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The selfish thing I did..... that made me a better parent

One evening after my husband and I put our daughter to bed, hubby looks at me and says.... "She is bloody cute, isn’t she?" then continued to tell me about something that happened that day.

About an hour later it hit me..... we were happy. We were good parents. Better than the week before. It suddenly felt like we appreciated our daughter's laugh more, and yelled less. Different to other days. Today I hardly noticed the mess she made and cleaned it up before it was even an issue.

We always want to work, work, work. We feel like doing less will make us less productive. The opposite is true. We need to pause and realise that life does not happen once you hit that income goal, new job or bigger house. Life happens every day while you work towards your goals.

Stopping, smelling the roses, playing with your kids, going for a walk, is not going to waste time, it will fill up your cup and make you MORE productive.

As a kid we never went on fancy oversees holidays (with the exception of my parents 2nd wedding honeymoon when I was 4 years old). I do remember my dad going on short holidays at least 4 times a year. This was his way to deal with life's stress and everyday shit. We camped, went fishing, and roughed it out.

This is one lesson I am still to master from my dad. He is very good at doing nothing... Being... instead of constantly doing. Like the Italian saying "Dolce far Niente". It means "The sweetness of doing nothing." It does not mean being lazy, it refers to the pleasure of completely enjoying and savouring a moment.

My point being... The age old saying "it is better to give than to receive" is applicable to charity and gifts, but you damn better start giving to yourself as well.

As we're preparing for our holiday in about 2 weeks. I realised that just the prospects of us going on holiday is making me more relaxed. Making me a better mom. Making me a better human being.

Why is going on holidays so good for us? Why am I feeling better, less anxious, excited, more like myself. I feel better in the last 7 days than I have felt in MONTHS. Why? What changed?

Technically nothing. Technically we only booked fights. We spent a large sum of money. We have 2 weeks to go and we haven't started packing. What changed.....

This thought mulled in my head for days. Until one day, in the shower.... where most of my best ideas tend to appear, it struck me.

I feel better, because when going on holiday, I put myself first. I start taking care of myself.

  • I started eating better: You know... bikini season. Which Covid kinda screwed up by letting me think we are not going to be able to go and then government opens the bloody border, meaning I need to fit a 10 week eating plan into 10 days... any advice?

  • I exercise more: See reason above

  • I started making appointments, for my hair, my nails and even sun-bed. I am going to change the things I can and accept the things I can't.

  • We tend to buy new clothes or holiday apparel.

  • Buy Christmas gifts.

  • We do the things that truly make us happy.

That one decision to buy the flight tickets to go to South Africa was the permission we needed, to put ourselves first. To do, plan and buy what really makes us happy.

We are very fortunate that we are able to fly back home for an extended period to be with family. Obviously we will be following all the stipulated rules and regulations and do what ever we have to, to stay safe and keep others safe. But now that we have the chance to go, I'm taking it. For my own mental health, I need to put myself first and do what fills my cup.

We tend to give others our best, when we give ourselves the best. We can be fully present, engaged, less irritated and happier, when we fill our own cups first.

If booking flights to go on holiday is selfish... then, fine, but you know what... I'm a better parent, wife and human being for that. I am putting myself first!

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