My greatest achievement

We all have moments in our lives where we think, ‘Wow, well done me.’ My earliest one such moment was winning a paint box when I was about eight or nine years old. It was a carved wooden box with all types of  wooden paint brushes inside and every shade, of every colour paint imaginable. I can’t remember why I won it, and truth be told I think it might have been sent to me in error, as even with a ruler I cannot draw a straight line! I’ve had quite a few other achievements to date; winning various swimming events, being selected for the national team, qualifying to be a nurse, (despite the fact I was never the most academic student) and managing to stay married for over twenty five years.

Tonight I returned home after a night out with a great friend. Having had a couple of drinks I was a little mellow, to say the least. For a moment I thought ‘having such friends must surely be my greatest achievement’. My memory wandered to all I’d shared with my friends over many years, the wonderful highs and crushing lows. As I stood alone in the kitchen gazing wistfully into my past, I caught sight of the two photo collages hung on the kitchen wall. Many many photos of the last twenty five years of parenting.

And instantly I knew, mellow or not… this was my greatest achievement.

How time has changed me? For years I struggled with frustration and insecurity because I was a stay at home mother. The question, ‘What do you do?’ used to tear me apart. In my head the answer was, ‘Me? I’m only a stay at home mother.’ Now, with the luxury of twenty five years parenting behind me, if I am asked, ‘What did you do?’ I can point to my children, and the others I mothered at home here along the way, and say,

‘Look at them. That is what I did.’

photo credit: tainkeh Trophy 2: Sponsor Plate via photopin (license)

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28 thoughts on “My greatest achievement

  1. Wonderful. And I made it a point to never, ever say that I was “just a housewife”. I remember being embarrassed that my mother used that phrase. When I had my children, I managed to stay home for almost 2 decades. No regrets. 💘 I never had a more satisfying job.

    1. I could never say that either, but I did struggle with recognising my value. Now like yourself I have no regrets at all and agree 100% I never had a more satisfying job.

  2. I read an interview with Marie Heaney the other week, Seamus Heaney’s widow. Reflecting on re-mapping her future to stay at home when their children came along, she doesn’t agonise. “I would rather have given myself to my family than to a multi-national”. I will say this quote not only once.

  3. As a mom who always worked, I can share your feelings. Now that my career is over, it is so very clear that my greatest achievement was my children. Good for you, Tric, to realize it now!

    1. Yes, as the years pass and we live in the moment we don’t really get to see what we are doing. It’s not about whether we work outside the home or not, it’s about achievement.
      Good to be able to look back from a safe distance!

  4. A ponderous post, indeed, Tric.
    I always think there’s a world of a difference between mothering and housewifing. ( Maybe because my skills in the latter dept are at NG level).

    1. You and me both. I’m certainly a lot better at mothering than housewifing. If I were to look about my mismatch of a never fully finished house, I would not think, ‘My greatest achievement’.

  5. Well done indeed! Being a parent is I think the biggest achievement for a lot of us. (For those who want it, of course. I know it’s not for everyone.) Having great friends is also a great achievement. And then writing a regular column is a third! Looks like you have a lot of good stuff going on. Incidentally, I hope you had a great craic with your friends. (I was told this is how I should say it. I hope I got it right.) 😀

    1. Thank so much, that is great to hear. Sometimes there are moments which bring great clarity to our lives. The other night, perhaps helped by the couple of wine’s I’d had was one such a night.
      I hope tomorrow is better for you.

    1. I think we all have those moments, and unfortunately during them forget to remember this post! I’m through a lot of the fog and to see grown up children looking at me still takes my breath away.

  6. I envy you being able to stay home and care for your family. They were molded by your hard work and hands. Congratulations to you for that wonderful victory! You are one of the lucky ones. 😊

    1. Thanks Deb. I was indeed lucky to have that choice to stay at home, but I think whether we stay at home or not most parents reach a stage where they look at their children and feel proud. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to rear them.

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