Sunday, 3 Sep 2006

Where IS my oxygen mask, anyway?!

Karen over at Troll Baby wrote a great post a few days back about the importance of being Selfish. I want to send an MTM shout-out to her by way of thanks. I am a firm believe that becoming a parent (and specifically a mom) does not mean sublimating your every desire for the needs of your children. Sure, they need to be fed, clothed, housed, and LOVED. But they also need to see healthy parents leading healthy and fulfilled lives.

Karen mentions this in her blog, but it’s been my personal motto since becoming a MOM – When you fly, the flight attendants always instruct you, “In the case of an emergency, place the oxygen mask over your face first, and then help your child.” This is an important life lesson. Take care of your own needs first and THEN focus on the needs of your children. Now, I’m not suggesting that if you have only enough food for one person that you eat it yourself. I am suggesting that if you take care of your own emotional and spiritual needs, you’ll be better able to care for your children. Otherwise, your issues become your children’s issues. If you’re a high-stress person, you’ll pass that along to your kids. If you have a short temper and spend your life storming around, this is the lesson you’ll share with your kids. On the other hand, if you find a healthy life balance where you enjoy your own hobbies, while still finding quality time to spend with your children, that’s what they will take from you.

The debate about moms who work outside of the home vs. those who stay at home needs to end. Each family needs to make the best choices they can based on their finances, their values, and their individual needs. Some women feel totally fulfilled in a role of wife and mother. Others wither up and die a little bit without a career of their own. This doesn’t mean that one loves her children more. I am home full-time with my son, and I am very thankful for that, but I would go insane if I didn’t have some sort of work of my own. I want my son to know that women can make other choices than “mom” and I want him to have parents who are happy and confident. I need to work to make that happen. Fortunately, I have a husband who encourages me in my pursuits, just as I encourage him in his. He understands that I need some time to myself, and makes sure that I have it. For all of our challenges, I know that I truly have a PARTNER in my life. (Hmmm… Big Guy tangent!)

Anyway, I just want to encourage other moms to follow Karen’s advice and be “selfish” – whatever that means to you. Whether it’s something big, like taking on a job or running a business, or something small, like grabbing a nap when you need one, having some selfish moment can replenish your resources and allow you to be the best mom – and woman! – that you can be.


4 Responses to “Where IS my oxygen mask, anyway?!”

  1. Karen Rani Says:

    Great post. I’m so glad you are at that point in your life – more of us Moms really need to get there. :)
    Karen
    xo

  2. Jennifer Says:

    Thanks for throwing out that reminder!

    When my daughter was almost a year old, I had my first day off since she was born. It was hard leaving her from morning until bedtime, but it was also amazing to get a massage, shop, eat in a grown-up restaurant, and more. That one day – 10 hours – of recharging really lasted me a long time, and gave me renewed energy for another ten rounds of “Goodnight Moon”.

    We do have to take care of ourselves, or our kids do suffer.

    Jennifer

  3. Karen Says:

    Thanks so much for your comments, what great timing for me. I was just feeling guilty about putting my son in preschool a couple half days a week just so I can work on my business. Honestly it’s more fun than work, which is why I was feeling guilty!!! LOL
    Karen

  4. More Than Mommy » Blog it Forward Six Degrees Part II Says:

    [...] 03: Where IS my oxygen mask, anyway?! (3) August 2006 (6) [...]