I’ve talked to many moms and seen shows where moms put everyone else first but neglect themselves. I’m guilty of it too.

Isn’t this what moms are supposed to do?

Aren’t we supposed to put our kids’ and husband’s needs first?

Don’t we DESERVE the time to sit around, watch tv, and snack after our long days?

This mentality has been ingrained in me. Where it came from, I don’t know. My mom was highly active when we were younger. During my teen years, she was a geriatric registered nurse and was constantly walking around at the nursing home. (I wish they had step trackers back then just to see how much walking she did during a shift!)  She set a great example for us.

Does it make us bad moms if we put ourselves first? Yes and no. Yes, if the way our we do it is neglecting our families. Neglecting the family includes going out too often with friends, making cheap, quick, non-nutritious meals, and generally sitting around without proper exercise (oh yes I’m preaching to the choir).

No, if the way we do it benefits our families. It’s okay to go out with friends for the occasional get together and having some time to revitalize friendships. Meals need to be nutritious; meals can be quick and nutritious. There’s nothing wrong with sitting back to watch a movie, as long as their is a plan to get movie during the day.

Our habits are being watched by our children. Are we teaching our daughters bad habits by neglecting ourselves to put everyone else first and having no energy at the end of the day? (I reference daughters because women are typically the primary caregivers in families. Yes, I know there are variations where men take on more active roles but this is a growing trend not the norm, especially in subpopulations.)

Are we teaching our children to make nutritious food? Are we teaching them general kitchen skills? Are we teaching them to exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle?

What we practice, they will emulate. Parents hold the most power in the world. We control the next generation’s upbringing. Children of today actually have a shorter life expectancy than we do because of major health concerns. It’s not the governments responsibility to teach our children how to eat. They’ve tried for 40 years and we have an epidemic of obesity on our hands. It’s our job as parents to figure out how to live a balanced life with healthy habits.

Many times I have to put my life on hold for my husband’s job. That’s okay, because he also reciprocates in ways he can. I may have plans to attend something but I may have to cancel it if the kids have an event. Other times, they have to miss because I have an event. We have learned to give and take in this area. Now we are working on healthy living. I have to find time to exercise so I can be here for my kids. I have to teach them what is healthy food. I am learning to put my health and exercise first. When I do this, I actually have more energy throughout the day! I feel amazing and the kids get a happier mom…sometimes a slower, sore mom. The soreness will dissipate over time as I get stronger.

I came to the realization that what I do influences my kids health. Now I have to take that responsibility and do what is right.