Finding Balance: Mallika Chopra on Work and Motherhood

In this week’s episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents” on The Chopra Well, hosts Mallika Chopra, Dr. Cara Natterson and Dani Modisett discuss balance. Many parents, no matter how organized, find themselves constantly stretched, juggling kids, jobs, housework and more. We interviewed Mallika on her personal approach to achieving balance and the things that get in the way.

The Chopra Well: Describe your daily struggle for balance – between family and work and personal projects. Any specific practices that help you get through the day?

Mallika Chopra: I do struggle for balance between my kids and work. (No time right now really for personal projects!) I’m pretty clear my #1 priority is my girls, so I think people who work with me understand and appreciate that. Hmm. As for practices, truly even 10 minutes of meditation halfway through the day helps anchor me. I try to set an intent for each day, too. That helps me stayed focused.

CW: Is there anything you find yourself consistently putting on the back burner that you wish you had more time to focus on?

MC: Exercise!! And yoga classes.

CW: If you had, say, five more hours in the day, how would you spend them?

MC: I would sleep in a little later. I normally wake up at 6:30am to get the kids ready for school. I don’t think I would sleep much later actually, but even being able to lounge in bed for another 10 minutes seems lovely. I’d definitely spend an hour exercising. Sadly, though, I think it’s my personality that even five more hours a day wouldn’t change my nature to feel overwhelmed at times.

CW: In the contemporary world, where 72% of moms with kids over 1 year old also work, how does this affect our parenting? Our kids? Our economy?

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 3.04.30 PMMC: Well, most women don’t have the choice to work outside and inside the home. It’s the reality of the economy, and life is expensive. I know for many years I worked just so that I could pay the wonderful people who helped me at home and with my kids. And you know, something like 75% of full-time working moms use childcare and/or household help. I was lucky to figure out a work scenario which gives me flexibility, as I don’t have to go to an office every day for work, and my husband has a stable income. Having the kids older and in school is a dramatic shift, too, as I have more hours to focus on work. But it is a hard, hard balance!

CW: What biggest piece of advice would you give to a new parent regarding balance and personal wellness?

MC: I know the reality is that when you have a newborn, are managing a house, and working, finding time for yourself is almost impossible. I never really related to the experts who said “find time for yourself,” because that wasn’t the reality I experienced for myself or many of my friends. I would encourage parents to know that it does get better, you figure out your rhythm, and they should truly cherish the time with their kids. Everyone tells new parents that the time escapes before you know it. Now that my kids are 8 and 11 years old, I am so nostalgic for those early years. And I feel fortunate to be able to make choices everyday to balance my schedule so I can cherish the moments with them.

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Read last week’s article – Doctor’s Advice: How to Talk with Your Kids About Sex