Hello, I am Doctor Professor Mom. No, that’s not my real name but it’s a name that makes me really proud. My oldest son coined it a few months ago when he learned that I am not only a doctor but I am also a professor and I am also a mom. He seemed genuinely proud when he coined the name and, of course, I was equally proud both at his creativity and at some of my accomplishments.
Even as a Doctor Professor Mom, it’s hard to feel accomplished. Maybe it’s something about academic medicine where I feel pulled in a million different directions. I teach; I do research; I see patients – it’s easy to feel like a jack of all trades and master of none. Add on a busy family life and mastery is not in my cards. But academic medicine has given me incredible flexibility, variety, and satisfaction. Plus, I get to proudly say I am a doctor and a professor.
Of course my proudest accomplishment is not that I am a doctor or a professor but that I am a mom to three boisterous, energetic, and absolutely wonderful sons. They are ten, eight, and six (gasp - how did they get so old). After ten years of motherhood I have a lot to reflect on in managing a household with two equally ambitious working parents and ever changing challenges of parenting.
I became interested in writing about my experience as a doctor and mother after my first son was born. I spent 18 months crying every day when I went to work and decided (with the incredible support of my husband) to leave my job and stay home. Then I struggled trying to find my identity as a stay-at-home mom (I wrote about this experience in an essay called Dr. Mom). I returned to work and decided to focus on research and a career in academic medicine. For me, it was an excellent choice. That being said, the struggles of being a working mom, finding meaning and satisfaction in your work, and all the other challenges of life never go away even when you feel like you’ve found the perfect job.
When I wrote Dr. Mom in 2007, so many women contacted me and thanked me for sharing my story. I promised myself I would write more, but, not surprisingly, life got busy. I’m thrilled to have a place to write, to be a part of a community of women in medicine and hope that something I write will resonate with someone else.