Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Advice from a mentor

I've been fortunate to have worked with many individuals who have sheparded me through various stages from medical school to the present; limitation of time and space doesn't allow me to describe how each of them contributed to making me the person I am today.

But as I was pondering what to share, one memory kept pushing to the front of my brain: This was a statement from a woman who I admired greatly during the early years of my career and am pleased to share a working relationship with today. At the time she told me this, she had three school-age children and a nicely balanced life. I had two very young boys and felt like every day was a struggle. I vented one afternoon about my frustrations with my morning schedule; I knew it was my choice to take my son to preschool, but when I did this (seemingly) straightforward task I was invariably late to the clinic to see patients and ran behind for the day. Her response to me was so elegant in its simplicity that even today I admire it. What were those words of wisdom? "Start your clinic day fifteen minutes later." An invisible solution until it was pointed out to me, and with those seven words my outlook changed dramatically. Yes, I could put my family first and still be an effective physician. Yes, I did have some control over my days. Yes, even I could find some balance.

Today, as young women rotate through my office I try and discuss with them how being a mother has changed me as a physician (only for the better!), and I try to emphasize that they, too, will likely be able to find the balance they need. Sometimes its just a matter of letting someone show you the simple solution that you can't see on your own.

A

4 comments:

  1. Someone I consider a friend (actually it's my daughter's former daycare provider) reassuringly advised me that you can take 15 minutes per kid to be late to work in the morning (every morning). Ahhh, what a relief, if true!

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  2. I think that's a great piece of advice and reinforces the idea that so much of our (my) stress is self-inflicted.

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  3. If only there were more of her out there. Some clinics are so inflexible!

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  4. Finding the right mentor is so important because sometimes you need that outside perspective or life experience to help you negotiate the challenges of being a working mom. Check out my own blog post on the same topic: http://mommycall.wordpress.com/

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