I hear too many parents (especially moms) say:
- “Who am I when I’m not being a mom?”
- “Did I really have a life before kids?”
- “It’s selfish to do something just for me.”
No, it’s not selfish. It is critical to set aside time for yourself, whether it involves your health, personal interests, or something completely frivolous. Being a parent doesn’t mean that you give up everything.
What it does mean is that you:
1) prioritize, and accept that your well-being is on that list of priorities.
2) say ‘no’ once in a while.
3) don’t do for others (including, or especially your children) what they can do for themselves.
In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. Here are three great reasons to take your needs seriously:
1) We all know the airline warning, “Put on your own oxygen mask first, before trying to help others.” When you are depleted, you can’t be your best for others.
2) We talk a lot about balance in life. Most of us don’t have it. So what are we teaching our kids about balance, child-rearing and relationships when we put everyone else first, all the time?
3) One day the children will leave your home. Then what? If your life revolves around your children, the transition to an empty nest will be painful. Start taking back the best of your before kids life now.
It’s time to take hold, and let go. Let go of the mistaken notions that when you have children, YOU cease to matter; that it is selfish to put yourself first; that you must be all things to all people… except you. Take hold of a balance between family, work, and personal satisfaction; of doing something for yourself, on a regular basis, without guilt.
As a parent you have needs, too. And when those needs are met, you are better able to be physically and emotionally available to others. So put YOU back on your to-do list.
Fern Weis is a parent coach, specializing in supporting parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations (including underachieving, disrespectful behavior, addiction recovery and more). With parent-centered coaching, Fern helps parents release guilt, end enabling, and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life’s challenges. Learn more about coaching and workshops at www.fernweis.com or www.familyrecoverypartners.com.