I work with parents from different parts of the world and even though their practices and perspectives vary there are two things they all have in common.
They all love their children and they all neglect themselves in the belief that their children will benefit from more time with their parents.
This is one of the most common mistakes I see in my line of work. Parents come to me in order to give their children the best upbringing they can possibly give. They receive valuable knowledge based upon years of research about what makes relationships thrive and yet they fail to incorporate the knowledge.
How is it possible, you may ask.
The answer is simple and complex at the same time. Parents are human, just as our children, our needs do not just vanish by the time they become parents. But we suppress them in order to put more energy and time in our children. As a gesture this is all quite beautiful but in reality we become grumpy, irritable and loose our temper over small things. When it comes to relationships, quality is more important than quantity.
When our needs are not met we tend to throw all our manner, knowledge and good habits out the window. And when we have lost our temper, screamed at our children, thrown some not so well chosen items, our conscience catch up. We easily become caught in guilt and self blame which fills no purpose whatsoever.
Do you recognize the vicious circle? If you are one of them, listen carefully.
Take your time to ponder what your needs are and try the best you can to cover them. This way you are the happiest, most sound and secure parent you can be and most open to new ideas and able to embody change for the better. If you are happy you are most likely to be able to manage strenuous situations and stress which is inevitable as a parent.
Your relationships and parenting are not isolated from the rest of your life. All areas need balance and to be cared for. Otherwise it is only a matter of time until frustration and unhappiness spill over to the relationships that matter most to you.
Your well being is the key to happy relationships to your children. So the wisest thing you can do in order to give your children the best upbringing is not to give them toys, loads of vegetables or the best education. It is, and will always be, you. There are no other person in life more valuable to your children than you.
So get out there and make yourself happy!