Want to Take Care of Your Family?

OKLAHOMA CITY - Not long ago, Kelly Harris' hectic life revolved around juggling children and her home office in Edmond. She made time for everyone and everything except herself.

Married with two children, Harris said she was concerned she was spending too much time sitting in front of her computer. She said she dearly loves her family and enjoys her work as a medical transcriptionist, yet she yearned to do some things to nurture herself.

Today, the energetic mom still works from home, but she now shares her enthusiasm for life with women who take her Zumba aerobics classes.

Harris, 38, said she gradually made changes in her life, starting with her health.

"About 2 1/2 years ago, I got really tired of being overweight and decided to do something about it," she said. "You get so caught up in your life that you forget about you."

She added, "The more you start making yourself a priority, the better you feel. You become a better mother — a better person, in general."

Oklahoma City psychologist Ellie Lottinville, said mothers often place themselves last on the priority list.

"I think women generally do go through a lifetime of making sure everybody's taken care of. As a result, they often get very tired, very worn out, very irritable and often feel that they don't matter very much," she said.

Susanne Blake, author of the book "Ten Commitments for Women," agreed.

Both Blake and Lottinville said women can take simple steps to nurture themselves. Lottinville said they can get their nails done or see a movie with a group of friends. A potluck girls' night or just meeting together for an exercise class can help.

According to Lottinville, women should take at least 30 minutes daily for themselves. This could include taking a hot bath or reading a book. She said moms sometimes forget about activities and hobbies they enjoyed before becoming immersed in family life. Also, she said many moms are often working more hours outside the home these days.

When a mom takes good care of herself, it’s better for everyone in the family. From setting boundaries to improving self-esteem, mom’s good habits can rub off on others… especially the kids.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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