5 Important Things That Motherhood Has Taught Me
Jessica Bourke is a Natural Fertility Specialist, a regular contributor to Irish media and co-author of the 'Guilt Free Gourmet' cookbook. She's also a busy mum-of-two.
1. “Kids are just small adults, while adults are just big kids.”
I love this phrase; it’s something my Dad used to say when I was small and it really resonated with me. It taught me that children’s voices should be respected, as opposed to being ‘seen, but not heard.’ It also reminds me that my kids' problems are equally as important as my own and that just because I am older than them, doesn’t mean I have all the answers.
2. “Monkey see, monkey do.”
I know, this one seems so obvious. Yet, nothing can prepare you for that moment when your child curses in front of complete strangers, using (funnily enough) the EXACT same word and expressive tone that you do when you’re ticked off.
You laugh it off nervously, feeling embarrassed and amused in equal measure, but do try to hide that amusement from your child, or they will use the same offending word over…and over… and over.
That said, your child’s instinct to copy every move you make can have it’s benefits too. Now that our kids are old enough, we can enjoy exercising with them and marvel at their speed, strength, and boundless energy. I’ve definitely found that being physically active with our kids has strengthened our relationship with them, plus it’s no harm to join in and have a laugh so they can see you’re not so boring after all.
3. Your child is your mirror
Children are ruthless with their honesty. We forget that as adults we tend to sugar coat things, but kids haven’t learned to ‘filter’ yet, which is great because we all need to face facts sometimes.
Hypocrisy doesn’t last two seconds around a child. Do you think you can tell them not to eat chocolate before their dinner, but then sneak some from the cupboard yourself? Yeah, good luck with that.
My children have taught me that I am still rubbish at being patient, (but I’m working on it) and they’ve also helped me to understand acceptance. Accepting that sometimes plans will work, other days they won’t and that’s okay. The world won’t stop spinning because you ‘fail’ to complete your to-do list, so learning to live with a different pace of life is certainly important to finding happiness as a parent. Resistance is futile!
4. Growing up ain’t easy
Our daughter was certainly a busy kid when she was young, but nothing prepared us for the sheer insanity of a little boy! It felt like he was a baby for about two minutes because much to our astonishment, he started walking at seven-and-a-half months-old.
I wish I were joking. At that very young age he happily walked right across the kitchen and as you may imagine, the days and weeks that followed were absolute hell! We even resorted to buying our son a ridiculous helmet online; it was made of foam padding and bits of velcro. I guess it was designed to act as some kind of light-weight, brain protector, instead, it just looked like we had put a muzzle on our poor child… not a good look.
After a bit of Feng Shui, which meant removing every aesthetically pleasing, belonging we owned, we accepted, that bumps, cuts, and bruises were going to happen (a lot), but that he would survive it and we would too.
As our kids grew older, we realised that those bumps and scrapes were nothing in comparison to the emotional side of things.
Sadly, I have already seen some of the tell-tale signs of societal pressure with my daughter, as she told me recently she didn’t have any ‘curves’ at the back of her legs and then asked "when will I fit a pair of jeans properly?"
One of her good friends is worried about her height and wonders when she will catch up with the other girls, yet I don’t hear any of that sort of talk among boys their age. I just try to remind my daughter every day to be ‘strong and healthy’ as opposed to being ‘slim and sexy’ and hopefully it will eventually sink in.
5. Stopping to listen
The incessant babbling of my kids has continued every day, pretty much unabated, since the were toddlers. There were times, particularly on a Sunday morning, when I freely admit to wearing ear plugs… just to lower the intensity a little.
However, on those days when I wasn’t so tired or distracted, I would try to give in to the persistent chatter and just let it wash over me. It’s amazing the things you can learn about your children when you allow them to steer the conversation in whichever, wacky direction it takes them.
Our six-year-old son has offered me his thoughts on the universe and death, taking these immensely, complex topics and whittling them down into the most succinct and wonderfully articulate observations.
Meanwhile, our eight-year-old daughter (going on eighteen!) has opened my eyes to the beauty in everything around us, because of her creative brain, our world is just one huge canvas, full of colours, textures, and endless possibilities.
I’m so grateful to my kids for everything they have taught me. Granted, they can be more than a tad head-wrecking at times, but they’re so darn funny, and laughter really is the best medicine, after all.
Jessica deals with all aspects of reproductive health with a clinical approach, based on evidence-based nutrition protocols, acupuncture treatment, and functional lab tests to support the journey to parenthood. For more, visit jessicabourke.com.