I found Stephanie on Insta about a year ago and I think we instantly hit it off via comments! We both have a Lily / Lilly and they’re really similar in age so we’ve had plenty of solidarity moments since they arrived (one that sticks out is the phase of playing on or near the top of the stairs). Stephanie is married to Akash and she returned to work as a GP just before Lily’s first birthday. Steph’s grid has taken on a new life in the recent weeks – she can now be found at @thegpmum and she’s putting lots of great information up about a really broad range of topics that most of us will be googling and reading some questionable answers! Obviously healthcare professionals don’t consult via social media, but this is really interesting stuff that is written from the take of a parent and a female doctor (she’s just done some posts about cervical screening as well as tackling drinking while breastfeeding). I’m delighted to share Steph’s Power of the Parent story with you – and I’d recommend giving her a follow if you don’t already, she knows good food!!
What impact has being a working parent had on you?
Returning to work has brought positive and negative aspects. It has given me more balance. I certainly don’t have the “perfect balance” that so many search for but if I’m being honest, I’m not sure it really exists. In my head it’s like those old fashioned scales and there’s always something tipping the scale one way or the other. I loved going back to work and it made me realise how much I enjoy what I do. I worked really hard to get to where I am and whilst I loved maternity leave, I was getting itchy feet towards the end and knew it was the right time to go back. I am also happier with leaving Lily in the evenings meaning I can meet up with my girlfriends for dinner which is such a treat. I am lucky that I work part-time as well so feel that I get a good balance of work time and Lily time.
However, together with this have come some difficulties. I feel like I am being pulled in so
many directions and it’s a constant juggling act. I am always feeling like I am just about
keeping my head above water and I am not being a good enough GP/wife/Mum/daughter/sister. The great thing about knowing other Mums is that I know I am not the only one who feels this way. We would love to have another child and I am sure it would become even more chaotic. Parenting is hard!
Did you always know what you wanted life after having children to look like?
Not really! I was so focused on labour and how on earth I was going to get this baby out of me that I didn’t really give much thought to what would happen after! I do know that we didn’t want to let having a child limit us in terms of what we did. We are very keen to take Lily everywhere with us and want her to be flexible in that sense. I probably also thought that I didn’t want parenthood to change us but of course it changes you. And I think it changes you for the better.
What’s the best thing that parenting has taught you?
Patience! I am a lot more patient than I realised – even my parents have told me this! I also think that all Mums are absolute warriors – the physical and mental challenge of labour, delivery and recovery is immense.
What happens when work and home collide? How do you cope?
We are incredibly lucky to have support from my parents and my in-laws. My brother-in-law and his wife are also 5 minutes from us so we have plenty of people to call upon if we are ever stuck. We have willing babysitters and have never had to use an external service. I really hope they know how much we appreciate the help – it is invaluable.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself when you began
juggling kids and working?
You can’t do everything and that’s ok (something that I’m still trying to get the hang of!) Go on date nights! Time as a couple is so incredibly important too.