It happen over a bag of candy.
I was standing in line at the grocery store and my tired little punkin wanted a treat. I told her “no.” And the catastrophe began.
You know the one. The one where my precious angel threw herself on the floor and started wailing at the top of her lungs. The one where the grandma behind me was eyeing me and wondering if she should report me. The one where all eyes were on me as I pealed my baby girl off the floor and carried her to the car with arms flailing, legs kicking, and tears streaming as she continued to scream bloody murder.
There are many reasons why an otherwise sweet kiddo could turn into a fit-throwing machine, but in this case, my kiddo was exhausted.
As an adult, I would like to think that I would never throw this kind of fit. If I am honest, I have to admit that when I ignore my needs I too can turn into a temper-tantrum throwing kid.
If you have been following my blog this summer, you know I have spent a great deal of time talking about self-care over the past few weeks. God is working on my heart so much right now in regards to my own self-care that I feel like you might need to hear this too.
You would never intentionally set out to hurt your family, and neither would I. But as I have grown to understand myself better, I have learned that when I neglect my needs, I can in turn hurt my family.
Here are two reasons why you might be hurting your family by ignoring your needs.
1. Ignoring your needs is exhausting.
If you are anything like me, then you probably feel like everyone is depending on you so there isn’t time for you to feel or take care of yourself. You might convince yourself that if you are not okay, the world will stop. Or you might think you are invincible, but you aren’t.
Eventually when you ignore your needs long enough, you will get worn down, and a few things can happen.
First of all, your body might rebel against the constant demands by getting sick or you might experience chronic pain or a host of other physical ailments.
Secondly, you might hurt your family. How?
Our minds and hearts are wired to help us figure out how to survive in a fallen world. But when we constantly are fighting the battle of life without taking care of our needs, we become exhausted. And exhaustion can transport us back in time to the little girl at the grocery store whose mom said she can’t have candy.
Now you might not throw yourself down in the middle of a store and start kicking and screaming, but you might yell at your child. You might say something intentionally hurtful to a loved one. In your exhaustion, anger might win, and your relationships might lose.
Or maybe your go the other way. Maybe when you are exhausted you withdraw. You shut out your loved ones and keep them from being able to love you or know your pain. When you shut them out, are they hearing, “My mom doesn’t love me?”
Wow! That is a sobering thought!
Whether you yell or withdraw, your are hurting your loved ones.
2. When you ignore our needs, you teach your loved ones (especially children) that their needs are not important.
As a mama of two precious girls, I don’t want to miss a moment of my kiddos life. And sometimes I ignore my own needs in an attempt make them feel special and loved. But over time, if I continue to prioritize them over myself I will teach them that I don’t matter. In turn, as they grow and have more demand on their lives, they might believe their needs don’t matter.
Most of what your kiddos learn from you is caught not taught. What you value is passed on not by your words, but by your choices. As you strive to be the best mama you can be take time out for you and make your needs a priority. In turn your kiddos will learn that their needs are important and valuable. You will also teach them how to be aware of their needs and how to ask for their needs to be met.
Learning how to ask for what you need isn’t easy…especially if you haven’t done it in a LONG time! But it is worth it.
You are valuable. Your needs are worth knowing and fighting for.
I wish I could take you by the hands right now, look you in the eye and tell you this:
God created you. He did a fantastic job! One of the most amazing things you have to offer this world is you. So please take care of you! You matter in this life. Your feelings matter. Your needs matter. Your desires matter.
I would agree with you that it is tempting to push those things aside in the name of sacrificing for your family. But I would also suggest that taking care of yourself by making your needs a priority is actually a gift you can give yourself and your family.
Taking care of you by understanding and voicing your needs isn’t selfish. It is the way we let people fully know us and love us. And isn’t that one of your deepest desires?
As I began to prioritize my needs, I suddenly found the strength I needed to make healthy choices for me and my family.
Are you ready to take better care of your family by taking better care of you? Do you need help knowing where to start?
Click here to request today’s freebie: Learning how to recognize and prioritize your needs without being selfish.
In the comments I would love to hear your thoughts. You are a treasure! And I greatly appreciate your being honest with me!