As a pediatrician, I have a unique privilege. Over the years, I have been part of many stories of the families that I bond with at work. I have rejoiced at graduations, successes, shared disappointments, and grieved at losses. In that context, and over the years, I have doled out instructions on taking care of children on multiple levels. But my job isn’t complete until I can provide the families the tools or at least guide families to help execute the instructions that I send them home with.
When talking with families, one of my favorite analogies has been the example of the pressure drop in an aircraft. Do you remember the last time you took a flight? For a lot of us, it seems like a long time. If you remember the instructions in the safety booklet, one of them says, “When the pressure drops inside the cabin, the oxygen masks will drop from the overhead cabinet. Adults should put on their masks first and then help the little ones.”
The same can be said in life in general. I have frequently said the same to the parents of my little patients. Remember to take care of yourself first. You have to be fit, healthy, and happy to be able to take care of your children. Children learn not just what you teach them, but everything they see around them, so adult modeling is essential. You may say, but nothing is perfect, and every person’s story is different. I hear you; it is why we need the village to raise a child.
All kids have one thing in common. They thrive in a nurturing, loving environment. They need a sense of security and belonging to grow up as fully rounded, confident citizens of the future. And that, my friends, is our most valuable gift to the world. Parents, you are grooming the leaders of tomorrow. So, we need you to thrive as well. And the least all of us can do for each other is to provide the power of community. For that, I am grateful for communities that I can work with. I am excited to be a part of the Broward Mom Collective where parents can find different kinds of support, be it a spa to relax, a kids playgroup, or a daycare to give mom a breather. Remember mama, put on their oxygen mask first before putting it on your loved ones!