No, My Kids Are Not the Center of My Universe.
Did anyone see the recent celebrity news about Giuliana Rancic catching flack for saying that her marriage comes before her child on her priority list? Not surprisingly, people went crazy on social media either praising or criticizing her for her statement.
I guess I take it for granted when I learn little life lessons, or hear of new scientific or psychological findings in the news, assuming we as a society are all learning together. I mean, have we not yet learned that it’s unhealthy for your life to revolve around your children? I thought that was already common knowledge. My bad.
I’ve heard it said one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to love your spouse. With divorce rates so high in our country, especially in our fine state of Oklahoma, it would serve us well to focus on healthy marriages and model stable relationships for our children. It’s far too easy to put your children first when they begin their lives completely dependent on us for their every need. Then as they grow, we as parents want to continue to provide all we can for them, consuming ourselves with their activities, accomplishments and struggles. This is even more evident when we have children with special needs of any kind. But, when the kids leave the nest, it’s just you and your spouse – if he or she is still around at all.
I do agree with Giuliana’s statement, but I think her sentiment goes a step further. Having experience as a single mom, I don’t feel that one’s love life is necessarily supposed to come before one’s concern for her children. What her statement emphasizes is the importance of a parent’s overall wellbeing. You have to be physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy to be able to give the most you can to your children.
So, no, my children are not the center of my universe; I am. I don’t mean that in a self-centered sort of way, but there’s a reason flight attendants instruct those flying to put the oxygen masks on themselves before placing them on their children. In order to care for your child, you have to be alive! So, in a broader sense, if I am stressed, sick, depressed or in any other way unwell, I will not have much to give to my kids and probably won’t care to.
Now, those of you who read my blogs or follow me on social media might think, “But, Missy is constantly posting pictures and statements about her kids, and she blogs about all the stuff she does with them for goodness sake!” Yes, you’re right. I post a LOT of pictures about my kids. I often post on facebook and twitter the clever things my kids say and all the activities we do together. And yes, one of the ways I make my living is to publicly talk about our life. But I believe firmly that if I were not intentional about taking care of myself, I would not do those things.
I make a point to set boundaries with my kids. They know that when I’m in my room or bathroom, they better have an emergency if they’re knocking because I would like to be able to change clothes and use the restroom in privacy. My kids have learned that they can function without the “hey mommies” for five or fifteen minutes. They also know that at 7 AM, the TV is mine and we are watching the Today Show! Besides those things, I am extremely intentional about eating well (at least most of the time), exercising (even if it’s just walking them to school), and doing things I love. I read, I have dates with my husband, I go places without them when I can, and I train my kids not to interrupt me when I’m having adult conversations.
I think it’s the fact that my kids aren’t the center of my universe that I ENJOY them so much. Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way…or am I?
See you around town!