Archive for April, 2010

The happy dance

April 26, 2010

When my niece was four or five years old, she drew a photo of some people standing on the planet Earth, and her parents mailed the drawing in to the editors of “Yak,” (the kids’ section of the Detroit Free Press). Then my niece and her parents forgot all about it. That is until one morning several months later. My sister had already left for work. My brother-in-law was eating a bowl of cereal while reading the sports page. My niece sat across from him with the morning’s edition of “Yak,” when suddenly she  let out a gasp of excitement. “I’m in the paper! My drawing is in the paper!”

And sure enough it was. How appropriate that it was Earth Day! Her dad jumped up and embraced her. They danced around the kitchen. They called my sister on her cell phone. She quickly turned the car around and headed back home to join the happy dance. I wasn’t there, but I imagine it involved holding hands and jumping while circling the kitchen table.

I remember hearing this story at the time and thinking, “Wow! My sister really turned the car around for this?” It seemed a little extreme, as did the chatter about the Yak drawing that continued for the rest of the week among members of my family.

Fast forward nine years. I get a call at work. It’s my mom. “Meghan is in the paper!” she exclaims. I jump up. I ask questions. I look up the paper online. I can’t find it! I call my husband. I order him home. He scans the photo and sends it to my phone. I grin. I go back to work. I pull up the photo again a few minutes later. I grin again.

That night when I got home from work, the paper was displayed prominently on the kitchen table. I grabbed it and took in the photo of our little girl. And while the paper in question is a small weekly publication for residents of the Township, it might as well have been Time magazine for all the excitement it brought to our little family.

I then picked up our little girl and showed her the photo. She laughed at herself and the rather large plush duck she was hugging! Then she and I did our own happy dance around the kitchen.  Life does come full circle.

WWBGD?

April 22, 2010

This is the acronym I came across in an e-mail from my husband yesterday in response to something I sent him. I knew he was playing off the popular WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) idea, but I didn’t know what “BG” was supposed to stand for in his iteration of the question.

I thought about it for a moment. Then it came to me. What Would Baby Girl Do? “Baby Girl” is one of the many nicknames we have for our daughter. I laughed out loud when I realized his intent. And as I’ve thought more about it, he was totally on to something, and I’m now convinced I should be taking a page from Baby Girl’s example more often.

So just what exactly does Baby Girl do in response to the many activities going on in her life?

She laughs. Or Cries. She jumps up and runs to the window to see who’s at the door. Or she remains seated and makes the new visitor come to her. She walks with purpose in the intention of her heart’s desire (usually her sippie cup). Or she  throws said sippie cup completely across the room with a surprising strength (certainly not inherited from her mom).

In short, she knows what she wants, and she makes sure she gets it. Perhaps there is wisdom in her ways. She knows what she wants. She makes no qualms about it. She advances confidently in the direction of her desires. And she usually gets what she wants (sippie cup, a hug, blankie, to go outside). And she caps it all off by sleeping soundly at night eager and roaring to do it all over again the next morning.

Hmmmm…

Perhaps today mom learns from baby.

She’s usually right

April 19, 2010

You’re never too old to learn from your mom. Shortly after my last blog post went up, I received a call from my mom to let me know it included a typo. She was right.

She usually is.

Like the time she advised me to wear a plaid bow tie in my first grade elementary school picture despite my protests. It is one of the cuter pictures of me as a kid.

Like the time she encouraged me to select a female historical figure (Sacajawea) for my fourth grade social studies report. I was the only one in the class who did to the teacher’s delight.

Like the times she encouraged me to call my grandma because grandma wouldn’t always be around (how I wish I could call her now).

Like the time she encouraged me to have 10 bridesmaids (plus two junior bridesmaids) in my wedding party because why wouldn’t I want to be surrounded by 12 of the people I care about most even if they take over the altar?

Like the numerous times she told me to “just buy it!” I would have a wardrobe of three shirts and two pairs of pants if she didn’t. (I hate to shop.)

Like the times she encouraged me to dress Baby Blue in a onesie underneath her clothes to keep her little body warm. We visited the pediatrician only once for a non “well visit” during her first year of life.

I could go on. But I think the point has been made. Need any advice? I’ll run it by Mary Kay. She’s usually right!

Paging Dr. Mom

April 14, 2010

I’ve been doing some freelance writing for a publication whose staff I used to be on some years ago. It’s a medical publication, and physicians are the primary audience. I’ve been pitching this publication for some time, and the first article green lighted is on a topic on which I certainly can relate — working parenthood. As part of my research, I’m interviewing working mom docs and working mom med students about how they balance these two roles.

In the interviews I’ve conducted, it has become abundantly clear that no matter the profession, perspective changes when you have a baby.

These women have a more demanding work schedule than many. Some take call every third or fourth night. Some work weekends. Some work 14 hour days. Some are up all night with their infant and then rounding first thing in the morning. And all of them miss their little, and in some cases not so little, ones while at work or school.

In speaking with these women, I’ve noticed a common thread. All always wanted to be a doctor. All  always wanted to be moms. And they’re not letting anyone (even resentful residents or attendings, less than understanding professors or overly concerned family members and friends) tell them they can’t do both. Because, quite frankly, they already are.

But that’s not to say they’re not struggling with that oft-referenced thing we in the media like to call “work-life balance,” because they very much are. And so I have particular respect for the women who’ve taken the bull by the horns and said, “I’m going to do this my way.” Case in point, one family medicine physician from the Chicago area who is launching her own micro practice, where she can set her own hours so she can also spend more time with her infant daughter. Case in point, one pediatrician from metro Detroit who is working a part-time schedule and raising four kids (including newborn twins). Case in point, one family medicine physician who pursued a career in academics so she could spend more time with her kids and less time working nights in the hospital.

And for each of these women, there are just as many others who work even more demanding schedules while also raising a family. And kudos to them as well. They’re doing what’s right for them, which is ultimately what it all boils down to.

I was particularly struck by what one second year medical student shared with me as we discussed the challenges and triumphs of parenting while working, or in her case, going to medical school. She said, “I sometimes tell myself during particularly hectic times that even if I were to flunk out of school (which I won’t), I’ll always have my husband and daughter.” She’s got her priorities straight. And I may just be scheduling an appointment with her come 2012.