We must learn to do the real work of self-care in order to perform the job of parenting well AND set a good example for our children. How we feed and move our bodies, how we communicate with other adults and friends, whether we take ample time to pursue the things that we enjoy, and whether we value our own happiness enable us to be more effective parents and show our children that taking care of ourselves is possible no matter how busy we are.
All the best parenting books and advice in the world guiding us in the best ways to communicate, educate, and discipline our children mean nothing if we are not in a place in our own lives to implement this advice long enough to make a real difference. Not only must the work of effectively teaching our children begin with becoming effective teachers—teachers who walk the walk, not just talk the talk—when we commit to this work, our children understand this invaluable but simple fact: Confidence, kindness, happiness, health, and strength must be earned. Through our own actions, we send our children the message that the hard work of becoming the people we want to be is what it takes and absolutely worth it.
For most of us, we’ve got basic survival dialed in but are having a super-tough time forging an existence that enables us to be stronger and compassionate. Now is the time for parents to set our sights on our own actions and steal some of our own lives back. Now is the time for parents to learn how to truly take care of ourselves in the way we eat, move, create and relate. For our own good to be sure but also for the good of the children we are charged with raising in the best way we can.