What I have learned through motherhood.

Ros McMullen: Things I've learned and things I'm learning

“Being a mother takes the skin off you”
This was said to me by a good friend (Val Stevens, then a city councillor in Manchester). So true: any child in distress, any parent in distress, any story on the news could reduce me to tears almost instantly, once I had held Roisin. My protective shell had gone.

I had taught for 13 years before having my first child and the difference it made was extraordinary. As a young teacher my greatest fault was “getting too involved” and being overly passionate, and of course I always chose to work in challenging contexts, so I was hardly Miss Dispassionate, but this was different. This wasn’t political or professional passion anymore; this was an emotional empathy that required discipline. So I had to mature quickly: the overly passionate and involved professional channelled her “emotional skinlessness” into “if it isn’t good enough for Roisin…

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