My Kids Are NOT my First Priority and Here’s Why

The idea that moms should place their dreams and self-care on hold once they have kids is false! I recently came across an Instagram post that said, “Of course her kids come before you! Heck her kids come before her.” Many people would agree with this and there were a lot of likes and virtual hi-fives being slapped around. But I have to say that I disagree with this statement. Sometimes we have to take a step back and really think about the messages we’re putting out there. My kids are not my first priority and they don’t come before me.

Here’s why:

When I became a mom the third time around, I didn’t realize just how much I had lost my identity to motherhood. Of course, you’re going to change and you’re not going to have as much time to yourself as before motherhood. But when it gets to the point where you’re looking at your spouse like they’re a stranger or fussing at your kids 24/7 because deep down you really just need to get a few minutes to yourself to clear your mind, that’s when it becomes a problem. And often times, you’ve been in that place for so long, you forgot how you got there, and don’t know how to get out.

I know because I had become that mom. I was so consumed by motherhood and taking care of my children that 1) I forgot to take care of me and 2) My husband also took a backseat – not good. Our spouses were created to be our life partners. When I see and hear about marriages ending after 15, 18 or 20 plus years, I can’t help but wonder if the children had become the priority in the marriage as opposed to the spouse. My children will one day grow up to have families of their own. I don’t want to roll over and wonder who is sleeping in the bed with me after all those years? So my husband and I make it a point to have real conversations and spend quality time without the kids so we never lose touch of who we are to each other.

And for those that argue your kids need you when they’re young, yes they do. But they also need a mother who is in a healthy mental state. They need a mom to show them how to set boundaries and take care of themselves by first setting the example with herself. Our kids learn from what they see us doing not what they hear us say. At ages 4, 6 & 8 my kids know what it means when I say I need a timeout. They understand when I set boundaries and take time to regroup that I don’t love them any less. In fact, I love them more because I know that they will only reap the benefits.

When I say my kids are not my first priority, I say it because they mean so much to me and I want to give them the very best version of myself that I can. That means after God, I have to take care of myself, and then my husband. My husband and I are the gateway to building a lasting and strong foundation for our children. We can’t nurture them in the way that God created us to if our foundation is built on shaky ground. When my husband and I are a strong unit, we can then pour so much more into our children so they know and see what love is supposed to look like.

The word self-care is thrown around so often that we tend to forget what it truly means. Taking care of yourself first is imperative to your ability to take care of any other person around you. This is exactly why the flight attendants stress that you put your own oxygen mask on first before trying to help others. We as mothers are the oxygen mask for our children. If the mask is worn down, ripped or tattered, it will not be of good use when our children need it.

Do you agree that kids should come before everyone else, including yourself? Or do you believe in making self-care a priority?

*This post was originally written for BlackAndMarriedWithKids.com

 

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Anitra | The Mom on the Move
    June 10, 2016 at 11:42 AM

    How can you be who you need to be for them if you never focus on yourself? Tuh…
    Anitra | The Mom on the Move would like you to check out…3 Powerful Life Lessons from Muhammad AliMy Profile

  • Reply
    Rani
    June 10, 2016 at 1:27 PM

    PREACH sister! First and foremost, I have to thank YOU for creating this mindset in me. I don’t always master “self-care” 100% but when I do, my husband and kids are all better for it. It’s amazing to see my daughter come and give me a hug when she knows I need a break. When I do take that break, she says, “Mommy, are you going for a break?” When I tell her yes, she responds with an “OK” and an “I love you.” She knows that when I’m back, I’m better!!
    What’s been the most important thing is for my husband and I to spend more time together. We’ve mastered self-care individually but we don’t get away enough together. This is a beautiful reminder. Thank you!
    XO
    Rani would like you to check out…Happy Holidays + Survey Says: A Few Questions for You!My Profile

  • Reply
    FIDELIA
    June 10, 2016 at 3:52 PM

    You said it best “Put your oxygen mask on first before you try to help others” Great analogy! As a Mother, and after God I am the priority. As always thank you for a wholesome article!

  • Reply
    Julian @BoldFearless1
    June 15, 2016 at 9:26 AM

    Such a great post sis…and incredibly important for us to understand and commit to. Most times we are giving from our “fumes” instead of our overflow. I’m guilty as charged, but it’s definitely something I’m working on. Thanks for the much-needed perspective!

    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      June 15, 2016 at 9:08 PM

      Aww thanks sis!!! I started to see an influx of memes and quotes that idolized the fact that moms put their kids every need before their own. So I felt the reminder was needed.

  • Reply
    Siobhan (BeFree Project)
    June 26, 2016 at 11:45 PM

    Yes to this post. I remember when I first had my children and I lost a part of myself and neglected taking care of me. I had a wake-up call that in order to be the best mother and wife I could be, I first needed to take care of me. Great post!

    Siobhan
    http://www.befreeproject.com

    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      June 28, 2016 at 1:26 AM

      Thank you Siobhan!!! I can definitely relate to it and I think so many moms can. It saddens me when I hear moms pouring every single ounce of themselves into their kids before anyone else, including themselves. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Moms 'N Charge The 4 Reasons My Children are not My World - Moms 'N Charge
    October 4, 2016 at 1:09 AM

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  • Reply
    Normel
    October 17, 2016 at 8:00 PM

    Everything you said is so true. We have to be intentional at all times.

    • Reply
      Christine St.Vil
      October 18, 2016 at 3:11 PM

      Thank you for sharing Normel. It’s a hard cycle to break, but so worth it 🙂

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