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Mothers/fathers, do you keep your mask on first?

The prioritization principle

The prioritization principle that all of us can understand (the adult putting their mask on before assisting the child during an air flight emergency) often flies out the window when applied to the everyday relationship between a parent and child.

Parents (adults) often prioritize taking care of the child over taking care of themselves, both to the detriment of their child and themselves, just as we tend to prioritize taking care of the future over taking care of now. 

Prioritizing yourself

Of course, taking care of our children is very important. All the more reason that we ensure that we take care of ourselves first (or concurrently). 

Are you getting enough rest? 

Are you getting enough time for yourself?

Are you enjoying the process of being with your child and taking care of them?

Are you consistently finding ways to create mutually selfish transactions with your child?

Are you creating appropriate boundaries with your child?

Are you showing respect to your child, as well as love?

The costs if you don't

If not, then you are not only damaging your own well-being, you are also creating unnecessary costs for your child and your relationship with them.

You will be impatient with them.

You will blame them.

You will resent them.

You will try to over control them.

You will be disrespectful to them.

You will be modeling for them a poor example for living life: sacrificing oneself for others.

A new way

Yes, it's a new way. Yes, it may not be immediately obvious of how to prioritize taking care of yourself and still care for your child adequately. Yes, it may be a choice of courage to prioritize taking care of yourself because of your concern that you might not be a "good mother" or "good father."

This prioritization is essential for creating the best life, both for you and your children. When you prioritize their well-being while sacrificing your own, it's at best a short-term fix with big long-term costs.

Personal note about my mother

Although my mother gave me many things, the most important thing she "did" for me was to be an example of someone who was happy with being alive (independent of me and my siblings) and that she was also happy to have us as her children and was not "sacrificing" for us.

See also Respect cf. Love and Are you going in the wrong direction?

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