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 Nicole Walsh.
A little bit about me and my family.
My name is Nicole and I am a 27-year-old mam to two boys, Kai (6), Drake (5) & a 1-year-old Golden Retriever named Arlo. Myself and my partner Dean have been together for seven years. Dean works in the HVAC industry and I am a stay at home mam/carer for Drake who is Autistic. Drake was diagnosed with ASD over 2 years ago at age 2 years and 9 months.
Besides the craziness that comes with two boys so close in age, we are just your average young couple in 2019, emerging from the ashes of the Celtic Tiger crash, still living at home trying to save the “big D” (house deposit).
Our favourite way to spend time together is...
Our favourite way to spend time together has no theme to it really. We just like to spend time together, whether it’s watching a film at home or as Kai likes to call it “movie night”.
It could also be a day trip to Bray for chips and ice-cream by the sea. Some nights we will just all jump in the car and go for a drive talking and singing while shouting at Drake to not take off his seatbelt (ah the joys of a child who sees no danger).
I think because we still live with other people it’s very rare we get much alone time, so we have to try and improvise - hence the random evening drives in the car!
Our most cherished family moment is...
Our most cherished family occasion, for me, was when we took a trip to Disneyland in February 2018. We had gotten a really good deal and kind of booked it on a whim. We didn’t tell the kids, we just took them out of their beds early in the morning, loaded the car and drove to the airport. Their little confused faces I’ll never forget.
We had the most amazing 4 days and made the most amazing memories. I think meeting Mickey Mouse was the highlight. When the boys saw him for the first time, their faces lit up like something I'd never seen before.
Drake was in awe of him and the staff made sure he was aware Drake was autistic so Mickey was extra attentive to him. It was just magical. Kai is our little daredevil and made the trip so exciting, getting on every ride and rollercoaster he was allowed to!
The thing that gets in the way of us spending time together is...
The main thing that gets in the way of us spending more time together is how busy we all are. Dean can sometimes work overtime and weekends. He also does on-call time which means we can’t really leave the house together in case he gets a call.
I spend a lot of time with Drake making sure his needs are met and he is a very active little boy who rarely sits down or sleeps. The lack of sleep can also be a factor. Some days I’m so exhausted from the 3 am starts that family activities are the last thing on my mind.
While I’m trying to catch up on yesterday's housework, spending time together gets put on the backburner because if I sat down I’d probably just fall asleep!
Our pledge as a family:
I think I need to set myself goals for each day. Sort of like a checklist and once everything on my checklist is done I’m done for the day. If I have a certain amount of things that need to be done that day, once I get them done I can’t add any more to my day. This means I’ll have more structure too.
Now that the schools are back, I have much more me time in the mornings. But by me time, I mean chore/shopping/errands time! I will try my very hardest to utilize this time so that once the kids are home I can spend that much needed time doing homework with them, talking to them and listening to them.
To maximize your quality family time, take our Family Moments Challenge.
We would like to thank Nicole for sharing her special family moments with us. To read more stories just like Nicole's, click here.