Hey moms, your new health to-do list starts today. We all know that it can be difficult for today’s working mothers. Beyond our daily responsibilities at work, we also serve as the Chief Medical Officer for our home. With tissue in one hand and a thermometer in the other, we make doctor appointments for our spouses, children and sometimes for other family members like our parents. We worry about the swine flu. We help choose our healthcare plans and make sure everyone’s prescription is right, up to date and filled. It’s all in a day’s work as we try to keep our families healthy.
As a mother, a nurse and now even as the CEO of one of the country’s leading health care system, the wellbeing of my family has always been a priority. Perhaps it’s all part my nurturing DNA that all women possess. But like most women, I sometimes forget to take care of me. As we hold so much of our families’ care in our hands and in our hearts, many of us forgo our own health. We constantly put love ones’ needs before our own. We go to work sick, forgo our mammograms and pap smears and just never seem to have the time to exercise. We say to ourselves, “I have to get around to that.” And then we never seem to make the time.
Women are grossly underserved when it comes to health improvement. There are over 17 million uninsured women in the U.S. alone, plus women account for less than 30 percent of the participation in clinical trials on new medications and procedures. Even women fortunate enough to have access to care still lack current information, consistent diagnoses, and most importantly – a sense of empathy with other women.
It’s imperative that we learn to manage our family’s health along with our own. It should never be an “either-or” situation when it comes to the wellbeing of our family. We need to incorporate basic things into our lives including taking time for ourselves, sharing our stories with other women and utilizing resources that can help us emotionally and physically. That should also be our priority as we maneuver through our daily lives.
I know sometimes it can be difficult for us to put ourselves first but we have to find the time.