A Busy Mom with a Choice to Make

As a busy working mom, I have to make choices about where I spend my time. Make dinner or clean off my desk? The people that live with me prefer dinner. 

Exercise or … well almost anything else, really. I usually pick doing almost anything else. But today I chose to focus on me for just a few minutes. And it feels good.

Last week as I was reading Twitter, I followed a link from a friend to the American Cancer Society site. The headline said, “Choose You Today!” and they wanted me to make a commitment putting my health first. 

“What a nice thought, “ I thought. I mean, of course my health comes first, in theory, but in reality there are so many other things that I have to do. “I AM A BUSY WOMAN!” said the voice in my head. Maybe you have that same voice.

Of course, not taking care of my health has already impacted me. Last year I spent weeks in Physical Therapy because of hip pain. Hip Pain, really? I felt about 93 years old. Since then I have had episodes of healthy living – about a month of exercising that helped me lose 10 pounds and drop a size in jeans. 

But then life got busier, work got busier and choosing exercise was not at the top of the list. OK – exercise fell off the list completely.

Then a few weeks ago I found out my friend’s Aunt Barbie died of breast cancer. I met her last year when about 30 friends and families all went to Maui for a week. She was a vibrant and fun lady. Her cancer story is painfully short, when visiting the doctor about shortness of breath, they found a lump that had spread to her lungs and other organs. Turns out, she had felt the lump months before BUT WAS TOO BUSY to get to the doctor and figured it would go away. She was buried less than a month after that first visit. 

Yesterday I had lunch with Maria, a lovely HR person at work. I knew she had been out sick for a while but didn’t know the whole story. Turns out she had a lump in her throat that turned out to be cancer in her lymph node. She waited months to see the doctor because the company was preparing to layoff a number of people and we were making changes to the benefit package in advance of open enrollment — SHE WAS TOO BUSY. Luckily her story has a better ending, she will be starting radiation treatments soon and the prognosis is good. 

I know we all have these stories. Women we know and loved that were taken away too soon. The ACS is offering support for women who want to be proactive in cutting their cancer risk. 

As moms, we make healthy choices for our kids every day while often putting ourselves at the bottom of the list. 

So this morning I made the choice to exercise. Nothing fancy, just me in yoga pants using the dusty elliptical machine in my home office. It means I will log into work a bit later. I have a small work project that could have been completed instead, but like most things it was sitting there waiting for me anyway.

I won’t exercise everyday. I know me, I know how my schedule works. But I did exercise today. I think I will find time 2 more days this week. 

It is a little commitment, a little start. Wish me luck. 

What will you do? How will you Choose You Today?

This post was originally published on WorkingMother.com on June 9, 2011.

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