Jenn Guarracino was stressed about placing her 3-year-old daughter in daycare. Once she accepted her role as a working mom, though, things fell into place. "I realized that my daughter Lilli gets the most out of her days with her classmates and teachers -- and because I am allowed my professional outlet, she gets the best of me."
When things get hectic (and Jenn admits they often do), she and her husband get through it all with a sense of humor: "We laugh a lot. We joke and poke fun at the mayhem that parenthood can be. "
Jenn says mothers can cut the stress easily by adopting a more carefree attitude, "Give yourself a break! No one is perfect, and you have to take time where you can find it. No one wants to let Dora the Explorer be her babysitter, but sometimes, if I have one more thing to do after a long workday, Dora has to make an appearance. I try not to feel too much guilt about the shortcuts I take. In the long run, I've found taking a shortcut or two helps me be present with my daughter when it matters most."
Christine Warcup Poncia chose to work the midnight shift as a police officer to spend more time with her 6-year-old son, Michael. "The stress I feel is at night when I leave for work, kiss my sleeping child good night and pray that I will return home safely when my shift is over."
Christine copes by leaving the stress of work behind and focusing solely on being a mom while at home. She tries to find an hour a day to recharge her battery, even if it's just to read a magazine or lie in the hammock to enjoy a sunny day.
Realizing the value of mommy time didn't come easy, however. "It took me a long time to understand that I wasn't being selfish if I was doing something for me and not always for others. When you are more relaxed, it positively affects your family. Don't be afraid to delegate tasks if you can't handle it all," she says.
Christine has managed to turn household chores into fun family activities. "One of my favorite things to do with my son is grocery shopping," she says. "No rush in and rush out. He helps me make a list, holds the coupons, and checks the apples for worms. It turns a dreaded shopping trip into a fun and educational experience."
Come up with your own de-stress program to get on the fast track to better health. Here are some more tips:
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