Mother with childIt feels like a radical approach to parenting to say this, but mother’s lives are just as important as children’s lives. Parenting takes a focus on the child, and once you become a parent, parenting becomes a full time occupation. So where do a mother’s needs fit into all of this? Maslow’s hierarchy of needs applies equally to mothers as it does to anyone else. I encourage you to take a moment and say it out loud: “I am as important as my children, my needs matter.” Let it be your mantra.

I can safely assume that most people will agree with the mantra. Of course you matter. But when is the last time that you took a critical look at your day, your week or your month and said yes there is sufficient “me” time in my schedule?

Our children’s health and wellbeing becomes our focus, and rightfully so, but this should not be at the expense of our own health and wellbeing. From the moment I became a mother my life became a shadow my children’s. Their needs became more important than mine, more immediate, more demanding. It was a gradual progression. And it’s something many mothers struggle with.

After my daughter was born it became increasingly difficult to get to the gym, which was ok and a sacrifice I was willing to make, but by the time my third child was born, just spending time socially with other adults was virtually non-existent. My life had changed from something that was my own into something that was not.

Our children need care and attention. They need our love and our devotion. But this should not be given in the absence of recognizing that we deserve these things too. Moms are amazingly self-sacrificing people. We spend our days working, in the home or outside of it, and our nights carpooling, watching dance classes or swimming practices. Then we come home exhausted but we help with homework and prepare for the next day. Parenting is important work, but our needs are also important.

It’s time we mothers recognize that we matter, that we are as important as every other member of our family. Family scheduling needs to include regular time for mom as an equal priority. As moms we are runners, poets and friends. We deserve scheduled time in the week to do things that make us happy beyond caring for our children. So the next time you are asked to cancel your yoga class, I encourage you to say “not tonight, I have yoga and my needs matter too.”

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