being a mom

I Am Not Sorry That I Love Myself More Than My Kids

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I am working on loving myself so that I can become a better mother. I’m hardly there yet, but this is my number one commitment to my family. It’s so easy to get caught up in the guilt and self-blame of being a mom: Did I buy the right brand of organic food? Did I breast-feed long enough? Am I a bad mother for choosing to sleep train or for co-sleeping?

In the grand scheme of things, all of those questions are ridiculous. What really matters is the respect and value that you have for yourself as a mother and a person first of all. If you haven’t mastered self-love—and believe me when I tell you that I am more than familiar with years of self-hate and negative self-talk—it will be nearly impossible for you to freely love your children.

Self-love is complicated and has a different meaning for everyone. I’m not a psychologist, but I am in therapy, and I think that’s a great first step. Do what works for you, but do whatever it takes to make yourself feel loved and valued—before you love your kids. I can promise you that if you don’t, you’re in for a rude awakening when you realize that your kids really will suck all of the love and resources from you each and every day. If you’re not giving back to yourself, you won’t have anything else left to give.

You may argue with this, and you’re free to. Many women firmly believe that their children are their reason for breathing and that they love them more than life itself. I love my children an unimaginable amount, but I love myself more. You can’t convince me that I would have enough love to give to my kids if I didn’t love myself first.

Sticking up for yourself can be hard, especially when you feel like everyone in your family is pulling on you. But sometimes I think self-love can be so simple. When I think back to my own childhood, I know that if my mom had set aside more time for herself and went out with friends and did things that genuinely interested her from time to time, I would have felt safer. Her self-love would have made me believe I could love myself too.

(Image: Accord/Shutterstock)

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