Mothers are naturally “wired” to want to give good things to their children – good experiences, good opportunities, good possessions – we bend over backwards to make sure their lives are full of things that make them feel actively good, actively loved.
And when we see their face light up at the joy of experiencing something good? It’s priceless. We kind of explode a little inside, seeing them so happy. We can’t wait to indulge in the opportunity to give them their next Good Thing.
On a level, giving your children Good Things is part of being a confident mother you can be proud of.
When was the last time you did this for yourself?
News flash: You’re somebody’s child, too. And whether or not you received Good Things from your parents, you still deserve them right up through adulthood. Just because you’re an adult, a mother, a spouse or partner, doesn’t mean the Good Things train needs to pass by your station.
But we make excuses – and of course we do. Our culture doesn’t do us any favors making us feel like we have to give all our energy and resources to everyone else, and maybe – just maybe – we can grab some scraps if there are any left. (Our culture is kind of a jerk, actually.)
It can be hard to bring ourselves to divert a portion of our time, energy and money to ourselves. To give ourselves good things. To indulge, and relax, and enjoy, and appreciate, and accept that this moment, this experience, can be just for us. That giving something good to ourselves is permissible, just because.
I get it. Sometimes it’s hard to allow yourself to have Good Things. It’s easier to sacrifice feeling good and just focus on giving those things to everyone else, instead. If you do it that way, you’ll never have to wonder if you’re being selfish, or greedy, or wasteful.
However, there’s something you should know that can set you free from feeling like this…
Your children will follow your example when they grow up.
Your young children are looking at how you live your life to learn what it’s like being a grown-up. Being a parent. Being a mother. Just like they pick up language and manners by watching you, they pick up the concepts of lifestyle and parental roles, too.
They’re not watching everyone else’s parents – they’re watching you. You’re the template they will use for their future.
So as you move through your day, you’re teaching them lessons by example. You’re showing them what’s “okay” and “not okay”.
So when you give all these wonderful Good Things to your children, you’re showing them one side of what being a parent is like. That’s awesome.
But if you don’t give Good Things to yourself? You’re teaching them – by example – that it’s not okay to have them. And that will make them look at adulthood, and parenthood, with fear and dread. That’s when all the fun in life goes away. That’s when you have to wring yourself out for everyone else.
In other words, being an adult and parent means that you are now lesser. You lose your rights and privileges. You have to come last – if at all.
You won’t mean to teach them these lessons. But you will. You get to train them on what being a grown-up and a parent is like – so if you have a hard time doing Good Things for yourself, this can help motivate you to start ASAP.
How to get in touch with the Good Things you love
If you’ve fallen out of touch with what Good Things mean to you, you might need some help digging into your memory banks to figure out what they are. Here are some ways to get the ideas flowing.
Look at what you say to yourself:
“I wish I could do that, but I don’t have time for it.”
“I feel weird, like that would be a waste of money.”
“I can’t do that anymore, I have kids.”
“I’m a little too old to be doing that.”
“I want to, but that feels selfish.”
Then, ask yourself this all-important question: If my children said this when they were wrung-out, stressed-out adults, would I let that stand? Or would I step in and help them change that?
Your children need to see you giving yourself Good Things – every week.
Your children need an example of a radiant, glowing, loving-her-life mother to serve as the template for what’s possible for them when they grow up.
And to be that person, you have to re-establish the practice of giving yourself more Good Things. They need to see you allowing yourself to indulge in at least one visible treat to yourself each week.
You can treat yourself to more than one, though. Just make sure they see at least one of them. Even if it’s a simple, “I’ve done my work for the day – I’m going to curl up with a good book for a while.”
Treat yourself to more good things, and eventually, something will change.
Those good things? They won’t feel like “treats” anymore.
They’ll feel like life.
And – whew! – will that make your kids feel better about growing up. 🙂