We put our children first, because our love for them is unconditional, and the reality is, there’s only so many hours in a day, often times, leaving most of them to meeting our children’s needs (especially that first year).
In addition, the guilt chip the doctors failed to tell us was implanted in us during pregnancy, is forever stuck in us, telling us that if we do things for ourselves we are bad parents. Consequently, when we aren’t putting our own needs first, this can result in feeling burnt out, missing our old life prior to raising children, lack of patience, resentment, feeling unappreciated, frustrated, stressed and overall exhausted.
I know it’s easier said than done, but turning off that annoying guilt chip that alarms when we want to meet our own needs first, is not only beneficial to ourselves, but it’s ultimately necessary if we want to model to our children the importance of self-love and self-care.
Furthermore, when we carve out time for ourselves, this helps us thrive. In other words, putting ourselves first is essential to our internal happiness, and overall growth.
Here are five basic needs that we need to meet in order to thrive:
1. Emotional needs
We all have emotions. However, once we become mothers we tend to feel our emotions more than we ever did before we become a parent. We tend to lose our patience quicker, cry easier, anger quickly, laugh hysterically and even cry happy tears, when our children do the simplest thing, like bring home a drawing from preschool. All of these emotions are natural, however making time to tend to our emotional needs is imperative, so they don’t overwhelm us and cause stress.
For this reason, spending time alone each day, laughing with a friend, letting out our frustrations with a good cry, setting up date nights with our partner and saying “no” are all ways in which we can tend to our emotional needs.
2. Physical needs
There’s no denying that parenting is a physical job. Unfortunately, the mundane duties like chores, driving to activities, cooking, cleaning and chasing our children around to get dressed isn’t enough physical activity to keep us feeling sane. In fact, this type of physical activity can be draining.
However, when we make time to exercise, go on brisk walks, eat the right foods and even take a nice hot bath, we are tending solely to our own physical needs, which feels rejuvenating.
3. Intellectual needs
We spend so much time stimulating our children with books, learning activities, trips to the library, flash cards, music, and arts and crafts, that we can forget to stimulate our own intellectual needs. In fact, I’ve had many moms tell me that they have lost their vocabulary, their brain feels like mush, and they can’t remember a thing! For this reason, it’s crucial to meet our own intellectual needs!
Perhaps the next time you’re at the library with your little one, you can borrow a book for yourself too. You can also watch TED talks, listen to podcasts, write in a journal, or do your very own art project. All of these activities keep us stimulated, increase our mental focus, memory, and vocabulary.
4. Social needs
It’s easy to let socializing become last on our list of priorities. With work, house duties and extracurricular activities, where’s the time to hang out with friends? The thing is, if we don’t make time to connect with our friends, we can end up feeling lonely. Spending time with friends, attending parent groups, going to events, and even a quick chat on the phone with a close friend, are all ways in which we can meet our social needs.
5. Spiritual needs
Lastly, when we make time to do things that make our soul happy, we tend to our spiritual needs. Some examples of how we can meet our spiritual needs, which are fundamental to our inner growth, are volunteering, contributing to a cause you believe in, random acts of kindness and meditation. When we meet our spiritual needs, we model to our children a life filled with compassion.
All in all, when moms make themselves a priority and meet their needs on a consistent basis it enables them to reclaim their sense of self and ultimately thrive!