Whether you are a receptionist, technician, or veterinarian; whether you work full-time, part-time, or do relief work; whether your children are babies, in school, or graduated and on their own, being a mom in the veterinary field is especially challenging. Being a mom is a full-time, all-consuming job, but you also have a career that can be just as demanding as motherhood.
You probably feel like me, constantly being pulled in different directions. Your children need you, but so does your veterinary team. You do your best to be there for everyone, but you can’t be two places at once. Your son is sick and you need to take him to the doctor so you take the day off even though your team at work will be short-handed. You can’t leave work early to go to your daughter’s soccer game and you miss her scoring her first goal.
There’s an emergency surgery that will go after hours, but the daycare closes at 6pm sharp and you can’t be the one to stay late tonight. You were too tired last night to sift through all the school papers that were sent home so you missed the note that today is “dress like your favorite book character day” and your kid doesn’t have a costume. Whatever the scenario, there are times you feel you can’t win – no matter what you do, someone will be disappointed.
You compare yourself to other moms and you are plagued with Mom Guilt because you aren’t like them. Crafty Mom always makes cute treat bags and homemade decorations for every holiday. Sports Mom coaches her kids’ teams and never misses a game. Healthy Mom’s children always have homemade lunches, free of artificial colors and full of fresh veggies your child would never eat. Volunteer Mom chaperones all the field trips, serves ice cream at Family Night, and organizes the fund raisers. You are Working Mom – the mom who is constantly juggling your career and motherhood, trying to please everyone.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I take it a step further. I am Frazzled Mom. I tell myself I’m Super Human and can do it all. I sign up for a half marathon with big goals for setting a personal record but can’t find time to train. I volunteer to help at the Dinner with Santa then have to cancel at the last minute thanks to an emergency splenectomy on a patient. I miss my kid’s birthday for a continuing education conference and try to make up for it by planning an elaborate birthday party, only to realize I can’t take ten six year olds to an arcade by myself.
My house is a mess and McDonald’s is practically a food group. Once my kindergartener wore his pants backwards all day and I didn’t even notice until bedtime. You probably see me running into the school in the morning with my hair still wet, carrying my son’s boots that he forgot, spilling my coffee, and talking to work on my cell phone telling them “I’ll be there in a few minutes”. I am juggling so many things at one time that sometimes I drop a ball or two. The more I try to look like I have it all together, the more frazzled I get.
I’ve been a working mom for almost eleven years and I’ve learned something during this time. No matter how hard I try, I am not perfect. But good news: neither are any of the other moms. We see the best attributes in others but tend to only see our faults. When others look at you, they see a mom who works hard to achieve her dreams, one who is teaching her children independence and responsibility, a multi-tasking person who knows where she is needed most, and is the best mother she can be.
This Mother’s Day, give yourself a gift. Stop worrying that you are disappointing everyone. Stop falling into the Mom Guilt trap by comparing yourself to other moms. Accept that you can’t do everything and rely on others to help you. Thank your co-workers for stepping up when you had to leave early. You will make up for it by working through lunch another day. Ask another mom to record the highlights of the soccer game you have to miss.
See those perfect moms for who they really are – just regular moms who try their best but also make mistakes. Learn to laugh at yourself when you turn into Frazzled Mom and let go of some of the balls you are juggling. This Mother’s Day, put your feet up, relax, and let others take care of you, because deep down you know you are Rock Star Career Mom!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Jennifer Shepherd received her DVM from Colorado State University in 2000. She is currently the owner and head veterinarian at Cloquet Animal Hospital, a small animal practice in Cloquet, MN.
When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband Paul, three children, and her dog Coal.