As a parent, it seems only natural to put myself last at every opportunity. Yesterday, however, my eyes were opened to a new phenomenon.
A few years ago, I got married, moved to the country and became a full-time mother to my husband’s 3 kids. I really haven’t done too much of anything for myself on a regular basis since I took on these new responsibilities. It’s also very rare that I ever see or talk to my friends from back home.
I want my family to come first no matter what. However, I just learned something remarkable about myself yesterday when an old friend came to visit me for the first time since I moved here.
My friend came to spend the day with me while my husband and kids were off at work and school. She also stayed to join us all for dinner. We had such a wonderful time catching up! She even helped me with some of my chores around the homestead! In addition, we took the dogs on a hike, had lunch, talked, laughed and just had a really nice day together! It was so refreshing!!!
Because of the fantastic day I had with my friend, I was in a really good mood when the kids got home. We all had some great conversation together at dinner, and the kids actually ate all of their food without complaining! Even the vegetables!!! They were in a good mood because I was in a good mood, and they were extra cooperative!
After my friend left to head home, it was time to get back to work helping the kids with their homework, studying for spelling tests, practicing math facts, cleaning up the dinner dishes, etc. These are generally pretty unpleasant tasks to get through considering the fact that by this point I am usually exhausted from having been on my feet for about 12 hours running errands, taking care of the animals, cooking, cleaning and taking care of all of the other responsibilities of a stay-at-home mom. But last night was different.
I had this overwhelming sense of calm amidst the chaos of trying to get 3 kids through their evening routine. I was patient and felt totally de-stressed and at ease throughout the whole process. And yet, somehow… we still got everything done before bed!!!
I was amazed, and felt like I was strolling through the clouds! It was such an incredible feeling to know that we COULD get through an evening routine without stress, whining or arguing! And to think that the primary factor in all of this was me doing something for myself that made me happy!
Until yesterday, I really didn’t realize how much of a correlation there is between my attitude and the kids’ behaviors. I don’t think I even realized that my attitude was lacking until I had such a wonderful day that my joy was overflowing! It really made me stop and think.
As parents, we are used to putting ourselves last. Unfortunately, that is not always helpful to our children. Sometimes we hurt them more by not taking care of our own souls first. When we’re stressed out, it stresses them out. This leads to negative behaviors from them, and that leads to us having to assign and carry out consequences for those behaviors. This, in turn, only causes more drama and stress for everyone involved.
However, when we fill up our own tanks (figuratively speaking,) we will have fuel left at the end of the day to pour into the ones we love the most. Our children deserve our absolute best, and in order to be our best, we MUST take care of ourselves!!!
If you don’t have the money for a babysitter, no worries!!! When I was young, my mother and her friends started a little “club” with each other. Each member would receive the same number of coupons to start. When you needed someone to watch your kids, you would pay them with these coupons. Then you would have to watch someone else’s kids to earn some coupons back so you could repeat the process all over again. It was such a blessing to those families who couldn’t afford to pay for babysitting! If this system could benefit you, I highly recommend talking to your friends to get your own little “club” started!
It can be hard to give yourself enough slack as a parent to indulge every once in a while. Whether it’s a visit from a friend, a trip to the spa, or just curling up on the couch with a good movie… TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN NEEDS!!! Do the things that recharge your batteries and make you happy! I have now seen firsthand how much doing so benefits my children! They had a great day yesterday and went to bed feeling happy and loved! 🙂
I definitely plan to start doing more for myself in the future so that my kids can reap the benefits of my joy overflowing into their lives!
Do you have questions or comments for me? I would love to hear from you! Please email me at email@example.com.