Becoming a parent is a big deal – a special tiny life in our hands that we are responsible for and no real instruction guide that comes with it. It brings big emotions – deep deep love, but also great responsibility, suffering and frustration at the same time.
Often this great desire to care for and protect our children becomes all-consuming – this is when I realise I became hypervigilant. Worrying if they were still breathing at night, wondering if their constant knocking over of things meant anything serious, leaping out of bed in the middle of the night thinking the sound was them falling out of bed and hurting themselves. We want so much to help them fix or prevent any problems or worries. The problem with this firstly – our anxiety becomes the emotional state they become accustomed to. When we are anxious, our kids can feel it and they become anxious too. When we get angry, we are teaching our kids how to react with anger.
Secondly, putting our kids' troubles first? We forget we need self-care. We forget we need to fill our own cups up before we can let others drink from it. Pouring from an empty cup is not the most effective way to love or parent!
Subconsciously we are teaching our kids “your own needs come second or even last, other people’s needs come first”.
Conditioning and subconscious behaviours are passed down from generation to generation. Did you really mean to teach your kids their needs are not as important as other people’s needs and expectations?
A kinder, more compassionate and healthy habit to pass on is to acknowledge your own needs and meet them for yourself. If you have been wishing for more time, more being instead of doing, more fun hobbies, more personal or spiritual development for yourself, then GIVE YOURSELF that! That’s how you can easily teach your kids to practise healthy and necessary self-care!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy or an overnight transformation. But just start small, today. It’s a slow, but steady and sure conditioning of the mind and behaviour. You need to trust that it will happen eventually otherwise you may give up and fall back into old habits of running yourself ragged!