Family Moments is about the wonderful experience of connecting as a family.
In this series, we encourage parents to take a look at those truly special family moments. Memories that evoke a feeling of pure joy because they represent quality time with the people we love the most. The realities of modern day life can make these family moments feel out of our reach a lot of the time. Through this series, parents take a look at the obstacles that can get in the way of these happy family experiences with a view to making some changes so that life can involve more of them. Today we’re speaking to Gina Daly.
A little bit about me and my family.
My name is Gina, I’m 38 and I live in Co, Meath with my two children and my husband Karol! Holly is 10 and is venturing into 5th Class and Ben is 8 and starting 3rd class (where does the time go?)
And yes, their names are Ben and Holly. They’re lucky, it could have been George and Peppa!
I am an artist and illustrator, specializing in weddings, invitations etc. but my biggest passion is cooking. In the last year, I have started to share my love of cooking on Instagram with an amazing response - even managing to get the kids involved, which is great.
Our favourite way to spend time together is...
Weekends are our adventure days. We sometimes plan the day but more often than not, we just go with the flow and see where our day takes us! Our ultimate favourite day out is heading up to Dublin, parking up and just wandering around all the museums and galleries, stopping off for coffee and treats and then wandering up Grafton Street to listen to the buskers.
We try to teach the kids all the street names and show them all the cool monuments and different buildings all around the city. No matter how many times we do this, we always have the best time. There is something very magical about Dublin, especially in the winter when the evenings are darker. I love how we are all wrapped up and cozy and the glow of the lights shines on the kids' little faces.
Then, we will nestle in somewhere for a tasty bite to eat and a pint of Guinness for Daddy! Just thinking about it gives me such a lovely feeling. Cheap and cheerful and so many magical memories.
Our most cherished family moment is...
Travelling! We love to travel together as a family and have been to some amazing places, but one particular trip stands out more than any other.
We went to Westport on a long weekend for Holly’s birthday. We had planned to do lots of fun and exciting things but on our first day there Holly and Ben fell really sick with a tummy bug. They were so ill and all they wanted was mammy and daddy and cuddles.
We had a big massive king size bed in the room, so that night we all cozied up in the bed and watched all the old movies. Even though they were sick, at that moment I have never felt so content as a mother. That is what family is all about. All of us being together, even when it doesn’t go to plan and still having memories you can treasure.
The thing that gets in the way of us spending time together is...
Work! Both Karol and I work from home, so we are lucky that we scrapped all the crazy commuting times to an office. However, working from home (although it’s nice) comes with its own drawbacks. It can be very hard to switch off and you are more often than not in “work mode”.
I sometimes feel it would be easier to have a 9-5 where I have set hours, not finding myself still at the computer at 2 am! We have a good routine but when both of us are working, we are also fitting in all the essential family stuff, like feeding them and keeping them alive.
It can be difficult to stay in the zone while tending to every ”MMMMAAAAAMMM, I’m hungry” and “DAAAADDDD my game won’t play”. All the usual stuff!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change our situation for the world. We work well together as a family and being at home means we can both do school runs and collections, breakfast and dinner together etc, but it does mean we work longer days as we split the responsibilities.
When he’s on daddy duty I take over the work and vice versa, so one of us inevitably ends up working late into the evening. Because of that, we might not always get all the family time we would like but we are doing our best!
Our pledge as a family:
Growing up, my brothers and sister were a lot older than me (I was the nice little surprise). My eldest brother was 17 when I came along (and ruined all of his Saturday nights due to babysitting). My dad worked away so I seemed to spend a lot of time with just myself my mam and my sister.
On weekends, my mam would always cook a big Sunday roast and no one was missing that (I can still taste it). The boys might have a girlfriend over or a pal (because everyone loved Marie’s Eye of the round). They would play all their new vinyl on the record player and the football would be on the telly.
More often than not, the boys would buy a record for me - one of my favourite's being Paul McCartney and the Frog Song (which I still have) or my ultimate favourite, Shakin' Stevens! But this was the one day that we all sat as a family. The one day my mother loved (and loathed because she was peeling spuds all day and sweating in our little galley kitchen) and the one day that we all shared our stories of the week and laughed so much.
You could see my mother bursting with love for us all - even if she wanted to thump us at the same time for not eating the mash and scoffing all the roasters!
I want the exact same for my family. All of these memories! We are making it our business to sit down together for mealtimes. No TV or games, just us! Chatting about our day and how we are all feeling. Talking about all of our plans for the week ahead. We can do lots of things like day trips and so on but I know this is the one thing my kids will always remember - all of us just being together, and hopefully, Mammy’s cooking.
To maximize your quality family time, take our Family Moments Challenge.
We would like to thank Gina for sharing her special family moments with us. To read more stories just like Gina's, click here.