As mums we are nurturers first and foremost. We will often go without food, sleep and even toilet breaks if our children need us. Unfortunately this then creates a situation where we no longer care for ourselves and also a situation where far too much becomes expected of us.
Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you neglect your family it means you love them enough to give them the very best version of yourself.
As mums we find every excuse as to why we haven’t looked after ourselves but it’s time for that to stop. Below are 8 reasons why you must put yourself first for the sake of your family:
If you are not at your best you cannot give them the best.
It is impossible to give your family the attention they deserve if you are always tired and miserable. The only way not to be tired and miserable is to look after yourself. Take time out. Eat well. Exercise. You deserve it. You need it.
Your mental health depends on it.
You may not think so but not looking after yourself can dramatically impact your mental health. When you ignore your needs, day in day out, year in year out, eventually it catches up with you mentally and you begin to resent those that you gave everything to.
Your relationship depends on it.
Whether you are in a long term relationship or you want to be, you cannot give the relationship the love and time it deserves if you haven’t already given it to yourself. You need to have the physical and mental energy to give a relationship the nurturing it needs to thrive. If you don’t then the relationship will suffer in the long run.
Parent by example.
Children learn by example. A child that sees its mother take the time to feel good and nurture their mind and body, is a child that learns it is okay for them to do the same as they grow and become adults. Bad habits are learnt from our parents and so too are good ones. Show your children that it is vital to their health that they look after themselves.
Your physical health relies on it.
Putting yourself first is essential to your long term physical health. Getting enough sleep, eating good food and doing physical exercise that you enjoy are all things that your body and mind need to function at their best. When we fail to provide our bodies with the necessary fuel then things begin to breakdown. It may start with a weakened immune system so you catch more colds and can lead to very serious complications down the track when we continue to ignore the warning signs. Our bodies tell us what they need, ignoring the signs simply means you are not putting yourself first and eventually you won’t be given the choice as your body will simply stop functioning and you will have no option but to stop.
A healthy self-esteem is critical.
The longer you put yourself last the lower your self-esteem becomes. When you spend your days running ragged and don’t take the time to look after you, you begin to slide into the habit of not doing the things that make you feel good. When you do that you then start to lower your self-esteem and doubt yourself regularly. It is a vicious cycle that begins with not caring for yourself. A low self-esteem leads to detrimental behaviours both in yourself and in your children as they are watching from the sidelines.
You need boundaries.
When you give all of yourself to your family you erode any boundaries that should be there. Your children should not expect you to drop everything for them at a moment’s notice. Likewise, your partner should not expect you to be at their beck and call. When you give all you have to your family and satisfy their every whim you are giving them the go ahead to push your boundaries out to the point of no return. The end result is that you no longer recognise where you end and they begin as everything you do is about them and never about you. It is healthy to say no. No child has ever died because their mother said no to another demand. Setting boundaries simply means you are allowing yourself to keep some of your energy for you instead of depleting your energy stores each and every day.
Eventually, after many years of allowing yourself to be drained of all energy and not having your own needs met, you will begin to resent your family and once you start doing that it allows room for regrets to take shape. None of us should leave this earth with regrets. It is counter-productive to spend a life doing everything for others and nothing for yourself. It is possible to have your life and satisfy your needs while caring for your family.