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Update on the drill (posted 4/18): Due to the events in West, Texas last night, North Hills Hospital and the NCTTRAC have chosen to cancel today’s emergency preparedness drill. Many of the same resources planned for the drill have already deployed to West to help care for the victims down there.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, loved ones, and first responders affected by this terrible tragedy.

 

RAC

North Hills Hospital is proud to be hosting one of the largest emergency preparedness drills ever held in the state of Texas this week. We will be partnering with the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council (NCTTRAC) and first responders from throughout North Texas to test our equipment and processes so that when a real disaster happens, we’re all ready to respond.

This drill is even timelier in the wake of the bombings at Monday’s Boston Marathon. Our prayers go out to the victims involved, and we are proud of the first responders – EMS, fire, police, race workers, and hospital staff – who so bravely cared for the injured.

If you live near North Hills Hospital, you will see a lot of activity in our parking lots over the next three days as the NCTTRAC sets up a mobile 140-bed hospital, along with dozens of ambulances, several AMBUS (multi-patient ambulances), and helicopters. This is only a drill and will simulate a hospital evacuation, something that might be necessary in the event of a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, or prolonged power failure.

Set-up for the drill will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, with the drill occurring on Thursday. At no time will regular patient care be affected, as the drill will use only “actor” patients and be confined to non-patient care areas and the parking lot. Tune in to our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/northhillshosp)  and Instagram feed (@NorthHillsHospital) for pictures of the drill throughout the week.

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This is the fourth post in our blog series, Meet our OBs. We hope you can get to know our physicians on a more personal level so that you can choose the best fit for you and your family.

OToole1

NHH_Headshots_Feb1_05

Dr. O’Toole attended medical school at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and then completed her internship and residency at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, New York. She has done extensive research on Fragile X and the effects on female reproduction, particularly being a Fragile X carrier and having premature ovarian failure and thyroid disease.

She has been married for five years and has a 22-month-old child and a 13-year-old black pug.

Dr. O’Toole – why did you get into medicine, and in particular, obstetrics?

I grew up surrounded by medicine.  My father was a small town internal medicine physician, and I grew up watching him take care of our community.  People always admired him so much, and he seemed to make such a difference in their lives.  I decided I wanted to have that kind of impact on people when I grew up.

I truly enjoy taking care of women and helping them through the different stages of life.  From adolescent changes and puberty, to pregnancy and childbirth, and finally through menopause, I want to help my patients make it through these times of transition with ease.  I like being able to answer all their questions and treat any conditions that are necessary.

What is one thing you wish every expecting mom would do/know?

Pregnancy is not easy!  Your body goes through so many changes throughout the entire process, sometimes you might feel like a totally different person. 

OToole2

What kind of reassurance can you provide to first-time moms-to-be?

It is normal to feel overwhelmed at times.  You are experiencing something completely new and foreign.  Most of the strange things you are experiencing are normal to pregnancy, but I like to be there and explain anything that my patients feel is strange.  Reassurance can go a long way for a first time mom!

What’s your best advice for someone who’s thinking about becoming pregnant?

Go for a preconception visit with your OB.  There are things that can be discussed and testing that can be done before you get pregnant that cannot be addressed once you are already pregnant.  Things like vaccinations and genetic testing can be taken care of ahead of time.  Plus, you can get started on the correct prenatal vitamin for you.

What is your best encouragement for someone who is having trouble conceiving?

Don’t give up.  There are so many different options out there to help women with issues conceiving.  It is a very rare case these days that isn’t able to eventually become pregnant.  And even for those rare few individuals who are unable to conceive despite intervention, the option of surrogacy is available

How has having children influenced the way you practice medicine or interact with your patients?

Experiencing being pregnant – having the morning sickness, having preterm contractions, going through childbirth – has made me have so much more empathy for my patients.  When they call me with problems or questions, I have actually experienced a lot of the things they have questions about so I can help them from both a medical perspective and a personal perspective.

OToole4

My daughter is the most important person in my life, but I also have a very demanding job.  I have learned how difficult it is to be a full-time working mother and still have quality family time.  I think this also has helped me relate to my patients on a personal level because so many mothers do work full-time now.

What new advancements in technology or medication are you most excited about?

All the genetic testing that is now available is so exciting to me.  We are able to prescreen so many patients now for diseases that before seemed to pop up out of nowhere.  Being able to counsel my patients appropriately prior to them being pregnant, and being able to offer them options regarding conception, has changed how I practice medicine.

When you’re not delivering babies, what do you do in your free time?

I LOVE to travel and my bucket list of places I want to go is extensive.  I lean toward places with warm climates and beaches.  My husband and I have a phenomenal group of friends and family in the area.  We like to get together with them on the weekends and cook out and have game nights.  And after living in New York for four years, I have a big interest in musicals.  I try and catch as many of the traveling shows that pass through here as I can.

For more information on Dr. O’Toole or to make an appointment, visit her  profile on the North Hills Hospital website.

Top Docs

Each year Fort Worth Magazine announces the Top 100 Docs in Tarrant County.  This year the magazine sent more than 4,500 local physicians a survey, asking them to voluntarily rate their peers and name who they thought were the best doctors.  Those physicians who were willing to participate went online to cast their votes.  Congratulations to the following doctors who are on North Hills Hospital’s active medical staff.

Cardiac/Thoracic Surgery
James Anderson, M.D. (also named for Vascular Surgery)
Reza Khalafi, M.D.

Cardiology
Randall Hall, D.O.
David Slife, D.O.
Balaji Veerappan, M.D.

Colon/Rectal Surgery
Augustine Lee, M.D.

Gastroenterology
Balu Chandra, M.D.
Mark Murray, M.D.

General Surgery
Suhail Sharif, M.D.

Family Medicine
Maria Fawcett, M.D.
Karen Smith, M.D.

Hematology
Mal Turner, M.D.

Infectious Diseases
Nikhil Bhayani, M.D.

Internal Medicine
Donald Frusher, D.O.

Nephrology
Ira Epstein, D.O.
Balamurugan Sankarapahdian, M.D.

Ophthalmology
Brian Ranelle, D.O.
Jerry Hu, M.D.

Podiatry
Steven Lund, DPM

Pulmonary Disease
Gary Jones, M.D.
James Siminski, M.D.

***All physicians are independent practioners and are not employed by North Hills Hospital.

safe to sleep

I can remember when my first of four sons was born how anxious I was each time I went to check on him in the crib.  I knew about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) but, back in the mid-70’s, there was not anything known that would reduce the risk of an infant dying suddenly and unexpectedly.  Even today, without a clear reason or known cause, SIDS remains the leading cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age.

In 1994, research gave us evidence that putting infants to sleep on their backs reduced the number of SIDS deaths.  The “Back to Sleep” campaign has dropped the rate of SIDS deaths by 50%.  This past year, the program was expanded to include new information on safe sleep practices for infants, the “Safe to Sleep” campaign.  These 3 simple recommendations of the campaign will provide a safe sleep environment for your infant to further reduce the risk of death from SIDS and other sleep-related causes.

1.       Always place baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night, to reduce the risk of SIDS.

2.       Put baby to sleep in a separate sleep area in the same room where you sleep.  If you bring baby into your bed to breastfeed, make sure to put him or her back into a separate sleep area, such as a safety-approved crib, bassinet, or portable play area when you are finished.

3.       Use a firm sleep surface, covered by a fitted sheet, to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of death. Remove all loose bedding, soft objects and toys.

Please share this information with anyone caring for your infant and with other parents.  This education will save infants’ lives.  For more information on SIDS, visit www.nichd.nih.gov/SIDS

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Jill Frost is the Interim Education Director at North Hills Hospital. She has been working in Women’s Services – both Labor & Delivery, and now childbirth education – for 33 years. In addition to delivering thousands of babies in the Northeast Tarrant County area, together Jill and her husband have 6 children and 7 grandchildren.

This is the second post in our blog series, Meet our OBs. We hope you can get to know our physicians on a more personal level so that you can choose the best fit for you and your family.

safely

NHH_Headshots_Feb1_04

Dr. Safely graduated from the University of Texas Medical School at Galveston, and then completed his internship and residency at John Peter Smith Hospital. He is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and has a particular interest in pelvic prolapse, minimally invasive surgery, and general OB/Gyn healthcare.

Dr. Safely has been happily married for more than 25 years and has two children. When he’s not delivering babies, he’s an avid tennis player and enjoys working on old cars.

 
Dr. Safely – why did you get into medicine, and in particular, obstetrics?

I love the family aspect of caring for pregnant women. My desire is to help people while integrating my passion and interest in science.

What’s your best advice for someone who’s thinking about becoming pregnant?

Don’t stress. Conception will usually occur within 6-12 months; some patients may take a bit longer.

safely3

What is your best encouragement for someone who is having trouble conceiving?

We personally experienced a miscarriage between our two children. I can relate to the stresses of infertility and pregnancy loss. I try to provide the information needed to guide patients through the maze associated with infertility.

safely2

What is one thing you wish every expecting mom would do/know?

My desire is for every women to have an uncomplicated pregnancy and uneventful/memorable delivery. I feel that this starts before pregnancy with eating right and getting regular exercise, managing stress and getting an adequate amount of sleep. Avoid alcohol and tobacco, of course.

What kind of reassurance can you provide to first-time moms-to-be?

I am there to provide education and spend time carefully answering their concerns or fears.

How has having children influenced the way you practice medicine or interact with your patients?

Since I have a college student and a near junior in high school, I feel I can offer a bit of experience and perspective to the younger pregnant patient as well as the maturity to our older gynecology patients who may be encountering surgery for the first time.

What new advancements in technology or medication are you most excited about?

Robotics definitely gives us a degree of precision in surgery that is unprecedented. It does not replace the basic skills needed to perform certain surgeries, however, it expends the scope of procedures that can be finished using 1/2 inch incisions or smaller, enabling quicker patient recoveries.

For more information on Dr. Safely or to make an appointment, visit his profile on the North Hills Hospital website.

Welcome to our new blog series, Meet our OBs. We hope you can get to know our physicians on a more personal level so that you can choose the best fit for you and your family.

OB quote 5

Snell

Dr. Snell-Hargrove graduated from Prairie View A&M University, and then attended medical school at Michigan State University. She completed her residency at Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, Michigan. She is a wife and mom of two young children.

 
Dr. Snell-Hargrove – why did you become a doctor, and more specifically, why did you choose obstetrics?
 
I fell in love with the idea of delivering babies when I was 11 years old. At that age, I knew that by becoming a doctor I would be able to deliver babies, but I did not have an understanding of all that came along with it.
 
While going through medical school I was exposed to many career opportunities, but I never found anything that excited me more than obstetrics.  To see the excitement in the eyes of a mother as she is blessed with the opportunity to deliver one of her greatest accomplishments brings me joy.  I also love to see the tears of joy that a father sheds as he holds that tiny part of them for the first time.
 
OB quote 1
 
What’s your best advice for someone who’s thinking about becoming pregnant?
 
Start your prenatal vitamins early.  Some people don’t realize they are pregnant until they are out of their first trimester.  Pregnancy itself is stressful enough, don’t add to the problem by prematurely worrying if it is an accomplishable task for you.  If you have a regular monthly cycle, it is possible to achieve pregnancy pending all other factors are normal.
 
What is your best encouragement for someone who is having trouble conceiving?
 
Relax. The more you try to say you will be pregnant by a certain day and time, the more the task seems to discourage and frustrate you. Discuss your timing with your physician. Other tests may be required, sometimes it is the subfertile female that shows the infertile male.
 
What is one thing you wish every expecting mom would do/know?
 
Early prenatal care is optimal.  Enjoy your pregnancy as much as possible.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
 
What kind of reassurance can you provide to first-time moms-to-be?
 
Don’t believe everything you read.  Trust that your doctor will do their very best for you to have a healthy mom and healthy baby.
 
OB quote 4
 
How has having children influenced the way you practice medicine or interact with your patients?
 
I feel that I am more compassionate when it comes to the discomforts of pregnancy.  I will continue to be understanding about the idea that every pregnancy is different.  How you react to the changes that are taking place makes all the difference in the world.
 
What new advancements in technology or medication are you most excited about?
 
I am most excited about minimally invasive surgical technology.  It is amazing that I get to be a part of this innovative field of medicine.  People are able to go home from the hospital in a shorter amount of time and recover much quicker.
 
For more information on Dr. Snell-Hargrove or to make an appointment, visit her profile on the North Hills Hospital website.

Our Stroke Program created a special video to let you know what happens when a patient comes to the hospital with stroke symptoms. Check out our one-of-a-kind creation, including a specially performed song.

Congrats to everyone involved – they were just re-certified as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission in January. We are very proud of our team.

This post is part of our series meant to encourage women in various stages of their lives and to remind each other that as women, we’re all in this together. I hope this series will provide you with new ideas, or at least the reassurance that not everybody’s home looks like those pictures on Pinterest

Meet Stephanie– wife and stay-at-home mom to two young children. (You can also check out Stephanie’s blog, Bless Our Little Nest, where she documents daily life with her family.)

Hi Stephanie! Tell us a little about your family:

My husband is in his mid-30s and finishing up an orthopedic residency.  I am in my early-30s and stay at home with our two kids – an almost five-year-old boy and a two-and-a-half-year-old little girl.  In a former pre-kids life I planned events and wore high heels every day.  I even had manicures.

 As a mom, how do you find balance?

As a mom, that is a comical question!   I feel like it’s more about making peace with the imbalance than actually finding a balance.  It took me several years into motherhood to realize that if I wanted to “do it all” I would need to have helpers. Because the people who I thought were “doing it all” actually had lots of people helping them to do it all.  If I am going to find balance, I have to prioritize what needs the most of my time and energy, and then I have to get creative about how I can do the other things.  And pick the things in my life that are “not for now.”

 What steps do you take to maintain your own health?

I recently joined the YMCA!  I felt like I was only kidding myself if I said I got my exercise from chasing my children.  I didn’t.  And I feel very strongly that my children needed to see me intentionally exercise and make my health a priority!  They also need to see me make healthy choices in the kitchen for myself.  I can’t expect my children to make good decisions regarding food and exercise if they don’t see me model those good behaviors.

Are your kids picky eaters? How do you create healthy eating habits for your children?

My son started off as a picky eater.  He was a typical “snackoholic” and “carboholic” toddler… feasting on puffs and goldfish and crackers.   I would rationalize things with the “organic” or “natural” labels… but actually, I just was just avoiding the very difficult task of making my son eat his good growing food.  I would offer good food at each meal, but if he didn’t like the fare he would hold out for something better at the next meal.  Or in his school lunch.  Or with his Grammy on Saturday morning.  

Then one day, I did something bold… I served his leftover dinner for breakfast.  And then for lunch again.  And by this point I had a very hungry little boy.  It was quite the ugly scene, but he knew I meant business!  And from that difficult afternoon when he was three-and-a-half, until now, we have been so much better.  He always tries everything on his plate.  He eats salad!  Loves raw carrots… just the other night we had wild duck and he loved it.  

 How do you promote exercise with your kids?

I make sure that we limit screen time, and I make sure they know that I make fitness and healthy choices a priority for myself.  (But let’s keep it real – as I typed this up my daughter watched PBS.  I have to be honest.)

 What tips do you have for managing your time in the midst of so many responsibilities?

One thing that I know I desperately need to implement is to stop multitasking!  If I have four things going on at one time I most certainly do not finish a task faster.  And I do believe that my work is sloppier!  I have also scaled back on my own commitments.  I would love to be more involved in community volunteer work, or make handmade gifts for my friends, or even volunteer at my kids’ preschool; however, I know that without a helper (either a babysitter or a housekeeper!) I would not be able to take care of my responsibilities.  I think as a mom, you have to learn your limits and respect them.  I am clearly still working on this!  

How has being a mom made you view sleep/rest differently?

So many moms I have talked to, myself included, feel the urge to stay up later to have some selfish time.  Watching a favorite TV. show, browsing Pinterest, catching up on friends’ blogs… but then, I am not well rested the next day!  Also, just to tackle deep cleaning projects often means I am staying up later than everyone else.  If I am inefficient with my time management in the day, I have to make a choice to lose sleep or leave the task incomplete.  Sleep is a luxury once you are a mom!

What mistakes did you make that you wish you could go back and fix?

I touched on this before, but a big mistake of mine was comparing myself to many other moms that I thought had it all together, all by themselves.  Everyone has a different set of circumstances, and to compare myself to anyone else is just plain silly.  I would see other people who looked so fit and refreshed… and I would wonder why on earth I didn’t… little did I know that they had a babysitter come to their house a couple of times a week so that they could go to yoga and run a few errands alone.  They didn’t talk about their sitter… and I just assumed that I just couldn’t get my act together since I didn’t have my act together like they did!  

 What is the hardest part of maintaining balance in your life?

Every couple of weeks there is something to throw the schedule completely off.  A good example is Halloween, another is my husband taking a week of vacation from his job.  When my schedule is out of whack… everything starts to go haywire.  My meal planning, my kids’ rest times/nap times, my own bedtime!  Rolling with the punches and keeping everything running smoothly is by far my biggest challenge, because, even when we are having fun, life goes on and there are loads of laundry to be done.

What does a balanced life for you look like?

A balanced life looks peaceful and calm.  Everything gets checked off the list.  Clearly… I don’t feel like I am there!   However, for me, for right now, a balanced life means I am intentional with my activities and time for my family, we live in a (relatively) clean house, and we eat healthy foods.  To have satisfaction with my level of balance, I have to let go of perfection.

What advice do you have for fellow women?

Be honest with each other.  Be honest with yourself.  So many people want to make everyone think they have it all together, but nobody has it all together all by themselves.  And everyone needs to cut themselves a little slack!

This post is part of our series meant to encourage women in various stages of their lives and to remind each other that as women, we’re all in this together. I hope this series will provide you with new ideas, or at least the reassurance that not everybody’s home looks like those pictures on Pinterest

Meet Meredith– wife, part-time employee, and mom to two beautiful little girls. (You can also check out Meredith’s blog, where she documents daily life with her sweet family.)

 

Meredith, tell us a little about your family.

I have been married to my college sweetheart, Walt, for six-and-a-half years.  I stay at home part-time with our two beautiful girls, Eloise Betty, two-and-a-half, and Emerson Caskey, one-and-a-half.  We also have a sweet little yorkie named Gracie Mae, who is almost seven.
 
As a mom, how do you find balance? 

Goodness, I think I struggled with this a lot once my second child came, seeing that my girls are only 14 months apart.  My husband travels a lot for his job, and we live no where close to family.  I love being a mom, and it definitely is the missing piece to our family link; however, I knew that I still needed to be able to live out my passion, which is teaching.  So, I found balance in staying home 2 1/2 days a week, and working 2 1/2 days a week. I feel I have the best of both worlds now…I have an identity as Eloise and Emerson’s mom, but I also have my own identity as a teacher, friend, and colleague in my work environment.  


 
What steps do you take to maintain your own health?

I try to be as active as I possibly can.  I make sure that I walk or run every day when I am home with my girls.  If it is too cold or rainy outside, then we turn on music and have a dance party.  I participate in afterschool workouts with other teachers on the days that I work.  I also make sure that I eat dinner when my girls do. This means eating early, but it has really helped out  because I am not eating late at night, and this has made a huge difference. 
 

Are your kids picky eaters?

My oldest, Eloise, is a picky eater.  I have had to be pretty creative with this little girl.  I’ve made “pictures” out of food, I have her “help” me cook, I’ve done cheers for her when she tries something new, and I have pureed vegetables and put them in sauces, batters, or breadcrumb mixtures.  Thankfully now, she watches me eat dinner and she wants to try what I am trying. If you have a picky eater, as hard as it is, don’t get worked up if they don’t want to eat something, and always have something healthy on their plate that you know they will eat. 
 
How do you create healthy eating habits for your children?

My girls watch what I eat, and I try to eat healthy, so I think this plays a big role in their eating habits. 
 
What tips do you have for managing your time in the midst of so many responsibilities?

I have a routine. My children have been on this routine since the day they came home from the hospital, and yes, there are days when the routine is messed up, but tomorrow is always a new day.  I have a life planner that I use to plan out my daily activities and keep appointments together, and a food calendar so that I know exactly what we are eating every day of the week. My children go down every night at the same time unless we have a prior engagement or we are out of town visiting family.  I have to do this so I can have time at the end of the day with my husband.  I also have certain days of the week where I clean my house.  Routine, schedule, routine, schedule.

How has being a mom made you view sleep/rest differently?

You know, at first, it was difficult. It really was, but I had to tell myself that every day will get easier and better, and it did.  Now, since I have my girls on a schedule, they sleep 12-13 hours a night. So, I can’t really complain about lack of sleep anymore.  But, there are some days where I am just beat. Maybe we did certain experiments or activities that really just wore me down, or I’ve been trying to clean a house and take care of 2 girls…so when they nap, I nap. I don’t feel guilty about that one bit. If my body is telling me, “Hey, I need to lie down for a bit,” I’ve learned I better do it, or else I will end up worn down and sick.

  
 
What mistakes did you make that you wish you could go back and fix?

Probably not to worry so much at the beginning.  I was so worried about when my girls were going to start sleeping through the night, or when was the right time for them to give up their pacifiers. One day I was at work and I realized, none of these kids have pacifiers, they all sleep through the night, these things will come.  I was not living in the moment the way I should’ve been.


What does a balanced life for you look like?

A balanced life for me is one where I hear laughter coming from the playroom, a husband who is happy and has a full tummy and the laundry has been folded and put away. 
 
What advice do you have for fellow women? 

Make sure you always do something for yourself…you always deserve it!

This post is part of our series meant to encourage women in various stages of their lives and to remind each other that as women, we’re all in this together. I hope this series will provide you with new ideas, or at least the reassurance that not everybody’s home looks like those pictures on Pinterest

Meet Rachel – wife and home-schooling mom of four.

Hi Rachel! Tell us a little about your family.
My husband David and I have been married for nearly 12 years. Now we have 4 rambunctious kiddos to keep us on our toes, and we live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. The last few years have been a roller-coaster ride for us. After my youngest was born, I taught high school English for one year, and then had the unexpected opportunity to open my dream business: a retail store for babies and kids. For two years, I sacrificed family time and sanity to keep the business afloat. We were all commuting an hour each way to work and school.  It was grueling for all of us.  When the business closed this past summer, we made some drastic life changes, and I started homeschooling my rugrats.  It was a big shift, but one we are all ecstatic that we made.

As a mom, how do you find balance?
The single most important thing is realizing that it isn’t possible to do everything.  It’s not realistic. I can’t have a perfectly clean house, perfectly behaved children, perfect meals, perfect outfits, perfect school room….you get the drift.  Once you cut yourself some slack, things miraculously seem to be going OK!

What steps do you take to maintain your own health?
To be honest, this is an area I have spent many years struggling with.  But I am finally coming to learn that it is perfectly fine for me to prioritize my own health.  In fact, it’s necessary to prioritize my own health!  These little people that I’m in charge of are watching me.  They want to be like me.  I want them to have a mom who eats right and exercises regularly as an example to base their own life habits on.  While this is still a work-in-progress in my family, we try to make this a family affair.  I don’t have the luxury of running to the gym, so we run across the pasture!

Are your kids picky eaters? How do you create healthy eating habits for your children?
I have one picky eater, but for the most part my kids eat very well.  We have always had a firm rule:  you eat what you are given.  The kids are required to try at least one bite of a new food.  If they TRULY don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it.  I always make sure there is at least one vegetable or fruit at every meal that they do like, so they always have a healthful choice that they enjoy.

How do you promote exercise with your kids?
One of the benefits of homeschooling my kids is that we have P.E. every day!  We go for a jog or a hike, we play outside and ride bikes, and we jump on the trampoline.  We also are lucky to have lots of room to roam around, so I usually kick the kids out of the house once or twice a day and tell them to run around outside!  We also limit TV and video game time, so it’s a real treat for them when they get it.

What tips do you have for managing your time in the midst of so many responsibilities?
You have to have a battle plan. For school, I create detailed lesson plans so that I know exactly what each kid is supposed to be working on. We have a chore chart for the kids, and we require them to help so that our house runs smoothly. I make a menu every week so I know exactly what I’m cooking for dinner.  Pre-planning these things keeps me from having to make a zillion decisions in a day, and keeps me from feeling so overwhelmed!

What mistakes did you make that you wish you could go back and fix?
I wish that I had not spent so many years worrying if I was doing everything “right.”  I wish I could’ve given myself a break a lot sooner.  It’s much easier to enjoy your family and your life when you’re not worrying if you’re screwing things up.

What is the hardest part of maintaining balance in your life?
The hardest part of maintaining balance is keeping a realistic picture of what balance really looks like.  It is not perfection.  Balance is contentment with what you have and where you are, and knowing you have done your best to get there.  It is striving for your best self every day, and giving yourself grace when you don’t quite live up to what you think you should be.

What does a balanced life for you look like?
For me, a balanced life is having the wisdom to focus my energy on the things that are important to me, and to let the other “stuff” in life go.

What advice do you have for fellow women?
My biggest piece of advice is to just stop judging yourself and comparing yourself to others.  We can never live up to the hype, no matter how amazing we are.  There will always be someone with a better job, a nicer house, more money, better behaved kids, whatever.  But behind closed doors, any mom will tell you, we’re all just trying to keep the house and the kids in one piece!

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If you or somenoe you know should be featured in our Balanced Women Series, leave us a comment and we may just feature you!

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