Listen, are you breathing just a little
and calling it a life?
So many parents come into my office stretched beyond their capacity and can hardly cope. Yet when I suggest they set some boundaries, get some rest and take a breather, they often fiercely protest: “I can’t. I feel too guilty!”
We think that being a good parent means constantly sacrificing our interests to our child’s. One father I know cannot touch a meal before all of his children have eaten. He’s only too happy to walk away from the table hungry, provided all of his children are full.
Self-sacrifice is not always what our children require. Our actions should be love-driven not guilt-driven. Granted, a good parent puts a child’s needs above their own whenever necessary. But it is not always necessary. In fact it is sometimes contra-indicated. You cannot be a good parent if you are over-tired, cranky and listless.
Love means being there for your child when you’re needed. You have to look after yourself so you can do that. Like the flight attendant reminds us every time we fly: put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then on your child.