Let’s be honest, if I asked you what your #1 priority was, you would immediately say, “my children of course”. This will upset many of you, but I call “bullshit”. Your priorities are not a list you write, or what you tell those who ask you. Your priorities are what you spend your time doing. Regularly shooing them away because you’re busy, is never going to make them feel important. They develop low self-esteem and they learn to accept, subpar relationships (or worse, abusive relationships) and unacceptable behavior from others. I do not mean to make them the center of the universe and never use red pens because it hurts their little feelings, that is a whole other rant….
You can say what you want, but actions speak louder than words. If you are always working and regularly hiring a babysitter despite having a free babysitter when the child(ren) are at your ex’s, do you think they feel like the priority? When children are treated like an inconvenience or something you have to “fit into your schedule”, they will mature believing they are not worthy of being someone’s priority. They deserve to be a priority; a priority to you, their extended family, their friends, and eventually, the partner of their choosing.
We joke a lot in our house, the girls will tell me, “we’re too cute to chase boys.” “Damn right, ladies.” My girls know what is expected and they chase no one, not even friends. They are confident, and know there is a line of friends and partners lined up behind them who does treat them properly. They will simply step aside and allow the shitty friend or partner see the people lined up waiting to take their place.
This is where balance comes in. We are called to do many things as a parent. We must make our children a priority, while making ourselves a priority as well. This is all about balance here. If we have low self-worth, how do we set a positive example? Some mean well, but simply are a “yes” person. They agree to every PTA Meeting, bake sale, and school event (BARF). They say yes to neighbors, friends, or even *GASP* a new significant other – dare they decide to start dating again. They agree. They want to be “nice”, they want to “help out”, they want to “respect their wishes”, but never voice their own.
Do you even know what those wishes are anymore? Do you remember a time when you didn’t have a spouse and were not yet a parent; when you were an individual person? You were a person who had goals, and hobbies, likes and dislikes? Find that person. You are not only “so and so’s wife/husband (if applicable) and “so and so’s mother/father”. Yes, you are those things, but you are also a viable person who has needs, wants, desires. Find them, voice them, and do them. Make yourself and your kids an actual priority. Anyone who stands in your way, isn’t looking for you to be the best you. Fuck em’.