“Please Put the Oxygen Mask on Yourself before Your Child” — The Importance of Self-Care for Parents

In other words, most people take for granted the importance of self-care for parents. Children quickly become a priority, often at the expense of parents well-being.

True Heroes Are Mortal

It may seem counterproductive, selfish, and even negligent to address your needs first. Consider your child’s reality should you actually fail in your heroism. For example, who will watch over your child when you are unable?

Had you given yourself the strength to endure a little longer, you would have vastly extended your role as savior.

True heroes are indeed mortal. If they weren’t, heroism wouldn’t be as celebrated. How does this factor into your role as a parent, though?

Like true heroes, parents are mortal. Simply being Mom or Dad at the risk of failing is in itself a tremendous expression of love.

Theatricalities of Parenting

The oxygen mask scenario may come across as incredibly theatrical, and it is. Everyday life doesn’t often entail oxygen masks or feats of heroism. What everyday life does consist of are thousands of finite details. These details pull and tug at your emotions, cognitive reasoning, and physical being.

In short, being a parent is exhausting. Parents are consumed with raising valuable members of society and it’s a full-time job.

Often this means exhausting your resources, going without, and a history of many sleepless nights. Furthermore, it can also mean ignoring the importance of self-care.

The most obvious reason for self-care is simply that parents need to keep up their strength to successfully cope with the demands of parenthood.

Setting the Standard

As mentioned, parents need physical endurance to fulfill the job of parenting. How does the importance of self-care measure up in terms of setting an example for your children?

It measures up a lot. In fact, this may be one of the most important aspects of the “oxygen mask.” Note that the importance of self-care is not ignored by young onlookers.

As parents, you preach about the physical dangers of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol. Also, you make sure bellies are full, teeth are brushed, and heads land softly on the pillow at a decent hour. Are you living up to your own standard, though?

Children regurgitate behavior. In other words, they do what they see. It will be hard to convince your children of the benefits of a healthy self-care routine if you’re not implementing it in your own life.

What Does the “Oxygen Mask” Look Like?

The “oxygen mask” of self-care can be a number of things. What qualifies an activity or event as self-care is that it’s beneficial to your health. Health involves your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Some parents may enjoy an exercise like yoga or running while others enjoy socialization or a date-night with their partner. You could learn a new skill. Take a fishing trip, or have lunch with a friend. Only you will know what fits your needs and fits your lifestyle.

Nevertheless, routinely schedule on your calendar whatever “oxygen mask” you choose to pursue. In addition, keep your chosen pursuits in your repertoire of self-care activities.

The rejuvenating stimulus that is an “oxygen mask” will enable you to be the best parent possible for your children.