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Roisin Gorman’s Open Letter on… Mother’s Day

You will make mistakes — the important equation is they are outnumbered by the days when you nail parenthood like a pro’

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Roisin Gorman pictured with her kids, Finn and Donal when they were younger

Roisin Gorman pictured with her kids, Finn and Donal when they were younger

Roisin Gorman pictured with her kids, Finn and Donal when they were younger

Happy Mother’s Day. Bring on the flowers and chocolates, and mostly the wine, and let’s get this thing celebrated. But lay off the sentiment, it’s too high in sugar, and tell the truth. Anyone who’s got children to adulthood has muddled through it, doing our best and thanking the stars we’ve got away with it so far. Motherhood isn’t sainthood, it’s biology. My biology was more determined on motherhood than me and it was two contraceptive failures which led me blinking from a maternity ward with a firstborn. That tiny margin of error for the morning-after pill shouldn’t be ignored. She’s now 23 and fabulous. For this Mother’s Day, apart from adjusting to making my own Mother’s Day dinner again, I had a think about what having kids has taught me, and it turns out it’s quite a lot. Be adventurous — pre-baby life was on the sofa or in the pub. Fast forward two kids and I was hanging off trees on high-ropes, paragliding, swimming in sea so cold that my knees never fully defrosted or just running pretend cafés in the park. It turns out my inner child just needed some playmates. Have empathy — that Christian saying about treating others how you would like to be treated comes straight from a nine-year-old who’s feeling ignored, unfairly berated or just a bit unloved. Their years until adulthood are short, and these are the people who’ll be taking care of you in your old age. Hugs are an investment for your future. Have time — life is busy, work is hard, things need to get done, but kids sometimes just want the luxury of your undivided attention. They are the centre of their own universe and they like to be the centre of yours. After that they want stuff but giving them time is a lot cheaper. Be organised — it just makes life less stressful when there’s milk in the fridge and the school uniforms are clean. On a few occasions I was so organised I took them to school when it was closed for a holiday. I chose to look on it as a surprise day off. Have patience — this one works for big people too. Kids don’t set out to push your buttons, which can be hard to remember when your nerves are stretched to snapping point. Be the adult, take a deep breath, smile — whatever it takes to demonstrate tolerance. You don’t have to be a mother to be a mother. Officially the most annoying adults are those whose lives are defined by biological parenthood, whose working womb gives their opinions precedence over people unblessed by babies. Motherhood is in your heart and your head. Perfection is a myth — if they’re warm, fed, clean and loved it’s enough. Social media never shows anyone crying on the sofa, wondering where their life went. They don’t have to be learning Mandarin, the ukulele and jazz ballet, and if they are, whose choices are we talking about? Your child is not your best friend — if your child is your best friend you need another friend. They can be good company and great craic but you’re always their parent, which is a privilege, especially if you like them. You will make mistakes — there will be days when you fall short of the ideal parent standard. The important equation is that they’re outnumbered by the days when you nail parenthood like a pro. And encourage those memories when you’re discussing your elderly care.

Email roisin.gorman@sundayworld.com

precious: Roisin Gorman pictured with her kids,
Finn and Donal when they were younger

Happy Mother’s Day. Bring on the flowers and chocolates, and mostly the wine, and let’s get this thing celebrated. But lay off the sentiment, it’s too high in sugar, and tell the truth.
Anyone who’s got children to adulthood has muddled through it, doing our best and thanking the stars we’ve got away with it so far.
Motherhood isn’t sainthood, it’s biology.
My biology was more determined on motherhood than me and it was two contraceptive failures which led me blinking from a maternity ward with a firstborn. That tiny margin of error for the morning-after pill shouldn’t be ignored. She’s now 23 and fabulous.
For this Mother’s Day, apart from adjusting to making my own Mother’s Day dinner again, I had a think about what having kids has taught me, and it turns out it’s quite a lot.
Be adventurous — pre-baby life was on the sofa or in the pub. Fast forward two kids and I was hanging off trees on high-ropes, paragliding, swimming in sea so cold that my knees never fully defrosted or just running pretend cafés in the park. It turns out my inner child just needed some playmates.
Have empathy — that Christian saying about treating others how you would like to be treated comes straight from a nine-year-old who’s feeling ignored, unfairly berated or just a bit unloved. Their years until adulthood are short, and these are the people who’ll be taking care of you in your old age. Hugs are an investment for your future.
Have time — life is busy, work is hard, things need to get done, but kids sometimes just want the luxury of your undivided attention. They are the centre of their own universe and they like to be the centre of yours. After that they want stuff but giving them time is a lot cheaper.
Be organised — it just makes life less stressful when there’s milk in the fridge and the school uniforms are clean. On a few occasions I was so organised I took them to school when it was closed for a holiday. I chose to look on it as a surprise day off.
Have patience — this one works for big people too. Kids don’t set out to push your buttons, which can be hard to remember when your nerves are stretched to snapping point. Be the adult, take a deep breath, smile — whatever it takes to demonstrate tolerance.
You don’t have to be a mother to be a mother. Officially the most annoying adults are those whose lives are defined by biological parenthood, whose working womb gives their opinions precedence over people unblessed by babies. Motherhood is in your heart and your head.
Perfection is a myth — if they’re warm, fed, clean and loved it’s enough. Social media never shows anyone crying on the sofa, wondering where their life went. They don’t have to be learning Mandarin, the ukulele and jazz ballet, and if they are, whose choices are we talking about?
Your child is not your best friend — if your child is your best friend you need another friend. They can be good company and great craic but you’re always their parent, which is a privilege, especially if you like them.
You will make mistakes — there will be days when you fall short of the ideal parent standard. The important equation is that they’re outnumbered by the days when you nail parenthood like a pro. And encourage those memories when you’re discussing your elderly care.
Email roisin.gorman@sundayworld.com

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