How do you do it all?
This is a question I commonly get from patients when we’re kibitzing about our personal lives. Occasionally, when someone finds out that I have a busy life at home with 3 kids (ages 7, 5 and 4 as well as an 18 year old step-daughter), a husband that runs his own business, one cat (although I never change the litter- still going with the excuse that is not good for me ever since I was pregnant), and one puppy MJ that’s 9 months old, they ask me how I can do all of that at home and still work full time as a doctor. Of course, this question truly is a compliment and makes me feel like Superwoman.
Seriously,its taken ten years in private practice and seven years of being a Mom until I finally got in a groove this year. My secret is that I don’t even come close to doing it all myself. I grew up in a family of teachers. My mother, father, sister and brother are all teachers. Growing up in our house we lived frugally and watched every penny. My mom had a large garden and cooked dinner every night from home. In fact, I probably remember the few times we ever went to a restaurant. We went to Taco Bell when I made my 8th grade Confirmation and went to Beni Hana when I came in 4th in the city spelling bee. My dad did all the projects and fixing of things around the house himself. What I’m trying to get at here is that all the work that goes into raising a family and maintaining a house was done by my parents. I attempted to follow in their footsteps when I started my own family. Actually, I really didn’t have much of a choice initially because I had so much debt from student loans. So for the first few years of being a working mother, I did everything myself: shopping, laundry, dinners, cleaning. My husband did his share of the work as well. As our debt decreased and our bank account and family grew, we were able to get more help around the house.
Finally, this year I feel like I’m just now starting to get it together. I have a great “nanager” which is a nanny and house manager. She does all the stuff that I don’t want to do, which in my case is pretty much anything domestic: cleaning, dishes, laundry, litter box cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, and organizing my house. I’m really blessed to have found someone that can take great care of my children, house and pets.
Certainly, this story would not be complete without mentioning what an amazing husband I have!!! And I’m not just writing this so I can still have my nanager that I lobbied, begged and pleaded and asked for for many years. My husband also grew up knowing the value of a dollar and initially he had a hard time paying for something that both our parents did themselves . Anyway, Kevin or Casey (we both have name issues- but that’s another story) does at least 50% if not more of the parental duties. He regularly does the morning shift and gets the kids dressed, fed and driven to school. Now granted, my kids are usually in tears after the constant reprimanding and threats and are most often tardy, but he gets them to school almost every day. This allows me to just take care of me in the morning before I’m off to work. I’ve learned that if I don’t get my exercise in before I go to the office, then it doesn’t happen. So I usually work out in my basement first thing in the morning. My latest motivator has been P90X and Insanity DVDs.
Kevin also is the one who stays home with the kids should an illness or inclement weather interrupt our daily plans. He also meets up with the “nanager” on days that I am on call and spend the night in the hospital. On those special evenings when Mom doesn’t come home, Dad usually gives the kids a special treat of pizza at Cici’s pizza and allows at least one of our offspring to sleep in my spot. However, lately by the time the alarm clock goes off, our bed is filled with 3 kids, a dog AND a cat. And I wonder why I’m always tired!
H owever, even with all these “helpers”, I still manage to screw up quite often, both at home and at work. There have been a few times where one of my children missed a birthday party because I just forgot, was in tears because Mom forgot to send them in pajamas on “breakfast at school day” . As it relates to my job, I have gone to the wrong office in the morning and started my day off being an hour behind schedule. Another perfect example of my craziness, is how I have just dropped the ball trying to keep up with this blog. You can tell from the date of my last post and this one. The whole back to school thing just sent me over the edge.
So thank you to all of you kind ladies for just suggesting that what I do is impressive, because many days I feel quite overwhelmed and just trying to make it.