Back From Maternity Leave … With a New Perspective

Yep, I’m back at the office, doing what I passionately love to do: talk about food health. And I’m finally updating this blog again after an embarrassingly long hiatus. I’m not going to even bother apologizing. It is what it is.

Over the past couple months I’ve read countless articles about women “trying to have it all.” I’ve always thought, well, you can’t really have it all. Some things have to give, but you can have a little of many things. I can be wife, mom, nutritionist, gym rat, baker, reader, sewer, etc … but in smaller proportions than in my life pre-kids. I still believe that. What I’ve now come to learn with two kiddos under my care is that while you can have many things going on in your life, there is a level at which sanity starts to suffer. I’m rapidly reaching that point and I’m barely back from maternity leave.

No, no, no. This is not a blogpost to say I’m quitting my career. I LOVE what I do, and I love my kids too. I’m working my darnedest to balance the two. But I’m coming to grips with the fact that I have to say “no” for a season. Can I offer my services as a raffle for the holiday bazaar at the senior center? This year the answer is no. Would I like to host a booth at the local health fair? Sorry, going to have to sit this one out. Can I make an exception and see a patient in the evening to work around their crazy work schedule? Not at this time, but I’m happy to make a referral to someone who can accommodate such a request. These are all things I would have sought to make time for with only one kiddo under my belt. Now with the demands of two I’m realizing it’s ok to say no. Not only is it ok to say no, I’m not going to feel bad about it.

What in the world does this post have to do about nutrition, you say? Well, sometimes with eating healthy and keeping our sanity (ie stress levels) in check we have to say no. I would encourage you to evaluate your life and find areas where you need to take a breather. Try to look at things with a new perspective and think about what you really value. Are you sacrificing your health and family life to meet the demands of others in the quest to win approval, favor, or some mythical yet unachievable level of job satisfaction? The problem is our health suffers as a result. We stop at fast food so we can make that last minute meeting, we guzzle calorific coffees or energy drinks to make up for lack of sleep, and then we skip breakfast in the quest for a few more minutes of shut-eye in the morning. At some point we have to come to grips with what this is doing to our health and quality of life. At the end of the day what are we left with? Is it worth it?

These are just a few of the thoughts that flow from my mind as I come to grips with my new life as a mother of two. I love my two little cuties with all my heart, but it sure is a life change. I’m still getting through the culture shock of it all, so to speak, and still figuring out how work life balance is, well, supposed to work.

While avoiding extraneous demands and circumstances that compromise our health and family is not always possible, we can at least attempt to take the bigger picture into account and sometimes, maybe even more times, just … say … no. That is my goal at least.

Baking brownies with my boys

Baking brownies with my boys. =)

Danielle VenHuizen

Registered Dietitian, Certified LEAP Therapist