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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Balancing health and life

My health and weight loss journal

Do you remember when I told you about my magazine addiction and the large reading pile that I normally have? Well, that pile is about as big as it normally is. I've even picked up a magazine in it and realized it was the September or October issue. Today, I finished reading the October issue of Working Mother magazine. The cover article* was about Stephanie Ruhle Hubbard, wife and mom of two boys and managing director of structured credit sales at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York City.

Sometimes I'm not able to read the cover article in Working Mother magazine because (picture me with head bowed in shame) a lot of the women they feature are younger than me and way more successful. In my eyes. I know, it's bad to compare.

Anyway, there was something Stephanie said that made me feel a little better about the feelings of discontent I have about having my children at home during working hours (the youngest all day and the two middles ones from 3 p.m. on).
Acknowledging that every mom makes trade-offs, Stephanie believes many fail to make themselves a priority. "I hate it when I hear some great working moms say they know they'll never be the best mom," Stephanie says. "The best mom is a happy mom. It's not about martyring yourself. You don't need to change ten diapers a day to be an excellent parent."

That doesn't specifically apply to moms like me - working from home, staying at home or a lot of both - but it did echo with a realization: I can be my best when I'm happy. It's the reason I put my two middle children in daycare part-time when I was trying to grow my freelance business and take better care of my health situation. It's the reason I needed to put the youngest in daycare when my divorce proceedings began and I was trying to make more money in my freelance business.

I don't have to feel guilty, inadequate or beat up on myself for not wanting my children around sometimes. I don't often reveal my feelings because I don't want to get the frown from the moms who gush about how much they love and appreciate every second and just want to be around their children 24/7. My feelings of love for my children overflow and I know how blessed I am to have them, but I also know that I do them a disservice when I don't have my sh*t together.

If I'm rushing to do paid posts and yelling at them to be quiet. Or telling them I have to work when all they want to do is show me another drawing. When I'm late for a deadline or a promised post and I don't sit down to eat with them. ... All of that just makes me feel worse when I know I have to do it to make money because it's all I have coming in under my own steam and hard work. Not only do I feel like a failure as a parent, but as a writer, provider and businesswoman.

So, I'm going to try and keep in mind that I have to do what I need to in order to be happy to be a better parent, a better person and to maintain my health. I also have to remember what the article said a little further down: "For Stephanie, being a good mom is about memory-making..."


That's why despite looming deadlines I went into the living room this afternoon and pulled my pre-school daughter into my lap, asked my 4 year old for the picture she wanted me to color and we - along with my 6-year-old son - colored for about 40 minutes or so. It wasn't all pleasant because a couple of them whined and I was a little tense because I feel stagnated today, but I finished coloring my picture and spending time talking about colors and how beautiful they did with their coloring.

Tomorrow my children probably won't think twice about whether I need to work or not, but they'll most likely ask if I want to color again. I'm going to let that make me happy and go make some more memories with them.

*The article in the October issue of Working Woman was written by Suzanne Riss for a regular column called "This Is How She Does It."
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