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 Michael O’ Leary.
A little bit about me and my family.
My name is Michael and I am a father of three from Dublin. I have three boys: Luke aged four, Olly aged two years and ten months, and Andy who is ten months old. I am also married to the wonderful Emma.
When I’m not running after the three lads I work in the tech industry in Dublin and in those rare moments for us parents called ‘spare time’, I like to go to the gym and catch up on some sport and Netflix.
Our favourite way to spend time together is...
We love to go on adventures together as a family. Saturdays and Sundays are our adventure days, whether that be a trip to the zoo or further afield, we love getting out and about. A trip to Howth is one of our favourites for a nice walk, run around in the playground and some fish and chips!
That said, we also love our games at home! I love reliving memories of my own childhood by playing with the three lads. Building forts in the garden, tents in the living room and everything in between. Weekends are without a doubt my favourite (and most tiring!) time of the week.
Our most cherished family moment is...
Since my eldest son Luke was born back in 2015, I’ve been lucky enough to experience many cherished moments. My most recent ones probably involve the older two boys Luke and Olly, how they play with each other and care for each other.
Sure they fight like all brothers, but they are the best of friends and have each other's backs all the time. I cherish these moments, even if it often means them teaming up against me! As Andy gets a little older he's starting to want in on the action, and I can't even imagine what they'll be like once he's on the move!
My most cherished memory has to be when Andy was born and bringing the other two in to visit him, watching how they rubbed him in his cot and held his hand, we looked at the three of them together and knew Andy was the final piece of the puzzle.
The thing that gets in the way of us spending time together is...
The most obvious things would be work and household chores that almost every parent has to deal with these days. Obviously these things are a necessary part of life. So I feel it’s vital to make the most of the time that we do share with our kids.
Personally, I do this with my kids through play and dedicated time. They know I may be away for a large portion of their day but come 5 pm, Dad is home and it's playtime for a few hours before bed. This is such an important time for both them and me.
Our pledge as a family:
We pledge to make more time together without technology. One thing I have often struggled with in the past is switching off after a workday. That might be something as simple as subconsciously checking my work emails while playing with the kids, or reading up on some sports news that I’m interested in.
Something I try to do now is set my phone aside somewhere as soon as I step in the door. Then I’m giving the kids my undivided attention for games or chores or whatever needs to be done over the next few hours before bedtime.
Living in the moment is definitely something we will try to do more and more of in the future. This is a healthy thing to do for myself and an important value to instil in the three lads.
To maximize your quality family time, take our Family Moments Challenge.
We would like to thank Michael for sharing his special family moments with us. To read more stories just like Michael's, click here.