With a glass of wine by my side, I gaze out over the water. The view across Abram lake and it’s rugged, undeveloped shoreline never gets old. The evening sun slowly creeps toward the treetops, casting a sparkling path of light across the fine ripples of pale blue. A red-tail hawk flies over my head silently. Closing my eyes, I hear the wind rustling in the birch tree near by. A chickadee’s call competes with Brooks’ and Hunter’s chatter as it drifts up from the beach. I am alone on my deck. A rare moment. I try to savour it, capture it, save it up to counter the usual daily controlled chaos.
In the busy day-to-day bustle, it is so easy to lose these moments. To me, they are small bursts of energy that breathe a rejuvenated perspective. I try to ignore the fact that they do nothing to lessen my ever-increasing forehead wrinkles or to erase my continuous ‘to-do list’ 🙂 I can’t help but be incredibly thankful for what we have – our family, our friends, our neighbours, a beautiful home on a peaceful lake. How easy it is to lose sight of these immense gifts.
Today, I lost my temper and yelled at Henry for the first time. An accumulation of frustration and fatigue. It was not a proud moment. Rushing to get to my ER shift on-time, I wrestled Henry as he screamed, twisted, arched and flailed about on the change table while I attempted to pin him down with one hand and diaper him with the other.
Later that morning, in the ER, after receiving handover from a fellow physician-mom colleague, she asked me how I was doing, and truly meant it. We swapped stories of the challenges of being a parent and working in a demanding occupation. Finding balance between work and home, grappling with guilt of working too much and not being home enough… Difficulties with being too quick to lose patience with partners and children post-call, never seeming to get the house cleaned, struggling with resentment towards our jobs, and paradoxically, with our home lives… the list goes on.
I reflected on the fact that this was certainly not pioneering territory – countless of women, past and present, have struggled with the same issues, and yet I felt so very overwhelmed. Then, our conversation was cut short by a beeping pager and ER charts piling up in the ‘waiting-to-be-seen’ box. I pulled out my stethoscope and got to work.
But now, in this quiet moment at the end of the day, I can’t seem to fully let go. Is it truly possible to be a good parent and be dedicated to a demanding career? Of course my parents modelled this exceptionally and innumerable other friends are currently raising beautiful children while their CVs grow with their accomplishments. Yet, when I snap at Blake, when the tears come too readily and when I ‘rest my eyes’ while wearily sprawled on the floor at the same time as I feed a bottle to Henry, I feel that I must find a better way. My attempts to spend every second that I’m not working with Henry to ease my guilt and maximize my time with him has left me with the sense that I am just a very tired Mom and a very tired Doctor and am likely not doing either of those jobs to the best of my ability!
In any case, it’s a work in progress and I’ll let you know once I’ve figured it all out (HA!).
|A trip to the library back in early May
|He love, love, loves to stand on his own 🙂