Last night I spent with my friend discussing some more or less serious issues related to life . One of them seemed to me so interesting that I decided to share it with you. So, both my friend and I are mothers of daughters. My daughter is eight years old and my friend’s daughter is already a young woman . While we were talking about them and our experiences in raising them, I remembered one story from the past.
I remember that when I was pregnant, and I was then a very young, not fully formed woman, I talked to one of my mother’s friends. She is a mother of two boys and both of her pregnancies were extremely difficult and endangered her life, but she was determined to become a parent. And back then she told me: Enjoy this time now, because when you have a child, you will become the least important person. It was a very somber statement and it made me feel comfortless and when I think about it today, it strikes me, because I know there are a lot of women who would still agree !
And what do I think about it? I take care of myself and my needs as much as I take care of my family and their needs. My family, my home, it’s my daughter and I. I raise her on my own. We are both important. EQUALLY. Why do I think that this is a better approach to life? I’ll explain it using my own experiences as an example.
So, as a single parent, I am my daughter’s role model. I keep saying that she’s my mini-me. She copies me. It’s not only about what I say, it’s about what I actually do and how I live. How can you convince your child to study or to read books if you don’t do it yourself? I take care of my needs, I invest in my self-development, my education, travels and many others. My daughter sees that and partially takes part in it every day. You can imagine how fascinating our conversations are sometimes and I am convinced that I give her something very important. Such an approach is a like long term investment that will influence all her life!
Now imagine that such a girl enters adulthood, builds relationships, starts a family. If she has been engrained that the needs of all the family members are equal, she will not let make herself the one who is the least important, the one who does not need to be taken care of as she is the one who is suppose to look after all the others. I wish my daughter and you daughter are never put in such a situation in their lives. I wish they never think that this is alright! Do you want to see how your daughter’s needs, health, happiness, well-being are neglected in the future? No? So start with yourself and give her an example!
What is more, as a mom, I am the one who is responsible for supporting our family financially, providing safety and opportunities for my daughter’s development. In order to do so, financial resources are necessary. Financial safety one can achieve by investing in their own competences and development. In this world changing so fast it’s a must NOT to stagnate. Therefore you should pay attention to your personal and professional development, but remember that you don’t do it merely for yourself! As well as it’s not your egoism or neglecting your children. It’s simply being responsible.
Then, imagine such a mother, who devoted her life for children totally, and in the meantime she neglected her own needs, health, dreams, goals, social life or/and education. If I lived this way, my daughter, when she grows up and starts her adult life, before she understands some issues, she might feel guilty. If her mom devoted so much for her, she might feel like she owes something to her mom. Mom didn’t have her own life, so now I have to look after her. I cannot live my own life because I cannot leave my mom. Mom will not manage without me, she will be miserable, because I am her the only goal in life. Such a daughter might be forever tied together with her mom and feel guilty whenever she wants to untie the bond. Of course, that is just a possibility but still very probable. And I have no right to tie my daughter together with me this way. My role is to raise an independent person, who will be free from such a burden.
So remember: Your needs and taking care of yourself are equally important, not more not less. And do not let other people tell you that it’s not true, because it’s your life and your family and you are the one who decides. My friend and I absolutely agree on that!