Love Yourself More Than Your Kids

I read somewhere that being a parent means loving your children more than you love yourself. My question is, why do we have to love them more than ourselves? If I make myself a priority, does that make me a bad parent?

Actually, it doesn’t. I am a great parent and I love my children to the moon and back. But I love myself more and that is what I am teaching my kids too. I don’t want them to grow up and blindly follow a set of rules that have been around for eternity, without questioning them or reasoning them out.

There was a time when I also took it for granted that my mother should love me more than she loved herself. The same way that my grandmother had loved her and I would my kids when the time came. But as I grew older, I realised both my grandmother and mother never bothered about their own health while making sure all their kids were healthy.

It was a pattern I was to repeat when my kids came. I remember when my son was three years old and my daughter was two, I had a ligament tear in my right leg. The doctor specifically asked me to rest up and avoid movement. However, I thought being a mother, I should be doing everything for my kids and refused to take help even from my own family. I did it out of love of course, but it was more because I had the old mindset, which made me think that if I didn’t do what they wanted, it would make me a bad mother.

Well, nearly 11 years later, my right leg still hurts because I didn’t give myself the rest I needed back then. To add to it, I become a “bad mother” whenever I scold them…though now I don’t care!

You see, I have a very simple rule in life: If I am unhappy, how can I make anyone else happy? Just like the cabin crew tells you before the plane takes off, “If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.” The same rule applies for parenting, whether a father or mother.

Over the years, I have learnt to question everything that doesn’t make sense to me. As a new parent, I did not. But, after 14 years into parenthood, my children and I make our own rules. I do not compare my parenting style with anybody else and I ensure my kids also don’t. I am teaching them to follow only those things that make sense to them for when it’s their turn to become parents.

I wish I had realised this early on in life, because then I would have ensured my mother live her life the way she wanted and not alter it to suit us. I would have had the sense to ask her to re-marry and not slog the way she had in order to give us an amazing childhood. The past, however, cannot be changed, but I am determined to not let it happen to my children.

There are days I don’t want to be a parent and that is absolutely okay. There are days I don’t want to even lift a finger, so I let the children do everything. I make them responsible for running the house for the day, and they love it. They learn new things – their weaknesses (which we work on later); managing money; and most importantly, how to be self-dependent and responsible human beings.

It’s on these days that I pamper myself. Pampering doesn’t mean I spend money on myself or go shopping every time. Sometimes, I do nothing. I just lay in bed, drink coffee, watch television, or read a book. Sometimes when I’m really low and need a boost, I go for a haircut. From small things like talking to a friend or simply going out for a drive, there are so many things one can do.

The important thing is not to forget that you are a person too, and owe yourself a little “me-time”. You must have your own identity and love yourself. Remember, loving yourself more doesn’t make you love your kids less.

Rachita Bafna
Rachita Bafna

A single mother to two amazing teenagers, Rachita plays multiple roles with as much accountability. The ride called life has taken her through many rough patches, toppled her over the bumps, some good old paths and she continues to move on
with determination and faith. Writing is something that she discovered on the way. “This is one space that allows
me to let all my thoughts, feelings and stories just flow. It gives me fluidity. My natural quirkiness towards life appears in my writing. I have been writing for over three years now and can unapologetically write on topics that reflect the true ‘me’”.
When Rachita is not writing or occupied with her professional work schedules, she spends her time with either food or people.


Photo: Top: Swarnavo Chakrabarti Bottom: Benjamin Manley

12 thoughts on “Love Yourself More Than Your Kids”

  1. Beautiful piece di. Each of your sentence holds so much of depth and meaning that I understand. Thank you for writing it what we feel.

  2. Completely enjoyed reading what I had been following in life. Your simple writing makes so much sense and it’s easy to connect with it. Thank you for putting it down in words. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

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