Putting our needs first is not being selfish, it is being a responsible parent. If you saw your best friend, or anyone you care about, hungry, tired, worn out and perhaps a little smelly from not showering for two days (guilty!) then you would show them love and support by taking action and getting them to attend to their basic needs. So why don’t we do this for ourselves?
Becoming a parent means that your life is no longer about you, but that’s exactly the reason why you need to take care of yourself. When you are operating at half or quarter of your total capability you are not giving your child the best parent you can be. A parent who loses self control because they are way over tired is unfair to their children. A parent who tells their kids to eat their dinner but has only themselves had a coffee and a chocolate muffin (shared with the child, unless you hid in the cupboard) is not setting a good example for their child to have a positive relationship with food. A parent who is worn out is not living in the present moment, which is where your child is, so is living in different world to their child. When I am exhausted, I forget to play with my child. We both miss out on fun, laughter and learning because I haven’t taken the time I need to look after myself.
A parent who treats their own needs with disregard, sets themselves up to be treated with disregard. If your family and friends don’t realize you need a nap, a shower, a sit down meal, time out with a friend, whatever it may be, then they cannot give it to you. Like you support others, use the support of others.
I am a much better parent after I have taken time to eat, sleep, bathe and relax. The same as my child is a better child when I have taken the time to feed him, sleep him, bathe him and relax him. We know this is what people need, yet we don’t expect it for ourselves.
Your car is better when you look after it.
Your house is better when you look after it.
Your dog is better when you look after it.
Your clothes are better when you look after them.
Tell your husband/wife that you need a Sunday afternoon off, make your morning ritual a sit down breakfast for the family where YOU have eggs on toast with everyone else, shut the door and take a bath and you know what, your friends would love to babysit for an hour while you date your partner. Take action. Go to the toilet when you need to. Have real food in the cupboard to fill your beautiful body with and sleep when you can. It’s surprising how 15minutes extra here and there can add up to an extra hour over the week.
Love yourself. Love yourself like you love your family and watch your whole world change.