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How much time do you spend on setting yourself up for success? If you’re anything like the rest of us, not much. We spend a lot of time setting our kids up for success: getting them the school supplies they’ll need, the clothes they feel comfortable in, packing nutritious lunches, and encouraging them to get the sleep their bodies need. Interestingly most families skip the one step that will ensure our kids success in school over any thing else: taking care of you!!!
If you’re the primary parent in your house, the state of your mental and physical being is the most important factor in your child’s success.
You are the sun in your family’s solar system. When you’re burning clear, bright energy, your family is able to move and function at their best levels. If you’re worn down or full of dull, negative energy, your family is only able to preform at a certain level. This is not to put more pressure on you, geez no! Moms already find enough to feel guilty about. No, this is not that. Rather use this as motivation and inspiration to approach caring for your family from a different angle this year. Instead of putting your needs last, I challenge you to see what unfolds when you take care of yourself.
Why would I encourage this? How do I know taking care of ourselves improves the life of our family’s and our kids’ success more than any perfectly packed lunch or backpack with the correct school supplies? Because I lived both sides. I spent the first 10 years of my mom-life putting my needs last: prioritizing my kids sleep but not my own, making time for school committees I thought I “should” join but not making time for experiences that I enjoyed, making sure their lunches were well rounded while often not stopping to eat my own!¦ I followed a role of motherhood that had me thinking that moms have no needs and kids always came first.
If I had a mothering mantra it was: “My needs don’t matter”.
How did this show up in my life and for my kids? Let’s just say that its wan’t what I’d want to post on Facebook! I was a bitter, resentful, and always busy mom. I’d snap at my kids if they weren’t acting as I wanted them to act, I’d yell if they weren’t getting in the car fast enough (for some “fun” activity I had planned), and my husband and I were in some bizarre competition for whose day was worse. Sound like a recipe for successful kids and a happy home life? Nope. How you care for yourself matters. My kids went around walking on eggshells: they tried their best to do what their mom and dad wanted them to do but they’re frigging kids and life happens. Over the years, I slowly started to wake up to the reality of my life, my choices, and the importance of caring for me and my being. When I’m well rested I snap less. When I deliberately plan my day, I’m more present during the specific activities and moments in my days. When I’m kind to myself, I’m kinder to others, including my kids.
You truly can’t give to others what you don’t have.
One more point: Think back to your childhood. Do you remember your neatly made beds, perfectly set table, or organized homework corner? Or do you remember your mom’s feeling state and energy? Did she spend more time laughing or yelling? More time hugging or punishing? When I look back at my childhood, I can’t remember my mother ever hugging me or sitting and reading a book with me. I do remember never feeling good enough for my parents and that my mom was always busy. I also know that is not how I want my kids to feel. I have a mantra in my house: “the disfunction stops here”. Meaning I do not have to parent in the way that was modeled for me. I’m an adult now and I get to decide how I want to show up for my kids? We get to choose mamas! You’re the adult now. It doesn’t happen just by wanting it to be a certain way. You must consciously choose how you want to parent and lead the way. Be the woman you want your daughter to be. Take care of your mental and physical health the way you want your son to take care of his.
Are you thinking: “oh damn, my kids are in school already Susie”, or “Darn, my kids are too old, I’ve already ruined them”? Nonsense. Each day is an opportunity to start fresh. You can start parenting in a new way now and here are 2 steps on how to start:
1) With Kindness. My number one rule for starting anything is to start with kindness. I spent years of my life making strict rules in my life about how I would act and what I would do. When my human-ness shone through and I fell short of my goals, I’d criticize and berate myself. Not only did this feel like crap, it didn’t create any lasting change in my life. Change occurred when I could look at mistakes I had made and learn from them. When I treat myself with kindness after making a mistake, as if I were my child or a friend, I drop the drama and am able to move forward.
2) With Action. Last podcast I talked about the five pillars of wellness. If you missed it, go to www.susiebarolo.com/6. You’re an intelligent woman; you know where you’re letting yourself down. You know where you could be caring for yourself better. Is it at night when you’re binge watching Netflix instead of going to bed? Or when you’re standing up scrolling through facebook instead of sitting and reading that book you’ve wanted to read? Or when you’re buying something you don’t need with your spoon in the ice cream carton? What’s even funnier is that we often tell ourselves that we’re doing those things as “self care” when we always feel worse after. Lol, right? Been there, done that. That’s not self care. Choose one small area and get started today. Here’s a link to two blogs that can help you get started but big point, go do. Do something. Get started. Decide and Do Today. Decide and Do and Start Small
Okay warriors, you’ve got this. You’ve done it the other way long enough. Don’t allow yourself to believe that running around like a mad-woman is a badge of honor. Model a different way of being. If you can’t find the motivation to take care of yourself for yourself yet, choose to do it for your kids. While they’re in your house, you are their greatest influence. The number one thing you can do to insure their success? Be that vision of what you want them to be. Let’s go warriors, shine your light out this week.