PART FOUR

Staying Well and Whole

Taking Good Care of Your Family—and Yourself— While You’re Hard at Work

Definition: To take care of:

  1.  To attend to or be heedful of needs and comforts, for oneself or for others

  2.  To be cautious; to stay safe

  3.  To cure, preserve, and support

Antonyms: To forget, neglect, or ignore

You’re in high workparenting gear. You’ve got some good moves for handling this phase of the journey, and the next. You’ve maximized your arsenal of workparent resources, and you’re pushing toward career success, however you define it. From the outside looking in, you’ve got the career-plus-kids thing down.

But what about on the inside? How are you doing personally, and how satisfied are you with the ways in which you’re nurturing and supporting yourself and your family? For many mothers and fathers, it’s this “inside” part of workparenting that feels the most important, and trickiest to get right. Maybe you’re forgetting what it’s like to have a good, healthy, sit-down family dinner—or are neglecting the need for rest, or ignoring your own feelings. You could have the most brilliant career possible, but may still struggle with this caretaking piece.

So in the next four chapters, we’ll deep-dive on sensible, satisfying ways to take care: on how to look after your own needs and comforts, on how to preserve and support yourself and the entire family now and in the years ahead. We’ll start with the most basic need of all—food—and gradually work our way up the ladder to feelings, and how to cope with them. By the end of this section, you’ll be more together personally, and more comfortable and confident in your role as caregiver, too.

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