I firmly believe that parents need to prioritize some of their own needs in order to be good parents. Like the old adage says, "Apply your own oxygen mask first, before assisting others." I have learned that there are things I should always do for myself before I do them for my kid.
Maybe I am selfish, but I don't think that's the case. I'd like to think I have learned through experience how to take care of myself so I can be a good mom and get through the day, which has been so important in all stages of motherhood; from being a new mom just figuring things out, to being a single mom, to being a mom to four and attempting to get everyone to school on time in a reasonable state of dress. The number one thing I have learned is that being a mom doesn't have to mean being a martyr, and I am a way better mom when I practice good self care.
Now, I am not saying that you should always let your kids' needs take a back seat to your own, but trust me, there are some things you need to try to do for yourself before you do them for your kid. Here are just a few:
Get Up In The Morning
There's nothing like the quiet of a house before the kids are awake, and the stark solitude before the chaos. I always try to give myself some moments of quiet before we start our day, even if it's just a cup of coffee and reading through headlines.
I've learned the hard way that if I don't dress myself before my kids, I end up doing school drop off without a bra and in my pajamas. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I try to at least appear to have my sh*t together.
Do My Hair
Hair is like clothes; if I don't take time to do my own hair and makeup in the morning, before the rat race begins, I am likely to leave the house the way I woke up. Trust me when I say that my version of bedhead is not sexy.
I used to be so diligent about bathing my kids every day, only to realize that I hadn't had a shower in weeks. Not anymore. They can stand to wait more than a day, when often I cannot.
Use My Bathroom
We have four damn bathrooms in our house, but only one with a bidet, a double sink, and rainfall shower head. I don't care if you are potty training, dear child: I am using my bathroom first. You can wait or use one of the other three, because I am not pooping anywhere else.
Put On My Shoes And Coat
Putting your own shoes and coat on first makes it easier to make good on your threat/promise to carry your toddler out to the car without his when he throws an epic tantrum.
If you always prepare your kids' food first, you may end up eating solely what's left on their plates when they are done. I've learned to prepare and have a snack during dinner prep, so that I don't get cranky. I also hide my favorite foods on the top shelf of the fridge or pantry, because I am selfish like that.
Put On Sunblock
Putting on sunblock is one of those things that I constantly do for my kids and forget to do for my pasty-white self. I have learned the hard way that a sunburned mama is a cranky mama.
Make Playlists For The Car
My husband is constantly making silly kids' playlists for the car, including songs about cats, tacos, and gummi bears. Not me. I make my playlists with music I like, hoping to instill in my kids good taste in music and to ensure that they understand that the driver always gets to pick the music. Always.
I used to think it was cute to let my kids order food first at the restaurant. Now, I order a appetizer and a beer before they get started, change their minds three times, and throw a fit. By the time they are done, my beer is usually served.
Look Through Halloween Candy
It's good parenting to sort any candy your kids receive in case there is something dangerous or any peanut butter cups. You want to be a good parent, right?