Let’s face it – we are wired to put everyone else’s needs before ours. It’s just the way it is.
A few years back, when I was a wee Nanay to a then-1-year-old, I wouldn’t eat until I’m done feeding my daughter. This gained me my mom’s sharp eye rolls, saying that waiting to eat until it’s over with is the same as craving my gastritis issue for lunch. Multi-tasking was an unpopular belief for me then. But the intention is clear – I want to put her first even at the cost of my own health.
Down to the core, we are this way because we love our family fiercely. But to look after ourselves is to ensure that they are well-taken care of. Counterintuitive as this sounds, there is a healthy amount of self-love necessary for this selfless service of parenting, and here are some points you should live by:
#1 Mind your health. Poor nutrition spells sickness. You don’t want to be the carrier of that cough virus you so dread your kids having. “You are what you eat” is cliché – it should be more like “They are what I am”. Set an example. Be a healthy and on-time eater (yes, those chores can wait). 1 point for staying fit and another one for fostering relationship during mealtime!
#2 Make a move. Sneak in those sweet Zumba steps in between tasks! Better yet, make it a household activity you can do together regularly. Set aside time for a workout. It does not necessarily mean gym time – it could be a daily walk to school or your local market plus a few squats while waiting for your viand to simmer. There are lots of available videos and apps out there that can help you stay limber.
#3 Mean your skin well. Admit it – there are days when getting dolled up meant a messy hair bun, an oily face, and a natural eyeliner thanks to another all-nighter with your toddler. How about applying that face mask while the kids are taking their afternoon nap? Multi-task, mommy! Leave your moisturizer on while folding clothes. Soak your feet in home-made spa solution while you’re helping them with homework. Drink enough water to keep your beauty canvas supple the whole day.
#4 Manage your sanity. If it’s getting too much (especially if you’re a stay-at-home mom), don’t feel guilty – it’s okay to call a timeout. Work the schedule out with your partner, help, or relatives so you can unwind. By detoxifying yourself of the pressure and weariness, you are actually preventing the burnout from taking a toll on your relationships. Talk it out with your husband, best friend, or someone you trust. Find something you’re passionate about and do it – this could also be an opportunity to teach your kids a new life skill. Instant bonding!
#5 Meditate to medicate. Funny that no matter how physically tired you are, there is just this energy present the whole day, sufficient for everything that should be done. But notice that when your spirit is down and bruised, you just can’t seem to channel this strength? Staying in a consistent, spiritual relationship with God enables you to do all things through Him. You’ll be surprised at the fountain of peace and comfort He gives when you meditate on His word! Learning more about Him is also a sure fire way to train your children to take godly paths even as they grow old.
It’s the merry mix of balances in every aspect of life that promotes healthy overall well-being needed for parenting. The caliber of care for the people we love most should always be the best, and it takes our best selves – in all forms – to give them nothing short of.