This is The Feeding Diaries, an ongoing series about the feeding escapades in my house.
It’s been a tough few weeks. My brother has been in the hospital with a serious health condition, turning my world upside down and draining me of energy.
Despite all of this, I still come home and put a meal on the table. Admittedly, these meals are not be my best work and they are not elaborate, but I’m more committed than ever to keeping them up.
And the real lesson it’s teaching my kids hit me.
The importance of self-care
When I make the effort to make meals instead of running to takeout, I’m showing my kids that despite this tough time and “busier than ever” schedule, I’m going to take care of myself and my family. The message it sends is “taking care of yourself is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”
Watching someone close to me battle for their health reminds me that nothing is more important than taking care of oneself. If we sweep health under the table for everyday stressors, it eventually catches up to us. And if we don’t have our health, we don’t have those other things that seem so important.
I now realize that every time I plan meals in the midst of our hectic schedule, either by putting something in the slow cooker or pre-prepping for later, I’m teaching my kids that no matter what is going on, taking the time to eat and nourish ourselves remains a priority.
From food to other areas
Of course there are other ways to practice self care, but food is the most routine — three times a day with in between meal eating. Keeping up this ritual makes it easier to practice other acts of self care such as getting good sleep, moving our bodies, expressing and dealing with unpleasant feelings, learning when to say “no” and finding time for fun and connection with others.
I believe self-care is one of the most important skills parents can teach their children. And one of the ways I drill that into my children is by providing them with balanced meals on the table, no matter what. Day in, and day out.
How do you teach your children self-care?