MomSpace: Be the Best You for Them
By Andrea Moreau
Inevitably, following all of the holiday traveling…after the last of the packages have been gleefully unwrapped…and when I finally have a moment to enjoy a cup of coffee while the children play with their shiny new gifts…I always reflect.
Sometime between Christmas Day and the New Year that’s peeking around the corner, I might have a day or two just for me. Still able to enjoy the holiday trimmings, I breathe a sigh of relief that the flurry and commotion of the holidays are over, yet I muse over how fast it always goes.
I turn over the events of the year in my mind. I remember the milestones my children have reached, and wonder about those yet to come. I think about the ups and downs our family has experienced this past year, and how we fared through it all.
I think about time, and realize that every year seems to go by more quickly than did the last. I think about change as I close my eyes and picture each child at all of our Christmases. I picture how much they’ve all grown. I take inventory — especially of the past year — and think about my parenting, our family harmony (or lack of at times), and my husband’s and my connections and bonds with our children.
Questions form in my mind, such as:
“Am I there for all of my children?”
“Are all of them happy?”
“Am I doing enough?”
As it is with most of you, I’m probably pretty hard on myself. I do provide my children with plenty of love and attention, discipline, structure, and of course, I meet their most basic physical needs.
Suddenly, however, I’ll remember something that adds perspective. For instance, while baking and wrapping gifts and writing cards recently, my middle child reached around me and gave me a hug. When I turned to see who it was so I could return the hug, my son said: “Mom? How are you?”
It took me by surprise, yet he has always been the most empathetic one. I told him I was fine. As I sit here now, though, I wonder: am I fine?
While I can most assuredly tell you that, yes indeed, I am fine, I think about all those parents who aren’t. Some of you are overwhelmed, overworked, overtired, and spread thin, especially at this time of year. We have to remember sometimes that yes, we are doing enough for our kids…but maybe not enough for ourselves.
In order for us to continue to be good parents — or at least have the ability to be good parents — we might want to remember what the flight attendant instructs. We need to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first, before we put the masks on our children. We need to remember to take care of ourselves, so we can then take care of them.
Generally, we can get by with a little recharge on the weekends. Sometimes, though, it’s “go, go, go,” isn’t it? So this holiday season, try to find some time for yourself. Take your own inventory, and then recharge.
Remember to also schedule some recharging for yourself throughout the year. It might be a quiet walk by yourself. A manicure. A half-hour at the library, just flipping through a magazine or a book. It might be a movie with a friend, a date night with your spouse, or a weekend getaway.
I resolve to do these things for myself, so I can be the best “me” for my children.
Andrea Moreau lives in Pass Christian with her husband and three children. She is an educator and author of the children’s book, “I Mustache You to Read with Me.”