For a long time, I put my family first. I dedicated myself to raising my children and keeping up with the household chores. Unfortunately, this led to me neglecting my friendships. I stopped socializing and eventually, my friends stopped inviting me to outings and events. I felt like a burden to them and like my family was unnecessary baggage. It was a really tough realization to come to, but eventually, I decided that I needed to stop putting my family first.
I realized that I was putting so much pressure on myself to be the perfect wife and mother that I was forgetting to take care of myself. In order to be the best possible version of myself for my family, I need to make sure that I’m taking care of myself mentally and emotionally. Putting my own needs on the back burner led to me feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, and unhappy.
I also came to realize that my children need to see me as more than just a mom. They need to see that I have hobbies, interests, and friendships outside of our family unit. They need to know that it’s okay for them to pursue their own interests and friendships too. Showing them that it’s important for me to have a life outside of being their mom will help them understand that it’s okay for them not to be defined by their relationship to me or their father.
The positive impact.
Over the years began to notice that my children were mimicking our parental relationship. Their friendships at school consisted of one friend of the opposite gender, and it needed to change. So, when I decided to put myself first, it permitted my children to do the same.
This is what happened.
Knowing that a great way to meet new people is to return to the workforce, I did, and a few short months after, I began. I started sharing with my children the friends I was meeting and the social gatherings I was attending. And, low and behold, my children mimicked. Their one friend turned into 13 and 14 friends, and their worlds opened up. A huge gain and a huge win.
Quality over Quantity
I realized that putting my family first was actually causing me to be less present when I was with them. Instead of enjoying quality time with my husband and kids, I was always thinking about all of the things that needed to be done around the house or worrying about what others thought of me. Once I stopped putting so much pressure on myself, I was able to relax and savour our time together. We engage in more activities as a family and now, I am happy to say that we spend quality time together, which far outweighs quantity.
It’s not easy letting go of the idea that we need to put our families first at all times but sometimes, it’s necessary. Putting ourselves and our own needs first doesn’t make us bad parents or spouses – it actually makes us better ones. Our children need us to be happy and healthy in order to have a strong foundation for our family unit. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’re not really present in your own life, maybe it’s time to stop putting your family first.