Mom Talk: Balancing Work and Family
By Catherine Brockmeier, DO, Avera Medical Group obstetrics-gynecology specialist
I absolutely love being a mom. I have three rambunctious little boys who bring me so much joy. I also absolutely love being a physician. I have the best patients who also bring me immense joy. I cannot imagine doing one job and not the other, so finding a balance has been the key to my success.
Here are some things that have worked for my family.
Plan and Schedule More
A shared calendar is an awesome way to stay organized. Both my husband and I access our Google Calendar and add or edit events as they come up.
Ours is filled with work commitments, kids’ activities and social outings, and it lets us plan accordingly. If you’re not a fan of a digital calendar, I think a large dry-erase calendar is another great option to stay organized.
Meal prepping has made a huge difference for my family. Like most American families, we do our fair share of eating out on the weekends, but try to stick to meals at home during the week. I spend an hour or two on Sunday afternoons getting ready for the week. I use my Instant Pot to make large batches of lean protein. I wash and cut fruits and veggies so they’re ready to be eaten. I make an egg bake or muffins that will keep all week for breakfasts. I get my kids involved in the cooking and it turns into a family affair.
We keep it simple – they’re picky – and it eliminates the hassle after a busy workday.
Divide Duties to Conquer Them
My husband also works outside the home so we have to divide and conquer often. Fortunately, I married someone who is a fantastic father and always steps up when needed. He is also an awesome husband and always willing to pitch in with me. I often delegate household tasks to him when I am overwhelmed and cannot do it all.
Trust me, it’s a struggle for me to relinquish control and let go, but it also keeps me sane. If there is an errand he can run, he does. If there is a sign-up for an activity or a bill to pay online, he does. This has helped tremendously.
Build Some Healthy Boundaries
Learning to set boundaries has been hard, but a must. Work is a priority and always will be, but nothing is better or more important than time with my family. If there are things I do not want to miss at home, it’s OK for me to say no to work and not feel guilty. And sometimes my work will take precedence, but I always try to explain to my kids the value in this.
I know they’re learning about my compassion and commitment to others as well as the importance of a good work ethic.
Finally, find something outside of work and motherhood that fills your cup. I make exercise a part of my daily life. Whether it’s a trip to the gym or the yoga studio, I find my own balance through physical activity.
This time to myself makes me a better mom and physician. Whether it be reading, running or painting, find something that refuels you. This is what balance is all about.