"If you neglect your health, you're a neglectful mum."

Mums, it’s time to wake up.

There’s one thing I want the mothers of Australia to stop doing immediately – I want them to stop putting themselves last. We’re running ourselves ragged doing everything for our families and we’re failing to prioritise our own health.

I know many Australian mums still secretly believe that good mums put themselves last (I used to be one of them). It’s selfish to get your hair cut and have coffee with a friend, to buy healthy food for yourself and to make time to exercise.

That’s crap. It’s the complete reverse.

It’s selfish NOT to put yourself first some of the time. Because if you keep going the way you are going, you’re going to get sick or injured or tired. And then who is going to look after your children?

If you get sick, who will look after your kids?

That's what you need to keep in mind next time you decide you're too busy to go for a brisk walk or to get that strange spot on your arm checked.

Your children are relying on you to be around to look after them. They want you to be around for as long as possible. And you owe it to them and to yourself to do everything you can to ensure that happens.

I've only woken up to this fact recently and it took the death of a good friend for me to make that realisation. Logically, I knew I should take better care of myself for my sake and for the sake of my family, but deep down I felt virtuous every time I put my kids first and myself last. Like I was telling the world, "See what a good mum I am? I don't even get haircuts."

Then my friend Sophie died. Through no fault of her own. She had genetic cancer and left behind three children who needed her. But it just made me realise something.

If anything happens to me that I could have prevented, I have let my children down and I have let my family down (even though my aim in putting them first was to give them everything).

That's what I want you to realise.

Every time you go to the gym or go for a jog or buy yourself some salmon when you could have spent that money on buying the kids a treat, I want you to stop yourself and remember:

The best gift you can give your children is a healthy mother.

So if you've been putting off eating more healthily or getting some moderate exercise, if you're way overdue for a blood test or a pap smear or even a relaxing massage, I want you to do it today. Guilt free.

Because your children deserve the best version of you.

When is the last time you put yourself last behind your children and your family? What is one thing you could do this week to improve your health and wellness?

Like this? Then try:

You want healthy kids? Tell their teachers they won't be doing their homework.

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