Moms, let me ask … Do you do any of these things?
- Do you buy raw milk for your kids but none for yourself?
- Think cod liver oil costs so much it’d be better to skip your dose?
- If no one else is home do you just skip eating or eat whatever because you don’t feel like cooking?
Wonder why I ask? It’s because I’ve done all three of these things at some point in my time raising kids. Experience has taught me that making these little choices day in and day out for years will have an impact on your health.
Like me you love your kids more than life. You want to give them the best of everything. Trouble is everything is limited … limited time, limited money. So in order to give them the best we can we cut corners, a little here a little there. Most of the corners are cut in places where it only affects us. Or so it seems.
In the marathon that is parenting …
We need to keep up our energy and vitality. It’s hard to think of yourself this way, but you are your child’s most vital resource. Where would your children be without you? We are all aware that they need all we are able to do for them, and more. But when our energy is low or we are sick, our kids must do without some of that help, because we simply cannot handle more.
Modern life places heavy demands on most of us, women especially. And when we are tired and lacking time or money what do we skip? Since it can’t be the things our kids need or our boss demands of us, we tend to skip doing the things we need to do to be healthy. We tend to think “I’ll skip this meal so I can handle this or that problem with the time” or “Cod liver oil costs so much that I’d best conserve it” or “I know I have anemia and I should be eating a lot of liver but the kids hate the idea so I won’t make it” or “I need to lose weight anyway, so what’s missing a meal”. We tend to think that we can easily bear these small deprivations in the pursuit of a better life for our kids. Small deprivations add up over time though into big health problems. So this has to stop or you will find yourself running very low on reserves late in the marathon. So what to do? Make a little ground rule for yourself to help remember that your health is important and you are not made of steel and sheer willpower, a sometimes belief that I must plead guilty to ;-). That ground rule is to “Feed Yourself First”.
Feed Yourself First
Think of this as a general guideline and not a strict rule. It’s like on an airplane the flight attendants tell you that you must put on your own oxygen mask first, then your child’s. They know that parents will tend to react by helping their child first. They also know that you may pass out before you ever get the mask on your child. This endangers your kid. So they tell you to put your mask on first.
First, try to notice situations where you give up things that you need so that someone else can have something that they want, but don’t need. This is the easiest place to begin. It gets much trickier when it’s a question of something you vitally need vs. something someone else would benefit from, but doesn’t really have to have, which is quite a bit tougher.
Making the little choices in support of our health …
Is one of the best things you can do for your kids. It sets a good example and helps you have the energy you’ll need to keep up with all the wondrous and exciting things you’ll be doing together now and in the future.
This post is part of The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania, Traditional Tuesdays at Cooking Traditional Food, Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager, Real Food Freak’s Freaky Friday, Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health, Butter Believer’s Sunday School and Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday.