The best granny-approved advice for mums with small children
What is the secret to raising amazing children?
Nobody has all the answers, but we had some interesting conversations with mum's from all over the country about what they would change if they could AND some valuable advice for mums of today from one generation to another:
1."Relax. Just go with the flow. Don't argue with your kids over silly little things on the way to school. It's not worth it. Let the little things go." (Jo, Dublin)
2. "I think mothers today have it harder than women of my vintage. I was working at home with the kids but I didn't have to go out and work, and that is hard. I never felt the pressure that young mums feel now. There is a lot of racing against the clock, and I think that comes with a lot of guilt for today's mums. Pressure is really on both parents now. I would say slow down. Of course, get your work done, but try to slow down as much as you can." (Anna, Dublin)
3. "I think parents nowadays expect too much of themselves. They are trying to do too much with the children. It seems they drag them off from one class to another class. They are afraid to let the kids do nothing and just be at home playing. It's expensive, and it's always a rush. Parents are trying to do too, too much AND it is so expensive. It was a little easier for children back then. They weren't going from Billy to Jack all the time. They just came home and played. No play-dates or French class or being ferried from playschool to after-care and so on. It is too much." (Ann, Cork)
4. "My fondest memories are the primary school years when the children were old enough to be independent but young enough to still have fun with us. Secondary school is a little harder. But I have such happy memories as a family of the children coming in from school and that sound of the schoolbag hitting the floor. It's such a vivid memory. They would come in and throw down the bag with a 'hey mam, is there anything to eat.' Everything was ready for them. I miss those days." (Mary, Galway)
5. "Don't forget who you are. You will always be their mum, but don't forget who you really are underneath all that. Someday, the children will have their own lives, and it is really important you haven't forgotten what things you love to do." (Liz, Cork)
6. "Enjoy what you have got as it doesn't last long. You move on to a new phase. That phase when they think you are the best person in the world doesn't last. It comes back when they are older, but there are a few challenging years in between when they are teenagers. You can build a great relationship with your kids by just being there. Enjoy every moment, good or bad. They never stop needing you." (Tori, Dublin)
7. "Parents these days are always complaining they don't have enough time to do anything. Well, put down your phone and just be with your children. That is all they want. I hate seeing parents with their head stuck into phones. On the bus, it is the worst. Point things out the window to your children. Don't miss any opportunities to show them the world. These iPads are awful. Even two-year-olds are zipping through them." (Orla, Dublin)
8. "You are learning as you go. I don't have many regrets about my parenting, but I would maybe have encouraged my children to study more. I wish they had been able to get better jobs so they could have earned a little more. It would have helped them greatly as now they struggle to make ends meet and that is hard on the whole household." (Jo, Dublin)
9. "Be their 'neighbour' not their friend. Imagine as they get older, what a kind neighbour may say to them. Gentle guidance, knowing when to butt out. These are skills I wish I had learnt as I tended to get too involved with my son and it created a gap between us. All is great now between us, but I wish I had been a little more trusting that he would get on the right path and less critical of his choices." (Emily, Cork)
10 "Once a mother, always a mother. They are always your babies. Conor is 40; he is still my baby. I would say just be honest with them and bring them up the way my parents brought me up. Strict but fair. Boundaries are important. When my son comes to visit, I am still listening for him to come in at night. My ear is still alert for him to make sure he is home safe. I think you never switch off and you never lose that connection with your children. It's so precious. You're making me cry now. Enjoy it all, it is so precious." (Olive, Kildare)
What advice would you pass onto your children?