Today’s post is a guest submission all about showing our children how to take care of themselves by taking care of ourselves first.
There is a pretty popular metaphor that is used to put a mother’s self-care in perspective. IN the event of a crash landing, an airplane will drop oxygen masks. Parents are advised to put them on themselves before they put them on their children. If the parent doesn’t, what good are they to the child? But, that idea destroys mothers, who have been socialized to believe that the kids always come first. Mothers don’t remember that their health and wellbeing is the foundation for the health and wellbeing of their entire family.
If you are one of these mothers, you need to start practicing self-care. Mothers who take care of themselves, are setting an example for their children. They are saying “Self-care is important and has a place in everyone’s life.” They also show their children that they respect themselves and deserve to be respected by the people in their life. Ideally, this will lead your children to show increased respect for you and for themselves.
Your Children Learn by Watching You
It’s no secret that your children pick up your word choices and mannerisms by watching you. They also develop their attitudes this way, and you can set all the rules you want, but your kids won’t listen if you don’t follow them too. They watch as you say to be kind to others, but scream at other motorists on the road. It can be confusing for them to see this contradiction. In these situations, they are far more likely to follow your example than your words.
The attitudes you impart on them will shape the attitudes they later have about their jobs, homes, and families, as well as how they choose to care for them. This isn’t about keeping the floor so clean you could eat off of it, but it is about instilling a work ethic and teaching them that maintaining your life is important. They should grow up to not resent the time it takes to care for things that are important to them.
If you continue to drag yourself out of bed and throw on whatever is closest to you only to grumble through your day, your children are watching you and they will follow your example. It’s not about putting on make-up and jewelry and fancy clothes each day, but taking pride in your appearance. If you value your art, make time for it and show the kids it is a nonnegotiable activity that you will participate in regularly. If you dance, make classes something you do each week. If you love your friends, meet with them and have dinners. Your kids will benefit from your example.
Your Self-Care Needs to Be a Priority
You simply cannot afford to continue putting yourself, your well-being, and your needs at the end of a very long list. Yes, the other things on that list are important, but they will never get done if your work yourself into an anxiety attack or a case of the flu. There will be people who will pressure you to keep putting your children first, but they aren’t thinking of the big picture. By putting yourself first, you are improving the lives of your kids.
When your kids see the effort you put into your own well-being, they learn your value. When you are able to shower daily, put on clean clothes, spend time with your friends, and take care of things around the house, they learn the value you place on your needs as well as theirs. They learn that you respect yourself and they follow your example and respect themselves too.
It might sound simple, but this isn’t something a lot of moms do easily. But, when you prioritize self-care it will produce tangible benefits and you will be surprised by the way it improves your life and the lives of the people close to you.
Maria C. Lopez is a health and wellness blogger that writes especially about addiction and its treatment. To know more about the great approaches and program applied such as effective addiction treatment for heroin, visit us at https://www.addictions.com.