I heard a phrase today that I will remember for a lifetime. It has given me inspiration in my struggle to achieve a perfect balance between parenting and working GUILT-FREE.
Grand Rounds today was given by a very accomplished woman (and Mom). Faculty at Harvard Medical School. She's affected national policy and changed the course of a major public health issue. What struck me was her introduction. One of the first comments was that one of her first employers, while reluctant to hire her only part-time, soon realized that even her part-time work, amounted to a dozen others working full time. (I nodded when I heard this because I often feel I'm efficient and use this rationale to justify my part-time work as well.
Her introduction was 15 minutes long as her introducer took us through her career path and mentioned all her accomplishments along the way. When finally at the end, we were all anxious to get on with the show, the introducer continued, "I can't end an introduction about this remarkable woman without telling you about her family. She has 3 amazing children who are all incredible human beings. They are all adults now and have all gone on to college. Until all 3 children went to college, she worked part-time. And the remarkable thing about her, is that every day that she left work early, she did so with her head held high. She made it clear to those around her that raising her family was as important as her work."
I love that last line - I often feel like I have to sneak out the back door when I leave early to be with the kids. Today I decided that I need to hold my head up high more often at work. I am a confident woman in the many hats I wear at work, but when it comes to leaving early, I am quiet, almost sneaky, hold my breath and only relax when I'm finally home with the kids...it doesn't need to be like that. I felt an enormous amount of pride and excitement to hear this woman's introduction today. It was a clear articulation of the woman I want to be. Proud to be both Mom and Doctor. That's the introduction I want to earn 15 years from now.