Why Do Women Believe It's OK to Put Yourself Last?
Why do Women Insist on Putting Ourselves Last?
Do you remember being young and full of hope and moxy? You were going to college, working, starting a career, meeting the man of your dreams, getting married, buying a house and all of the awesome things that comes with growing up. Then, it's time to have babies. That's when the shift occurs.
I'm not saying that this is bound to happen to everyone, or will happen to everyone, but I can assure you that there are millions of women out there who will relate to what I'm talking about. You have kids and your priority shifts. Instead of making yourself the number one priority, your children become that priority and you start to put yourself last. Last to eat, last to take a shower, last to exercise, last to buy new things, last to go to bed.
You now have these beautiful, bright little bundles of joy that require a whole lot of work. They need things and will continue to need things until they leave the house. So, as a result, you immerse yourself in parenthood and some of us lose ourselves along the way. No longer are we the strong, bright, determined women we once were.. We become frazzled, anxiety-driven women who are focused solely on the idea of raising perfect children. Your priorities shift away from yourself and towards them and you start losing sight of yourself to the point where it's a dim light at the end of a very long tunnel.
No longer are we heading out exercise class 4 days a week, no longer are we focused on eating healthy and no longer are we concerned about the way we look or dress. Exercise comes in the form of chasing toddlers around the house, the playground, or the grocery store. Food is cooked to adhere to the fine tastes of a 3 yr old, which means it's usually yellow, tan or processed. Clothing comes from consignment shops and haircuts and color are scheduled farther and farther apart.
Why do we do this? Why can't we keep it all and have it all? I think that the pressure of parenting sometimes gets to us. I will say that husbands are much more involved in the parenting aspect today than they were even 25-30 years ago. That shift is awesome! But, the pressure to have the best kids on the block usually fall on mom.
How do we change this mindset? It comes with allowing yourself to be selfish of your time. You are allowed to have some "me" time.. Even if it's an hour to take a bubble bath and listen to your favorite music uninterrupted. Schedule a time a few hours a week to focus on you! If you need to exercise, then make sure someone is watching the kids so you can exercise. If you need to be by yourself to regroup a few hours a week, then do it! If you need to go talk to a counselor, make that appointment. Don't lose sight of yourself. If you do, you will only feel resentment towards your kids and it will end up boiling over. If you are happy, healthy and feeling established, then you will be a better parent.
Have your partner/spouse help your recognize the keys as well. They need to be aware of your needs and help you maintain that focus. Communication is key. If you feel like you need to get out, or if you need to make sure you are scheduling things for yourself, do it! Make sure your partner is all in with being available when you need them to be available.
Finally and just as important, focus on yourselves together as a couple. Date night sounds so cliché, but it's something you all need to do at least once a week. Be able to sit down and talk about each other, your dreams , your needs, your passion. Don't ever lose that. If you go out and do nothing but talk about your kids, your not strengthening that relationship. Yes, you can talk about the kids, but there are other things you can talk about. If you don't talk about dreams and what you are looking forward to in the future, there won't be a future!
We are the backbone to our families. We are the glue that ties it all together. Be present, be happy and be healthy. Focus on YOU, don't lose sight of your hopes, dreams and aspirations. If you do, you won't be a happy parent or a happy spouse.