I’m a doctor, I’m a woman, I’m a mother to a fiercely independent little girl and I want her to know she can do anything she wants.  But I am not a feminist, at least not the way it’s been interpreted recently ( …and cue in the angry comments)

As a fourth year medical student I was the co-president of our school.  Among other things we were asked to give a speech to incoming medical students at their white coat ceremony.  There was about 100 students and their families in the audience so excited for their next steps and proud of their accomplishments thus far. Giving the key note speech was one of our OB/GYN attending physicians.  She said something that quite frankly alarmed me at the time.  In a nutshell, she said that there will be times that they will not be there for their families, for their kids or future kids.  That patients may take precedence over their personal plans. And she also said there will be times that they won’t be able to be there for their patients, that they won’t advance to the next level in their career because of their family, or get the promotion in the academic center.  As I listened to this I felt…deflated.  I thought what an awful message to send to these new and excited medical students about to embark on one of the hardest journeys of their lives. That was then.

As I continued on my path, became a pediatrician, then married and had kids, I realized how true her words had been.  You cannot have it all, all of the time.  Yes, you can have some of it all the time, or some of it some of the time, but… something’s gotta to give!

If I focus solely on my career, then I will need to cover the bases with my family from out sourcing help. If I decide I want to be at every pick up and every drop off, focusing on my career just ain’t happening.  Both scenarios are completely ok.  But there’s been a trend in society that if women can’t do it all, while looking gorgeous in stiletto heals  then there’s something wrong with them.  That they are not trying hard enough? What!?!?!?

My mom was a stay at home mom, she was there for me for EVERYTHING.  But in the eyes of the world, she’s just “a mom”   I’m all for women doing what they want to do but at the end of the day some women just want to be a mom, and that’s okay.  I was so determined and focused when I was younger. I thought I would work 4 days/week and be mom the other 3.  Easy! It wasn’t until I had my own kids that I started resenting all the hours I had to spend away from them.  I was not career focused anymore, I was mom focused.  And I know I’m not the only one.

As our daughters prepare for their future and we talk to them about career options, we should not ignore the most magnificent career of being a mom.  It should not be minimized.  Yes, I think school, education and a career are all important but I wish someone talked to me about the fact that I may want to just be mom and going to school for 11 years and coming out in debt and working 40 hours/week and taking call….may not be the career of choice if I just wanted to be mom.

I am so incredibly fortunate to be able to work part time but I went to school for a lot of years and have a lot of debt to now work part time.  Could there have been other career options I would have entertained if someone sat me down and said, ” Look, something happens to you when you have children.  That hardcore ambition kinda melts away and you just think about your babies ALL THE TIME.  And yes they drive you crazy and yes you will want your time away from them but just think about them in your career choice.” I know that seems like a lot, maybe I wouldn’t have listened and gone to med school anyway but maybe I would have?

In the era of #bossbabes, I  just want to make sure that our daughters know it’s okay to just be mom if that’s what will make them happy.  It’s by far the most important job I have had or ever will have.

Having children just puts the whole world into perspective . Everything else just disappears. -Kate Winslet



No Shaming Allowed

girl standing in the middle of the road
Photo by Andre Melcher on Pexels.com

Recently I received that dreaded call, no, not the one about lice (although we’ve had our share!), you know the one from another mom about your kid hurting their kid.  Yup…that one!  My thing 2.  It wasn’t her first and probably wouldn’t be her last time.  Of course, I was a little devastated, went through the stages of denial, anger, and finally acceptance. (Denial stage was very short)   I told my husband, distressed and distraught, and he responded “good for her,” until he realized that’s the wrong answer.

So why am I writing about this in a public forum that’s read mostly by people I know?  Why aren’t I hiding under a rock or changing schools? Mostly because I refuse to believe I’m the only mom that’s dealing with behavioral problems.  Because I hope my friends (my true friends) would not judge me or my daughter based on this incident. Because I believe in having “a village of support,” whether it’s virtual or actual.  We can not and should not be doing this alone.  Our modern times have made it so that we move away from family and isolate ourselves in our own lives because of our busy schedules.  But here’s the thing,  I need you.  I need you to tell me it’s ok and your kid has done something else that isn’t stellar.  Because we’ve all been there.  In some form or another, we have ALL had that moment that we wish we could hide and pretend that thing that happened never happened.  But it did and it will probably happen again.

So, the big question….what did we do? Or more importantly what didn’t we do….? Well, we didn’t ground her for life.  We didn’t take away every fun toy she owned, we didn’t take away all privileges for the foreseeable future.  We just didn’t see the point in all that.  The “punishment” just wouldn’t have fit the “crime!” My thing 2 is a free spirit.  She is bold and strong willed.  She is fiercely independent and will try endlessly to do it her way. (Don’t ever try to help her without asking!)  Are these amazing qualities…YES!!!! Do they sometimes (a lot of times) drive me crazy…..yes! But I’m not going to change her nor do I want to! I love her free spirit and at times envy it.  (I was and still am such a rule follower.)

We set up a consequence that fit the incident, we made sure she apologized. We talked with her about the possible appropriate ways she could have handled the situation. And then I hugged her tight and looked in her the eyes and said I know the warm, loving person that she is and I don’t want anyone else to ever think she wasn’t that person because of her actions. I don’t condone her actions but I made sure she knew that SHE was not those actions and that she needed to portray herself as the beautiful, caring, loving person that she really is.

We should support our children and we should support each other.  There’s no shame in the mothering game. All of our children will at some point do something that is unacceptable and will make us cringe.  But it also stems from all the wonderful attributes in them.  We need to nurture these qualities and lead them on the path to use their skills for good and not evil!

  • How do you deal with your children’s behavior?  Do you share with your friends and hope for support?  Do you usually get that support or advice or just glaring stares?

Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them. —Bill Ayers