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Balancing Careers, Motherhood and Eating Disorders

How to Balance Being a Mother with an Eating DisorderFor someone suffering from an eating disorder, handling the normal day-to-day activities is hard enough. Add to that a mother with a crying baby and lack of sleep and the balancing act becomes more difficult. So how does a mother balance her career and home responsibilities when she has an eating disorder?

Balancing Life, Career and an Eating Disorder

Balancing motherhood and a career can be an enormous challenge, especially if grappling with an eating disorder.  Consider the number of hours you can realistically work and still manage your recovery.  Remember that taking care of yourself will allow you to be more present for your family. Many moms struggle with perfectionism….that is, trying to do it all and do it without making mistakes.  Be realistic with your expectations for yourself.

At work, speak to your boss and your HR department, and let them know what you are going through. Try role playing or rehearsing what you will say with a therapist or a trusted friends. Know your limits regarding tasks and delegate where possible.

At home, set a schedule with your significant other, friends or family members to help with some of the mommy duties. The late hours and the pickiness of kids eating habits can take its toll. Share some of the responsibility.

Don’t skip meals – at home or work. We’ve all felt the pressure to work through lunch, but this can be dangerous for people with eating disorders. Keep a routine. This also goes for eating at home. Further, at work, avoid participating in gossip. People may question why you’re eating alone. Just ignore them. It’s your time, not there’s.

Find time for yourself. Work and motherhood are demanding. It’s natural to want a break from both at times.  Call family, friends or a sitter to watch the kids if you need some alone time.  Find things that you like to do. Try new hobbies, or simply connect with friends. You need something to relieve stress.

Don’t forget about your marriage. Tell him or her that you need help. Be specific about what you may need, whether it’s help with the dishes or emotional support.  Make time to connect, such as turning off the television in the evening and asking each other how the day went or getting out and spending time together. Go on date nights. When possible, take a day or two off so both of you can go out of town for the weekend or even just stay overnight at a local hotel while family or friends take care of the kids.

What do you do to keep balance in your life?

Rachel Levi, LMFT, CEDS, F- IAEDPFounder/Clinical Director
Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment

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