I remember waking up in the nurse’s office in my elementary school and the first thing I saw was my mom’s face. I was in 6th grade and apparently had scored a goal while competing in indoor soccer when I was accidentally tripped, landed on the back of my head on the wooden floor, stood up to celebrate the goal and then collapsed into unconscious. I don’t remember any of it to this day because of the amnesia, but when I awoke, there was my mom.
It wasn’t until later that I learned she had to leave a final exam of her second year of law school to come get me and take me to the hospital. Seeing your kid knocked unconscious was tough enough (a regular occurrence for me as a rough and tumble kid) and having to drive to the hospital was another, but add into that the burden of needing to leave school and you can figure out how stressful this must have been for my mom. But no complaints, no “you made me miss an exam” or anything about that from my mom. It was all about making sure that her little boy was OK while they wheeled me from ER to CT scan to hospital bed for overnight observation.
But that’s what mom’s do, right? Selflessness, unconditional love and nurturing. I’m not saying that dads aren’t the same in how they love their kids, but whenever I fell down, ended up in the ER or just needed a band aid, there was mom, never admonishing me for what i did to myself. Just pure love and caring and emotional support that I needed, while working a job and putting dinner together.
My family went through a tough time financially when I was about 10 and mom went back to school to become an attorney. She got me and my sister ready for school, sent us off and then went to school herself, all the while making sure that the entire family had dinner every night because my dad came home even later. Never complaining, always working, I look back on those years and (and the subsequent ones when she was a legal editor) and realize what a superwoman she was. She went to work every day, dealing with some nice and sometimes not nice coworkers at a time when the #Metoo movement hadn’t yet shaped the workplace into the more level playing field that it is today.
Oh, did I mention that she did all of this while suffering from symptoms that would later be diagnosed as multiple sclerosis?
But my mom isn’t the only superwoman. I marvel at how moms in the workplace do what they do. I’m not saying that men (specifically single dads) don’t have to shuffle work/life balance like moms, but when I see what many mom orthodontists (and moms on our teams) go through on a daily basis, I watch in wonder and amazement at how they make it looks so easy most of the time. Not complaining, just doing. We should all (and hopefully do) thank you on more than one day per year, but today is an opportunity to give you that public shout out you deserve 365.
Kudos to every mom out there who wakes up, helps their kids, goes to work, manages an ortho team, deals with the inevitable school and kid phone calls at work, does ortho, reads a journal or watches CE, learns on a FB group, then heads to a ballgame or a PTA event, makes dinner, puts the kids to bed, then focuses on practice planning, maybe takes a few minutes for herself and a glass of Rose’, goes to sleep and does it all over again the next day, and the next and the next and the next.
I don’t know how you do it. Seriously.
Social dynamics have changed and today’s mom (hopefully) gets more help from her spouse than she did 30 or 40 years ago, but there’s something about being a mom that simply makes life different for you and a special bond with your kids which means you’re always within earshot emotionally or physically. Always.
And while moms who are orthodontists may be the ones who are reading this, I want to give my love and undying respect to all moms everywhere. To my mom, your mom and all moms around the globe. To new mom’s whose journey just began to my 76 year old mom in S. Florida whose smile and love I can always feel through the phone whenever we talk. Her positive attitude, infectious intellectual curiosity and strength to go back to school when I was 10 years old is (subconsciously) what allowed me to take one the same journey for ortho school when my oldest was about 10. To my wife, who every day has the toughest job in the world…getting our teenage kids out of bed and to school on time, wrestling with them to make sure they eat properly, force them to actually show some modicum of self care and be there-unconditionally-when they need her. To help our college age daughter with advice that only a mom can understand and help her through life. She is FAR more patient than I ever am and my kids should count their blessings. If I were the sole caregiver, our home would feel more like boot camp and thank goodness for a mom’s big heart. Oh, the pieces of herself she has given to make sure that our kids develop the best way they can.
So here’s to mom’s everywhere today, tomorrow and beyond. You’re amazing at what you do, taking care of your family AND your practice. Helping kids get to bed and helping your family sleep better through all of your hard work practicing ortho.
I know how hard your work/life balance is and I respect and love what you do and marvel at how you hold it all together. And of course, I have huge amounts of respect for those moms who are at home, making sure they are the center of the family’s universe and holding the home together. Being a mom is tough (often under-appreciated) work for which so many of us are thankful.
Here’s hoping you have an amazing day and please know that you are cherished for the amazing job you do beyond just these 24 hours.