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An Elle Editor on Balancing Motherhood and Career

This week Cleo’s guest blogger is Amy Synnott, the Executive Editor of Elle Magazine in New York. Amy lives on Manhattan’s Upper Westside with her son Alex 14, daughter Olivia, 11, and beloved labrador Lucy. Here she muses on the joys and challenges of navigating work and motherhood while remembering to practice self-care and wellness in these challenging times.

On balancing work and motherhood

It’s been challenging to balance the demands of work and homeschooling with everything else —  walking the dog, cooking three meals a day, and cleaning the apartment.  On the positive, learning to understand and seamlessly use technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams has brought our digital and print teams together and will make it so much easier for us to work remotely in the future.  And it’s been exciting to see how independent my children can work and how they have adapted to homeschooling. I do think it’s nice to be around your kids more. You save quite a bit of time by not commuting, so in the mornings, I have extra time with them, and instead of going to the cafeteria, I go to the kitchen to make lunch, and we eat together.

On spending all day in the kitchen

I’ve been cooking a lot more, making three meals a day for the kids. When things finally open up again, I’m committing to ordering a lot less takeout now that I have mastered the art of cooking and eating in a healthy way. I’ve been making lots of salads like the ones I usually buy from Sweet Greens. I’ll make a bowl and put in kale, quinoa, cheese, almonds, and chicken— simple healthy ingredients.

On the reality of isolation

I miss the daily interaction and seeing people face to face. You don’t realize how much you take that sort of camaraderie for granted. I also miss the change of scenery; it’s hard to be inside so much. Again, on the upside, I’ve been doing lots of Zoom meetings with friends all over the country, so in some ways, we are spending more time together than we have in years.

On the simple pleasures

I’m trying to be more mindful of the little things, like going for a walk. It’s  spring right now, and all the flowers are in bloom in Central Park — it looks so pretty. Spending time in the park and nature has been a real refuge for me. Some days it’s so sunny and beautiful, you could almost forget that we are living amid a pandemic.

On maintaining mental wellness

The main thing for me is exercise. I run every day in Central Park, even when I don’t feel like it. I force myself, and about 15 minutes into my run, I always feel so much better. I’m also taking a lot of baths with aromatherapy and reading. And the way I love to bond with my daughter is over Sunday spa day. We put on face masks and pamper ourselves.

On Mother’s Day

My mother lives in Florida and has a lot of underlying health issues, so she can’t leave the house, and she’s reluctantly accepted that. I make a point to call her two or three times a day, as it gets very lonely. My mom has always shown me unconditional love, and that’s something I’ve tried to instill in my kids to give them a sense of confidence and security. I am not sure how I will spend Mother’s Day, as it’s also my daughter Olivia’s birthday. Given our current reality, I am mostly focused on how to help her celebrate her birthday. 

And there you have it! Even on Mother’s Day, we moms will sacrifice our own happiness and needs to make our children happy. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy Mother’s Day to our Cleo Community.

Follow Amy on Twitter.
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