Jacinta Tynan is every inch the modern mum. By day she works hard as a journalist and news presenter at Sky News; by afternoon she does pick up of her two boys; and by evening she fits in writing books and newspaper columns, and quality time with her sons.
Author of three books, Mother Zen, Good Man Hunting and Some Girls Do, Jacinta has worked as a news journalist all over the country from Thredbo to the Top End, not to mention she's a regular guest panelist on Kinderling's very own The Parent Panel podcast.
She opens up about five of the things she loves, has been surprised by, and has learned from being a mum.
1. What is your favourite thing about being a mum?
The lessons I learn from my boys and how motherhood forces me daily to step up and grow as a person. You can’t be your old self when there are little people dependent on you to do better. It’s a constant calling to be accountable.
That, and the funny things they say and do. They make me laugh.
2. What’s your favourite thing to do with your boys?
Quite often it’s only in the looking back that we realise where the most significant moments were. So I’m always reminding myself to try to catch them as they unfold. It’s the after school ramblings - jumping off the jetty into the sea, picking our way across rock pools, watching them scramble up the giant boulder they call ‘big foot’. It’s reading stories in bed, playing Cluedo on a rainy afternoon, dancing in the living room. Being a single mother, I sometimes question if I am enough for my boys. But when I ask them at the end of each day to list their favourite bit, it’s these seemingly minor moments they come up with.
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3. What is the thing you miss most about life before you became a mother?
Not much. I know it’s a cliché, but my life is far richer and more meaningful since I became a mother. I appreciate it’s not that way for everyone, but I’m relishing this life phase and feel liberated by the ‘choicelessness’ of having nowhere else to be but right here, right now with my boys. All of those aspects to my pre-mother life which I can no longer take for granted (like sleep-ins, nights out and holidays on a whim), don't entice me at all. I mean, maybe sometimes, but I’d take time with them over all of that any day.
4. What has been the biggest surprise for you about being a parent?
How much it fulfils me. Before I had my babies, I expected parenthood to be a side note to my life, that they would ‘fit in’ to my other more pressing commitments. I was quite taken aback by how much I took to the mother role. It has challenged me enormously, and continues to, of course, but I didn't anticipate how much it would change me. By necessity I’m more present, I’m happier, far more self aware and more appreciative of the day-to-day. It’s the first time in my life where someone else has needed me and I get a kick out of rising to the challenge.
I’m also surprised about how much I learn from my children. I assumed it would be me teaching them, but it’s so much more the other way around. Kids are the best therapy because the stakes are high to get it right. I’m really conscious of how they’re looking to me for guidance, so it forces me to watch myself. I may be tempted to rant and rave, to snap with frustration - and I too often do - but when I take the time to sit with my boys instead, to listen and be empathetic to where they’re at, to see it from their perspective, it changes everything. My youngest handed me a note the other day that said, “Sometimes we make mistakes as well”. It melted my heart.
5. What does 'me time' look like for you?
Since becoming a single mother after leaving home with my boys, I get more ‘me time’ than I would like. Being by myself is not what I signed up for when I had children. But I try to make the most of it when they’re with their dad and do all the things I can’t really do when they’re around, so I can be more present when they are with me.
I also meditate twice a day and have done since I was pregnant with my first baby. That’s a non-negotiable that keeps me afloat.
I go for a bush walk most mornings after dropping the kids to school, and I try to get to yoga every now and then. I didn’t exercise for a good six years when my babies were small, so I’m making up for it. I didn’t read a book for years either, so it’s a treat to be able to do that again.
I even went to a wellness retreat a few months ago. I took myself off to Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary in Koh Samui, Thailand, while my boys were with their dad. That’s something I would have had no inclination to do when my babies were small, or if they were at home waiting for me. It was transformative.
Listen to Jacinta on The Parent Panel in the free Kinderling app and wherever you get your podcasts.
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