Parents are always supposed to put their kids first. Right?
I’m going to go ahead and disagree with that.
As parents we’re ingrained with the idea that we’re supposed to ignore our own needs to make sure our kids have all our attention and energy.
But…YOU have needs, too!
There’s a reason you’re supposed to put your own oxygen mask on first when the plane is in trouble.
There’s too many parents out there making sure everyone else around them has all the oxygen they need, only to suffocate themselves.
I’m guilty of the same thing. I feel like I need to be home every possible second to be there for the kids and my wife. It’s a hard mindset to overcome.
It comes from a good place, really — the sentiment of selflessness and devotion to the family sounds like a noble pursuit. “My kids come first” sounds good on the surface.
If you rarely or never get your own needs met, it’s only a matter of time before it catches up with you.
If you’re a parent who doesn’t make time to take care of your own body, it’s only a matter of time until you body isn’t going to take care of you anymore. Chronic illness, arthritis, low energy, irritability…there’s a long, long list of problems that stem from lack of physical activity.
And what happens when your body breaks down? The quality of your time with your family is going to take a steep nose-dive.
What good is spending every minute meeting my kids needs, if 10 years from now my back and knees don’t function? Or I develop a chronic illness from lack of activity?
I’d rather spend a couple hours each week moving my body and getting stronger, knowing the time I do spend with my kids is going to be a lot more enjoyable. I’ll be able to mirror their energy, keep up on the playground, chase Jaxson around the skate park, carry them when they get too tired to walk — the list goes on and on.
For me personally, I know exercise has a huge impact on my mood as well. Going out and running around with my boys just sounds more fun, when my body and mind are primed for it through my time at the gym.
Working out is one of the few times during the week where I don’t have to take care of anyone else’s needs but my own. Mentally, we all need that time.
Bottom line — investing time in yourself is going to pay off in a huge way, in the short run but also in the long run. Your time with the kids now AND in the future will be higher quality.
Your kids will also see the healthy habits you’ve developed, and be significantly more likely to develop a healthy lifestyle for themselves as they get older.
I know it can feel like a monumental task trying to make these things happen. Talk to your spouse, family, friends, and whoever else is a part of your support network. Get them on board to help you — watching the kids, picking up dinner, running little Jimmy to soccer practice. It’s going to take a little time and patience, but it’s worth it.
You’re worth the investment.
If you need a place to start, head to our website to sign up for a free intro session. We’ll sit down to talk about where you’re at, what you want, and how to get you there in a way that works with your life.