It’s time to teach them that you matter as much as they do—so get enough rest, healthy food, play time and exercise.
When my kids first started eating solid foods it wasn’t even a thought whether I would make their food or buy jarred.
I went to Whole Foods and stocked up on organic fruits and veggies and started steaming and pureeing.
When I go to the store to buy the staples of the house for my now five and one-year-old, my cart is quickly filled with organic chicken nuggets, organic waffles, organic milk, organic yogurt, organic meats and (you guessed it) organic fruits and veggies. The second I am close to running low on any of these items. . . I rush out to restock.
But it’s not just what they eat. Every week, I drive my daughter to her gymnastics classes that are a good 20 minutes away from my house. I do this without too much complaining and rarely miss a class. I take my son to his mommy and me and music classes despite the inconvenient times or how tired or not in the mood I am.
I bathe my children most nights. I use chemical-free shampoos and conditioners. I make sure they both get good, full nights of sleep and start their day with a somewhat healthy breakfast.
Why am I telling you about the specifics of these mundane events?
I promise you I am not bragging. I am more brainstorming all of the thoughts going through my head lately while I complain about having to cook a healthy dinner for myself, drive to my gym class at an hour of the day that I am too tired or “not in the mood,” spend extra money for my own safe, non-toxic cosmetics, and force myself to go to sleep at a normal hour.
Why do we, as moms, find the things that we do without question for our children or the people we love, too annoying or difficult to do for ourselves?
Why has it become normal for me to order in processed, chemical-ridden chicken for myself while I am cooking only the best for the rest of my family?
Why do I have a hard time splurging on the shampoo that is $10 more so I avoid using loads of chemicals, but when it comes to my kids I don’t even debate it?
Why do I make sure my kids are bathed regularly, when I skip showers all-too-frequently, telling myself there’s just not enough time?
Why do I make sure my kids get enough fresh air and exercise, but don’t extend that same kindness to myself?
It’s time to teach them that I matter as much as they do—that adulthood means practicing self-care, even when it is hard. It means doing the simple—even basic!—things that I neglect to do for myself while I focus on caring for them.
If I want to teach my kids to be able to care for themselves as adults, I need to be modeling that behavior while they’re watching me.
Of course, shouldn’t I be doing them for myself anyway because I, too, am worth the extra time, money and rest. I seem to have lost sight of this somewhere along the way, but it is not too late to change that and go in a direction that is more on track to a healthier, happier me. After all, happy mom, happy kids, right?
For us moms, I think the basic, simple lesson is quite often the most difficult for us to follow: to treat ourselves the way we treat those around us!
You think we can do it?
If our goal for our children is to give them the most healthy, safe and positive up-bringing…shouldn’t we also be leading by example?
Do we want them to think they are more important or worthy than us?
I know that is not my goal! Oops!
So I have decided that I am going to try to apply the thoughts that I have in relation to the things I do for my children to how I treat myself! It’s much easier said than done but for the good and health of my future self I am going to try—hard.
I promise to get back to update you on my progress, and I am hoping that you will join me in an effort to remember that we, too, matter and deserve only the best.
My checklist of “me” priorities… (what’s on your list?)
- Make my own grocery store staples as important as theirs.
- Schedule time for “play-dates” with my friends (not just toddlers)!
- Make sure that getting to my gym is as much of a priority and a part of my schedule as gymnastics and music class.
- Nap time might be a stretch (although it sounds glorious) but I will schedule “Me” time and be as diligent (or lazy depending on the day) with that time as I am with my son’s nap-time.
The truth is that as much as we believe there is no time for us. . . that is probably the most important time spent and most important lesson to teach our children.