Parenting

Very happy with my role as full time mammy
Aoife de Clár

“What do you do?” “Do you have a job?” Such questions are often put to me as I go about my daily life. I always answer “I’m a mother”, and I might add a smile.
Once somebody asked “You don’t do anything else?” I didn’t even bother replying to that one.
Why is motherhood so undervalued today? Why is being a mother not enough anymore? I like being a mother. I’m very happy with my role as a full time mammy.
I didn’t choose it. It’s what I became when I had my first child almost fourteen years ago. My children are my responsibility, which I didn’t want to hand over to anyone else.
Being a mother is not my job, or work. It is who I am. Motherhood is my life, it’s a great life and if I had my life ten times over, I would choose the very same life every time.
A nice lady recently told me that my life will be much easier when the children are bigger. Meantime I might get a part-time job so I could get ‘a little break’. It was the funniest thing and I laughed while she looked on blankly.
If I wanted a break I’d get a babysitter and go to bed or for a swim, not out to work for somebody else! Is full-time motherhood really seen as something so bad that people think an outside job is a ‘break’?

Running around
With a bigger family there’s a lot of running around and appointments to be met, but it’s a very simple life and once I’m a little organised things usually fall into place.
Maybe I paint a terrible picture of mothering seven young children when we are all out together, but I actually think my life is fairly easy.
When I compare myself to mothers in paid employment my heart bleeds for them. How hard it must be for a mother to have to leave her children in order to bring extra earnings into the home.
How complicated it must be for the mother to organise after-school activities and lessons and a childminder to act as mother to her children while she is away.
How distressing it must be to leave a sick or upset child because your shift is about to start.
How exhausting it must be catching up on household duties, grocery shopping, cooking and the endless laundry when all you want to do is sit down and talk to your children who are all fighting for your attention.
How stressful it must be for a father who wants the best for his family, to see his wife struggle to juggle everything.

A lived-in home
My house is usually a mess. It’s a lived-in home where children are constantly snacking, singing, reading, playing, squabbling, falling over, and I’m always there to sing along, help with that word they can’t master, solve a quarrel, kiss a bumped head and feed a peckish child.
I’m always ready to listen when my children have a problem or just want to talk to me. Jobs are spread through the day so when daddy comes home from work and all the children dive on him, there’s a bit of order so we can all sit down and chat and enjoy each other.
I am not saying we do everything right in our house. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a zoo. There is plenty we could improve on. But we are trying to be the best parents we can be.
We are always here for our children, creating a happy home. A home that our children enjoy being part of. A mother who tries, and often fails miserably, to mirror the motherhood of Our Lady.
A father who strives to be a good provider and guardian just as St Joseph was. We brought these children into the world. They are not a burden. They are a blessing and were gifted to us.

Mortgage
Sadly financial pressures are forcing mothers to leave their children so they can earn a wage. Couples struggle with mortgage repayments and there is very little help for them.
In fact, many single-income families like ourselves are refused mortgages simply because the mother is at home. So mothers are forced out of home if they ever want to have their own home.
I recently heard us full-time mothers called ‘Non-conforming Economic Females’. Yet we have the most important duty in the world.
We are rearing future adults, moulding our children into strong, confident, God-loving people who will, please God, recognise motherhood as an irreplaceable role and a title to be proud of.
I never really understood just how wonderful and selfless my mother was until I had my own children. My parents enjoyed the odd night out, and a babysitter sat with us, but apart from that they were always there.
I trusted them and they understood me. These years pass very quickly. I don’t want to have any regrets. We will enjoy our budget holidays and our camping trips and our children will enjoy the security of having a parent there for them whenever they need us.
We may struggle from time to time to keep our heads above water but our Catholic faith has gotten us through many hard times in the past and for that we are extremely grateful.
We pray Our Lady will keep our children safe and that St Joseph will continue to inspire and guide us on our parenting journey.