Is it selfish to put yourself before your kids?


Your children are your world, and you would do anything for them. Much of your effort in life is geared toward creating a better world for them. We all make sacrifices for our children. But what exactly should we be sacrificing?

Sacrificing your wellness for your children—or for anything at all—is a losing game, which not only hurts you, but ends up hurting your children as well.

Taking good care of your children and parenting effectively should be one of your top priorities in life. Raising children to be healthy, respectful and productive humans is a signifiant accomplishment—one that benefits not only you and your children, but society at large.

But what do you do when you have to choose between caring for yourself and doing a little bit extra for your child?

First, let’s set aside the issue of time management. If you’re wasting time going down the internet rabbit hole for hours with no constructive purpose, if you’re constantly on social media, watching too much TV, or engaging in any activity obsessively, it’s best to tackle that issue first to free up some time.

Also, when comparing time spent on yourself versus your child, I’m not talking about the basics: obviously you have an obligation to make sure your child’s basic needs are met.

But what about when you structure your schedule in a way that neglects your wellness to make sure your children get to their fourth activity for the week or to that extra event?

Humans have basic needs that are the pillars of health: physical (exercise, nutrition, water intake), mental (learning, self-improvement, meditation), socialization (connection to others), spirituality (whatever that may be for you: religion, walk in nature), and sleep, which is underrated in this era of “get more” and “do more.”

And we’re all deficient in some of these areas. Do we have the time to do anything about it?

There are two ways neglecting yourself can hurt your children.

First, if you’re neglecting yourself, you’re not optimizing your wellness and happiness, and therefore you’re not your best self. And if you’re not your best self, you’re not the best parent you can be.

Also, I’m sure you’ve noticed that little people do as you do, not as you say. If they grow up watching you neglect yourself, guess what they’re likely to do as adults? You’re not just a parent—you’re also a role model. One of the most important things you can teach your children is the importance of self-care.

Protect the asset—you. If you neglect yourself, you’re really not doing your children any favors—even if they’re involved in a lot of activities and go to a lot of fun events. Taking care of yourself makes you a better parent, and sets an example that will benefit your children long-term.