As mothers we give so much and we often put ourselves last. When was the last time you looked at your needs? Parenting spirited children can make it even easier to forget about what is important to us, as we put so much energy into parenting, that we are often exhausted and out of touch with ourselves.
By looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs we can see clearly that a lot of our important needs are not being met, sometimes on a daily basis.
So Self-Actualization is where we are at our happiest as all important needs are being met.
If you look at the Physiological Needs you will see that as mothers even the most basic needs such as a good night’s sleep and a good diet is most likely lacking.
Under Safety and Security parents with spirited children can see that their needs at this level are most likely not being met due to the strain having a spirited child can put on the family.
Even though this is a very simplistic view of needs and therefore happiness, it is very clear that parenting spirited children can easily keep us from having our needs met on a regular basis. Therefore, it is extremely important that we address our needs and then continue to move up the pyramid to a place of purpose and meaning (something we may have felt before our careers and salaries were put on hold).
So what to do? Well firstly I think it is important to work out what it is you need or desire to move you towards Self Actualization. Do you want more time to do the things you love? Do you want to study something you’ve been interested in for years? Do you want to get back into the workforce? Whatever it may be, a list of what these things are needs to be started. You might like to do this for each parent.
Then get together alone and work out what is possible and what is not. It is very likely you’ll need to make some big changes to get these needs met, but please do not dismiss them as too hard or unattainable. This is critical as you need to start caring for YOURSELF. A happy parent equals a happy child!