If you love your children, you must love yourself

I had a medical scare again, just like how it was two years ago and the year before that. And just like how it was before all my tests came out negative.

But before getting all my test results, just as always, I had an unhealthy dose of anxiety again. I kept googling all my symptoms and kept reading about the worse possible scenarios.

I’ve always been like this! Maybe because I lost my father early and I know that parents can be taken away in an instant.

The night before getting all my official results and going to my follow up, after googling all the worse scenarios I cried in the dark beside my sleeping children.

It dawned on me that I am in no way ready to leave my children. Because I know no one else will love them the way I do.

Heck I am not even ready to be rendered unable to care for them if I get seriously sick.

And so I prayed that I be given more time to take care of them. I prayed that I be kept healthy for a very long time.

I realized yet again, that I need to take better care of myself so I can live long enough to be with them.

It’s easy for us parents to neglect our own needs, to skip self-care because we are so preoccupied with loving our children. I think this is human nature to want to give everything and sacrifice everything for our children.

Most parents live, breathe, and wake up each morning for their children. That’s just how we are as parents. That’s how we are wired, its one of our basic instincts, to selflessly care for our young.

And its because of this selfless love for these little people that sometimes we stop loving ourselves.

We stop prioritizing our needs, we stop caring for what we want and even what we need.

Because we are so preoccupied with giving the best for our children, making sure they are healthy and happy we tend to stop loving our bodies, listening to its needs; we stop doing things for our emotional well being even.

“Who has time for that?,” you might ask.

When was the last time you’ve had a check up? When was the last time you took a day off from parenting or work to take care of yourself? When was the last time you did something for yourself ?

I know it’s difficult if not impossible to squeeze in self care while you barely have time to sleep.

It seems impossible even to slow down and listen to what your body is telling you, more so to go out to see a doctor. I understand the hassle it would take to drag all your children to your doctor’s appointment, and drag them up and down the building in case you need to do some tests.

So some parents don’t even bother. “I’m fine, I can still just sleep this off, anyway,” they would say.

I wonder what kind of wake up call we need for us parents to finally pay attention to ourselves, our bodies, and our needs. I wonder what kind of wake up call will make us realize that taking care of our bodies, loving ourselves does not and will not make us a bad parent. We will not be considered selfish if we spend a few hours each day exercising or a few days in a month getting a check up (and not just when we can barely walk anymore).

I hope by the time we realize that in order for us to love our children for a very long time we need to love ourselves too, it won’t be too late.

We won’t be on a hospital bed regretting the years we should have spent taking better care or ourselves, wishing we’d still have more time with our children if only we loved ourselves more.

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