Just when I feel like I'm on top of my game with work, I realize my house is a mess. I clean up my house, and I discover my kids have gone off the rails. I focus on my kids for a bit, and my relationship is in a tailspin. Today more than ever, I'm finding it very hard to keep my balance. The undertow of stress and change are so great they sweep me off my feet, and I tumble like a sand bucket caught in the waves.
Are you struggling to find balance between home, work, family, friends and everything else during this time of COVID-19 chaos?
Here's what our mommy M.D.s — doctors who are also mothers — do to keep their balance in these uncertain times.
"In a way, it's easier now because one of my daughters is home," says Eva Ritvo, M.D., a mom of two grown daughters, a psychiatrist in Miami Beach, Florida, and author of "Bekindr: The Transformative Power of Kindness." "I know this is a very unusual time. I go for a walk each day at 5, and I call friends and family to connect while I walk. I try to stop work at 6 p.m. so my daughter and I can enjoy the evening together. I am living in a small space with my adult daughter, so we go on the balcony each night and watch the sunset and eat dinner together."
"During this time, we're all trying to adjust to many changing things at once, even learning some brand-new skills," says Jennifer Hanes, D.O., a mom of two and a wellness physician in Houston. "We all need to be extra gentle with ourselves and with everyone around us."
"It's also important to get kids — and yourself — outside," Hanes continues. "That's really important to do. Respect the authorities and rules in your area, but find ways that you can get outside in nature and get physical activity. That will improve both your physical and emotional health. Being indoors in front of screens all day is not so good!"
"I'm trying to remember that not everything has to be perfect all the time," 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. "I'm trying to find a silver lining every day, even if it's as simple as the fact that we can eat dinner together every night or watch a movie together. We try to all do our work, school, etc., during the day and make time for each other after."
"I don't know that I'm keeping balance in my life right now, but I don't know that 'balance' is a reasonable expectation right now," says Jennifer Bacani McKenney, M.D., a mom of two and a family physician in Fredonia, Kansas. "I know that as a family physician, county health officer, business owner (of my clinic and two others) and mom of two kids I'm trying to co-home-school with my husband, I work nonstop from about 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. and occasional nights and weekends.
"But since we have been in a stay-at-home mandate for quite some time and are limiting nonessential travel, I have been home more consistently than I have been in years," McKenney continues. "I get to eat dinner with my family each night and get to put my kids to bed each night. I'm no longer leaving for conferences or overnight meetings. We spend evenings introducing the kids to movies from the '80s, '90s and '00s, catching up on 'Star Wars' and Marvel movies, and playing games. So, I feel as though I'm more present after working all day than I have been in years."
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: skeeze at Pixabay