You may be wondering what can possibly be learned from someone who has barely been on the planet for 9 months. Well, quite a lot actually. My daughter is constantly showing me what life is all about. She doesn’t understand the concept of inhibitions, let alone have any. Her mind is unaffected by society – it’s pressure to look, act and be a certain way. She is who she is, because that’s all she knows. With each new day, I learn a little more from her about how to be me.
Here’s three life lessons I’ve learned from my baby…
It’s not unusual for me to shy away from having my photo taken or spend whole days avoiding myself in the mirror because I don’t like the way I look. I don’t look like the women on the front of magazines (heck, the women on the front of magazines don’t look like the women on front of magazines – cheers, Photoshop!) Despite years of orthadontal treatment in my teens, my teeth still aren’t as straight as I’d like, my hair always look a mess and don’t even get me started on those eye bags.
Obviously I think my daughter is beautiful (I’m biased, of course!) but one day, like me, she might not feel like she’s beautiful either (and I genuinely get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes just typing that). Right now, though? Jasmine loves herself! When she catches her reflection in the mirror she has the biggest smile across her face and squeals with delight. She thinks that little baby staring back at her is the best thing since sliced bread. I hope she will always hold herself in such high regard. As for me, I’ve taken a leaf out of her book and started to smile back at myself too. Wonky teeth and all.
Jasmine’s currently trying to crawl. I mean really trying to crawl. Every time she falls flat on her face, she gets up and tries again… and again… and again. She’ll keep going until she’s cracked it and then she’ll move on to the next thing. She’ll learn to walk with the same steely determination that she was born with. That we were all born with.
In adulthood, if something is difficult, we often just give up. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, we forget what we’re capable of. We don’t lose those last few pounds of baby weight or find that new job, even though we hate the one we’re in, because life’s easier if it just stays the same. It’s easier to give up. Jasmine has reminded me that I have the ability to achieve anything that I want to… so long as I am determined to do whatever it takes to achieve it.
It’s OK to have a good cry every now and again.
I find it fascinating that us Brits, and many other nationalities for that matter, are so strangely apologetic about being upset. How many times have you watched a documentary about something so terribly tragic in which an interviewee breaks down in front of the camera. The first words they utter through their sobs? “I’m sorry.” They’ve had their entire family wiped out by a tsunami and yet they feel they have to apologise for being upset about it?! That’s an extreme example but we all do it, right?
Like most babies, Jasmine cries… a lot. She’ll cry if she’s in pain, tired, hungry or if I won’t let her have her own way (read: not letting her use the dog’s squeaky toy as teether!) and of course, she’ll cry if she just damn well feels like it.
As adults we feel ashamed to be upset. We hide our feelings. We keep it all in. How can that be healthy? Emotional crying is something only humans do and I believe it’s for a good reason. (Don’t you always feel better after a good sob session? If even only a little.) Clearly I don’t need to cry as much as a baby does because I can communicate and express myself in ways that they cannot. But from now on, when I feel the urge – when my bottom lip trembles and my eyes become damp – I will cry. I’ll cry unapologetically, unreservedly and unashamedly… just like my baby does.
Have you learned any ‘life lessons’ from your children?