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Balancing Practice and Family: Here’s How I Do It


For all of you out there who wonder “how I do it,” here’s my secret.

In a rare occurrence, I had a girls’ night out this weekend. After enjoying drinks in a grown-up restaurant, we headed to see the movie “I Don’t Know How She Does It.” We’re all working moms, so we enjoyed watching a movie about a working mom who doesn’t quite hold it all together. The main character continually amazes people with her ability to juggle her daughter’s birthday party, work, travel, household responsibilities, and her marriage, stating “I don’t know how she does it.”

My patients frequently make this same comment to me, as do our friends. I usually have a specific answer to their statement - “my husband is a stay-at-home dad.” I’m not sure if they understand how this fact allows me to “do it all.” I can go to work, do my job, travel if need be, deliver babies at 3 a.m., etc., because there is someone at home who has my back, so to speak. Unlike the movie character, I don’t have to sync my Blackberry with my husband to make sure that one of us will be home.

Of course, we have to coordinate schedules, and there are plenty of times when I’m the one holding down the fort while my husband has a meeting or a guys’ night or travels. However, we only have one career to prioritize and that does make a difference.

Just like the movie shows, no working parent truly can do it all. When you’re juggling too many balls in the air, one or two inevitably falls to the ground. You just hope that it’s something like forgetting to get the oil changed rather than forgetting to pick up your child from school.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, watching the main character disguise a store-bought pie as a homemade one for the school bake sale and appreciating her moment of clarity at the end of the movie as she realized that she actually couldn’t do it and would need to make hard choices. It also appropriately demonstrated that while she was traveling to New York for business, her husband was at home taking care of everything else. I thought it was pretty realistic.

So for all of you out there who wonder “how I do it,” here’s my secret:

1.) I married exceedingly well.

2.) I don’t freak out (anymore) when our house is a mess or my kids are wearing stained or mismatched clothing.

3.) I prioritize sleep to the exclusion of (almost) everything else.

4.) I keep chocolate within reach at all times.

5.) I still find my job challenging, fun, exciting, and meaningful

So readers, I’m curious how you manage to “do it all?”

For more on Jennifer Frank and our other Practice Notes bloggers, click here.

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