“Put yourself first”! I must utter these words to my daughter on a daily basis. If there’s anything I want to teach her, it’s that she needs to care for herself first before she can give her energy to anyone else. But am I leading by example?
Today is Mother’s Day and this got me to thinking, moms – how often do we put ourselves first? That’s easy, not enough! So here I am telling my daughter to put herself first, but if she doesn’t see me doing it, what good are my words?
Children are extremely perceptive. In fact, they’re probably better at perceiving than they are at listening. When we tell them, “Eat healthy! No electronics at the dinner table!” And then the next week they see us stressed out eating junk food and prioritizing our emails and text messages over family time, what are we really telling our kids?
We raise the vibrational frequency of our homes when we align our words with our actions. This is not a new concept. However, though many of us are aware that our kids’ nutrition is linked to our own diets and that our preoccupation with our smartphones is downloaded into the brains of our toddlers and teens, fewer of us are conscious of the subtler messages about self-worth we send.
I remember being in the rain once and giving the umbrella to my three children, I was with a friend of mine and he said if you do this they won’t learn that you matter as well. They were little and there was plenty of room for me. I wasn’t ready to hear it, but he was absolutely right! We need to show our children that we matter as much as they do, not because we don’t love them, but so they learn to put themselves first. Here’s a silly example, I listen to NPR and when the kids come in the car they complain that it’s torture, but I don’t change the station. By refusing to concede the airwaves to pop music and staying tuned in to a source of personal pleasure, I am saying that I don’t always need to prioritize their enjoyment over my own. I matter too!
Mothers, on Mother’s Day you may be pampered, but make sure this spirit lasts every day. Don’t wait for your husband or your children to pamper you, do it to yourself. I remember a friend telling me she had received a bouquet of flowers from her children and she was so happy. I suggested she purchase a bouquet for herself every week, albeit symbolically, to remind herself she deserves it. Another friend received a lovely letter from her child, she cried for hours at how special it was. I reminded her that she should send herself a love note daily to remind herself of how special and valuable she is. We are often waiting for others to validate what we already know to be true of ourselves. A subconscious belief has been instilled in many of us that says it’s selfish to not put others before ourselves. This is a lie. We cannot be there for others if we are not fully present in our own lives.
Mothers, if you have been putting something off, what’s stopping you? Are you putting your life on hold until the kids are grown? Don’t let guilt get in the way of your ambitions. Parents need to lead by example. This is no different. If you want your kids to have healthy habits, you need to demonstrate. Why is it that parents, when it comes to carving time out for themselves or putting their needs first, struggle so much to lead by example?
If you put your energy into making a stronger healthier child by leading by example in all areas of your life, you will find yourself nourishing your soul and pursuing your dreams without excuse.
The best gift you can give your children is the gift of empowerment and self worth. When they see that you believe you matter, they will know they matter and you won’t have to tell them to put themselves first because you’ll be showing them instead!
Happy Mother’s Day to all!