Andrea Mara

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The Once a Week Mum

Coffee in one hand, keys in the other, I lock the car and make my way up the street towards the gates – not too early and not too late. I continue on into the school-yard and scan the area. Some familiar faces, standing together in a group. Mums from

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A dip into real life

I get to be a stay-at-home mum once a week, so I know exactly what it’s like. No, not really. In fact not at all. My one day per week of SAHM-dom is Friday, so it’s not quite a representative example of true stay-at-home parenting. On Friday, the traffic is

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Full Circle

Babysitting. Something about which I have vivid memories; a teenage part-time-job. And now it’s come full circle, as what seems like five minutes later, I’m all grown-up and paying a teenager to mind my kids. Having had three childminders (counting the runaway one) and about forty different creche minders (high turnover), I

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8 Rules of Lent from the 1980s

The Lent of my childhood in 1980s Ireland was driven by a complex set of rules and norms, some of which I’ve listed below: 1. “Giving up sweets” had many interpretations. It could in fact exclude crisps, cake and in extreme cases, even chocolate. And chocolatey sweets, like Minstrels, which

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Beautiful girls

  “Look at you in your gorgeous dress!” I said to my friend’s five-year-old daughter, then remembered, too late, that I’m trying to avoid telling little girls that they’re beautiful. This was prompted by a Huff Post article I read a few months ago that suggested asking little girls about a

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A Christmas reunion

It was going to be the best Christmas ever. We say that every year of course, and every year we mean it. But last year was definitely going to be the best Christmas ever. We had planned everything in tiny detail – not remembering any of that “if you want

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Office Mum stories: Carmel Harrington

“I try hard not to compromise the kind of mother I want to be, by not letting work encroach on the children’s time.  But inevitably, deadlines need to be met“ Next up, in this series of interviews with mothers, is Carmel Harrington, a sales manager turned stay-at-home-mother and now a published

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Office Mum stories: Naomi Lavelle

“I think once you become a parent, guilt is inevitable”                              “I often feel like I am present physically but trying to work on something myself while doing homework/cooking dinner etc.  I feel like I may be around

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Third man

My third child is discovering nursery rhymes. For the first time ever, I sang Baa Baa Black Sheep for him this week – he will be two years old soon, so this is not something to boast about. I also showed him Round and Round the Garden for the first

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mummy-wars & shades of grey

The perpetuation of so-called mummy-wars assumes that there is a distinct split between just two types of mothers: those who go out to work in paid employment and those who stay at home with their children. Black and White. Opposite ends of the spectrum. Apparently. And it has reared it’s

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Office Mum stories: Caitríona Redmond

This is the first in a series of interviews with mothers; chatting about home and work and family, and that elusive balance that we all seek. Topics range from childcare to career changes, working from home to stay-at-home mothers, setting up businesses, fitting in homework, the ever-present guilt, and mostly,

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Maternity benefit cut: what message does this send?

Maternity benefit has been cut in this week’s budget to €230 per week, down from €262*. This is getting some attention in the media, but understandably, it is overshadowed by more hard-hitting changes. There have been some comments from ISME, One Family, and from the Director of the National Women’s

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Hitting the glass ceiling (or staying under the radar)

Is there really a glass ceiling for women in the workplace? Or is it for the most part, something experienced by mothers in the workplace? I realise that this is a controversial question but I’m genuinely interested to know if there are people reading who have been held back in the workplace simply because

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Beauty pageant babies

So have you entered your daughter in the Universal Royalty Beauty Pageant this weekend? Me neither. Kind of a no-brainer. Kind of not worth writing a blog post really, as there’s nothing to debate, the argument makes itself.And I’ve just read that the Bracken Court in Balbriggan, revealed this week to

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social media village

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you picked it up from Twitter or Facebook – it’s not news that we’re getting most of our, well, news, entertainment, information and of course blog posts, from social media. And this includes parenting information – who do parents talk to when they

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Andrea Mara

tips for taking the ferry to France

The ferry never changes. The familiar smell of exhausts as engines are switched off and families squeeze between rows of roof-box-topped cars to reach the entry doors. The staff with genuine smiles waiting to greet us and help tiny children clamber up the steep steps. The sense of relief when

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summer holiday

          The bags are packed, the kids are packed and takeaway coffees are in hand – we’re on the road to Rosslare to take the ferry to Roscoff. I’m beyond excited to be going on holidays and not remotely worried (read: reasonably worried) about the potential

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the do’s and don’ts of starting school

School’s out for summer, and for parents all over the country it’s a significant milestone in any year. For our family, until now, this time of year meant just two things: lighter traffic in the morning and holidays jumping to twice the price. But for the first time, we experienced end-of-term properly

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You’re not the boss of me

A short post about a five-year-old girl who wants to be her own boss from now on – in a week of transcripts, here’s one of our conversation last night: C: Mum, I’ve had enough of you telling me what to do. From now on I’m going to decide everything

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The mammy-war myth

Mommy-wars. Or since we’re in Ireland, let’s say Mammy-wars. I can’t stand the term, but it’s the widely-used name for the phenomenon of mothers judging mothers on every element of parenting, originally coined to refer to mothers working outside the home versus stay-at-home mothers. Newspapers love the SAHM/ mothers working outside the

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