We all learn lessons from this Mom experience. And Being a Mom is not one dimensional. We all do it a little differently with the same shared goal of raising happy, productive, healthy children. At least we think we do, most of the time. But our lives are a conglomerate of experiences.
We make small decisions that may have a big impact and big decisions that change things less than we would think. I have learned SO many humbling lessons from my life as a Doctor and as a Mom.
And, this whole medicine gig is no exception. The Mom I am is influenced by my job daily. Sometimes, I overreact after I diagnose a rare disease in a patient. And it is on my mind for weeks. We call that “looking for zebras” in the medical world – in a herd of horses you find the “zebra.” And you keep looking for zebras – in Kansas – where you have 2 horses of your own.
More often, I find I am a calmer Mom because of my job. One of the unexpected blessings of being a Family Physician is the intimacy you develop with patients. I jokingly tell my patients that if one person doesn’t cry in my exam room daily, I haven’t done my job. With that comes A LOT of personal stories and struggles. I know about their divorces, financial problems, family problems, and more. If my day is going bad, I know there are others out there who have it worse. They trust me with that. And it definitely keeps things in perspective in my life.
It can be confusing
I have learned SO much from patients and parenting. Both are humbling in their own ways but they share more than you may think.
The 5 Biggest lessons I have learned from being a Doctor Mom:
5. Don’t assume others understand you
I have teenagers and communicating with them can be like talking to aliens. We just don’t speak the same language. Medicine shares that trait. The language is just different. And sometimes it is difficult to use non-medical terms to explain complex medical phenomena. I try to ask my patients if they have any questions before they leave to make sure we are on the same page. I don’t always do that for my teenagers. Believe it or not, they seem to be less receptive.
4. Tylenol first THEN worry
Kids get sick. Period. They run what feels like crazy high fevers and they come on fast. Most of this is due to things like colds and teething. And Tylenol will break those fevers. If it doesn’t break a fever, then it is time to become more concerned. Start with Tylenol and then worry.
3. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut
I know you are shocked to hear this but I am a physician who does NOT think she is God. If our bodies were clear, my job would be SO much easier. Medicine is like parenting in some ways, though. You know that feeling you get when your kids are too quiet and then you find them covered in Desitin? Medicine can actually be like that. Sometimes you look at a patient and just know something isn’t right. It can be like playing hide and seek with your kids in the house. You just have to trust your gut and keep looking.
2. Everyone is made a little different
As humans, we all have the same vital organs but there are subtle differences in every one of us. That’s what makes you unique. Our bodies are no different. Developmentally kids progress differently, bodies age differently, and people express themselves differently. I LOVE THAT ABOUT HUMANITY. Patients will come in and apologize for their quirks because they know those aspects of themselves are “different” – I love those quirks. It is what makes our bodies human and beautiful. I loved those Dove commercials a few years ago with the women with vitiligo. Check them out. Own those differences and celebrate them. And raise your children to appreciate their differences. They truly are the beauty of being human. After all, how boring would it be if we all looked the same?
1. Give yourself grace to be YOU
I am an admitted perfectionist. And there are only so many hours in the day for that. As I chased my one-year-old around a coffee shop while on a ski trip recently in order to get on my computer and answer patient messages, I realized that was just STUPID. By trying to be everything to everyone, I was not helping anyone in the ways that I wanted. Give yourself grace. My husband has made me promise to STOP saying YES to everyone. To check out when I leave town. To go to bed with a slightly messy house. It’s a work in progress.
Now, back to blogging while doing laundry, cooking dinner, and chasing a toddler. Life.
Simple Solution: Being a Doctor has made me a better parent and vice versa. Give yourself the grace to be you, to be imperfect, and to trust your gut. And always use Tylenol first.
For more thoughts on the Life of a Doctor Mom, check out:
For more Blog Posts on The Joys of Motherhood: https://doctormome.com/are-you-the-crazy-mom-before-vacation-too/