We are always so busy being parents along with all our other jobs: driver, cook, cleaner, nurse, teacher, cheerleader, etc. that we so often forget about the most important person in these roles – ourselves. We WANT to be the best parents that we can and we truly believe that it means that we need to be self-sacrificing and only attend to the needs of our children. Well let me tell you that you are wrong.
You know those safety presentations on the plane that we all watch with our full undivided attention? Well, there is actually a very important parenting message in these announcements. No, it’s not the one that says “Fasten your seat belts as we are expecting turbulence.” although this is certainly appropriate! It’s the one that goes something like this, “In the unlikely event of a drop in cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop from the ceiling. Pull the mask toward you ….. If you are traveling with children or others who may require assistance, please put your mask on first before assisting others.” Why? Because if you are struggling to breathe because you don’t have your oxygen mask on, you cannot be of any help to anyone else, especially once you pass out!
This very same principle applies to you as a parent. If you really want to be the best possible parent than you can then you must be the best possible YOU. If you are a stressed out, over worked, sleep deprived parent ( Which one of us isn’t?) then you can’t give quality time to your kids. BUT if you have take some time for yourself on a regular basis: dinner with adult friends, a hot bath every other day, a massage once in a while, a trip to the spa, a walk in the woods, a bike ride or whatever recharges your batteries, you will have a lot more to give to your kids. If you can breathe, you can then help your kids breathe. You are also modelling something so valuable to your kids. You’re letting them see that 1. You value yourself and 2. You are teaching them that self-care is important.
So, before the weekend is out, I would like to see you take the time to put on your oxygen mask, so that you can then fasten your seat belt and get ready for the delicious on-board gourmet meal, spacious seating, the wonderful in-flight entertainment that is constantly interrupted by “This is your captain speaking…!” and not to forget, the turbulence. Just hope that you don’t have to go to the bathroom!!!
To all the fathers, have a great father’s day and to all parents -“BREATHE!”