Balance. Does it mean 50/50?
I always get asked how I balance being a mother in medicine? I love seeing boss moms no matter the career choice. Let’s face it. It’s 2018 and times have changed. Although many mothers stay at home (shoutout to my stay-at-home mommies) many are working full time jobs with a child or multiple children. I will admit, it scared the sh*t out of me to find out I was pregnant in residency. I have seen other mothers do it and do it successfully. But could I do it? Did I have what it took to successfully navigate the tumultuous waters of residency, or would I sink only to have my childhood dreams drown.
Luckily, I am still afloat and here are a few things I have learned about balance
True balance does not mean spending the same amount of time with my family as I do at work. I am an OB GYN resident (a VERY busy specialty filled with surgeries and emergencies)—not gonna happen. What it does mean, is when I am at work I give my all at work. When I am at home I give my all at home. Obviously working 60-80 hour work weeks mean I am not home most of the time. But you better believe when I walk through that front door and those tiny little hands come across my legs, I forget about my day and focus on him.
Don’t compare yourself to other mothers.
So there are some pretty amazing mothers out there. And before I had my child I swore I would breastfeed for an entire year, he would never, ever have McDonalds, only eat organic food, not go to daycare for as long as I could keep him out, be fully potty trained by 1 or 2 and watch very little TV. Welp…that wasn’t and is not the case. I do not hand blend my baby food, he’s obsessed with McDonalds fries (I know its terrible…judge your mama), he’s not potty trained, he loves watching his ipad and guess what…he’s ok! I mean, at least I think he is. We are all doing what we have to do. My breastfeeding goals were cut short 5 months into my journey secondary to constantly being interrupted at work and not getting the support I needed. I am not home to cook some nights which means my husband grabbing a quick pizza or taking Timmy to get fries from chick fil A or McDonalds (working on hubby in the cooking department lol). I have tried to potty train with no avail and I decided I am not going to stress about it. He’s not even two yet. I’m good. right? My point is, everyone’s journey is different. Some moms breastfeed for 2 years and some formula feed straight out of the womb. Who cares? Some moms perfectly blend only natural foods for their children and some moms don’t. It’s ok! We are all doing what we have to do and what we can do according to our distinct and individual situations. And we are all good mothers in spite of.
Balance is not only about taking care of work and home but also about taking care of YOU. I mean, what good are you to your family if you are beat up and stressed? Get a massage, a pedicure, meditate, yoga, hang with friends, have some wine and then have some more wine! You, yes you deserve it mama! We work hard and we deserve some pampering as well. I realize that when I am happy and at peace, that same peace flows effortlessly into all areas of my life. I am kinder, I smile more and I give more. You can’t pour from an empty cup so get to filling yourself up!
Yep. He still needs love too. My husband has definitely gotten placed on the back burner during this entire journey and he knows it. He’s a gem and I am blessed. Our relationship is great but has been plagued with the occasional argument of “who does more” and “you’re always gone” talk. He always jokes and says he is a single father. This is why I am intent on alone time for my husband and I. We travel a lot together, we have dinner dates or sometimes, when the baby finally goes to sleep at a reasonable hour, we stay up and talk about everything. I love our alone time together because it is so limited. I let him know every single day how much I love and appreciate him, and how this would basically be impossible without him.
Get rid of the guilt.
Today. Right now. I have picked my child up late from daycare, missed almost all of his doctor appointments, am not home for dinner most nights and I am sick and tired of feeling guilty. Medicine was my first love before anything else came along. I have new loves now and unfortunately, all my loves cannot get 100% of me all the time and that is OK! Some days I feel like a bad ass resident and just an OK mother. Sometimes I struggle during my work day ( lots of struggles actually) but I come home and read every book created to my son. It really is all about the quality of time and not necessarily the quantity. Be present wherever you are. Give your all at home. Give your all at work. Separate them the best you know how. You will fail some days but be successful most. Get rid of the guilt and pat yourself on the back. You are amazing. You are a superhero. You are a mother!