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Mums and their girls who work together

Stephanie Bell meets mums and their girls who are so close that they got jobs together so they can spend more time with each other

Even the closest mums and daughters rarely opt to spend a large part of their spare time with each other, never mind their working days together. However, for those who do there is the deepening of that special mother/daughter bond, as two local families have discovered. We talk to two mums and their daughters about why they enjoy spending so much time in each other’s company.

‘I know some girls would hate it, but I’m delighted to be with Mum every day’

Natasha Strain (24) and her mum Karen (42) are best friends who talk together, do charity walks together and now work together in their local Asda store in Antrim. Karen also has a son, Dean (23) and is married to Eugene (47). They live together in Antrim

Natasha says:

“I’ve been working in Asda for two years in the photo department and four months ago mum started to work in the deli department. It’s just brilliant having mum working in the same place as me. I know some girls would hate it, but I am over the moon.

“Most days our hours are the same so we can travel to and from work together and every day we plan our breaks so that we can have lunch together and see how each other’s day is going. We’ve always been very close, but I think working together has brought us even closer. People in the shop keep commenting on how alike we are and how young mum looks and saying that she looks more like my big sister, which makes me feel dead proud.

“My mum is not just my friend but my best friend. I can tell her anything, no matter what time of the day or night it is, and I know she will listen and care. I’m expecting my first baby in September and had my first scan this week and, of course, mum came with me. She is so excited for me and loves the idea of becoming a grandmother for the first time.

“She has always helped me out no matter what I need, and I know she will be there for me when I become a mum myself.

“As well as working together, we also go to bingo and we started doing charity walks for Macmillan Cancer. We did a walk in Antrim and have done the Belfast Marathon together for the past two years. We go out walking a lot together. I have lots of good friends but mum is the one I turn to first to talk about anything that is happening in my life. I can tell her anything without ever feeling embarrassed. Now that I am going to be a mum myself I can only hope that I will share the same bond with my child and be as good a mum as she is.”

Karen says:

“Working together has allowed me to spend real quality time with Natasha on our breaks. It’s great to even just see her in the shop during the day, as I always feel so proud of her. She is a wee star and since I started working in Asda people keep commenting to me on how great a girl she is and it doesn’t surprise me at all that she is so highly thought of. She is a wonderful daughter and it is very special to me that she sees me as her friend. I’m glad she can talk to me about anything and I don’t always have all the answers but I do try and advise her as best I can.

“It works both ways, as she is very supportive of me too. Natasha is a very strong person and a very giving person.

“Going with her to her first scan this week and seeing my grandchild was very special. She is not due until September and I can’t wait. I know she will make a brilliant mother and I will be a doting granny.

“I think since she became pregnant I have looked at her slightly differently; it’s as if she is all grown up now that she is going to be a mum herself. It just seems to have gone by so quickly. I’m glad we share so much and we really enjoy doing the charity walks together and now working together has just made us even closer as mother and daughter. We are very lucky.”

‘I love doing the family’s dirty business with Mum'

Nicky Hill (31), is a housewife and her mum Valerie Hill (53), is a rehab assistant with the Belfast Trust, married to Stephen (53), an accountant with the Belfast Trust. They are from Belfast and share an allotment together where they grow a large range of fruit and vegetables for both of their families. Nicky is married to Philip (40) who is self-employed and they have two children, Rebekah (9) and Thomas (6)

NICKY SAYS:

“I decided about four years ago to look into getting an allotment and, as mum has always been green-fingered, I asked if she wanted to share it. She thought it was a great idea and so we got a plot of land at Vista Allotments on the Belfast hills.

“We do all the work between us and share the produce. Dad has also got involved and does most of the back-breaking work. We have even got the kids involved and they love it. We grow a wide range of vegetables, from sprouts, parsnips and potatoes to onions, leeks, cabbage, courgettes, strawberries, herbs, peas and beans.

“Mum and I would often go up alone when the kids are at school. I have two younger sisters — Barbara, 25, and Julie- Anne, 28 — and they aren’t interested at all in gardening.

“Mum and I have always been close but I think spending time on the allotment, which we really enjoy, has brought us even closer together. It’s nice to have something for just me and Mum.

“It’s great to get out in the fresh air doing a bit of work together, especially when the sun shines. You could spend hours up there and it is very peaceful. It’s nice to have a hobby we share and it’s great to get the kids involved.

“They love it because they are allowed to get mucky and know they won’t be told off. “It’s very satisfying having your own produce to cook. We love picking it and bringing it home and it always seems to taste better.”

VALERIE SAYS:

“I’ve always grown things at home in tubs and I had a mini-greenhouse. When Nicky suggested getting an allotment together, I thought it was a great idea. She was really into homegrown and organic food.

“This is our fourth year and it has become a real family affair with the children and even my husband getting involved. He is really into his sprouts. We gave the children their own little patches and Rebekah chose to grow flowers in hers, while Thomas grew beetroot.

“We are currently working on getting the ground ready for the new growing season and hope to put our potatoes in on St Patrick’s Day.

“I always did see Nicky nearly every day and we always enjoyed a special closeness, maybe because she is the oldest. Now working together on the allotment has brought us even closer. It’s great to be able to share a hobby and spend quality time like that out in the fresh air with her and the kids.

“We do have a lot of fun together. We recently had the idea of getting chickens, although we don’t have the room so there has been talk of getting another allotment.

“When we are on the allotment we do have a laugh together and we share the work and the produce. I think it is great that we are all up there as a family enjoying the outdoors.”

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