By Chrissie Davies - owner of Chaos To Calm Consultancy.
I have heard women say it time and time again - "The love I feel for my child is the greatest love I have ever known. I have never loved anyone as much as I love my child."
I think to myself really? I just don’t get it.
I often think that this is why so many women “lose themselves” when they become mothers. Your life changes so much and your whole day to day being does revolve around your child. Which is all the more important reason that you should make time to nurture yourself, your relationship and the love you share.
To me, my relationship is the foundation of our family. We are modelling to our child how two emotionally healthy, loving parents treat each other. We support each other when it comes to discipline and we share the load of taking care of our child. Yes of course we disagree (we are human after all) and argue at times, but we do it respectfully – rarely yelling, sulking or speaking rudely.
One of the best pieces of advice my late mama gave to me was to make sure I married someone I could talk to.
She felt that being able to communicate with someone was the most important foundation for a marriage. The power of communication never ceases to amaze me. The way that we speak to each other in front of our children is so important. They hear and see everything.
When I am working with couples one of the things that I ask them to do is name three things that their partner does really well as a parent. It is really amazing to watch and listen to them compliment each other and hear them say “You have never told me that before.”
Sometimes in life we are so busy that we forget to tell each other all the little things that we like about each other. It doesn’t even have to be anything amazing. Simple things like “I missed you today” or “You really make me laugh” can have a profound effect on our partners self - esteem and sense of worth.
We need to remind ourselves that before our life with children – firstly we were individuals and then we had each other.
Maybe it was because my husband and I had been friends for around fifteen years before we actually fell in love. Our paths first crossed when we met at university and had mutual friends. We then went on to share a tiny flat together with other friends during our London days and when somehow the stars aligned and we fell in love, our relationship already had such a strong friendship as a foundation.
Maybe is it due to all of the years of sadness and heartache we endured when trying to conceive a child. Our relationship was battered and bruised, yet somehow we survived and managed to stay married. You hear so many heartbreaking stories of couple who lose their marriage under the strain of IVF cycles and infertility struggles. At our lowest point we made the most pain staking difficult decision. We chose to save our marriage over having a biological child. We focussed on our commitment to each other and started to think about what our life would look like if we remained childless.
Maybe it is due to the fact that in my family my parents’ marriage was not equal. There was a lot of yelling and arguing, and not a lot of respect. On my husband’s side however it is the complete opposite. His parent are still happily married, walk down the street holding hands, and are now enjoying their retirement. We have somehow been able to take the parts from both sides to create our own relationship – one that works for both of us and our family.
It is not selfish to allow yourself the time you need to do the things that you enjoy as an individual within a family unit and as a couple. We all have different wants and need and they are all equally important. Our souls all need something different to feel nurtured.
I was following a thread the other night on a mums group that I am part of and it was about ranking yourself with how high maintenance you were as a woman.
You rated yourself with points for doing certain things every day. I was absolutely astounded by how many women in that group shared that they did not take the time to shower every day or brush their hair. There were also so many others who said they never take the time to take care of themselves by spending time alone or with friends, having a pedicure or visiting the hairdressers.
I have to be honest and admit I came out quite high in the high maintenance stakes, yet I would NEVER describe myself as someone who is vain or high maintenance. I am a woman who simply takes care of herself. By that I mean I simply mean that I always make time to have a shower or visit the hairdresser every four months.
It really made me think deeply about what sort of message we are sending to our little ones about self-love and respect for ourselves. What are we modelling to them about how much we value ourselves as women?
What that looks and feels like to everyone will be different – and that is ok.
If you need to go the gym every night for your own sanity – then by all means do that.
If you like to go to the movies by yourself – book that ticket.
Love getting your hair done – don’t feel an ounce of guilt!
You will come home replenished and refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges of parenthood again. You will be more available for your kids and this will make a difference to their behaviour.
By showing our children that we care about ourselves, our partners and ultimately our family, is laying the foundation for their future abilities to have relationships. Most importantly though, it is teaching them to view themselves as being worthy of loving.
So just remember, the most amazing gift you can give your family is the best version of yourself.
Love yourself like crazy I say and make it a priority!
Your kids will thank you for it.
ABOUT CHAOS TO CALM CONSULTANCY
Behaviour Consultant who specialises in supporting families and educators to better understand the needs of children with challenging behaviours.
Biz owner: Chrissie
Favourite café: Alpha Bakehouse Yarraville
Coffee order: Double shot small latte
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