Most of us have flown enough times to know the in-flight safety spiel by heart.
- No smoking in the lavatories.
- The closest safety exit may be behind you.
- Water flotation devices are under your seat.
- Always put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.
Self-care as a Life Principle
Last night, in those final minutes before falling asleep, a picture of an oxygen mask falling from the overhead compartment came to mind and the Holy Spirit reminded me: This principle is for life, not just airplanes. You cannot adequately care for others when your own care is compromised.You cannot adequately care for others when your own care is compromised. #emptynest Click To Tweet
If we’re honest, though, we rarely live by this thought process as parents. We’re on auto-pilot from day one: Take care of the kids first! Not until you were cold, drained, and starving did you realize you needed to stop and take care of yourself.
Interestingly, this parenting tendency continues on after the kids are grown. Their welfare and needs often seem far more important than our own. But if I look at this topic through my college-age eyes, I clearly see: The best thing I can do for my adult sons is to take care of me.
Let me say that again.
The best thing you can do for your kids is to take care of you.
Seriously. If you don’t, they will try to do it for you — moving them into the very awkward position of parenting their parent.
- Are you eating right?
- Are you taking care of your health?
- What about money? Are your finances ok?
- Are you doing anything for fun?
The best thing you can do for your kids is to take care of you. #emptynest Click To Tweet
There are many good incentives for self-care, but this one mustn’t be overlooked. If you want to give your kids wings when they leave home, don’t unknowingly shackle them with worry over how you’re doing. Don’t be so focused on their well-being that your own needs pull them back down to earth.
Take care of you. Let them be secure in the knowledge that you’re doing well — spiritually and physically. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give.
I’d love to hear how you’re taking care of yourself in the empty nest years. How has it helped your relationship with your kids? Please leave a comment below.