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Parents need to be constructively selfish

Taking care of ourselves as parents is the new guilt.

Carlotta Cerri
Salva

Many moms write to me about how guilty they feel when they lose it and yell, or when they take time for themselves (especially if they are full-time mothers and "don't work").

Ok, I want to talk about that for a second.

Because in parenting, as in life, we need to be a little bit selfish. Constructively selfish.

Being constructively selfish means setting healthy personal boundaries. Being constructively selfish means to stop taking responsibility for our children's pain.

It means putting our mental health first and giving ourselves time to find our own center, before being able to help our children find theirs. Just like in an emergency on a plane, when we put on our oxygen masks first.

When I am centered, I know that I do everything and a little more to give my children the tools they need to manage their emotions, to tame their crocodiles.

When I'm not centered – when my own crocodile takes over – I can only hope that they use those tools.

And then we will find each other again, maybe with a little less confidence in each other, because actions and words have consequences. But also with a little more strength and awareness. And knowing ourselves and each other a little better.

Ps. This is something I talk a lot about in my online course for parents "Long-Term Parenting". An amazing mom and friend is finally translating it into English. It'll still be a while before it's out, but this is an exciting beginning!

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