I made the very difficult decision to change jobs. I was with Anesthesia Service Medical Group (ASMG) from 2011-2022. My time at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla was incredible. There are wonderful and competent surgeons, stellar nurses, fabulous anesthesia techs, dedicated ancillary staff, and collegial anesthesia partners. The reason for my departure: work-life balance. For me, work-life balance is being able to spend time with my family. The way our call structure is designed is to constantly be available to the hospital for add-ons without knowing a time that you are done with work. This often leads to 2-3x/week of not knowing when I can give my husband and kids a set time when I will be home. My kids are 4.5 and 3.5 years old. I want to be more available to them for school activities, dinner, and bed times. My husband and I both have very demanding jobs and I could see the toll my current job was taking on him as well as the kids.
This led me to look at other models that may be more receptive to a working mother who wants to work hard as well as be a present-mom with less mom guilt. This is a personal decision.
I landed on a model at Kaiser where I will know when I will be done everyday as it is primarily shiftwork. Yes, I will still take call, work weekends/nights/ holidays,etc… but when I am done, I will be done. I am excited knowing that I will be able to tell my kids that I will be home for dinner or home to tuck them in. The littles are growing so quickly. Kindergarten will start for my oldest in 2023 and G will follow in 2024. If I break down their ages in 5 year timeframe… 0-5 is almost complete. Next will be 5-10 and 10-15 and 15-20. The first 5 year time frame went by quickly. Everyone says it goes by so fast. I want to stop and enjoy this time.
I still want to work hard and push myself career-wise, and I do plan on doing that. My goal is to continue evidence-based practice focused on patient care, dive into more ERAS guidelines, bring my private practice experience to the Kaiser model, encourage well-being mentally and physically, and lean into more leadership roles acting as a mentor and role model.
Now that my oldest is almost 4 years old and my youngest is almost 3… it’s a good time to reflect back on my time during pregnancy, post-partum, breastfeeding, maternal/family leave, full-time work, and raising 2 toddlers.
Pregnancy really was a wonderful time. Aside from the GERD, waddles, having to pee all the time and drinking a ton of water… it was wonderful feeling the little kicks and getting the attention of people to always help me (open a door, lift things, walk with me, etc.). I worked up until I went into labor… literally.
The most difficult things to do during MY pregnancy: make appointments, drink enough water, peeing every 2 hours (even during the night), eating (I could only take 4-5 bites before getting full), sleep.
No one tells you what to expect post-partum. It’s a rude awakening when it’s really difficult to have a BM, wipe, breastfeed, wake up, and think clearly. For me, the SI joint pain from pregnancy lingered on even until today. Bonding with baby is unique and special. It was a wonderful time to watch my babies explore their senses. Sleep and breastfeeding: It’s really tough to get in enough sleep and breastfeed constantly. But after 2 weeks, breastfeeding got better for me. Maybe I was lucky. Sleep got better for me after 2 months After the 2nd kiddo, I think I had a bit of postpartum depression. Coupling the lack of sleep while also trying to be present for a 13-month old really wore me down. I was in a really dark place: the thoughts, the lack of care of harm to myself, the total loss of happiness for things I previously enjoyed. It was all very real, very memorable, and something that I look back on with sadness bc I wasn’t my best for the kids, my hubs, or myself. I’m thankful to have moved beyond that. The Peloton saved me on this one. I told NO ONE.
Rent a hospital-grade breast pump prior to leaving the hospital. Visit with the lactation consultant while at the hospital to really learn how everything works. I was lucky to have a great LC for both deliveries. The first one really encouraged me and taught me good technique. The second was fabulous as she supported me and encouraged my efforts while also allowing me to opt for normalcy and not beat myself up if my milk production wasn’t 100%. Both excellent teachers and perspectives. Breastfeeding is new and it’s hard. Get help early and often! When you come back to work, do what you can. I oftentimes pumped in the OR and immediately put my stash in the freezer during breaks. This became really tough for me as breaks are uncertain and you don’t want to burden people who also need breaks. My milk supply went down fast, but I did what I could and that was my best. Don’t beat yourself up.
I was really lucky to be able to have 3 months off work. My anesthesia group was absolutely wonderful in allowing bonding time. I took the full 3 months. My husband then took his 1 month and we were able to do a solid bond with the kiddos for 4 months and then put them into daycare when they were 5 months old. Would it be great if we had full pay for 1 year of maternal/family leave? Yes. But, in the US, this is the best I could get and I’m grateful for it!
This was my own decision to continue working full-time. You can see in the charts above. After my second baby, I came back and still worked full-time. This was a personal choice. Kids are innocently demanding…. so is my job. I don’t really know how to find that right balance just yet. I miss out on my babies, and I miss out on work. In the end, you have to be ok with not being the best at everything. You will make sacrifices and you will feel awful. It was be a gut punch that you readied yourself for, but still feel every ounce of hurt when you miss things. The first tuck-in, the first goodnight kiss, the many goodbyes, the bathtime shenanigans, the sweet baby smells…. you will miss them. It gets easier. But, it still hurts when you miss these things. It’s almost like life moves on without you. That is…. until you get back and see the smiles and feel the hugs and kisses from them.
Raising 2 toddlers 13 months apart:
This is something! We brought home our second baby just after our 1st baby turned a year old. I don’t think the concept of a sibling coming to the house was even a concept that a one year old can grasp. Having two kids so close in age, but at different stages of development was REALLY HARD. They are just now starting to play together and sharing appropriately. It is still hard for us despite both kiddos being potty-trained (nighttime diapers only for my sanity). Everyone says 5 years old is the magical age where things get easier. We’re almost there!
During the delivery of our 2nd kiddos, I had a moment of weakness and thought a third child would be great. The second delivery was significantly easier than the first. Perhaps my body and mind were playing tricks on me. We feel complete. We have two beautiful and healthy kids. We couldn’t ask for more.
G is almost 2.5 years old. He was such a good sleeper from the get-go. I think he transitioned out of his crib/playpen around 16 months when he would climb out. We transitioned to a floor bed and when we did that, he needed us and wanted us to sleep with him. This usually involved one parent sleeping with him until he falls asleep. This could take 30 minutes to an hour. He also transitioned from a floor bed to a big boy bed in June 2021 when we went on vacation and that was all we had! So now, we are looking at ideas to transition him to get to sleep on his own.
Sept 2021: Reading 2-3 books in bed with G while also letting him know that he will be sleeping in his big boy bed by himself. That mama and papa are close. By the time the books are done, sleep sounds are on and light is turned off… G is in bed mode. We explain that he is a growing boy and that mama and papa no longer fit on his bed but will be close by. This involves mama or papa sleeping on the floor next to the bed and holding his hand as he goes to sleep. This is typically a 30 minute transition. Slowly. He seems to be ok with this. We’ve only been doing this for a week for both naps and nighttime.
September 2021 – 2 kids (3.5y and 2.5y) and Covid
5:30a – wakeup and workout
6:15a – shower
6:40a – leave for work
7:00a – kiddos wake up. Papa gets them ready for school. Leave house by 8a.
18:00 – kiddos get home from school. Dinner made and on table.
Perceived lack of support at work and at home were most strongly associated with burnout syndrome on multivariable logistic regression modeling
Age was the only personal factor that was associated with burnout syndrome
I’ve felt my own burnout throughout the years. The earliest times I remember it was in my childhood. I would be in school activities and extracurricular activities until about 9pm and then come home and then start my school homework. That was my initial taste of burnout. Luckily, I was able to work on my time management skills. In college, burnout reared its ugly head again when I had a ridiculous idea of taking 21 hours in a semester with honors and research and made a 4.0 that sememster. Just for reference, 12 hours a semester was full-time. Then, there was medical school. Talk about hooking yourself up to a full throttle fire hydrant and devouring the info. Residency was more about lack of work-life balance. It was all work and occasional play. Fellowship was more relaxing, more focused, and less burnout. Finally, real-life job. The hours can be grueling as well as unpredictable. The only predictability is knowing you will be done early or working late. This became much harder when we had kids. It’s impossible to say with certainty that I will be home for dinner or for activities or be home in time to tuck in the kids. This is also burnout.
I’m not the only one. Clearly. Study after study are coming out looking at the toll of burnout on healthcare workers. One of my colleagues with kids has said she’s starting to feel the burnout as well. We’ve been in private practice for 10 years. It’s not like we’re new to understanding the nuances of our jobs. Throw in family life and being a mom and it really gets tough.
Best thing to do is knowing how you feel when you are burnt out. What will you do to get help? Who is your support system? What can you do to decrease the workload/burden of work/family? Know that you are not alone and that help is close by.
Today, I hurt. I’ve been talking about this pandemic for well over a month. My friend list is dwindling, and there are several people I don’t plan on catching up with when this pandemic is over—and now entire communities. America’s privilege is showing, in a terrible way. Rural areas that have been luckily unaffected are […]
People never forget how managers treated them when they were facing loss. And we will remember how our institutions, managers, and peers, held us through this crisis — or failed to. We also see the consequences of past failures of holding, in those institutions struggling to mobilize an already depleted pool of resources. It is tempting to resort to command and control in a crisis, but it is leaders who hold instead that help us work through it. And it is to those leaders, I believe, that we’ll turn to when time comes to articulate a vision for the future. When I ask managers to reflect a bit more on the leaders whose visions they find most compelling and enduring, they usually realize that none of those leaders started from a vision or stopped there. Instead the leader started with a sincere concern for a group of people, and as they held those people and their concerns, a vision emerged. They then held people through the change it took to realize that vision, together. Their vision may be how we remember leaders because it can hold us captive. But it is their hold that truly sets us free.
Who knew that toxins exist EVERYWHERE? I certainly wasn’t cognizant of my exposure to toxins. Teflon, PABAs, air, water, food, etc. But, I have learned so much and am constantly learning of the dangers of these toxins in our everyday lives. Most recently, all the soaps, lotions, and cleaning products have been updated in our house.
I’ve been hearing more and more about a whole food plant-based diet. There’s definitely data out there that shows this lifestyle is the key to longevity and protective from illness and disease. My curiosity first started when I had our first child. It was important to me to learn more about nutrition because I wanted to learn how and what to prepare food for my kids. From this curiosity, I stumbled upon a book called Genius Foods. Then, I listened to the Audible version of The Obesity Code. Most recently, I’ve been embracing How Not to Die and Eat to Live. Add Fiber Fueled to this list and I’m for certain that WFPB is the way to go. And add The Starch Solution for more evidence toward a whole food plant based lifestyle. I’m working on it.
Am I vegan? No. Am I a vegetarian? No. Am I here to save the animals? If saving the animals is a positive side effect, then absolutely! My main goal is to have the l o n g e s t quality of time with my kids as well as teach them how to incorporate nutrition into their lives. As a parent, I want to make my kids’ lives easier, more meaningful, and more fun. Aside from financial freedom and responsible parenting, the next best gift I can give to my kids is the power of nutrition. I wish I knew this information when I was a kid and grew up knowing what was helpful to fuel my body.
Since January 2019, Arden has been waking up 1-2x/night for milk. She turned 12 months old in February 2019. We’re not sure why she started doing this as she used to sleep through the night. So, I’m gathering some info and seeing what we can do to improve her nighttime sleep.