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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. What is it? Taking care of you!!!

If you’re the primary parent in your house, the state of your being, mental and physical, 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, god knows Moms 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.

Where 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 as to 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. Duh right? We’re talking about starting to take care of ourselves so of course we should start by doing something, right? Sure but…how many of you know what you need to do but you don’t do it? We know we need to move our bodies each day but then, instead of setting the alarm and just doing something, we think: “I’ll check out the schedule at the gym and start next week” or “I’ll start as soon as I get to the store to get some clothes to wear” or, one of my favorites, “I’ll come to class when I get in better shape”…huh??! Isn’t that what class is for? All of that aside, the reason we do this is because our brain loves to create confusion. To tell us that we need more information before we make that decision. No. You. Don’t. Decide and Do Today. Check out the gym’s schedule while you’re walking if you must but get out and do something to care for yourself today. Two past blog posts/youtubes touch on this: re-watch if necessary: “Decide and Do” and “Start Small

3) With Intention. Mindfulness. Consciousness. In this new month we are hit from all sides with offers to chair some committee, volunteer in some classroom, or serve as “Team Mom” on some team….get deliberate about what you want, what you’re good at, and what brings you joy. How? Easiest way—> Read last week’s blog and commit to using those two tools for this month. When clients commit to using Morning Magic and Evening Evaluation they see a difference in their lives after one week, usually even after one day. These two tools take the busy-ness in our lives and empower us to live a life in line with our values by combining scheduling, mindfulness, gratitude, and productivity.

How do I know taking care of myself improves the life of my family and my kids success more than any perfectly packed lunch or backpack full of 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, etc… 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? I was a bitter, resentful, crazy 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 constant competition for whose day was worse. Sound like a recipe for successful kids and a happy home life? Nope. When mom isn’t happy, no one’s happy. My kids went around walking on eggshells: they tried their best to do what mom and dad wanted them to do but they’re frigging kids and life happens. Over the course of several learning experiences, 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. 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 what I call your mom’s feeling state: Did she spend more time laughing or yelling? More time hugging or punishing? How do you want to show up for your kids? It doesn’t happen just by wanting it to be a certain way. You must 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.

Start your September in a new way now. With Kindness, with intention, and ….with action.