I am writing this article as I sit on a plane returning to Melbourne from a family wedding.
Having just heard the air steward remind us to fit our own oxygen mask before helping others, I thought of how much this applies to parenting.
It is absolutely critical that we as parents “fit our own oxygen mask first”. Attending to our own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing first, provides us with the opportunity to be a solid, consistent, emotionally stable and present parent to our children.
Looking after ourselves physically means ensuring we get enough sleep. I don’t know about you, but when I am tired, I know my level of patience reduces and my fuse is much shorter. A good night sleep plays a vital role in ensuring I give myself a chance to parent in a conscious and deliberate manner where I am more likely to respond – rather than react.
Eating well most of the time is also important to fuel our bodies and plays an important role in the prevention of many diseases. A healthy diet models healthy eating to our kids, gives us the energy we need and hopefully allows us the chance to be around to enjoy our kids for as long as possible.
Making time to stay active ourselves is one of the most common things that parents let slide as we juggle work and family commitments. Many of us prioritise our child’s participation in sport or other physical activities ahead of our own. Moving our bodies is one of the building blocks to good physical health as well as a great stress reliever.
When we don’t look after ourselves first, especially the foundations for physical health such as eating well, getting enough sleep and moving our bodies, we are less likely to perform at our best as parents.
When things get hairy as a parent, coming back to base for you and your children can assist in getting everybody back on an even keel.
So…remember to fit your own mask first so you are in a position to assist others and be the best parent you can be.