As St. Patty’s Day approaches it is an ideal time to look to the Irish for timeless wisdom as applicable to our family lives now as it was centuries ago. There’s a reason Irish proverbs have survived the test of time; they offer deep insights wrapped up in memorable, often funny and lyrical phrases. Here are my five favorite Irish proverbs for modern moms:
“You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.”
It is easy to go deep into our own minds when parenting. I can’t tell you the hours I’ve spent ruminating on the best way to potty train my son. Reading books, listening to podcasts, quizzing other moms and worrying. This proverb is a great reminder that at some point you’ve got to get the plough — or in my case, potty — out and get down to business.
“Say a little and say it well.”
Phew. Let that sink in for a moment. I feel like I can throw out half of the parenting books on my shelves, which are trying to convey this exact message. It is simple advice that is especially important when talking to little kids. The less we say and the more clearly we say it, the better.
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
Everyone has those days as a parent. It feels as if nothing will go right. This wasn’t how you imagined it! You’ve lost control and you’re losing your mind. Step away from the well-intentioned Play-Doh project that ended with tears, frustration and a ruined rug. Laugh at the fact that you thought you’d do this mom stuff easily and in style. Don’t worry about the rug. As soon as you get your child into bed, put yourself there as well. When you wake in the morning, things will inevitably seem more manageable. Trust me. And the Irish.
“It is easy to halve the potato where there is love.”
I am sure we have all literally halved a potato (or a cookie or a sandwich) for our children. And food is one of the easiest things we sacrifice as parents, don’t get me started on sleep, basic hygiene and time. But as our parents did it for us, we do it for our children, because where there is love, there is enough for everyone, always.
“Bricks and mortar make a house, but the laughter of children make a home.”
I routinely step on Cheerios in my living room. Our sofa has seen its share of spit up. It doesn’t matter. A perfect house without my children in it would not be perfect. Their presence and all that comes with it – Cheerioes, spit up, spills, funky smells – but also laughter, singing, stories and play, remind me that we’re not here to keep a house, we’re here to make it a home.
As it turns out there’s no need to visit expert websites, scroll Instagram or hound your neighbor for parenting advice, just look to the Irish and enjoy their timeless wisdom. After all, as the proverb goes “if you’re enough lucky to be Irish… you’re lucky enough!”