It is human nature to work. Some say you can’t be a good mother and a good worker. My mother worked while raising us kids- and she was great at both. I believe it is possible that one enhances the other making us better as a whole. In other words, I’m a better physician because I’m a mother and I’m a better mother because I am a physician.
I travel at least once a month for work. I enjoy traveling, but as I’ve gotten older it has become more burdensome. I confess that there have been meetings where I’ve flown in and out and never left the hotel.
Occasionally, I’ve taken my kids on these work trips. Years ago I took my daughter to an ovarian cancer survivorship talk sponsored by the Foundation for Women’s Cancer. She was too young to be left alone in the hotel room, so she sat in the back of the lecture hall. At that conference, my daughter learned very young that bald is not only beautiful, but it is an image of strength and resilience. The event was an opportunity for her to learn something she may have never experienced elsewhere.
Recently, I took her to a work trip in Philadelphia. It was a meeting of the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG ), which is a research clinical trials group sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). I’ve been to Philly several times for work but confess I’ve never explored the city with a 13 year old. We ate Philly cheese steaks and dim sum, rode on a trolley, and went to the aquarium. I worked with my colleagues from all over the country then rode a swan paddle boat in the Delaware River.
I combined work with parenting and both were enhanced. No one should have to choose – if it makes you a better person it will make you a better parent. I encourage all mothers to realize it is possible to work and be a fantastic mom. It worked for my mother and I hope my daughter someday thinks it worked for me.
What do you think, working moms?