- Invariably, when a mom discovers she can’t always do everything, the one area she won’t let slide is her duty to her children. She’ll forego buying a new purse if it means her son can have the top brand of soccer cleats. She will give up a lunch date with a close friend to run to school with a child’s forgotten assignment.
While such an attitude is commendable, there are times when a mom does her children a disservice by responding to their every beck and call. In some cases, putting her own needs first makes a woman a better mom. Here are some reasons why:
1. Happy mom, nicer mom
Dealing with children can be frustrating. A frazzled mother sometimes lashes out in anger. When you get upset with your children, feel free to put yourself in time out if it keeps you from doing or saying something you might later regret. In this case, putting yourself first means walking away rather than doing something that might cause long-term damage to your relationship with your child.
2. Happy mom, happy kids
Children are emotional mirrors. They reflect the attitude of their parents. When you handle life with joy and optimism, you will see those traits reflected in your children. Do what brings you happiness, otherwise your children will struggle to be happy as well. You can’t fool them.
3. Moms need to breathe
In their pre-flight instructions, attendants note that in the event of an emergency, parents traveling with children should secure their own oxygen masks before helping their offspring. That is because if your brain is starving for oxygen you might not be able to save your children. This is also a metaphor, and can be applied to your life in multiple ways. For example, if you are struggling to juggle all of your responsibilities, your children may suffer. Prioritizing what is most important, and letting go of unnecessary burdens, will allow for more breathing room and less stress.
4. Teach children to fish
The old saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a meal. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The same principle applies to children. Instead of spending countless hours picking up after your children, teach them to scrub their own toilets, cook their own meals and do their own laundry. They’ll complain about it, but they need to learn to do those things, and you may save your own sanity in the process. You are a mom, not a maid.
It’s OK to be the strict mom if you can also be the fun mom when the occasion allows. You can’t help your children discover what they love most unless you understand what you enjoy. A proverb dated to an English text in 1659 says, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It is still true more than 300 years later. You children need to see that you have interests and pleasures that don’t involve making meals or trying to coerce them into making their beds. What did you enjoy doing in high school or college? Go to a concert. Take a hike. Read a book.
6. Not guilty
A study in Great Britain found that 81 percent of working mothers felt some guilt over not being at home with their children. All moms feel guilty about something. Perhaps you wish you spent more time helping with homework or preparing healthy meals. The unconditional love of a mother means she is able to look past the mistakes of her children. The best moms also have short memories about their own shortcomings. To be your best, you need to overcome your personal guilt and accept and improve upon your imperfections. Do the best you can.
7. Learn from others
The smartest moms recognize that they don’t know everything. As a result, they try to learn from others. In order to do that, you must have relationships with your peers — other moms in similar situations. It is perfectly acceptable for you to let someone else watch your childen on ocassion while you go do something fun with your friends. In fact, those breaks are essential. You will have a good time, and the things you bring back from those associations will undoubtedly help improve your own family relationships.