Who does what? Balancing working lives with laundry, ironing and school pick-ups
After Ger and Mags got married, Ger says, there was never a set plan for how he and his wife would divide the housework. “We were both equally active and busy in terms of the business when we didn’t have kids. A lot of it fell into place over the years.”
While Mags is now the face of the company, and is heavily involved in the marketing side of the business, Ger picks up the slack at home. “I am around a lot during the day, and that is a good, stable influence for the kids to have. I get the dinner ready, and it works fine. The ironing, though, is still not my thing.”
DAMIAN AND MARY MORAN
Senator Mary Moran, a former secondary-school teacher, and her husband, Damian, who owns a garage in Dundalk, Co Louth, are both 52. They have five children, aged from 14 to 22
“Some of the children had health issues,” says Mary. “My eldest daughter was born very prematurely. I was up at night and looked after her a lot. Damian was self-employed, trying to build a business, so in those days I carried the can.”
When the couple’s youngest son was born with a mild intellectual disability, things changed. “I think it changed the whole idea of how the family worked. If I was up in hospital Damian needed to be there with the rest of them.
“When I was asked to run in the general election, two years ago, I’d say the roles changed. Before, I was always the one at home first; now it’s him. He’s as supportive of me now as I was of him. It’s come full circle.”
“At the start, yes, Mary did everything,” says Damian. “She was more used to the kids and looking after babies.”
When their youngest was born, their lives altered. “It had to be both of us sharing the duties at home. I was putting on washes, making dinners and cleaning the house, stuff that was almost alien to me.”
Does he wish he’d done more sooner? “It wasn’t asked of me. There was no demand for it sooner. But definitely [after Cillian was born], we had to split it between us more.
“There were things I did well and things Mary did well. I’d do the house-painting, the bins. Nurturing the kids would be her biggest strength.”
Now she is in the Seanad, Mary still has a hand in at home. “She would still do more than I do at home,” says Damian. “She’d say 60/40, but I’d say she’s probably doing more.
“I wouldn’t be where I am only for her. She’s really the head of the family.”