I posted this article almost nine months ago, and have decided it begs re-posting. We have been running in to many moms who say the mere idea of taking time for themselves is in itself overwhelming – and that’s not good.
We know that getting moms to start taking better care of themselves lies less in their organizational skills and more – if not entirely – in their acceptance of the idea itself, their mindset. Which is the purpose behind each of our weekly blog posts. We hope to start changing the mindsets, and thereby the habits, of moms and any one else that believe moms shouldn’t, or just can’t, take time away from their kids.
Every (well, almost every) mom’s primary concern is the well-being of their children. It’s why we put ourselves last in everything, we want to be sure our children are afforded every opportunity to survive and thrive. So when I tell them a regular Mommy Time-Out is one of the best things they can do for their children, their look of kind disregard and overall disbelief tells me this will be an uphill battle. So here below is one way in which their MTO will help their children as much as themselves:
We are reminded by that article online, or that morning talk show interview, or the parenting book we read last week, that we are our children’s first example. We are their first role model, their first teacher, their first everything.
Ugh! The pressure alone is enough to make a parent stand still in a corner just to avoid screwing up in front of their child. But obviously that isn’t a choice.
The best we can do is realize that when we make those daily conscious choices, not only does the choice itself affect our children, but the mere act of choosing also makes an impression on them, for better or for worse. Whether they are there to see it first hand or not, our children will see the effects of our decision-making process.
By taking care of yourself you are giving an incredible example to your children.
So what will our children think when we mommies leaves them with a babysitter while we go out to meet some friends or see a movie without them? Or, if they are self-sufficient teens, having to fend for themselves for dinner while we go out to enjoy a juicy steak grilled to perfection?
Will they see a selfish mother, only thinking of herself? Maybe, at first. It’s what children do. But eventually they will see it for what it is – Mom is taking care of herself, and it’s okay. And hopefully the thought will soon follow for them: “If it’s okay for mom to take care of herself, then it must be okay for me to take care of myself, too.”
How many of you wish you had learned that at a young age? The difference between being selfish with your time versus taking care of yourself for your mental and physical well-being? That it’s actually okay for us to take time off to get re-centered and balanced? I know I do. And it wasn’t anything conscious our mothers meant to teach us, it was just the way they were raised, too. I would dare say it’s even a cultural issue in some parts of the world. The U.S., for example, is dubbed by some as the ‘no-vacation nation’, so it’s little wonder we find sparse support, conscious or otherwise, in taking regular Time-Outs for ourselves. At least, up until now…
What we’ve learned doesn’t have to pass on to our children.
By taking care of yourself you are giving an incredible example to your children that it’s not only necessary for your mental, physical, and spiritual health, it’s also okay to do something just for you.
And really, isn’t that a fundamental lesson we want our children to learn? To take good care of themselves? To set boundaries so people don’t run over them? To put themselves first when necessary? To learn to balance their work life with their play life?
By changing our mindset, creating public awareness, keeping the MTO movement going, creating a habit for a new way of life for mothers everywhere, we can raise a whole new generation of healthier adults.
Who knew so much could come out of taking a weekly Mommy Time-Out?
Tell me your thoughts, we would love to hear them!