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November 27, 2019
Melissa is a high-powered surgeon in New York City. She handles some of the most complicated cancer cases in the country. She’s up at 5 am most mornings. She performs high-stress procedures day in and day out. Most of the time, things go swimmingly. Every once in a great while, they don’t. Even on the best days, her patients take a lot out of her — they require the kind of fastidious attention and care that only someone with complete dedication can offer.
Melissa is also a mom to two kids—one she had just before starting medical school 15 years ago and one she had just before starting her three-year gynecology residency training program. For their entire lives, she has been juggling their needs, her career, and attempts at taking good care of herself.
As a newborn, one of her kiddos was colicky, especially at night — a temperament that does not fit well with an already demanding daytime schedule. As a toddler, the other was demanding and picky, throwing tantrums whenever she was home and making weekends miserable. Now that they’re older, there are new issues to battle: first crushes, the drama of tween friendships, the roller coaster of hormone-driven emotions.
This seasoned mama has had a lot of stress throughout her motherhood experience—or at least a lot of opportunities for stress. When you talk to her about it directly, though, that’s not what she’s focused on. She’s focused on making sure she takes care of herself REALLY well no matter what’s happening around her and what obstacles she encounters.
Let me be clear: being a hustler is nothing to be ashamed of. I am a tried and true, work my tail to the bone, stay up all night ’til the book is finished kind of girl. It’s in my blood. That drive and work ethic got me through medical school and led me to triple
She takes it even further: “I’ve found that I just can’t take care of myself or the other people in my life—my kids, my husband, my patients—well if I am running from thing to thing, never enjoying, never seeing life for what it is: fleeting moments that I can never get back. I have to take the time to enjoy life when I can if I want to enjoy life at all.”
Maybe you don’t have the type of hectic life Melissa does all the time, but I’m sure you have hectic moments. We all do. Having a baby or a toddler can be one of the most chaotic times of your life, a season where everything feels hard and out of your control.
So, slow it down, mama. Think about enjoying versus multitasking during “free time.”
Life is meant to be enjoyed and that SHOULD NOT CHANGE JUST BECAUSE YOU BECOME A MOTHER. You deserve and you need moments to yourself and moments for enjoyment. Your kids, your partner, your mental health — they’ll all benefit if you’re intentional about prioritizing slowing down and taking a minute to catch your breath.
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