“The question each parent must keep alive as we raise our children is, ‘How do I care well for myself, so that I can care well for them?’ Adults, too, need good solid sleep, nourishing food, enough exercise and a sense of purpose in life. Each parent has to find her own way, and create rhythms for herself, just as we create them for our children. This is not a luxury; it is a job requirement.
“We know our children imitate not only everything we do, but also the very way are human beings. They imitate us from the most concrete activities to the subtlest essence of our being. This can be a paralyzing thought! If, however, we approach ourselves with the same humor and compassion we offer our children, we will be able to appreciate our successes in finding balance, and take our failures in stride as we learn form them.”
“Another doorway to balance your inner rhythm is to participate in some activity that truly nourishes you. It is easy for parents to say, ‘But caring for my family and enjoying the happiness this brings is nourishing for me.’ This may be true, but before you had children, there were activities that you loved, that nourished you. Find a way to keep them in your life. Or discover new ways to yourself the satisfaction this brings.
“Your children need a role model who knows how to find joyful connection with himself and the world. Whether you love to play guitar or attend the opera, whether you love to bicycle or bird watch, give yourself these moments. Eventually, sharing what you love with your children will show them how to keep this place of childlike delight open in their own hearts as they mature through life. And your enthusiasm will spill over into all the daily tasks you do with and for them.”
~Sharifa Oppenheimer, Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children