Parents first, kids second.
Gasp, did I just say that? I can feel my Mother rolling her eyes while she snow birds in Florida.
When I was pregnant with my first, my Uncle whom I looked up to for his parenting style and his smart, kind children, told me “they came into our lives, I didn’t come into theirs” I run the show. This really stuck with me.
Then when my kids did arrive, I was really surprised at how everything that is “kid-friendly” wasn’t parent-friendly. Playgrounds can be great, but after about 20 minutes I start glazing over with boredom.
Do our weekends now consist of figuring out ways to entertain our kids?
What about our enjoyment?
Early on, I saw so many moms around me lose their identities, caring tirelessly for their children but not for themselves. I had this inner knowing with my first babe, that if something was good for me, it was good for my whole family. That could mean, getting a sitter to go get that pedicure, go to yoga or lunch with a friend. Every single time, I would come back refreshed and happy. Ready for lots of hugs and slobbery kisses.
What does that look like with the kids? Well as an alternative to playgrounds and kid gyms, it could be a museum that has eye candy for both you and your child. Inviting other moms over for tea while the children play together. Going to see live music outside somewhere. Setting up a kids art space while you do your art. And a personal horn blow, joining one of the events or retreats with The Wyldflower Collective - which are catered to parents but have an on-site kids club.
I stand strong in my perspective that we should put ourselves first. It’s not selfish. It’s actually showing our children that our needs, joys and hobbies matter.
You matter. Your love for art, music, yoga, writing, time with friends, matters. It shows our children that the world is bigger than just them, and to cultivate things of their own that they love, too.
When your children see you engage in what brings you joy, you’re teaching them a quiet lesson to go seek their own joy. So work on your marriage, your hobbies, your passions and watch that joy and independence radiate to your kids.
Karen Cook is a mom of two young girls living with her husband and family in LA. Founder and Chief Experience Officer of The Wyldflower Collective - a parent focused community providing joy-filled events and retreats with on-site supervised kids club - so we can catch a breath. Follow her story on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thewyldflowerco