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La Barokka

Maria Muscat, better known as La Barokka, is from Swatar.  She is 33 years old and works as a journalist and also as a singer.  She is also a mother of two gorgeous daughters and admits that she has no time for hobbies.  La Barokka shared with Ramona Portelli her viewpoints about motherhood.
Interview conducted October 2010

How long have you been a mother?

For five years.


Tell us the names of your daughters  

Aaliyah, 5 years

Alicia, one year and three months.


What were your first thoughts when you got to know you’re becoming a mummy for the very first time and what were your reactions?

I was thrilled when the test marked positive, even though I knew that it was not going to be so easy to juggle work obligations with family responsibilities.


Did you experience any difficulties during your pregnancy?

No, thank God, it was a very smooth pregnancy and labour.


In your opinion, how do you describe a great motherhood?

Great motherhood would be to have enough precious time with your kids.  I wish I work less so I can be with my kids more - it is my aim and my dream, and I am sure I will achieve it one day with God’s help.


Can you name one thing or more, that makes your child unique and that you won’t forget throughout the years?

I believe that for every mum her child is always unique, for the bond that exists between the two is amazing since conception.  My kids make me laugh - both of them.  For instance one thing I can’t forget is when Aaliyah at only two years of age told me,  “Mummy, you are Barokka, Maria Barokka and I never ever told her my stage name, it’s just somehow she got the name from TV.



You are a very busy media person and singer.  How do you manage to be a good mother?

Well, I am never happy with myself and I believe that there is more to be done to be described as a good mum.  I wish I can be as good as my late mum was.  Being so busy with work makes it very challenging to be a perfect mum.  But I work very hard to give my kids all that they need especially my love and attention.


Are you planning to have more kids in the near future? 

No, I can’t have more kids, it’s too difficult.  I would, if I manage to earn enough money, stop work and can afford to stay home.


Do you dream of something particular that you wish your children will do in their future?

Well, I want my kids to be happy, positive, strong and live in prosperity.  I want both Aaliyah and Alicia to choose a career that will make them happy, and also a mission that will sow difference into others.


What suggestions can you share with us for a better childhood in Malta?

At the moment I am working to get all women together for one purpose.  We should speak up if this country really loves its own children.  We women are far way behind from getting the support needed to balance work and family duties.  If our kids are sick, we still have to go to work, with no support.  Childcare is still very expensive.

In other countries childcare is heavily supported by the Government.  I am much inspired by what Cherie Blair (wife of ex UK Prime Minister Tony Blair) said in Malta, that employers that seek to support work and life balance, attract the best employees.  Unfortunately employers in Malta, talk the opposite and it is a shame.  We are a country that preaches so much values pro-family, and yet the practice of it, is very different.


What is your favorite part about your child’s school experiences?

Not favorite really, but when Aaliyah started school, I felt as if I started primary school myself, sometimes the load on the parents is a bit too much.  I don’t agree for instance on projects that in the end are done by the parent not the child, things are getting too complicated in my opinion.


What do you think is the most important thing that the children learn in their classrooms?

Values, love, and to be motivated, staying strong to face challenges.  For me motivation should be an essential part of the curriculum.  And I am also working on this.  I want to contribute in schools and inspire kids to be positive.


What is your method of discipline as a mother?

Well, I believe discipline is very important.  With Aaliyah, I explain to her exactly what needs to be done, such as picking up her toys when she’s done, to wash teeth, to use manners etc.  I do that in a positive way, but there are times when I get frustrated as well, so I am not perfect, sometimes I do have my own bad tempers and I do apologize with Aaliyah when I have these moods.



What is your child’s favorite activity?

Doing gymnastics….at home…in the living room…!!


From your experience as a mother, what are the challenges that face parents of a child nowadays?

To balance work and family duties - the pressure on the parents is too much nowadays.  I do wish that I have enough finances to be able to stay home with my kids, at least till they reach their adolescent years.  Honestly, I do believe that children need us to be home.  I am working on this, and my dream is to be able to stay home with them as much as I can.



In your opinion, how well prepared are local schools to educate children?

They are well prepared, but of course much more need to be done.


What would your advice be to others who are becoming parents very soon?

To be happy, and grateful that God gave them a chance to be a parent.  Honestly, I am very grateful, as my kids are my life, my joy and pride.  Even though there are times when I feel like getting too crazy with trying to keep up with work and family duties, still when am with them, it is the best time of my life.


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