The ACAMS EDGE chapter celebrated international women’s month with a special breakfast on Friday, March 22, 2019. Psychologist, TV personality and author, Jeannette Torres, was the guest speaker. She spoke about her upcoming book Ser Mamá. ACAMS Today sat down with Torres after her presentation to discuss her book, upcoming projects and how she manages to find balance in her life.
ACAMS Today: What inspired you to write the book Ser Mamá?
Jeannette Torres: To be honest, my life inspired me to write this book. I realized with my work, the kids and all the other opportunities presented to me, it was very hard to have balance and manage it all. People have standards that they expect to meet and it is difficult to do so all the time. Meeting these standards results in more stress and frustration. The need to be perfect stresses people. In reality, there is no perfection; instead, I decided to make the perfection that works best for my situation.
AT: How do you find balance between your career and personal life?
JT: First, you must remove those illogical expectations. These expectations sometimes come from previous generations and are subconsciously imposed to us. Unfortunately, these standards create an illusion of what perfection is, which makes us set it as a goal. Sometimes you cannot do it all. For example, if on one occasion you don’t have time to cook dinner and instead you decide to buy fast food. Do it, but be okay with it. In other words, don’t feel like the worst mom in the world because you were unable to cook. I have created my new normal and I am at peace with it. It is important to listen to your body for what needs to happen rather than meeting an expectation that is literally inside your head. When you say no, be ok with it. Whatever you need to do, do it gracefully and keep going. Do not be so rigid with what you think is perfect. I am the perfect mom for my kids and there is no doubt about that. Having that mentality helped me change my perspective. I am a good mom in whatever decision I make because I am making it with my heart. I listen to my children and I try to have a balanced life because they notice when I am not in balance. As a mom, everything you do, you do it with your kids and for you kids. I need to make sure I find balance for both my kids, my family and ultimately, myself.
AT: What are three basic steps women can take to incorporate balance into their routines?
JT: The number one step is to be open. You need to be free of expectations that do not bring peace to your day to day. Create your new norm and your new perfect. Step number two is to listen to yourself instead of other people. Nobody knows your life better than you do. You need to follow your heart all the time. Only then, if you make mistakes, will you be okay with them. That is how you start thinking about change. The third step is to take time to analyze and evaluate. If you do not do that, you will stay the same. If we want different results, we need to behave differently. With kids, you can make immediate changes. With my children, there have been many moments where I just have to stop and take a deep breath. That gives me time to evaluate and make a change. We experience constant change and we need to adapt and create what works for us in that particular moment.
The process of incorporating balance will not change but the elements are broader and specific for each of us: internal versus external elements. When you become a mom all of a sudden you might find yourself having these irrational thoughts about perfection. For example, when I had my daughter, I had a hard time going back to work because I wanted to be with her. I was not doing the best at my job because I was feeling guilty of having to leave her. Who was setting this expectation of being both a great stay-at-home mom and a career woman? I was the one setting this unrealistic expectation. To be happier, I had to change my expectations. It is not about lowering them but about being realistic. It is all about perspective, I am doing awesome because I am balancing it all and my children see that I work hard because I want to make a difference in the world.
AT: What does your next adventure entail?
JT: I have done so much and I enjoy every single opportunity that has come my way, but I enjoy writing the most. After I wrote this book and reread the manuscript, I realized that I will be touching many lives with my words. In fact, I already have a new idea for my next book.
My biggest dream is to continue collaborating on TV shows on a regular basis. TV is a powerful tool to connect with people. I have enjoyed every time I am invited to Despierta America because I can see that people are craving advice. My personal side intersects with my professional side. The advice I give to moms comes not only from my professional experience but also from my own personal experience as a mom.
A few weeks ago, I was doing a radio interview and the host asked who gives me the topics for my column in People magazine. All the topics come from my readers. In fact, the other day I was organizing the columns by year and you could tell I was at different stages with my kids by reading the columns. Growth is continuous. My columns are honest and relatable because I am actually living what I write. The purpose of my book is to remind women how powerful we are and how important our job/influence is in the lives of our children.