Before I became a mom, I would sometimes be critical of parents and the ways they were bringing up their children. Not realizing my complete ignorance on the subject, I thought I would have done better in many cases. Then reality came… And it hit hard… Parenting was the most difficult thing I had ever faced in my entire life.
So, when I started realizing that, I promised myself two things. First, I would carefully listen to every parent that had a story and an opinion to share. Each and every one would definitely have a good advice to give. Second, I would do my best to never judge a parent no matter how much I disapprove of their actions. Every parent, every kid, every family is different and we have no way of knowing what their background is. So, if you keep on reading this and your actions are different than the ones suggested, please don’t feel that I’m judging you in any way. I’m just sharing my own opinion on the subject.
Parenting is a hard, full-time job. More full-time than any other job in the world. And you get no day-offs, no vacation, no leaves. When you’re a parent, there’s one thing you’re constantly craving: more time. But you’ll never have it. Each new day you only have 24 hours to fit everything in. And you want to do everything for your kids. Work as much as you can to provide everything they need, take them to places they want to go, drive them to their friends’ parties, take them to sports activities, help them with their homework, and the list goes on. So, where does fitness and eating healthy fit in such a tight schedule? Most parents would easily give the most obvious answer: “I don’t have time for this. I have my children to think about, I can’t be selfish and think about myself and how I will find time to work out or learn to eat healthy. My children are my first priority.” Hmmm… Would that be an act of selfishness? Let’s think again.
Most of us feel that we owe things to our children. Material things they need, good education, entertainment and spending time with them. But the most important thing we owe them is a single one: being there. Being there when they need someone to play in the park, being there to race them down the road, being there to dance with them in the living room, and most importantly being there for as long as we can. Bad habits put all these in danger. Smoking, drinking, eating junk food, not caring about our health could eventually deprive our children of what they need the most: their parents. How can we say we do everything for our children and completely ignore the well-being of their only source of guidance, support and help they have in the world? Isn’t that an act of selfishness?
And let’s not forget our other role as parents. Whether we like it or not, we’re the example makers. Our children will most likely follow in our footsteps. The same way we followed in our parents’ footsteps. If they see us live an unhealthy and sedentary life, they’ll probably do the same. Or they’ll end up growing up facing a variety of problems before they decide to do something about it. And then they’ll have to experiment on many different wrong ways to do it. Like we all did, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. Do we want our children to go through the bad things we’ve been through? I’m sure none of us does.
We don’t need extra time to put exercise in our lives. We don’t need to steal time from the precious moments we spend with our children. We can learn to do it with them. We can walk with them, ride our bikes with them, dance with them, play with them. We can experiment with them in the kitchen trying new recipes with healthy ingredients. We can go grocery shopping with them and show them the incredible variety of healthy food that nature has created for us.
Our children deserve healthy parents. They deserve parents who will watch them grow and will be there for them.
Let’s show them that we’re trying to make that happen.
One day we’ll all be grateful that we did.
And so will our children.