Family Moments: Orlaith Donlon

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 Orlaith Donlon

A little bit about me and my family.

I'm Orlaith, a midwife and mum of four little people. I left work roughly six years ago to stay at home with my babies. I've had four very rough hyperemesis pregnancies so Rua is most likely our last little baby.

In recent years, I've been able to explore my creative side. I love photography, art, baking, decorating and gardening, anything where I can work with my hands really. 

Our favourite way to spend time together is...

I love bringing them out on adventures outside. I was so unwell during my pregnancies I could barely leave my bed, so the novelty of being able to go outside now is wonderful. Sometimes, I make a list for a scavenger hunt before we go and this gives us a focus and distraction on our walks.

I used to think that bringing them to activities and "special places" was the way to their hearts but I've found they crave and value one to one time so much, where I'm not distracted by housework or phones. I have found over the years that kids are very happy with simple things.

We've often found that big "special" days out can end up very emotionally charged. They can be very overwhelming with lots of emotions. Baking, reading, board games, DIY activities, walks, movie nights and gardening are big hits here.

Our most cherished family moment is...

I think our most cherished moment in time was our three older kids meeting their new brother Rua, along with the following weeks of utter bliss. I have never been happier or more content than those weeks. Tim was home for a month, I was in bed being looked after and the kids were home and happy. I will never forget that time and how special it was.

The thing that gets in the way of us spending time together is...

Screens, for sure. Me using my phone. Them watching tv. We don't allow any handheld devices for the kids and try and limit the tv. I make a deliberate effort to put my phone down when they are speaking to me and to put my phone away at different times of the day so we have distraction-free time. Too much tv makes them very irritable, and that, in turn, makes me irritable so we find it best, for us, to limit it.

Our pledge as a family:

We pledge to really slow down, not to put ourselves under time pressure with loads of activities. Leaving ourselves open to spending more stress-free quality time together. I have a habit of overextending myself, which can make me very stressy, so I'm working on learning to set boundaries for myself.

We would like to thank Orlaith for sharing her special family moments with us. To read more stories just like Orlaith's, click here.

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