We’ve probably all heard the flight attendant speech many times. You know, the speech that tells us to put our oxygen mask on first, before our child/ren? Yep, that one. I often think this particular part of the speech is an ironic metaphor for parenting.
As parents, though we know we should care for ourselves first, often we don’t. It feels counter-intuitive, selfish, wrong. If you and your baby are hungry, you should feed your baby first, right? Well, yes and no. I would argue that we simply be more strategic, and feed ourselves before our kids are hungry. We can even take that concept and apply it to other areas of our lives so we nourish ourselves before anything else, thereby having more energy and love to give. If we consistently put our children first, eventually we feel depleted, exhausted, starving on multiple levels, until we have nothing left to give!
Whether you work outside the home, run your own business, or you’re the primary caregiver, you MUST put your oxygen mask on first. Make time to schedule YOURSELF into your busy life. We all have plenty of excuses for why we can’t, or don’t have time, but think about what you REALLY WANT for your family. What kind of example do you want to set for your kids? What do you want to teach them about self-care? Conversely, what are they currently learning from you about self-care, and are you comfortable with that? Is there anything you’d like to change? Try to think of ONE THING you can do right now to take better care of yourself, and go do it. Take the oxygen mask…and breathe.