Those who know me know that I am a very private person. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming plus a whole lot of peer pressure into the social media craze. I started tentatively with LinkedIn as this was professional, then ventured into Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Honestly I don’t even understand some of the popular social sites like Snapchat that my kids and their friends love. I have slowly stirred away from Facebook as I don’t appreciate some of its malignant potential. I find that there is lots of showoffiness (is that even a word?) , bullying and political grandstanding. Instagram I really like because you can post a photo with little or no words and it tells a story. It is so much easier for me to navigate and has become my go to social site.
I initially started to Instagram just to share family photos and various activities and trips. Earlier this year after a lot of soul searching that can only happen after a milestone birthday, I decided to shift the focus slightly.
As a cancer doctor, I see so many young women with young children diagnosed with breast cancer. Many survive and many still do not. I started to think of what else I can do for these women. Medically, I have done all I can. Their families and friends I know do so much else for them with home care and childcare.
When you are faced with a potentially fatal illness all you can think about is ‘am I going to die?’ And the answer is yes we are all going to die. But you don’t want it to be at a young age before you’ve seen your kids graduate from school, get married, have grandkids etc. No one wants to die before they have actually had a chance to LIVE.
So with that Live! Balancing life with Jovita was born. My instagram handle changed to @lifewithjovita.
The idea being that I want to live the life that some of my patients and many others suffering from debilitating or fatal illnesses cannot. So I Instagram my various activities and outings because I want to encourage well, able bodied, healthy women to go out there and LIVE.
I want my platform to be living a healthy lifestyle and living your very best life. I hope to educate, inspire and motivate.
Life is too short and you only live once is not a cliche. It is reality. I know this because I see it daily in practice. Live with no regrets. Travel when you can. Hug your children often. Have fun with your girlfriends. Make time for your spouse or significant other. Don’t get caught up in the minutia of life. Don’t judge others, they too are living their lives.
As always thanks for reading and comment below.
Can a woman have it all?
Do you know any woman that has it all?
You have it all when you are on top of the world. At the top in your job. You are perfection in all aspects of your life. You are the best mom ever. The best wife. The best friend who never forgets birthdays. You send home baked cookies to school instead of store bought. You never miss school meetings or the kids after school games and activities. You volunteer at school. Your marriage is perfect. You have time for date nights with your spouse. Your home is always clean and organized. You are very good at your job and well respected by your colleagues. You get constant promotions and accolades at work. And… you are home every night to make a home cooked meal for your family.
Wow! This is a lot. I want to be this woman! Is this actually attainable? Do people like this exist?
I honestly think that this is not attainable. And if attained, will never be sustainable.
Hear me out.
A woman who works full time, and is married and has children can have it all but it will not be 100% in all areas. Put another way, a woman can have it all but not all at the same time. It is not humanly possible to give it your all at work and then go home and do the same.
I believe the only way to have it all is if you have help. Help in the form of spouses that pull their weight, nannies, drivers, house cleaners, landscapers, personal assistants. All the stuff that really wealthy people have. In that case then do you really have it all if you are getting help and not doing it yourself.
In my opinion- heck yes!
Having it all to me means that you are present for your children, your spouse, your friends and your job in a way that makes sure none of them feel they are neglected. For this to happen, you have to be okay with having help and you have to be okay with everything not being perfect all the time.
What this means is that, you must learn to prioritize your obligations.
So you can have your marriage be the priority. Or your children. Or friends or the job. But you can’t have it all be a priority all at the same time. You must give up the idea or ideal of perfection as this does not exist. And the stress of trying to do it all is not healthy.
It is okay miss a work deadline from time to time or cancel a meeting, so that you can make it to the kids game or parent teacher conference. And likewise you can arrange for someone else to drive the kids to school or miss a dance or piano recital so you can be the lead lawyer in that big court case.
Cooking every night? Not necessary. It is okay to order food in sometimes so that you spend that extra time you would have been cooking, doing homework with the kids or chatting with your spouse about your respective days.
It is okay to miss one night of helping with homework so you can go to happy hour with girlfriends to celebrate a birthday.
Having it all really requires that you have help. And rich people are not the only ones that can afford help. There are many low cost ways to get help. Instead of driving the kids to and from school yourself or getting a driver, why not car pool with other parents or put them on the school bus.
You can’t afford a house cleaner or landscaper? Make it a family weekend activity and get the whole family to help. Teach your kids early on how to clean their rooms/spaces and how to do their laundry.
Plan out the kids activities and social calendar a month in advance. Try to schedule work meetings around it. If you can’t be there, make sure your spouse is there. If there are grand parents, aunts, uncles, best friend they can also fill in for you. The idea is for the kids to look out at the stands and see a friendly face cheering for them.
I may not be the ‘perfect’ woman described above, but I truly feel that I have it all. I have a career that I love, a good marriage, well adjusted children and great group of friends. I’m I perfect in all of it? Of course not. The goal is balancing my obligations (with help) in a way that none of them suffer.
What are your thoughts? Do you think a woman can have it all?
Please leave your comments below and as always thanks for reading.
As a working mom I am always looking for easier, less stressful, quicker ways to do things. We all know that time spent doing minutiae is time wasted that we will never get back. And that quality time with husband and kids is what life is all about, right? These are some of the things that have really helped me in those years that my kids were growing up. Some I still use now.
MY TRAVEL HACKS
Travel is important to me and my family. Whether it is local, out of state or out of the country, we have a need to pack up and go somewhere often. Preferably at least once a year out of the country.
1-What I started doing some years ago to alleviate the stress of coming up with a big chunk of money when we decide where we are going, is saving all year long. We call it our vacation fund and put money into it monthly. By the end of a year, you have a tidy amount that goes to pay for vacation without breaking into your bank. I am by nature a saver and do this for most things- I also do a college and Christmas savings.
2-We also get the kids involved in choosing our next travel location. This gets them involved so they don’t act like bratty ungrateful kids who are being dragged to vacation. They actually enjoy it as they get to do a little research ahead of time into currency, cuisine, customs, history, popular sites. When they were younger we made them write reports upon return.
3-I have a suitcase just about always ready to go. A toiletry bag holds duplicates of all the makeup, lotions, perfumes, hair care items, that I use at home. So I don’t have to run around trying to put my bag together before we travel. There is always workout clothes and sneakers in my ready to travel bag. Same with underwear and pajamas. Once the basics are done, all you need to come up with is your day to day attire. If you have younger kids, do the same for them.
4-An easy packing tip is BLACK. Black can be dressed down or up. Always pack a dress, jeans, a pair of heels. This way you are prepared if you have to go out to dinner or somewhere fancy
5-If going someplace far and especially if connecting flights, you need these in your carryon. Your medicines. A toothbrush and toothpaste. Deodorant. Your contact lenses and or glasses. Hand sanitizer and wipes. A charger for your devices. Earphones. A universal electrical plug. A change of underwear. A change of clothes. A big scarf that doubles as a blanket. A neck pillow. Your laptop, iPad, kindle, reader, book, playing cards, magazine. Snacks. You never know when your flight will be delayed or your suitcase won’t make it.
What about you? How do you keep efficient when traveling? Please do share your tricks or suggestions with me.
And as always thanks for reading ,
What cape I’m I talking about? You all know the one. The same one you see on any standard issue Marvel superhero. I know this is an odd title for a post, but seems appropriate for my current situation.
Most parents especially moms are super people. We run around when our kids are young with our invisible capes, doing it all. We are able to balance running a household with all its complexities and various hats. At one moment we are chefs, whipping up the most amazing meal fit for a top rated restaurant. Then we are doctors mending the small and big booboos. At other times we are teachers patiently going through tedious homework and learning ‘new math’. We are the great negotiator- settling arguments, the biggest cheerleaders- at every game rain or shine, designers and tailors- making the most amazing Halloween and school play costumes. We are the very best friend, the confidant, the chauffeur, the super shopper, the cleaner, the disciplinarian, coordinator, event planner and so much more.
I honestly don’t know how we manage it all. And many times we do all that and have full time jobs too.
I was just noticing over the past few weeks how busy I feel I have been recently and yet I accomplish very little. As a new empty nester I feel I should have so much more free time and so much more done, since I don’t have to wear all the hats I wore when the kids where younger.
But alas! I am still looking for all my free time. Why do I feel like even with all this supposed free time, I still can’t seem to get much of anything accomplished.
How in the world did I manage to work full time (and dare I say worked a lot more when my kids were young), and still able to balance and get so much more done than I do now. I was able to work all day, get home and make dinner, supervise homework, get kids to various after school activities and get ready for the next day.
Now I barely have time to pick up takeout on my way home and pass out as soon as I hit the bed.
So this is what I think has happened. Please back me up all you fellow empty nesters if you agree.
I believe our cape has come off because with the kids are gone we no longer have use for it. The cape gives us super powers. We are able to do super human things. Once we get the kids out of the house and presumably ready to be on their own, only then can the cape come off as our jobs are done.
For those that say, our jobs are never done. I agree. I think the cape will appear as needed over our children’s lives.
For now that is my explanation of what’s going on. I refuse to accept that I can’t do as much anymore because – what? – I’m getting old!
Kindly let me know your thoughts.
As always, thanks for reading.
So the kids are gone and I have a new normal and they call it “empty nest“. My husband jokingly calls it “full nest“. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Is it? A big deal has been made by a whole lot of people about this whole phenomenon. Okay, yes of course, we should make a big deal of it because after all we all love our kids and will miss them dearly when they leave home. I even cried when I dropped off my boy at college last month, but now that the dust has settled, should I feel guilty that I don’t have those traditional empty nest feelings?
One of my friends who also just dropped off their last kid at college, said to me the other day, “my husband and I sit at the breakfast table and have nothing much to say to each other without the kids running interference”. That made me realize why so many couples divorce once the kids leave home. Our lives get so wrapped up in the kids that we ignore our relationship. Well, my friends you should never allow yourselves to get to that point. If you are in my same boat and or close to being in my same boat, I have a few suggestions on how to transition without feeling that you have an empty nest and living with a stranger.
First and foremost, remember that you married your spouse for a reason. You met him/her and fell in love. You had some time before the kids when you talked, socialized, shopped, cooked, exercised, cleaned and did many things together. Then the kids came along and all that changed. My question is, why does it have to change? Yes I know that kids demand a whole lot of your time and attention and with the running around involved with raising children, there is hardly any time left for you. But that is where so many parents go wrong. We give up so much of our time to our children and never prepare for the eventuality that they will someday leave the nest, so when it does happen it catches us unawares.
Whether you met and courted your spouse one day, one month, one year, ten years before marriage and kids, the fundamental thing is to never stop the courtship. Make time for the two of you to do the things you enjoyed prior to kids. Set up one or 2 nights or days out of the week when it is just the two of you. Call it date night or date day or romance day or mommy/daddy time – you get the point. It is all about you two. Here are some suggestions of what to do with that time:
1-Go to the movies or a show.
2-Sit together and binge watch a show together
3-Go out to dinner or drinks.
4-Walk, bike or run around the park.
5- Play tennis, golf, racquetball, table tennis together
6- More of an indoor game couple?- chess, checkers, board games, pool.
7-Get a hotel room in town and spend a romantic night out of the house
8- Go for a long drive out of town and spend the weekend in another city
9- Travel far – go out of state or be adventurous and go out of the country
10- Stay in and do house chores together – cleaning, laundry, gardening, painting, reorganizing
Remember this time is for just the two of you sans kids. And oh, try not to talk about the kids during this time. If you do, it should be in passing. Essentially continue to date each other after marriage and after kids. You can also do some of these things with other couples, you can call it double dating. I believe that being around other couples in a healthy marriage helps to strengthen relationships.
Something else that I find important is to have a life outside of your spouse. It is very important and healthy to have some alone “me” time. A good relationship is not about suffocating each other. You should each have your own interests so that when you do come together you have more to talk about.
Trust me, this will help you transition once the kids are out of the house because it allows you to continue to live your life per usual. You will just continue to do what you always do. And when the kids do come home for holidays and such, you incorporate them back into your life and activities again. It makes it easier when they have to go back to school. It also makes it easier for the kids to go back knowing that their parents are doing well.
So empty nest is not a bad thing. This is part of life’s cycle. We are born, we grow up with our parents, they let us loose, we find a mate, we raise children and then they too flee the nest. We want this for them so they can continue the cycle. This does not mean that we should shrivel up and die. This just means that it is your time to continue to live a full life and perhaps get ready for grand children some day.
My advice, if you find yourself in that scenario, where the kids are gone, and you did not prepare yourself, is that it is never too late. Take pen to paper and jot down all the reasons you married your spouse. What attracted you to them? What are their best qualities? What fun things did you both enjoy before kids? For some, it will take a whole lot of work, but take the items on your list one at a time and re discover each other. Re ignite your love and passion. Fall in love all over again.
For my husband and I, it is indeed a “full nest” as our plates are full with all the fun we are having and plan to have!
Please feel free to comment below and as always. thanks for reading,
I just saw something come across my email the other day asking “Is it healthier to be happy?” Intuitively I would say yes of course it is! It makes sense physiologically and biologically that when you are happy, you are not stressed. We all know that when the cells are stressed, that is when we develop diseases and illness. Therefore, being happy should mean happy cells and subsequently a healthier you. If that is all it takes to be happy, why are we not all happy? And for that matter what is happiness?
The New Oxford dictionary defines “Happy” as a state of feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. That sounds like a pretty accurate definition. So, if I asked 100 people that question. Are you happy? Or what is happiness to you, I think we would all probably define it a bit differently. And the meaning will for sure be all over the place for each of us.
Some people would say I am happy when my family is well and healthy. Some people are happy when they are with friends and family. Others would probably say their children, their pets, their jobs make them happy. I have friends who are happy just eating good food. For some it would mean financial security.
My own definition of happiness for me has always been very complex. I would say that I am happy when every aspect of my life is completely lined up. This means my personal life is in order, my inner circle is right and my outer circle is aligned.
Let me break it down for you.
Personal has to do with me and me alone. How is my emotional state? How is my health? Is my weight where I need it to be? I’m I getting enough sleep? I’m I exercising like I want to? I’m I being the best me that I can be?
Inner circle has to do with your relationship with close family and friends. Your people, your village, your posse – whatever you call them. Is this relationship okay? Are you fighting? Not speaking? Are they healthy? Are they well? Are any of them going through problems/issues at the moment that can impact your life as a person close to them. That means illness, death, financial problems, relationship problems, loss of jobs etcetra.
Outer circle are those people and things that are not related to you or close enough to be friends but nonetheless can impact your life positively or negatively. These includes work or career life, school life, neighbors, acquaintances, the world. Are there issue at work? Demotion? Pay cut? Lack of respect of coworkers? A bad neighbor making your life hell? Is your city, your country in crisis?
So given that definition I ask myself, are you happy? When I think about what my answer would be to that question, given my criteria above, I realize that I cannot answer it with a 100 percent affirmative because, I may be happy with one aspect of my life and unhappy with another. I bet it will be truly rare to find someone where all three aspects align perfectly.
So as I sit here pondering this question, I have come to the conclusion that my definition is too strict. I don’t believe happiness has to be 100 percent. It can’t possibly be. I personally, will take 70-80 percent any day but the closer to 100 percent you can get, I’m sure the better. I know that it is healthier to be happy and I most certainly want to be healthy. Therefore, moving forth, when asked if I am happy, I will give a resounding Yes! because I am a glass full kind of person! And honestly life in general is good. If I complained or thought otherwise, it would not be fair to the many people out there who are not as fortunate or have real problems.
Think about that the next time, you feel that you are unhappy. Yes, a part of your life may not be okay at the moment, but look, the other parts are okay. When all else fails, remember that you got out of bed today. I know so many people who would give up so much to be able to do just that.
As always please let me know your thoughts and thanks for reading,
It was a busy summer, but somehow I found time for my favorite pastime- books. Seriously if you are a reader or a wanna be reader who feel they have no time, look into audiobooks. I love audible as it has changed my life in immeasurable ways. I can multitask and read while doing virtually anything. I want to share my summer reads with you. I will try not to give up too much of the plot. Hope you’ll get a chance to check out these books.
1- Children of blood and bone by Tomi Adeyemi
This debut novel was a totally fun read set in the fictional West African land of Orisha. It is a epic mix of fantasy, magic and adventure as our heroine and her friends strive to restore the legacy of Orisha. Lovers of Harry Porter, Hunger games and Twilight will like this. Plus Steven Spielberg bought the movie rights so look out for a blockbuster movie in the near future.
2- An American marriage by Tayari Jones
This story was so engrossing and promises to generate a whole lot of discussion. A young married couple and in an unexpected turn of events are put in an impossible situation. This is the story of how they navigate their circumstances to come out on the other side.
3- The hate you give by Angie Thomas
Wow. I did not think I would like this book since I never like books about racial tensions. But this book looks at race and race relations from a different point of view than what we are used to- the view of a teenage girl who is an eye witness to the police shooting of her friend. Another book that’s sure to generate a whole lot of discussion.
4- Before we were yours by Lisa Wingate
This story is based on the real life scandal of an adoption agency in Memphis that kidnapped poor children and sold them to wealthy families around the country. It follows children from one family from when they were kidnapped to present day, 2 generations later. This story will tug at your heart and enrage you at the same time.
5- The book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir
This is a debut novel by Dr Weir. This story about a pregnant teen who is the daughter of a televangelist and part of a popular reality TV show. How they spin the story of her pregnancy in an attempt to keep family secrets is the subject of this book.
Hope you guys check these books out. And if you have read these already please do tell me what you thought.
As always, thanks for reading
Hi all in the bloggersphere and beyond. I’m back for now to my once weekly postings (I will try really hard to stick to this).
It’s been one of the busiest summers to date. In addition to working full time taking care of breast cancer patients in my practice, I’ve been extremely busy doing other things.
My son graduated from high school in May so there has been graduation, then graduation parties and a couple of trips to his new school for orientation, moving him in and settling him into his new dorm.
We are now officially empty nesters. I have mixed feelings about it all. I’m excited for him as he embarks on the start of the rest of his life. He will be meeting new people, learning and discovering himself outside of family. I’m also nervous for him and hoping he remembers all the various life lessons we have thought him over the years and hoping he makes great life decisions and choices. And I wish him all the success in life. He on the other hand is so excited and happy and looking forward to everything. This makes me happy, seeing that he is happy.
On the home front, my husband and I will miss the kids terribly but we are also happy to have them gone and looking forward to our new life without human kids- my husband has 2 Belgian Shepards- his fur babies. I try not to claim them but they’re wearing me down.
Also this summer, my parents celebrated 50 years of married life. There was ofcourse a big party because you have to celebrate this huge milestone. The preparations included traditional custom made tailored clothing for all the children, their spouses and grandchildren. There was also coordinating all the children, grand children, spouses, inlaws and various family members traveling from all over and their accommodations. There was a church ceremony with vow renewal and a big gala party. All exhausting but beautiful and something to aspire to. This was the first time my entire family (me, my parents and siblings) have been together in about 23 years. The epic fail was not having a chance to do a big family photo with everyone. Hopeful there will be another chance soon.
I also had a chance to go with my husband on one of his golf trips. This was way more fun than I had anticipated. He usually travels by himself to bond with his golf buddies and I’m sure there are lots of ‘boys will be boys stuff’ that go on. But it was kind of nice to go and get to meet the other wives (my fellow golf widows.)
We were in Los Angelos for my husband’s high school reunion weekend. This was a whole weekend of brotherhood and making new friends and acquaintances. And another chance to dress up at the gala night.
Both of my kids also celebrated birthdays this summer. My daughter turned 22 in August and my son 18 in June.
We travelled to New Orleans this summer, as well, with friends for the Essence music festival. This was so much fun as you can imagine a bunch of adults in New Orleans. The nightly concerts were amazing. From a private suite, we enjoyed musical performances by Mary J Blige, Janet Jackson, Snoop Dog, Queen Latifah, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Ella Mae, Idris Elba, Miguel, and so much more.
I also made some time to continue monthly dinner club outings with my girlfriends and a few happy hours. I find it is important to maintain these friendships.
Truthfully, I am quite exhausted after such a whirlwind summer. I am now ready to get back to ‘normal’. But first, I will be doing a top to bottom house cleaning since the kids are gone, re organizing my kitchen and closets (I have a lot to donate) and doing some yard work (not my favorite thing to do). I may blog about how I accomplish these things later.
There were so many other events and outings that happened this summer that I’m forgetting about. But for now, I’m happy to be back and looking forward to reading all of your blogs and posting some of my own.
As always, thanks for reading
And don’t forget to check out my Instagram @lifewithjovita
I once heard someone say that the two most important days in your life are the day you were born and and the day you figure out why.
I have spent many hours and many days mulling over this simple statement. I have even re quoted it to lots of family and friends. The only thing though is that I don’t think I have figured it out yet for myself.
Why was I born? Am I there yet and just don’t know it?
A few years ago, I read a Jodi Picoult novel My Sister’s Keeper about parents who had a child for the sole purpose of having a bone marrow donor for their other child who had leukemia. Here is a case of knowing for sure the exact reason you were born. The reason unfortunately is not this crystal clear for the rest of us.
Sure I have a profession as do many of you. But is my profession or my job, why I was born, what I am meant to be doing? Is it my reason for being. Or is there something else that I have still to uncover. Many of us decide on a profession upon getting to college at the age of 16-18 years old. Is that old enough, wise enough to have that kind of knowledge? Maybe not. Evidenced by the fact that many people change their majors several times in the first 2 years of college. Yet many others change careers later on in life. Perhaps that’s because they found their calling or their reason for being.
But still I ask, how do we know? Will there be the proverbial Oprah aha! moment or lightbulb moment or lightning or thunder? Or is it something that we just feel. Or maybe we are there and just don’t know it.
I don’t know why, but this really bothers me.
I am the kind of person that want answers. I hate riddles for that reason. So this particular question bugs me and I really want to know.
What about you? Have you figured out why you were born?
If so how did you find out?
Please share your insights into this puzzling question.
As always thanks for reading.
I talk so much about health and being healthy that I have been asked a lot lately what my routine is for diet and exercise. I never ask people to do anything that I would not do myself but I truly believe we should all have a routine. So I wanted to take this opportunity to blog about my particular routine.
The relationship between what we eat and how we move and our health is such an important one. There is so much data to collaborate this fact. But as much as we know this, it is not easy to do
I’ve been known to say that the only reason I exercise is so I can eat
This is truth.
But not the only reason.
I can assure you that no one who exercises regularly really really enjoy it. I’m not going to lie to you, the first 20 to 30 minutes is pure hell. But once you get into it and your muscles loosen up, then it starts to be tolerable. It is important to establish clear reasons and clear goals for yourself. What are your reasons for wanting to exercise and eat right and what are your goals?
These are my reasons.
– I want to maintain a healthy weight so I can fit and look good in my clothes as I love all things fashion.
– I want for the most part to be healthy. I want to prevent diabetes, prevent the complications of hypertension, decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer. Especially since high blood pressure and diabetes run in my family
– I want to live long so I can see my kids grow up
– I want to be healthy so I can continue to do the activities that I enjoy
– I want to be able to eat what I want because I hate to diet
My goal is a certain BMI, weight and clothing size.
How do I achieve this?
– I try to do 4-5 days a week. If I can do 3 then that’s okay too.
– My two go to exercises are running and The Barmethod. I run or walk for cardio and do the Barmethod (a form of Pilates and yoga) for strength training
– I run on my treadmill at home. When the weather is good, I run or walk outside.
– When I can’t exercise, I make an effort to decrease the amount of calories I consume
– I use a food recording app to document everything I put in my mouth. This keeps me accountable
– I walk as much as I can. I always try to hit 10000 steps a day. I take the steps over the elevator as much as I can. I try not to seat for long periods at work so I get up and walk around when I can.
– As regards diet, I am getting closer and closer to a plant based diet. I am maybe 70% and don’t know that I will ever get to 100%. So….there is a whole lotta hoopla about plant based diets and this is understandable because let’s face it the health benefits are scientifically proven and can’t be ignored.
– My go to meal is oatmeal for breakfast, if I eat breakfast. Greek yogurt and granola for lunch and a salad for dinner.
– About 3 times a year I crave a burger or steak. And I go for it.
– I try to minimize carbs- bread, pasta, rice and sugars in general.
– I do not drink sodas at all
– I try to eat as much fruits and vegetables as I can
For me it’s really all about balance. I don’t like to deny myself because otherwise, I crave that which I cannot have. And craving leads to binging which is not healthy. So I exercise and I eat healthy.
The more often you do this,
the more likely it is to become habit. No big revelations here. You get out what you put in.
What are your thoughts?
As always, thanks for reading