Sunday 22 April 2018

'We try to instil in them that there is a higher power up there'

Our Family: The Ryans

Tradtional background: Jennifer and Mark Ryan with their sons Zach (6), Noah (8) and Isabella (5) at their home in Ballinteer. Picture: Arthur Carron
Tradtional background: Jennifer and Mark Ryan with their sons Zach (6), Noah (8) and Isabella (5) at their home in Ballinteer. Picture: Arthur Carron
Deirdre Reynolds

Deirdre Reynolds

Mum Jennifer Ryan, group online marketing manager for Fitzpatrick Lifestyle Hotels, has been married to business analyst husband Mark for 10 years. They live in Ballinteer with their three children Noah (8), Zach (6) and Isabella (5).

FAMILY

"Both Mark and I come from very traditional backgrounds. Mark has four siblings and I have one sister. Seeing his family, with everybody coming and going, I always felt like I wanted to have more than two children. After buying a house in Ballinteer, where we're both from, we had Noah, Zach and Isabella very close together. One of the reasons we moved back to this area was for the support: Mark's folks are just down the road, and my parents are just up the road. When we had our little girl after the two boys, we felt blessed with three healthy kids, so we're done now!"

DISCIPLINE

"Growing up, I think we all had the threat of the wooden spoon. In our house, we use the 1-2-3 rule: if they haven't done what they're told on the count of three, they're sent to their room until they're ready to come down and say sorry. As they've gotten older, you never really have to get to three.

"They'll roll their eyes to heaven and sigh, but generally they do what they're told. We wouldn't smack them and even when I do raise my voice, we try and explain to them later why mommy or daddy's cross with them. At mealtimes, everybody has to sit down at the table and talk to each other - there's no telly on or gadgets at the table."

RELIGION

"Noah's First Holy Communion is in a couple of weeks, so we're busy preparing for that. In the run up to Holy Communion, the church did a monthly 'Do this in Memory' mass for children and parents, which we all made an effort to go to. Although we're Catholic, we wouldn't be doing the rosary or beating our way up to the church every Sunday.

"Every time we do go to mass, its like: 'Is it nearly over, mom?', 'Can we go yet?' There's no interest there. I suppose we try to instil in them that there is a higher power up there that looks after us - and to thank God for their blessings because there's kids out there with nothing."

EDUCATION

"The kids are in [gaelscoil] Scoil Naithí just down the road from us. It's a particularly difficult school to get into because it's quite small. The year we put Noah's name down there were 20 new families, whereas any other year there'd be two or three. We just kind of had a lucky break.

"Once we got Noah in, the other siblings fell in behind him, which was great. Now that they're in school, it's all activities.

If one of them wants to do art or swimming after school, then you're multiplying [the cost of] that out by three.

"Even though they're only in primary school, you'd already be thinking down the road to third level."

CHILDCARE

"Personally, I never really liked the idea of crèches. For the first six-and-a-half years after Noah was born, we had live-in au pairs. There are lots of horror stories out there, but we were absolutely blessed with the girls we had. At the moment, I have no childcare. In the morning, Mark drops them down to his parents to have breakfast and go to school.

"Then in the afternoon, I'm on duty: picking them up from school, helping them with their homework and bringing them to activities. If I have a meeting any afternoon, it would be my mom I'd call."

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