One of my goals for 2017 is to make this blog a bit more personal. I spend a lot of time sharing content related to various skin concerns and health topics but today, I’m starting a transition. There will still be plenty of health, wellness, and skin-related content, mixed in with my ‘mommydoc’ lifestyle posts. I hope that you will find these personal posts inspirational and helpful!
As a working mother with two small children my life operates on a pretty tight schedule that has taken some time to orchestrate. There are drop-offs, pick-ups, grocery trips, meal prep, activities, meetings, and emergencies to balance almost every single day. My husband is also a doctor and has a long commute on top of a long day which is all a part of our ‘schedule’.
Last week we were suddenly presented with a big challenge: our nanny was injured. There was no notice, no backup plan, and it felt like complete chaos on Monday morning. Add to the mix, I was on call, meaning that I was responsible for taking care of sick patients in the hospital in addition to my normal clinic activities. Hospital calls are highly unpredictable with calls coming in as early at 4 in the morning! As somebody that likes to be in control and to live by a ‘plan’, this was a shock to the system. I powered through and survived but not without some learned lessons.
The biggest saving grace during the week was my parents. I’m incredibly fortunate to have them living so close, and even more fortunate that they could step in to help us when we found ourselves struggling for childcare. My parents are both elderly, and I am one of six children, as a result I try to bother them as little as possible. However, life’s curve balls provide wonderful opportunities to remind us that no one can do it all, all the time. It is ok, and absolutely necessary for my sanity, to lean on those closest to me and ask for help when necessary.
When I realized that the nanny would not be available, I took extra steps to plan out our meals and pack lunches in the evening so that the morning rush wasn’t quite so ‘rushed’. I find that taking ten minutes in the evening to take care of a few easy tasks while the kids are asleep makes the mornings feel less stressful. Self-care was also planned out more carefully. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that when we forget to take care of ourselves, things can fall apart more quickly. I couldn’t attend my regular physical therapy sessions but made sure that I was completing my at home exercises every day and taking time to fuel my body with healthy foods. Stress can often trigger breakouts and I find that a healthy diet and exercise helps keep me feeling grounded.
A business meeting shifted to a play-date where my son played with his friend while I chatted with a colleague about 2017 goals. Mommies stick together! Our meeting may not have been as focused as it would have been without two little 2 year-old boys climbing on everything in sight, but we made progress and had fun at the same time.
My week without childcare also brought me closer to my husband. It is so easy to run through a week without connecting with a busy spouse. My husband and I really had to work as a team to get things done, which meant that he often helped with prepping the kids breakfasts before he left for work so that there was one less thing on my morning to do list. At the end of the long days, we made sure to check in with each other.
I know that the days will not always be easy and that life will not always go according to plan. No matter how much I schedule, plan, or orchestrate, ultimately I am not the one in control and a challenge can show up at any point in time. My week without a nanny was hectic. It was stressful. But at the end of the week we all survived and my husband and I realized that we have a great support system in place that allowed us to continue to move forward without everything crashing down around us. So when nothing goes according to plan, rely on your support network (make sure that you offer up a support network for other people too!), plan around your changing circumstances, and improvise as much as possible! Oh, and a couple glasses of wine may be helpful too!!