Questions and Answers With Avera's Tricia Merrigan, MD, FACS
Balance requires recharging the batteries – how do you do it?
For me, working out and the horse barn are my main ways that I recenter myself.
For Jon, it’s definitely playing baseball – it’s a sport he loves and he still plays on two teams. I couldn't imagine his life without it. We also recenter as a family on our annual trips to Florida and Montana.
Big families need teamwork – how do you keep that going?
With kids, there’s a lot of reminding about how we need to work together. We do the best we can to reward for chores and instill responsibility, but we’re by no means perfect. A messy house (sometimes) just goes with life with five kids. Someday, my house will be empty and clean and extremely quiet – and I embrace the craziness of our life and try and enjoy every minute.
What’s your advice to other moms – regardless of how many children?
My mother always told me: You have to pick your battles. I don't think that a sink with dirty dishes or piles of laundry in the living room is the end of the world. Most days, my bed isn't made – and that’s OK. I have a healthy family and I'm healthy. Seeing patients who face breast cancer shows you how tough things can be. It makes me not take anything for granted.
What do you hope to teach your kids?
My mom said that she raised successful children by making them feel like they could do anything, so instilling that confidence is important to me. My father set a great example of work ethic; he expected nothing but our best, and he treated everyone with respect, regardless of race or social status and I will forever remember the comments from patients about this.
I hope that my children understand these things, and that’s why we adopt a family and deliver gifts to them during Christmas, or serve at The Banquet. We often come up with random acts of kindness as a family and then we commit to them and give back.
Read more about Dr. Merrigan and her work-life balance.