Interview with a Working Triplet Mom

Triplet mom, Meri Raffetto, is my inspiration. Since her babies’ conception (now 2 years old), she’s published 3 books. Her third book, The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies®, just hit the shelves. The book launch party is Nov. 30th, in San Diego.

I interviewed Meri to find out how she takes care of triplets while working from home.

ME: When did you start and finish your first book, Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies?

MERI: I started right after I got pregnant with the triplets, and finished before they were born. It was rough, as I was on bedrest for the final 3 months, and finished in the hospital.

ME: UGH. I could hardly spell my name during the last months of pregnancy.

MERI: I did get some help to finish, but once they started the meds for preterm labor, I could no longer work. Luckily, the book was nearly completed by then.

ME: When did you start and finish your second book, Glycemic Index Cookbook for Dummies?

MERI: I started when the babies were 6 months, and finished when they were 11 months. During that time, I was doing heavy (160) recipe development. My sister and her daughter, my parents, and friends helped test the recipes.

ME: When did you start and finish your third book, Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies?

MERI: I started when the babies were 19 months, and finished when they were 2 years old.

ME: Tell me about the help you had.

MERI: I had severe pre-eclampisa when they were born, so for the first month we had my mom, my husband’s mom, and my sister living with us. I was basically still on bedrest, couldn’t see well from a complication of pre-eclampsia, all I could do was hold babies for the first 3 weeks. Then the pre-eclampisa started to resolve. Still, for the first 3 months, someone was living with me. Either my mother-in-law, bother-in-law, my mother, sister-in-law, 2 friends, and both my sisters. After 3 months, my in-laws rented a house here. After 6 months my parents rented a house for a month. I also had a mother’s helper who still comes in twice a week (about 20 hours).

ME: What’s it like working from home – do you work while the babies nap?

MERI: Working from home can be more difficult than one might expect. Because of all the distractions, you can’t focus soley on your work, even with help in the house. I find myself constantly involved with the babies’ care…so working from home is not uninterrupted time.  There are days you essentially double your work load. You’re pulled in 2 directions at once, instead of being able to focus only on caring for the babies, or working. The plus is that you’re there…but it can be challenging to get anything done.

ME: So how DO you get anything done?

MERI: I’m very focused the 2 days my nanny comes in. Otherwise it’s impossible to do any substantive work. As the babies get older, they want more attention, so it gets harder and harder to work when they’re up and I don’t have help. Basically I’ve become extremely efficient in using the time the nanny is here.  Otherwise, I get stressed, and it makes the day not very fun! On days I don’t have help, I may do very light working at naptime, or in the evening. However, I go to bed very early, between 9 – 10pm. I really need that downtime.

ME: I go to bed between 7 and 9pm. Even if it’s just to turn on some junk T.V., I don’t care. I’m so exhausted I usually fall right to sleep!

ME: What keeps you from giving up on working?

MERI: I LOVE my career. I LOVE writing, especially educational things, and of course, nutrition. It’s not about the money for me, I truly enjoy it. Also my personality – I would never stop in the middle of a project.

ME: So you feel like your career makes you happier?

MERI: Happier, yes, but someways, at times, more stressed. Sometimes I ask, “why?” However, working provides an creative adult outlet. It’s fun. I feel very confined as a triplet mom. Working allows me to connect to the world/people so I don’t feel as confined. My work is also flexible which makes is much easier.

ME: Should expecting triplet moms to hang on to their careers?

MERI: Maybe. I think it depends on the person. For some women, it works to work, but for others, not so much. If you don’t have to work, then you must love what you do, otherwise you may find it’s not worth it.

ME: What’s a benefit from working?

MERI: It makes me think like an adult. As a triplet mom, you don’t get out much. You begin to feel confined. It’s something just for me, that I feel good about, and contribution to others.

ME: One last question: How much does your husband help?

MERI:  When I’m working on a book, he helps a lot. My husband takes care of the babies on the weekend, and I work at night when I must…but I know there’s an end date (typically about 6 months).  My husband has a very demanding job (14 hour days) and travels to Asia quite often. But during those 6 months..It’s really intense when you put that much on your plate. You must be very careful not to burn yourself out and ask for as much help as possible from family and friends.

ME: Thanks, Meri. I hope this interview helps other working triplet moms as much as it helps me!

MERI: Your welcome! I hope so, too. It really is an unusual situation to be in, and sometimes the only people who understand are people with similar experiences.

Meri’s new cookbook, The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies®, incorporates the Mediterranean way of life, including using fresh, in-season foods, as well as enjoying unhurried meals with family and friends. The Mediterranean diet, abundant in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, fish and olive oil, has been attributed in recent studies to reduce risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

Readers will find:

More than 160 delicious recipes for all occasions

The 12 principles of the Mediterranean lifestyle

Tips for making the switch to a Mediterranean style diet

Ways to incorporate more plant-based foods in your daily routine

Simple steps to include more heart healthy omega-three fatty acids in your diet

Bio:

Meri Raffetto is a registered dietitian and recognized professional in the area of nutrition and wellness. Meri is the founder of Real Living Nutrition (www.reallivingnutrition.com), providing interactive online weight-loss and wellness programs. Meri is also the author of The Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies and coauthor of The Glycemic Index Cookbook for Dummies.

She is a wife and mother of triplets and loves every crazy minute! She has a passion for great food and enjoys getting outside as much as possible to camp, swim and hike with her family.

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