Parenting can indeed be an extremely daunting task, especially when your children are either very young or in their adolescence. Speaking in terms of the average human instinct, children always come “first” for a parent. The sacredness and purity of the parent-child bond are universally acknowledged. But does your young child, who is yet to be exposed to the world outside, or your teenage son or daughter who is going through a phase of intense hormonal change, acknowledge this sacred bond? No, they usually don’t (though exceptions always exist). And with you being the only one recognizing this “sacred bond”, you are forced to sacrifice for the sake of your child’s welfare and satisfaction.
Parent sacrifice their time, health, money, ego, hobbies, interests, passion, social life, work-life whenever these components are pitted against the welfare of their child. Yes, some parents are stricter than others, while some spoil their kids to extreme levels. But more or less, every parent in the world has undoubtedly sacrificed something of value to him/her in their quest to be a good parent and honor the aforementioned “sacred bond”. And it’s certainly not a wrong thing or something that deserves criticism. Yet the thing is, there are certain limits to doing that, and exceeding those might not be the best option for you, as well as your children.
Any sacrifice which involves a negative impact on your health is not advisable. To give you an example, walking multiple kilometers in the hot sun while being ill, just to pick your child up from the school bus, or to buy an eatable that they demanded, is indeed heartening, but foolish, and forgive me for saying so. You can always find alternatives to do that job, and that was just one example. There have been cases of old parents suffering from chronic diseases but refusing to spend money on their treatment, fearing that they won’t be able to leave their children with enough money. Apart from health, giving secondary status to your passion, hobbies, friends, and career for your child’s sake is acceptable and certainly commendable. But when the sacrifice turns from “giving secondary status” to “complete ignorance and withdrawal”, it’s not healthy at all.
No one’s asking you to stop being completely devoted to your kids, but when this devotion interferes with the quality of your own life, you need to put your foot down. You need to take care of your needs and nurture your passions. And taking care of yourself and taking care of your child’s needs can be complementary arrangements and need not be at loggerheads with each other. If they are, you are doing something wrong.
If you don’t respect yourself and give in to each of your child’s demands, he/she won’t respect you either. Consequently, they might start seeing you as a “demand-fulfilling machine” rather than a “guardian who shows you the right path”. And children see their parents as an example to follow, early on in their lives. Being a self-respecting person who follows his/her passions and knows when to say “yes” and when to say “no” is the image that you would want your children to have of you. Love your children. But also love yourself. It shall be beneficial for both.
Stay Tuned, Stay Relevant, and Love Yourself!