By Stephanie Walsh, M.D., Medical Director, Child Wellness, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
You know how the flight attendants always tell you, “in case of an emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then help others put their masks on?”
I feel the same way about my family’s health.
What I mean is, it starts with me. I have to take care of myself—make time for me to be healthy—so that I can be strong and take care of them.
Part of taking care of them is showing my kids my own healthy habits, instead of just “preaching” about it to them. It’s not fair to them if I’m eating French fries at a fast food restaurant but making them eat apple slices.
That’s one of the reasons I get up at 5 a.m., five mornings a week to exercise. I am showing them that I care about myself, and my health (and my sanity!).
It’s also why choose to walk to work. And, carry around a huge water bottle everywhere I go.
Is it hard? Absolutely. Do I want to get up at 5 a.m. that many times a week? Not always. Do I do it perfectly? Of course not. Do I ever make unhealthy choices for myself when it comes to food? Yes, and more than you might think (after all, I am human and I happen to love potato chips).
But, who said parenting is easy?