We are taught that parenting is all self-sacrifice. We believe that we should always give 110% of ourselves for the sake of our children. If we are hungry and can’t afford food, we eat the scraps leftover on our children’s plates. We buy our kids new school clothes while putting on that old suit yet once again, hoping if it still fits. Our favorite shoes are the ones that aren’t “that bad”.
When something flies counter intuitive to that thought process it seems odd. When we are told by a flight attendant that the proper procedure is to put on your own oxygen mask first before you put a mask on your child, it seems wrong. Yet,it makes perfect sense because what good would you be to the child if you passed out and the plane needed to be evacuated. Could the child carry you to safety… or even put your mask on for you so that you may regain consciousness? Most likely not – if they are so small that you have to help them with their mask.
When a friend once told me that he puts his spouse before his children, I thought that was odd and selfish. Children should always come first I believed. Then I thought… and decided that a healthy and strong spousal relationship is the best thing to ensure a child’s continued safety.
Sometimes you have to fly against the seeming headwinds in life. What that means is that as a parent, you must put yourself first once in a while so that you can be a better parent for your child. The occasional excursion without a child does wonders for your psyche and health. Even dating becomes a better experience for both when you make time to see each other. It’s not fair to either person in a relationship, no matter what kind, to only see each other when there is given freedom. Sometimes, you must take freedom and everyone is better off in the long run.
I am not advocating dumping your child off whenever possible, but just remember that it is okay to do something for yourself once in a while. It might not be the right time to consider being a surrogate mother, but that leaves about everything else in the world! It will make you better parent. Take the opportunities – don’t wait for the opportunities.