Being a Doctor, a Wife, a Mom, and a Writer with OCD and a special diet
When my worries don’t pan out the way I worried they would, the Wendy’s Eating Husband will roll his eyes at me. His diet annoys me. My worry annoys him. I can read what he’s trying to say to me, when his iris disappears and all I see is white. “Told you so.” That guy has no worries in the world. He likes to quote Robert Downey, Jr. on the topic:
“Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want to happen”
You may have noticed my once a month postings since May. My decreased posting pace was correlated with an increase in hours at the office. Last May, I expanded my patient schedule by adding an additional day at the clinic. When I made the leap to 3 days instead of 2, I worried that we’d be paying our nanny for nothing on that additional third day. I worried that either I would have no patients on this additional day or that my schedule would become diluted across the whole week. See, when you’re a doctor, you’re constantly analyzing your schedule because you always want it to be full. It’s tempting to take it personally when the schedule is slow.
However, adding an additional day filled my patient schedule even more. I was beyond blessed to have a completely full patient schedule almost every day I was in the office, as this is every naturopathic doctor’s dream. You can guess what ensued from the Wendy’s Eating Husband. Lots of eye exercises, but only in one direction if you know what I mean. My worries never came true, but if they did, I would have had time to write some more posts!
With the increase in work hours, in addition to some extra vacation coverage I did in June & July, I began to really struggle with finding a healthy work-life balance that not only worked for me but also for my family. I never expected to struggle with this, and the difficulty caught me by surprise.
All summer long I wrestled with how I wanted my life to look. How much do I want to work? How much do I want to be at home around my kids? How much do I want to be blogging? What does the ideal work-life balance look like for who I was made to be (because the work-life balance will always look different for everyone)?
One particular question pushed hard on my perfectionist I-like-to-be-in-control hot spot, kind of like that impatient guy at the crosswalk who keeps ramming his palm on the “walk” button.
What do I need to let go of in order to have a healthy work-life balance?
My immediate answer?
Nothing. I’ll take everything, thank you!
I wanted it all, at the same time. I wanted to work 3 full days a week, with a full patient schedule every day I’m at the office. I wanted to cook all of our family meals from scratch. I wanted to make homemade archerfriendly treats once a week. I wanted to make green smoothies several times a week. I wanted a clean house with an almost empty laundry hamper. I wanted a beautiful and fruitful organic backyard garden. I wanted to be a good sister that called regularly. I wanted to be a mom that spends all the time in the world with her kids. I wanted to be a wife that helped her husband take his Methyl Guard Plus everyday. I wanted to be a blogger that blogged 3 times a week, developed new recipes, and created fun photo shoots on a regular basis. I wanted to live the naturopathic life I feel so deeply called to live.
Something had to go whether I wanted to let go of it or not. My laundry piled up and so did my dishes. I hired a friend to help make us archerfriendly food. We barely drank green smoothies. I stopped working on my blog. I skimmed my life down to the bare bones: work, family, good food, and rest.
In the summers, I usually do a lot of behind-the-scenes work on my blog. I live outside Seattle, so the summer sun is a precious time of year. I use summers to build up my photography portfolio, so I have pictures on hand for food, medicine, and life posts throughout the dark rainy winters when natural light is poor. I didn’t do any of this. It was painful to let go of my blog.
I was grasping around in the fog, trying to get a hold on how my life was going to work out as a mom, a wife, a doctor, and a writer who also has to eat special food everyday to be well. Ah, the special food! That makes life all the more complicated. Figuring out the balance of all my roles was stretching and uncomfortable. I ate a lot of ice cream. I junked online at times when I should have been sleeping. I cried because I felt like a terrible mom.
Through my struggle and stumbling around, trying to find equilibrium for all of my roles, I found the most beautiful life gift: I learned invaluable things about myself that I couldn’t have learned in any other way. Sometimes we have to go through the hard parts of our story to understand and know who we really are. When you understand and know who you are, you are better able to live a life that is true to who you are, which will naturally result in you being the most alive you.
Life is always trying to teach us who we are, what makes us tick, and what drains us at the end of the day. Pay attention.
Struggle and questioning and plain admitting that “I’m-not-doing-OK” can be one of our biggest tools to knowing who we really are, but only if we let it. We have to open ourselves up to the struggle, let ourselves be vulnerable in the midst of it, and then we will learn things about ourselves that we may have never known to be true.
We get to see what pangs us. We get to see what we need. We get to see what makes us skip a bit instead of plainly walking. We get to feel what makes us sad. We get to see where we’ve been numb and where we’ve checked out. We get to discover what makes us roll over in laughter. Struggle gives us the opportunity to figure out what will make us OK again.
Tomorrow, I’ll share 3 specific things I learned about myself during my quest for a better work-life balance.