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.
Ack! 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.
And as a result, there will be a thought process that will hopefully occur with them. A process they will learn from and ultimately benefit from, not just now but as adults themselves years from now.
Mom Doesn’t Love Me!
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, leaving them 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.”
Which leads us to their second thought:
If She Can Do It, So Can I!
How many of you wish you had learned at a young age that it’s okay to meet your needs, at least some of them, before taking care of others? To learn 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 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, I would love to hear them!