We all know being a single mother is stressful and takes a lot of energy. However, life becomes even more stressful when we ignore our own needs because we think we don’t have the time to attend to them. Sometimes we abandon our own care to focus on others, with the hope it will make us a better mother and somehow our kids will be happier.
Self-preservation is like the oxygen mask on an airplane. In the event of an emergency, we must first put it on ourselves before we can best take care of others around us. The best we can do for our kids is to take care of ourselves—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. When we feel healthy, chances are we will make better choices in all areas of our life. Studies show that people who regularly exercise and eat healthy handle stress better. God wants us to be healthy not just spiritually but also physically and mentally. “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 1:2 NIV).
If we don’t take responsibility for our own self-care, then we most likely will struggle taking care of everything else. This struggle shows up as weight gain, depression, stress, loss of energy, illness, and more. Ask yourself if you are eating right and getting enough sleep and exercise. Are you setting appropriate boundaries with your kids and others who are demanding your time? What would have to change in your life in order for you to take better care of yourself? (Write down all your answers.)
Our kids need us to be healthy and happy.
We are our children’s most influential teacher and role model. Would we want them to feel stressed, overwhelmed, overweight, or spiritually unfulfilled as adults? Of course not! So it’s our job to teach them the value of self-care so that they grow up with a healthy dose of self-respect. We are creating our legacy right now, so let’s make it a healthy and happy one!
Talk to your kids today about self-preservation. Teach them by setting goals as a family on how each of you are going to be responsible for self-care. Your kids will thank you later for teaching them this when they are feeling healthy, happy, and more fulfilled as young adults.
About Suzy Stauffer
Suzy Stauffer, M.Ed. helps women find that balance between being a mother and paying attention to their own dreams and goals. She is an inspirational speaker and co-author of the book Women First Mothers Second. She balances her childhood dream job while raising three kids. She shares her expertise by coaching women on how to achieve that balance too. Suzy has appeared on the Today Show, Dr. OZ, and Huffington Post Live. She has also been featured in the Ladies Home Journal, First for Women, New York Post, and the New York Times. She has shared her inspirational message for events such as Kiwi Magazine’s WOW Summit and Arise Ministries’ THRIVE Gathering.