Take Care of Yourself Before Your Kids

It was ninety degrees in Maine yesterday.  Blue skies, sunshine, high tide, and a warm breeze provided the equation for a perfect day at the beach.  After a very cold and rainy spring, it seemed like this day would never come!

In my quest to ensure everyone was safe, hydrated, relatively happy and slathered in sunscreen, I completely neglected myself.  Yup, I got home and realized I had fried myself to a crisp!  Thanks to my morning skincare regimen, my face was unharmed, but my chest and shoulders were as red as a lobster.  I managed to apply sunscreen to my legs and arms, but somehow (I can’t imagine how) got distracted mid application and forgot to go back and finish.

So I got home, unpacked the sand toys, dirty towels, and empty lunch boxes, and lathered on my sensitive skin treatment, hoping I didn’t just contribute to giving myself skin cancer.

Does this happen to you?  How many times do you rush through your day making sure the kids are where they are supposed to be, relatively clean, and well fed, all the while completely forgetting to shower or feed yourself?  Or, you pack all your bags for a trip to the museum, and neglect to bring anything for yourself.  Or perhaps you’re so busy at work trying to do the job of two people, that you barely have time to use the bathroom or get a drink of water.

I’ve decided we need to approach each day like we are on an airplane.  You know, when they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others.  A tired, hungry, overwhelmed parent leads to a grumpy, unsatisfied, impatient parent.  Moving forward I challenge you to find time for yourself at least once a week.  Your happiness creates happy children.  If you are so busy taking care of others that you neglect to take care of yourself, you are doing your children and your partner a disservice.

Let your significant other worry about dinner tonight, or better yet, have ice cream for dinner!  Let the dishes sit and the laundry pile up for an extra day so you can enjoy a few hours having lunch with a friend or getting a pedicure.  Put your health first and strap your kids in the stroller, so you can get some exercise and fresh air.  Or, let your kids watch an extra 30 minutes of television so you can take a bath or curl up with a good book.  Make lunch for yourself, before you feed your kids.  And most importantly, when you go to the beach, put your sunscreen on first!

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