5 Keys to Work-Life Balance (Mom Edition)

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Last fall the walls were about to cave in. Really. In many ways, my world was coming apart.

If you’re a mother, you know exactly what I mean:

  • Exhaustion: Check
  • Countless meals out: Check
  • Irritability: Check
  • An inability to do ANYTHING well: Check

Truly, you can only hold on like this for so long. When last semester ended, I did what any sane teacher mom would do. I disconnected.

No social media pressure. No play date merry-go-round. No books about parenting. And no cheap, meaningless conversation.

In short, I returned to all the little things that I had forgotten along the busy motherhood way. And, in this, I focused on a work-life reset.

So what is the “secret” that helped me pull through?

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There Is No Finish Line

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Few things liberate the soul quite like a good run. For myself, four miles is the “Zen zone” – the magical point at which surroundings fade and stress melts. And this is how I was enticed to run my first half-marathon. Only 9 more miles, right?

I prepared myself as any athlete might. Morning and evening stretches. Ice after long runs. And caffeinated GU – the chocolate variety.

But, come race day, the obstacles weren’t at all what I expected. Amazingly, I paced one minute faster than my training (8:13) for the entire race. When the finish line finally entered my sights, less than half of a mile stood between my sneakers and victory.

In the last few miles, a strange thought struck me. I hadn’t seen another female runner in a while. But this was a public race, and it was 2011.

And, just like that, I hit my second wind and felt the release to sprint.

Only I didn’t expect what came next. I was tripped. I was pushed. I was cursed. It seemed that every man I attempted to pass in that final stretch demanded I take the path of increased resistance.

Was it jealousy? Perhaps.

Was it anger? In some instances.

Was it sexism? This one still lingers.

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The Night Rape Knocked

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On the night of my eighteenth birthday, I heard a loud knock on my door. It was approximately 11 p.m., and my roommate had no plans to return until morning.

“RA’s! Open up!”

I peeked through the peephole. Two men, not much older than myself, sought entrance. In my naiveté, I opened the door.

“We heard complaints of noise. Are you having a party?”

I was stunned. Only three weeks into college, and I was already in trouble. But, quickly, my real error surfaced: I had unknowingly granted two strangers access into my room late at night.

It was 2 vs. 1, and I was in no position to win.

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The Wait of 30

The Wait of 30

“If you want to have children, you should have them by 30.”

When you are 26-years-old and enthralled in exciting research as a graduate student, one of the last things you want to hear is that your biological clock is not only ticking, it’s pounding.

I think every woman who desires to have children dreams about the magic of their first pregnancy – what those first kicks will be like and how the warmth of their baby bump will fill their heart with indescribable joy. I am willing to bet that few, if any, consider the physical and emotional pain that can accompany the loss of your first child through miscarriage. I certainly didn’t.

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