There’s no doubt about it – parenting small children takes a lot of time. So much time that it’s very easy to forget about your child within. Yet you cannot be a really good parent while forgetting about your own feelings, needs and well-being.
Haven’t you noticed that if you do not take care of yourself by having enough time for yourself you are much more irritable with your mate and children? Whether your job is being with your children all day, or you work out of the home all day, or you work in your home and tend to your children all day – you need some time for yourself.
When my children were small it was challenging to find the time for myself. I worked at home, tended to my children, and had very little money for household help. Yet if I didn’t have time to myself to read, take a bath, do creative stuff or just stare at a flower, I had a hard time being a patient, loving and fun mom.
What I did at that time is to seek out adolescents who loved playing with little kids. I hired them (for not a lot of money – they were delighted to earn a little spending money and get to play with children as well) to play with my kids while I was in the house taking time for myself. After an hour or so of restful or creative time, I was filled up enough to be able to give to my children. When I didn’t take this time, my own Inner Child would feel unloved, unimportant and resentful.
A part of good parenting is letting your children know that their needs are neither more nor less important than yours. In the past, children were supposed to be seen and not heard and were given the message that adults were more important than children. In more recent times, many children are given the message that their needs and feelings are more important than adults’ needs. Neither message is based on the truth of the equality of each soul. For children to understand this equality, parents need to role model loving their children and loving themselves – not one at the expense of the other. If children are taught that adults are more important then children, the children learn to be caretakers, putting themselves aside in deference to others. If children are taught that children are more important than adults, they learn to be brats, demanding attention and not caring about others. This is just one of the reasons why it is so important for parents to take responsibility for caring about themselves – for lovingly parenting the child within.
It might be helpful to imagine that you have an actual child that lives inside you. You are the mom and dad for this child. You are the only one who can feel and hear this child’s needs and who can take action on behalf of this child. You already know what happens if you ignore the needs of your actual children. In some way or another, they will act out until they get the love and attention they need. The same is true for your Inner Child. Our Inner Child, which is our feeling self, can even cause us to be sick if we don’t pay attention to him or her. Your Inner Child lets you know when you are not being loved to him or her with anxiety, stress, anger, or resentment. When you are feeling these feelings, instead of looking outside yourself for the cause, look at whether or not you are lovingly parenting yourself. It is one of the best things you can do for you and for your children. (For help in self-parenting through the Inner Bonding process, See our Free Course).
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