Take Care of Yourself, They Are Watching

Well, it's been three weeks since I have been to yoga...or the gym...or really done anything for myself. Life, work, a kid and a toddler, a husband, a home, it all seems to consume each and every day no matter how hard I try to schedule in my wellness practice. I have even tried putting yoga on my work calendar to treat it like an appointment that I can't miss...fail. Each day I continue to push my own needs and taking care of myself into last place, and I can't get out of this vicious cycle. Ugh.

It's extra ironic lately because I have become obsessed with wellness, and have been tirelessly working to build this community that will inspire families to implement wellness practice into their homes. But, I am SO intrigued with reading, and learning, and consuming every bit of knowledge about parenting that I can, that I am completely missing the most obvious point...to DO it.

Then recently I came across this excerpt from Daniel Siegel's book, The Whole-Brain Child:

As children develop their brains "mirror" their parent's brain. In other words, the parent's own growth and development, or lack of those, impact a child's brain. As parents become more aware and emotionally healthy, their children reap the rewards and move toward health as well. That means that integrating and cultivating your brain is one of the most loving and generous gifts you can give your children.

Wow. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe the blow would have been less if I had actually been working on my mindfulness lately. So all of this work to learn about wellness and ensure that I provide the environment to teach my child the importance of integrating wellness practice into his own life...and not actually practicing myself...I am totally missing the boat.

In social media, there are a million funny little sayings about parents that have a consistent message; we are tired, over-worked, fed-up, irritated, overweight, undernourished, and live off of coffee and wine. There is literally nothing wellness-based about any of that. But really, it's funny because it is true. As common as it is, why are we letting these practices take over our lives? Why are we accepting it? Why aren't we taking care of ourselves?

We HAVE to stop. We MUST start taking care of ourselves and making ourselves a priority. We are not a better parent for making sure the laundry is done, or cupcakes have been made for school. We are a better parent by treating ourselves, our minds, and our bodies with respect, and putting ourselves first. By not caring for ourselves, we are by default teaching our children that this is okay, and it is completely opposite of what we actually want for them.

Sometimes the things in parenting that seem the most complicated are actually quite simple. Be who you think it is important to be. Model a life and practices that you want your child to respect, and learn from, and model themselves. Forget trying so hard, forget the perfection. Take care of yourself. Model self-preservation, self-care, and be mindful of your own body and spirit. This should be a priority before a clean house, laundry, or soccer practice. In turn, your little mirror will learn that too, and it will be more powerful that anything you can ever teach them.