Back in the early nineties, I received a card for Mother’s day that made me laugh, then gave me pause. I still remember the cover. It talked about the modern woman who has a career, goes to meetings, has kids, goes to soccer practice, bakes for the school bake sale, cooks dinner, is a loving wife, etc. Then on the next page, it said, “You crazy?”
I have not forgotten it. Having a child and running a household, being there for your spouse, attending meetings, seeing patients, running to hospital emergencies at all hours, all these were quite the juggling act. Looking back, I’m just amazed.
I grew up in a household where having a career was a value drilled into our heads quite early on. And this mantra was not just for the boys in the family. And so, like the good kid I was, I set out to fulfill that programming. I went to college, then med school. Then I got an internship in Toronto, and eventually, residency in Pediatrics, with a fellowship in Neonatology. During all these years, I managed to get married and build a life with my hubby, who’s also an MD. We had our daughter while I was on my third year of residency. We did our best to combine all the modern-day opportunities for women while building domestic bliss at home. It was interesting to note that when I started my residency in Pediatrics, we were only a handful women in our batch. By the time I completed my four years of training, the women entering residency outnumbered the men.
Looking back, I think we all “winged it.” There were no books nor courses for us to refer to on how to juggle our various personas. What’s more, there was just too much going on that we did not have the luxury of pondering, let alone analyzing all these mixed sentiments. But as I think of those years, I marvel at how we seemed to have sailed through them. It was exciting as it was somehow lonely. It was frenetic with all the deadlines at work, the dance classes, the gymnastics, the swimming, the advanced reading. You name it, we probably did it. I remember being exhausted and perpetually sleep-deprived. But I also loved it all.
Is it all worth it? All the juggling of several full-time preoccupations 24/7?
As our kids leave the nest, our parents are getting older and we have had to care for them more and more. Our caregiving duties somehow have shifted to another generation.
Now, I am at an age that my mother was when I got married. I thought at the time that my parents were old. Somehow, it’s not THAT old. It’s not as crazy and confusing now though. I’m not rushing to a volleyball game or model U.N. anymore. I’m not making sandwiches for school lunches anymore. Somehow, I can do my nails without having to stop to help someone go to the bathroom or have an extra sip of water. I have some time to myself now. I even have time to enjoy a good book now and then.
I look at the last two years and I think to myself, “I can now find myself again.” I look forward to another year of weaving together my life story, one day at a time. I see it as a time to reconnect with old friends, family, travel more, and hopefully, new challenges and a reinvention of ourselves. I am hoping for less of the tedious chores, and yes, less drama please. I can use a break from those.
- Super Hero Mom (mommyessays.wordpress.com)
- Sorry Avengers, but Mom Is my Real Super Hero (aarp.org)
- “Top 10 Survival Secrets to Balancing a Family & Career” (theparalegalsociety.wordpress.com)
- I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR! A Call to Arms to Fight For Women’s Rights AGAIN! (bewarethebelievers.wordpress.com)
- Motherhood in Perspective (psychologytoday.com)