Week Four: Answers to your Questions about Working from Home and Hysterectomies

 
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How does one navigate life being a stay at home mom of two and trying to pursue passion projects / a work from home job?

I’m a firm believer in the old cliché that you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. Self-care might have different meanings for you, whether it's pursuing a career or passion, exercising, meditation, reading, eating healthy, taking a much-needed afternoon snooze, or even just hiding in the closet for a couple minutes while you recover from a toddler temper tantrum (I’ve been there)...If you’re a happy and healthy mama, then chances are your kids will be as well.

In terms of the actual navigation of pursuing a stay at home job or passion with children, this would depend on several different factors.  These might include: age and number of kids, if they’re in school yet, how many hours of alone time you have, and whether or not you have childcare help, etc.

I’m not aware of your particular situation, but I can share from my personal experience as a working mom of two high-energy toddlers. I don’t usually work from home, but there are those occasional times when I will need to make a work call or do a phone session with a patient when I am home. I try my best to schedule those when the kids are napping or at school, but this doesn’t always work out. In the moments when we are all home together, I try to give my children as much notice as possible and let them know ahead of time so that they’re not caught off guard. I will usually say something to the effect of, “Mommy needs a little bit of alone time to do some work. I know it’s hard to wait, but when I’m finished we can read a book or do an art project together.” Through this, I am letting them know what to expect and conveying to them that I am sensitive to and understand their feelings. I am also empowering them with the choice of a “time-with-mommy” reward for when I'm finished. I do my best to set them up with a fun activity so they’re not knocking at the door and yelling for me. I try to choose times when our nanny or my husband are available to help corral The Littles away from my work space. (I’m not risking any toddler power struggles over who was using the the yellow hot wheels truck to crash the purple sports car first, while I’m trying to speak professionally with a colleague or client!).

Sometimes this works, and sometimes I’m scrambling to find new ways. When all else fails…there’s always screen time (Yes, I do… we've got to get by, right?)  

Remember that taking care of yourself is not only important for YOU, but you are also modeling the importance of self-care and happiness for your children.

It’s also important for me to try and schedule my week ahead of time so I can communicate and plan logistics with my husband and our nanny. I will update the white-board calendar on the wall at the start of every week to make sure I have given myself enough time to do what I need to do, while also prioritizing my children’s needs and activities. I use my nights after I have put the kids down to bed for paperwork, while also trying not to stay up too late. If I need to revisit something the next day, then so be it. (All this talk of self-care and here I am writing this blog entry at 4am because I kept waking up thinking about it).

I’m not going to lie, it can be really difficult, both emotionally and physically. There are times when I feel like I’m spread so thin and that I’m not doing anything well enough. I consistently need to remind myself that I am doing my best and to remain mindful of when I need to slow down and take a break.   Balancing it all can be tough, so please be gentle with yourself Mama! Remember that taking care of yourself is not only important for YOU, but you are also modeling the importance of self-care and happiness for your children. 


I'm 36 and about to have a hysterectomy. What can I expect as far as emotions and aftermath?

A woman may choose to have a hysterectomy for elective reasons or for a number of medical issues, and the emotional effects can have varying implications for different women. For example, the removal of one’s uterus may represent a significant loss for a woman. This loss may trigger feelings that she is no longer a "real" or "whole" woman due to the removal of some of her female organs. With a hysterectomy, women are also experiencing the end of their childbearing years. Even though these women may not even desire to have more children, they may nonetheless feel saddened by this loss. 

Remember that despite these feelings and the difficulties you are encountering, you are still an incredible and whole woman. This medical procedure does not, in any way, make you any less. On the contrary, you are living and persevering through this difficult time, which makes you an even stronger and resilient woman. It is completely normal and expected that you would feel a degree of anxiety, fear, or uncertainty around this major surgery.

Remember that despite these feelings and the difficulties you are encountering, you are still an incredible and whole woman.

If you find that these feelings get in the way of daily functioning, it might be important to seek support. A trusted therapist can assist you in exploring your associated thoughts and beliefs, as well as the meaning and significance of this for you. He or she can then help you work through and process the associated emotions. Regardless of whether or not you experience any significant negative emotional effects, it may be beneficial for you to speak with a mental health professional during this stressful time. Find and accept support through friends and family, and don’t be afraid to reach out when you need some extra love, care, and attention. You deserve it!

Some additional helpful information about hysterectomies can be found here.

Wishing you all the best along with a safe and speedy recovery!