Self-care Series: Margaret M. Quinlan
At &Breathe, we're extremely passionate about our parental self-care mission. It's so important to make time for yourself in your parenting journey - self-care isn't selfish! After all if you're not at your best, how can you be at your best for those around you?
Margaret M. Quinlan is the co-author of You're doing it wrong! Mothering, media, and medical expertise (Johnson & Quinlan, 2019, Rutgers University Press). An associate professor in the department of communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Margaret explores how communication creates, resists and transforms knowledge about bodies.
&B: How do you manage to balance work/life/mumming? Is it possible?!
MQ: I definitely do not think it is possible so I really do not try. I love my kids and the work I do and it is neat how my research has taken a turn towards writing about parenting. The writing about parenting does help me be a better mom or at least I can justify the time I spend on social media because it is for “research”.
Career vs Kids
&B: How has being a parent influenced your career and passion for your work? Has your passion changed since you had your daughter?
MQ: Ironically, I have become more prolific as an academic since having children (ages 4 and 18 months). I do not think that should be anyone’s goal it just happened for me that way. I think that I use my “work” time more effectively since I am usually paying for childcare. I do miss the days that I could sit in a coffee shop and write for hours without thinking about school pickups for the kids—those blocks of uninterrupted time were so precious.
&B: What do you hope to teach/pass on to your child(ren) by the way you live your life/mission?
MQ: Both my husband and I are very hard workers. I hope to role model that to my children as my parents did for me. School did not come easy for me which is ironic because I am still in academia. Although I do not hope my children struggle in school, I hope they work hard to always do their best and reach their potential.
on keeping fit
&B: How do you like to keep fit and active? And make time for it amongst training others?
MQ: I need to work out before the kids wake up so my alarm goes off at 5 AM most days during the week in order to make it to a class at the gym. I like to have an instructor tell me what to do because it forces me to use different muscles and keep me motivated. If I miss a morning, I sometimes do a YouTube video during a naptime. My kids do not like strollers and working out with them usually stresses me out (I’m afraid I will hit them with a weight!)
on eating healthily
&B: What's your best food hack secret to eating healthily? Is it a recipe or an approach?
MQ: I worked with an online fitness and nutrition coach, Maria Violante, who encouraged me to do more weight training and to increase my protein. Now I eat smaller meals about six times a day which really helped my blood sugar from dropping.
I always carry a Quest or One Bar in my purse which helps to keep my eating on track throughout the day. Additionally, I drink Calm magnesium powder which helps with my digestion and anxiety.
&B: What's your favourite thing to do to relax?
MQ: I love the water so one of my favorite activities to do is to go out on our boat on Lake Norman (in North Carolina). I do not bring my phone and it is a nice way for us to unplug while still spending time together.
#1 Selfcare Tip
&B: What's your number one self-care tip for mums or dads?
MQ: The term “self-care” used to stress me out because I thought it meant I needed to spend money. Now I realize that going on a walk, listening to a podcast or music, and coffee with a friend are all cheap and easy forms of self-care that improve my quality of life.