Have you ever considered how often your children look to you? Looking for your approval, your guidance, your insight, and sometimes even your permission. Amongst all of that, they look to you as an example of how to live life. This includes everything from what to eat and drink, which part of their bodies to criticize, how to drive, how to handle conflict, how to regulate emotions, and on and on and on.
One of the most common reasons moms tell me they do not participate in self-care is because they feel selfish about taking time for themselves. In the same breath, I often hear them telling me that they hope their daughters grow up never feeling as burnt out and overwhelmed as they themselves feel. Very rarely though are these mamas showing their daughters how to prevent it in their own lives.
You've heard of the generational curse. This is kind of the same thing. I will do this because my mom did this. I will put myself last because my mom did too. I will give up my sleep, warm meals, and showers… because that is the example my mother set. We more often do as we see, than do as we're told. So even if you're telling your children to 'do better' they will face challenges doing so because they have a directive with no example.
Depending on the age of your children, you may be able to explain the changes you're about to make. You may be able to tell them, "for me to be the best mom to you, I need to take care of me too and that means I'll be taking 30 minutes a day to do [insert your self-care activity here]."
If they're too young to grasp the concept, make the time something special for them too. You get 30 minutes of yoga, they get 30 minutes of finger painting. You get a 15-minute walk, they get 15 minutes to roll down the hill or build sand castles. Get creative but be sure to honor the time you're carving out for yourself.
You are not being selfish. You are not missing out on opportunities to be present with your children. You are not failing them when you take this time.
You are showing them that your basic human needs matter too. You are showing them that when they're adults with families of their own, they are also worthy of self-care time. You are showing them you're a better mom if you're well taken care of.
Sometimes self- care is pushed to the back burner because we keep saying yes to more and more obligations. Check out this 5-step guide to saying 'no' without guilt.