How to Be a ‘Selfish’ Parent
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Do you feel like you’re constantly giving, giving, giving to everyone in your family and there’s nothing left at the end of the day? Too many parents are burning themselves out by doing *all the things* for everybody else while they get left with the crumbs.
If you feel like all the energy has been squeezed out of you by the end of the day, this video is for you. Today, I’m offering 8 tips on how to infuse a little more ‘selfishness’ into your day-to-day so you can reclaim your life even while raising little children.
The truth is, taking care of yourself is anything but selfish. Children want parents who feel well cared for and don’t resent them for why they’re so tired! So let’s get right into the 8 things I believe you should prioritize for YOU in order to feel like a whole healthy human on this journey called life:
- Start the Day With You
Yes – I said it – the first thing you should do when you wake up in the morning is take a few minutes to care for YOU: get dressed, make your bed, brush your teeth, take a shower. Even if your kids are begging for Cheerios, prioritize showing up to the day like a healthy human – and watch the difference.
- Eat For You
If you’re like me, it can be hard to put your own nourishment first because you’re so preoccupied with your children’s needs and preferences. Starting today, I would love for you to start eating food for YOU. That means stop picking at your toddler’s leftovers or eating kiddie foods like chicken nuggets if what you truly crave is a nutritious meal. That will only lead to low energy and resentment. Start meals off by asking, “What do I want to eat?” Remember, many parts of the world don’t have ‘kid’s food’ and the children learn to eat the same food as the adults. Eat the things you love and put your own nutrition first so you can have great energy for your family.
- Consume Content For You
Do you hear Disney, Barney, and Sesame Street music on loop? So many parents hear kids’ songs, movies, and podcasts day in and day out. That might work for you and there’s value in consuming content together as a family. But if you feel like you’re not feeding your own interests, it can build resentment toward your children and life in general. Imagine if you could be listening to things you love, too! Maybe that means playing your favorite podcast or audiobook while you’re driving or hiking, or creating a high-vibe home where your kids are exposed to the music you love. And when you do decide to watch a movie or show as a family, don’t suffer through content you don’t like for the sake of your children. Choose something that everyone will love.
- Go Places You Enjoy
What activities, outings, concerts, museums, and sports do you love? What lights you up? Don’t give up on those things because you’re a parent. Even if your kids complain every time you go on a hike, push through the discouragement and keep trying. Expose your children to the cultural aspects of life you find important. Bottom line: find a way to do the activities you love with or without your children involved.
- Organize Your Home for You
The truth is, YOU are the person who is ultimately responsible for ensuring your home runs smoothly and is enjoyable to be in. Set boundaries and teach children about how much clothing, toys and games you’re willing to have in the home, and where to put it. If your children love to hang their art on the walls but it feels cluttered to you, carve out a dedicated space to display those items. Your kids don’t realize how much stress it can put on you to tidy up a million items a day. So limit the amount of stuff in the home to what you can comfortably manage.
- Shop For You
When it comes to food, clothing, toys, and books — you’re in charge of what you pay for. You simply don’t need to buy items that you don’t believe in, enjoy, or want to have in your home. I’m talking about junk food, noise makers and video games that don’t align with your family vision. I think it’s great to take our children’s preferences into account, but saying ‘no’ to buying stuff you don’t like is absolutely appropriate. YOU have the power to set the tone, values, and culture within your own home, and being smart with your dollars is a great way to model those skills for your children as well.
- Make Friends for You
Is there a group of people you’d love to belong to or hang out with? Maybe it’s another family, a church group, or a jogging club. In my family, my kids’ best friends are my best friends’ kids! We’ve worked hard to nourish full family relationships with other people and their children. Rather than chauffeur your kids around to playdates, seek out friends that YOU love to spend time with and nurture relationships that work for both the adults and the children in your family.
- Say ‘No’ For You
A huge pitfall for many of us parents is giving in and buying the things that our kids nag us for. Let’s say your kids want a puppy. What you need to keep in mind before you cave to the pressure is that YOU are ultimately responsible for the costs, the vet visits, and even the walks if your kids don’t live up to their promises. So unless you’re truly invested in the idea, tell your kids ‘No’ — it’s not in the budget, it doesn’t align with our goals, etc. It’s wise and attuned to the relationship to be honest that this decision would leave you angry, frustrated and resentful of your child. The best part of all? It’s healthy for kids to want things they can’t have and learn to deal with those frustrations.
So there you have it — my 8 ‘selfishness’ hacks to become the parent you want to be. When you prioritize your own needs, you become a model of someone who knows what values they stand behind and how they want to run their home. Waiting, frustration, disappointment — these are healthy experiences for our children so they can learn how to cope when life doesn’t go their way.
If you want to love parenting and parent from love, put yourself first so you can show up to your life with more energy and less resentment! Which of these 8 points is going to be a game-changer for you are how are you going to implement it asap? Leave a comment below or share your takeaways in the all-new TPJ app!