Putting Your Family First Doesn’t Make You a Better Mom

Most parents will tell you about how they hazily go through their earliest days with their newborns, living in isolation on no sleep, constant am-I-doing-this-right? anxiety and stress, and a steady diet of takeout and whatever casseroles or lasagnas were generously donated through some kind of life-giving meal train. The only thing that matters in those first few fevered weeks is making sure the little one is okay.

But I'm here to tell you from first-hand experience: That. Is. Not. Sustainable.

For some reason, that's a lesson that every parent has to learn the hard way. It's just so easy to continue the pattern that's established in those earliest days: putting the children's needs first and foremost, while grabbing a nap or whatever bite to eat you can scrounge up only after the kids are taken care of and in bed, feeling too tired to maintain your adult friendships. I remember days spent pureeing farmers' market sweet potatoes for my daughter when she was a baby, only to microwave a burrito for myself after she finally went to sleep for the night — after midnight.

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