Are Your Children Trying to Tell You Something?
Here is some great news for frazzled worn out mums. You don’t have to feel that way anymore and the answer is much easier than you think
I became a mum almost 3 years ago to two amazing little boys. I love them dearly but how on earth can two beautiful little people cause this much exhaustion and overwhelm? I feel as though my whole world has been tipped upside down. Don’t get me wrong, I love them dearly and would never go back but I had no idea how much work it would be.
Children take up a whole lot more time than I had expected and when people told me about sleepless nights I had no idea that would be so often. Going to the shops with an irritable toddler is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Looking back over the first two years of motherhood for me I realised that my own health both physically and mentally contributed significantly to my children’s health. I was so tired and overwhelmed that finding time to have a shower was often a miracle on a good day. I put my own health and fitness on the back burner to make way for copious amounts of washing, cleaning, changing nappies and feeding. While putting my own health at such a low priority, like most mothers I was continually sick and battling to cope with the demands of a young family. I didn’t have enough energy to give to my family as I didn’t have enough energy for myself. My children were getting colds, sleeping at random times and irritable. Just like me.
I started making some small changes and saw improvements in both of my children pretty quickly. This made complete sense to me as my children often copy what I am doing or saying consciously and did you know that at an unconscious level children are like sponges between the ages of 0-7. This is known as the Imprint Period, where they soak up and imprint all events that occur in their lives through sights, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells. I became aware that I was teaching my children how “not to cope”.
I started to notice that when I am stressed at the shops, my children’s behaviour seems uncontrollable. When I am eating poorly, my children don’t eat any better. I have seen when mothers criticise their bodies and their children grow up with body issues. When parents watch television and rarely venture outside, so do their children.
If we want to improve the health and wellbeing of our children then we need to take a good look at our own health.
What can you do?
Food – Look at what you are eating. You don’t need to put the whole family on a restrictive diet. Start by having some fruit out on the bench and having fruit as snacks during the day. Increase the amount of vegetables on offer at dinner. Look at how many ‘treats’ children are eating and remember that ‘treats’ shouldn’t form part of their daily diet.
Movement -Get outside with your children. Show them how fun it is. If you feel you don’t have time for structured exercise head out to the park on the weekends and kick a ball, go for a walk or take a picnic.
Self esteem – Accept compliments and talk about yourself in a positive way. This may seem insignificant but there are so many young people who have a negative body image because of how their parents saw themselves.
Be present – Relax with your children. Show them how to switch off from all of the gadgets and chat with each other, meditate, listen to music as a family or read a book. Learning to relax is such an important element that is missing from children’s lives now as parents are rarely away from phones and laptops where their attention is frequently taken. This simple habit can help reduce anxiety and develop a deeper bond as a family.
I have discovered that when I give to myself; I have more to give to my family. When you start implementing some of these healthy changes into your life you will start to see some changes with your children’s behaviour and emotional state. If your children are a little older and are making their own decisions this can be difficult as they may resist any changes. Keep working on yourself as our actions speak much louder than words. Finding time for yourself may seem impossible with young children but when their health is on the line then I have realised that it is the most important thing I could spend my time on.