May is a special month for mothers. Mothers hold a unique relationship with their children that no one else can replicate. Children look up to their mothers for many things in life—they are one of the first role models that teach children how to learn and grow. Yet, it seems as though many mothers continually sacrifice so much for the well-being of their children that they often forget to take care of themselves.
This year, for Mother’s Day, I challenge all of the mothers reading this to take some time to pamper themselves and engage in some relaxing self-care – and not just because you deserve it (and you do), but also because your children deserve a mother who is healthy and happy. It is important for mothers to practice self-care as a model for our children to also learn to be healthy and happy themselves. Here are some suggestions to use not only on Mother’s Day, but all year long.
It is hard to encourage children to eat a balanced diet, if we are not modeling it as well. In most cases, eating a balanced diet will contribute to one feeling more energetic.
The more colorful your plate is, the more likely it is that you are receiving a variety of vitamins and minerals in your food choices. Healthy food fuels healthy minds and bodies.
Try going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. This helps create a routine for your body, which is just as important for adults as it is for children.
Try building in a quiet rest period during your day for you and your children if they no longer nap. This allows some down time for everyone to refresh and re-energize.
Try to schedule some time with friends regularly, even if it is a small amount of time. Mothers can often feel isolated, but it is important to have healthy friendships. Even a 30-45 minute coffee break with a friend can help you feel connected.
Children learn how to socialize from watching others. Show children how to be a friend by spending time with others who are healthy and happy.
Though sometimes difficult, having a positive attitude is one of the most important things we can give children each day. Children learn to be optimistic or pessimistic from their role models.
Help your child to feel optimistic by sharing what you are thankful for at each meal, pointing out the positive aspects of all situations, and keeping a smile throughout the day!
Remember that your children are watching and learning from everything you do, so your good example will go a long way. After all, you are your child’s first and best teacher.
Mary Cannon is a program manager for the Catholic Charities’ program, Parents as Teachers, with the Arizona Partnership for Children (AzPAC). Parents as Teachers provides free family support through home visits, group connections, screenings and assessments, along with needed resources.