“Buy it in bulk” – my mother


If you were to ask my mother at 19 what does her future hold? I’m sure her answer would have been that shed hope to become a nurse, have a house by the beach with someone tall dark and handsome and spend her days tending to tomato vines in her green house.

I guess no one knows what the future holds because my mum defiantly didn’t.

Fast forward 23 years later. She’s a Mother of 8 and a Grandmother of 19 and as you guessed it has no time for a green house. My names Jessica and I am 2nd youngest in a family of 10.

Coming from a big family does have its perks, the constant stream of hand me downs over the years and a lot of people to take the focus of you if you wanted to stay out that half hour longer. If anything, it prepared me a lot for the ‘student life’ with its constant noise stream that people are only subjected to in their first shared accommodation and with its bulky buffet style dinners I was able to adjust very quickly.

In fact, whenever I would come home to an empty student house I would miss the echoes of tell-taling and watching my mother take several attempts to remember some of our names.

Coming from a house of so many there are certain things you have to accept, you will never ever have a plate of left overs wrapped in tinfoil waiting in the oven for you waiting. If you want to go on any family activity you to ensure that you’re guaranteed a seat in the car as they gold dust and if you want to talk to your mother you have to schedule her in at least one week in advance.

I should have joined a debate team because I get plenty of practice arguing how just because I went to the kitchen should not mean I lose my seat in the living room, every day. Coming from a big family you have to learn how to fend for your self because your older siblings they can sense weakness.

Being constantly surrounded by nieces and nephews is however refreshing and their innocence’s is something to indulge in. luckily for us Santa and the tooth fairy has never missed a year.  So, it does have its perks, like when it’s your birthday and your flooded with gifts and cards. Unfortunately, it also means that its someone’s birthday every other week and I’ve tasted enough cream and jam sponge cakes to do me a life time.

I do sometimes wonder what the ‘only child’ does with their free time and what it would be like to have full power of the remote control 24/7. All I can hope for is to have half the patience my mother does and half the children.

Yes, if you were to tell her at 19 she wouldn’t become a nurse I’m sure she would be disappointed but only because she wasn’t made to become ‘just a nurse’ but also became a doctor, a teacher, the judge the jury and the driver. Tomato vines are over rated anyway.


Jessica Phillips is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University.