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From Your No. 1 Health Advocate

Are we already halfway through summer? Can we request an extension due to "rain days"? How will we ever get back in the swing of things come fall if we don't really have a summer?

Think about the verbs we use: We "get through" the holidays. We "celebrate" New Year's. We "refresh" in the spring. But, at least where I live, with wet days outnumbering dry ones lately, I wonder: Are we "relaxing" and "enjoying" our summer? In this economy and weather, maybe it's tougher.

I found myself really stressing out this summer. For the first June-through-August in a long time, my children are all home. And the first few weeks of the season brought so much rain, I was contemplating the need for an ark.

I am rediscovering that it is difficult to be a working mother when your kids are around the house for three months. ("Right, kids, so I have to work while you are on vacation. So when I come home from the office, I don't want to start working again. A little help here…?").

Of course I planned out meticulous schedules for everyone, with each minute accounted for lest I return home at dinnertime to find kids in pajamas having just finished breakfast, an outrageous iTunes bill, and eager discussions of TV drama plot lines I have to feign interest in.

It's all I can do to stop myself from saying, "I'm sorry, but do you realize that this has no bearing on your personal, educational, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social, romantic, or professional development?"

And they look at me and say, "Mom, it's summer. Chill. Talk about something mindless for a minute. And we still might actually… maybe… turn out OK."

I am still struggling with this. What parent today is not? But I did slow things down. I cancelled some of the plans, de-registered the kids from activities I signed them up for. It just felt like we needed a breather. All of us.

And now I think: Maybe 2009 will be the summer we hung out at home, saved money, and found all the missing sock pairs. Nirvana or nuts? Couch potatoes or future gardeners? Refreshed human beings or zombies? A mother's intuition is all I can count on.

Enjoy the rest of your summer. Take time to laugh, starting with our cover story, featuring Saturday Night Live alum Jimmy Fallon, now TV's newest Late Night funnyman. Then visit WebMD.com and tune into some of our new summer programming, including WebMD Healthy Skin TV, joining our recently launched WebMD RA TV and WebMD Bipolar TV. You'll find expert and celebrity interviews, inspiring real-people stories, support, and the latest news, all in one place. Now that's what I call TV that's good for you!

Yours in well-being,

Nan-Kirsen Forte

Nan-Kirsten Forte, MS
Editor in Chief, WebMD the Magazine

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How have these tough times changed your family vacation plans this summer?


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