I just completed my first month of work at Pediatric Associates of Southern Westchester and… work is good!
What surprised me was how quickly I started to enjoy working. I was fully aware of some of challenges: the paperless, computerized system (new to me), navigating a busy new office with different protocols and personalities, and brushing up on new vaccine schedules and antibiotic dosing. The biggest challenge is mental expenditure. After all, work is work! Everyone knows that work requires not only a commitment of time, but a commitment of mental energy and emotion. Given the breadth of my own family’s medical needs, it had been a long time before I could even think about adding work to my plate.
So, how does it feel to be back taking care of other children, other families? I love it. I remember how much I truly love working with children! It feels great to answer questions and to put my education to the use for which it was intended. Over the past five years questions ranged from, “Mom, where are my socks? … how many carbs and are you SURE its gluten-free…?to … should we start the steroids for his asthma, or will it make his blood sugars too high?” My pediatric expertise helped a little, mostly when the diabetes was complicated by other medical issues. Diagnosing and treating patients who have issues beyond the scope of my children’s issues is, for lack of a better term, refreshing. I am helping them, even as I walk them out of the exam room. I do not need to take their medical problems home with me. Being one step removed from the medical issues of my patients is an important distinction from the past several years at home with my family.
How is my own family doing? So far, they have been good. The school nurses call or text about Leo’s blood sugars, and my patients don’t seem to mind the very brief interruption. The days are busy, sometimes head-spinning and often no bathroom breaks for several hours. I completely lose track of time. I am happy my own children have the structure of school to check and report blood sugars. The unstructured time will be more difficult, I am sure.
And the juggling act of every working mother? Shopping at four different stores to accommodate the dietary restrictions is challenging, and making the kids their favorite foods “re-heated, not fresh” isn’t perfect. Leo asks me daily about my work schedule (which is about 23 hours/week) and Ben sometimes waits for me to come home to start studying. It is very heart-warming to hear the pitter-patter of feet and feel the warm hugs when I walk in the door. Those moments might be one of the best parts of going back to work. Then, of course, I start hearing … I’m hungry …What can I eat? Part of me wants to run back to my car. But, that too, is a “joy” of motherhood…