Raise Happier Kids by Making a Happier You! Happy kids start with happier parents. Learn how to make time for yourself to be a better parent to your child. BY JAMEE TENZER, PCC, BCC
Your children identify you as the example of what an adult is and how they take care of themselves.
“ Remember that children are adorable sponges when they are little. They are watching you and learning how to be adults.”
We’ve heard it a million times before, but it can be very hard to implement; put yourself first if you really want to be able to be there for your family. Remember, you have to put on your breathing mask before placing one on your child. And, you may need to take a 10 minute power nap before asking your child to stop playing on his phone for the seventh time in one day. You don’t want to lose your breath or just plan lose it. Either way, lives will be saved!
This is easy to say and we all pretty much agree—and yet, we don’t do it. It’s hard. At any given moment, we feel that our child, spouse, work, friends and home are the priority. It’s all well and good to talk about self-care, but if the choice is between making a healthy dinner or sitting down with a cup of tea and a good book for 30 minutes followed by ordering take out, we will either make the dinner or feel guilty about the take out. Either way, we end up with a net balance of zero.
So how can we make putting ourselves first a "must-do" instead of a "maybe?" Remember that children are adorable sponges when they are little. They are watching you and learning how to be adults. What are they learning? What connections are they making about how to operate in the world?
And when they are teens, they are still watching you. Now they are even more sophisticated—taking in subtleties and matching them up to their own values. The NSA has nothing on these brilliant creatures when it comes to "intelligence."
If you knew that every time you decided to take care of yourself, you were helping your child become a happier and healthier adult, would it be easier to do? Yes and no. After all, it is simply a perspective shift. However, how do we take it from a concept to a tangible way of life?
The first step is to see when self-care is needed and then identify a practical way to make it happen. Figuring out when self-care is needed, is not hard. It’s about as subtle as a toddler lying in the middle of the frozen food section screaming her head off. And the solution is pretty obvious too if you take a moment to look for it.
Coach Me: Quick Ideas For Dealing with Your Inner Toddler
1. Guilt. When you feel guilty about anything, you need self-care. If you’ve got a bunch of "shouldas" roaming around in your brain about something, ask yourself; what do I need right now? It is possible that you need to go back and rectify the situation you feel guilty about, but you won’t be successful if you are not feeling grounded and calm. What can you do that will bring you back to you? Keep a little list in your phone of the quick things you can do to take care of yourself. It could be a special tea or coffee, a shoulder massage at the local pedicure place or a call to your best friend. When you feel guilty, whip out that list and check one off. What a gift you give to your children when you take care of yourself in this way.
2. Health. When you get sick, that is a big sign that self-care has not only been forgotten on the back burner of your life, but now it has burned to a crisp. Make it your priority to get better. When your children get older and you are no longer there to care for them, how do you want them to respond to their health concerns? You got it.
3. Worry. Worry usually has a lot to do with all the stuff we have no control over. And since we have no control, we cannot do anything to stop the worry. Thus, we go around and around—kind of like listening to your 8th grade chemistry teacher lecture about the periodic table. It will wear you out. The answer here is to stop the worry before it stops you. First, try to stop talking about what you are worried about. If you can do something, go ahead and do it and then stop giving it your precious energy. Second, practice being mindful of your thoughts—intervene in the worry thoughts and replace them with thoughts that bring you confidence. Remember, the NSA who sleeps in the room down the hall, is watching you.
Finally, be aware that you are the number one person in your child’s life. When you are happy and fulfilled, you can be the best parent anyone could ask for—and don’t they deserve you?
Jamee Tenzer, PCC, BCC has been coaching women worldwide for over a decade. She specializes in coaching 40/50-something moms, female executives and women in the entertainment industry. Jamee is a Mentor and Trainer for the International Coach Academy. For more information and resources visit www.jameetenzer.com. Download Jamee's 3 e-books FREE and become a happier, guilt-free and more relaxed mom.