we had some family centered staycations.
What do you find most difficult as a parent?
Them growing up! Having let two of them more or less go I realise how fast time flies
What is best piece of parenting advice you have ever received?
Make time for each child individually. I used to make "dates" with the older ones to ensure some one to one. Time flies and unless you sit down with your diary and plan the dates they may never happen. It's also nice to take one away over night but that's a rarity! Taking them out of school on their birthday for one to one is my plan this year.
And the worst parenting advice you received?
I don't remember any directly to me but Tom and I recently attended a parenting course where the facilitator suggested one parent drive off from the shopping centre on their difficult 5yr old who refused to sit into the car! I am an advocate of parenting courses – even after that faux pas. I am trained to facilitate one which teaches how to delay substance use but haven't given it in 4 years.
I think every parent should do a parenting course as often as they can, especially as a couple – they help bring your role back into focus! At a course you will learn coping strategies, tactics, parenting tools and realise how well you are actually doing amongst the rest of us normal parents. Never expect "perfection" – of yourself or the child – there's no such thing!
If you were Minister for Children what one change would you make?
Take the church out of the education system.
What are your hopes for your children?
I hope they are not too hard on themselves in life, especially as they strive to "grow up". I also hope they learn to grow food!
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.