Mother With Diabetes
Being a mother with diabetes means having a whole different perpective on "full time job."
By Deanna Glick
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
August 2010 — I have not worked for money full time since the spring of 2005. Up until then, I had not worked less than full time – usually more – since the summer after I graduated from college. In 1994.
All those years, I thought I was really busy. Back before I was a mother with diabetes. Now I know better.
Perspective often brings understanding and appreciation. I challenge anyone to find a perspective more powerful than a mother's on most things. And she's a mother with diabetes? Don't even try. You'll fail. I promise.
I've worked for money full time for 11 years and been a mother for nearly four. I've managed diabetes for 16 years. And, next month, I'll be doing all of those at the same time for the first time. As the economy has hit my freelance career hard and my husband goes to work each day wondering when the next furlough or round of layoffs will happen, I have accepted a job in the ultra-secure industry of government consulting in Washington, D.C. This means no longer working from a home office 20 hours a week and piecemealing child care with play dates and part-time preschool. This means so much less time with my little one. It will also mean setting boundaries for what my body can handle and standards for what it needs, whether that be a decent lunch or a brisk walk around the building.
What I've learned about fitting a lot of responsibility into the finite amount of time we have is that the hours and minutes don't matter as much as the space in our brains we need to consider and execute what needs to be accomplished. I am one of those lucky few who doesn't get headaches, but thinking about how I'm going to divide my brain into thirds – family, work and diabetes – makes it hurt a little. What I've already admitted to myself is that I won't do any of it perfectly.
Next step: realize I can still do all of it well, with help.
I've written in previous columns about the importance of seeking out and accepting help. Since I'll have less time to return favors and more money to pay for them, the latter will become popular. I've hired a housekeeper and a gardener, purchased a Blackberry, and enrolled my daughter in a pricey preschool with stellar before and after care. The easy part is done.
I can't buy more patience or energy for when I come home mentally exhausted and she wants me to dive into molding Play Doh or putting puzzles together. I can't clone myself so I can watch her in dance class or take her to swim lessons. But I will have a more profound appreciation for the time I get to spend with her, and the nearly four years I had prior to this transition. I'm counting on that to get me through.
Having less time means it will be more valuable. And I'm determined to not waste it. I hope to draw energy and appreciation for my time from the perspective of having had time to enjoy my daughter's first years of life. I also hope to put the time management and life skills I've picked up as a mother to good use. Less time requires a more structured schedule, which always seems to be a good thing for blood sugar control. While some diabetics struggle to eat foods that are both healthy, quick, and convenient, I've developed a keen ability to do just that, particularly as a mother. Rather than bristling at the thought of fitting exercise into the routine, it will come as a welcome stress reliever and enjoyable retreat from the office.
Perspective will be the key to all of this. And I will be lucky to have the perspective that can only come from being a diabetic mommy. Because I'll only be better at all of my roles because of it.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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