Why You Are More Important Than Your Children
“You are more important than your children”
You read that right. And I mean every word. You, the parent, are more important than your child(ren).
Think about it. What would happen to your kids if, God forbid, something were to happen to you that would prohibit your ability to take care of them? What would happen if you were out of work? If you fell ill with small children at home? Or if you physically could not provide them care? It's a similar reason you are advised to put your mask on first, before tending to your child on airplanes. You -- your mental, physical, financial and emotional health -- is an integral part of you caring for your children.
When I first had Rylan (now 5 years old), my mom would repeat over and over to me that "an empty well can't fill a cup". I would get so annoyed and angry every time she said that to me because, in my mind as a new mother, my child's needs always came first. Always. I had the mindset that many of us have in the beginning--the one that doesn't see room left for ourselves. The mindset that doesn't allow room for a new mom to regroup and recover. The words my mom spoke to me hit me like a bag of bricks one day. And everything made sense.
I actually don't think I've ever told anyone about this moment, mostly due to the shame I felt and the desire to make everything seem. But I've been thinking about this topic so much lately and I feel the need to share.
When I had Ry, I was still working a very stressful full-time job. My life was mostly baby, daycare, work, baby, dinner, sleep, and repeat. I was determined to prove that I could do it all. I can be stubborn in that way. Unfortunately, on this particular day, my well was dry. I'd picked my little chickpea up from her daycare as usual, and headed home after work. Most days I'd have music blasting and we'd sing and dance the whole ride. But this ride was different. I'd reached the point of exhaustion, so much so that it halted my energy to switch the radio on. I was so tired from working and traveling and being up at night, that I fell asleep at a stop light. I woke up from the sound of cars honking at me to move and when I realized what happened, I had to stop myself from crying on the way home. I felt awful. I hated that I put myself and my sweet baby girl in that situation. I was mad at myself for a while. How could I let that happen? What kind of mother would be so irresponsible?
One whose well was dry.
That's when it hit me. I was at the end of that rope from lack of sleep, energy, and willpower. And that's what my mother meant when she told me about taking care of myself. I was not well enough to even drive my baby 3 miles home.
I learned quickly how to demand my rest days and split 'baby time' with 'me' time. I understood the importance of making sure I keep a fresh, clear mind to truly be able to take care of my child. I talked to my husband Bob about letting me sleep just a little bit longer.
I have found a way to keep my well full so that my children can pull from it whenever they need to. And they can do so without losing any bit of me in the process.
Since I've taken my personal steps to emotional, physical and mental clarity, I made certain to encourage ALL of my friends who are about to become new parents to really remember this piece of advice: take care of you because you take care of your baby. You must be well so that they may be well. What does that mean exactly? Take a break. Take a nap. Take a long hot bath. Go out with a friend or your spouse.
Go buy yourself a new pair of *actual pants. Get your hair done. Binge watch a TV show. Eat the cake. Do what you need to do to recharge and feel good. Your needs are more important than your child's. I mean that. If you are well, no doubt, so your child will be also.
Learn more about DeAnna and follow her experience as a mom on her Instagram @shesneon