When they coined the word "stress," did they intentionally make it rhyme with "less"? It seems like quite the coincidence to me.
When my sons were young, I found my stress level to go up and go down at the same time. My stress went up because the responsibility of caring for these tiny little humans was so awesome. My stress went down because so many other things that used to stress me out no longer mattered. In comparison to caring for my sons, I no longer cared if there were dishes in the sink, clothes in the dryer or crumbs on the floor. It was liberating!
Here's what our mommy M.D.'s — doctors who are also mothers — do to stress less.
"I received this great advice early on: It's impossible to be SuperDoc, SuperMom and SuperWife all at the same time" says Cathie Lippman, M.D., a mom of two grown sons and a physician who specializes in environmental and preventive medicine at the Lippman Center for Optimal Health, in Beverly Hills, California.
"As a mom, it's easy to take everything too seriously," says Heather Orman-Lubell, M.D., a mom of two sons and a pediatrician in private practice at Yardley Pediatrics of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Pennsylvania. "But parenting issues aren't black and white. The recommendations in books are just guidelines. As long as you keep your kids safe and give them lots of love, the rest comes kind of naturally."
"There's so much about parenting that's out of your control," says Brooke Jackson, M.D., a mom of twin girls and a son, dermatologist, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology Associates in Durham, North Carolina, and author of the forthcoming book "Skincare for Runners." "You have to try to let go of any obsessive-compulsive tendencies you might have. It was hard for me to do this. I had my medical practice for five years before I had kids; my practice was my child. But I quickly learned to back off from my work and focus on my family first. Instead of focusing on that chronic sense of 'I can't do it all,' I focused on thinking, 'I'm doing the best that I can.' Really, that's all that you can do."
"My advice: Don't sweat the small stuff," says Rebecca Reamy, M.D., a mom of two sons and a pediatrician in emergency medicine at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. "I used to be the most uptight person and then I had kids. It changed my life. I don't worry nearly so much now about things like crumbs on the floor. Having kids has even made my work life easier because I don't get upset about insignificant stuff."
Dr. Rallie's Tips
"You're a whole new person after your baby comes. Consequently, you're not as prepared to deal with the little stressors of life that wouldn't have bothered you before. Before my babies were born, I didn't realize how much I relied on exercising outside to alleviate stress and to make me feel healthy and happy.
"After my babies were born, I found that I was spending far more time in the house than I was accustomed to. I had a treadmill in my basement, and I used it regularly when my babies were napping, but it just wasn't the same as taking a jog outside in the fresh air. With the combined stress of adjusting to a new baby and being cooped up inside, I felt like I was on the verge of a meltdown at any moment.
"Thankfully, my husband came to the rescue. As soon as he realized that I needed to spend more time in the great outdoors to destress and recharge my batteries, he would push me out the door to go for a run while he watched the children. I was always refreshed when I returned, which made life better for me and the whole family. — Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby's First Year," nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky.
Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: StockSnap at Pixabay