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The Key to Having it All

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Dr. Helen Gray and her family.

Today’s sponsored post is brought to you by St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and written by Helen Gray, MD.  Helen is mother to four children: her 7 year old son, Elijah, sassy 5 year old daughter Kaiya, spunky 2 year old son Tristan, and energetic 11 month old son Callan. Both her and her husband, Bryan grew up and met in the Reno/Sparks area. She currently works as a full time family physician with Saint Mary’s Medical Group.  In her spare time, she loves running half marathons, doing crafts like scrapbooking, traveling, and playing Just Dance on the Wii with her kids.

“Lunches made? Check. Diaper bag set for a toddler and infant? Check. Tomorrow’s what day again? Oh yeah Tuesday! Is the soccer bag packed? Are the dance clothes and shoes out? Check and check! Ok on to me now…gym clothes, work clothes…is that a cry I heard? I have to finish some work now that the kids are in bed.”

I would say I’m just your typical full time working mom of four, juggling kids’ school schedules, after school activities, potty training, and grandparent drop off… and by juggling, I truly mean juggling. On some days it feels as if I’m more like the seal in a circus act that is trying to balance a bunch of balls on its nose. I live by my color coded calendar which is also known as my external brain. I wish, over and over, for a minion, however birthdays and holidays pass and still, no minion in my gift bags.

Dr. Helen Gray and her family.
Dr. Helen Gray and her family.

My little ones are 7, 5 and 2 years old, and my youngest is 11 months. They are smart, adorable and loving. They make me smile after a long hard day at work. I beam with pride when they accomplish their goals. I love baby snuggles and giggling in homemade forts. My heart breaks when their feelings get hurt. I feel that dreaded mommy guilt when I leave for work and especially on days when I have meetings and only get to see my kids in the morning before drop offs and then when I’m kissing their sleeping foreheads after I get home.

But then, there are mornings where #’s 1 and 2 (yes my husband and I often resort to calling them by numbers since they’ve overtaken us) are at each other’s throats from the time their eyes have opened. They are screaming at each other while #3 who is being potty trained decides he has to poop and it has to be RIGHT NOW.  #4 has taken on putting EVERYTHING into his mouth so I now must dive from the potty to the crawler who is trying to eat a Lego. Fast forward an hour and the kids have all been dropped off at their respective locations and this mama is enjoying her coffee at her desk peacefully. Maybe going to work has its perks? And even as I reminisce on beautiful mornings such as this, I’m still the annoying mom who forces all her coworkers to watch videos of her children dancing, and telling embarrassing stories about what her children did in a public bathroom.

So, as a working mother, I too struggle to find that balance. How do we achieve this utopia of doing it all? We don’t! We figure it out as we go and consider our kids’ needs as well as our own, almost as if putting together the pieces of a puzzle. We work after our kids go to bed. We ask family members and friends for help with childcare. We leave work in a panic thinking we’ll miss our kid’s performance only to slide into our seat just as they turn their head to look for us in the audience. You then realize that their huge grin and big wave is all the reward you need for the panic to suddenly slip away. This doesn’t mean, however, that your children need to do every activity you could possibly imagine in order for them to have a fulfilling childhood and grow up to be good people. But most importantly, we must remind ourselves that as mothers, we all want what’s best for our children, and we must also do what’s best for our own sanity.

Then, there are those days where my evil nemesis “Mommy Guilt” tries to sneak in and I remember that I’m being a role model to my children who see that I work hard to ensure they are taken care of. My kids love coming to my office and seeing how I help people feel better. They love when I get to come to school on Career Day and talk about what I do outside of being a mommy.

I don’t have any magical answers on being a working mother and “doing it all” aside from doing the things I’ve mentioned above. My best piece of advice is to remember that the mom who seems like she has it all together, working or not, has her own set of angst and struggles she must face every day and that we, as mothers, must lift and support one another. I remind myself daily that my kids will never be as young as they were the day before and that in a blink of an eye, they will be all grown up. I know in the future I’ll be looking back on quiet mornings wishing for the chaos that I live in now.

To learn more about Dr. Gray and her primary care practice, click here.

A proud sponsor of Reno Moms Blog.
A proud sponsor of Reno Moms Blog.
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