As a working mom, it’s quite hard to know how much to merge and how much to separate with personal and business life. We are blessed to live four blocks away from my office, so I walk to work with my dog Harry Winston, and our nanny brings Valentina up to see my every lunchtime (I work three days a week, so she comes those three days). Every lunch she comes to my office, she’s met many of my patients, and she knows my staff really well. I love that she knows where Mummy is when we’re not together. That hour a day has been precious time for me, and it’s made working at all a lot easier. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on so much, and she never goes more than 3-4 hours without seeing me. It’s part of her routine, so she knows not to barge through my office door if I’m still with patients when they arrive, and she knows to say bye-bye when I have to get back to work and it’s time for them to leave. To me, that’s part of trying to achieve work-life balance, and it’s something that works great for us.
Other things that have helped me to feel connected while we’re apart are pictures. I have our nanny send me pictures and/or little video clips during the day so I can see what they’re up to. It helps me to see that she’s having fun and is happy. When I’m in the throws of a stressful, busy day, working with a very unwell population as I do, nothing makes me smile like seeing a picture of my little one playing in the sand or at the park.
Of course, having a nanny that we know/ trust/ love helps a ton too. Our first year we were blessed to have a trauma nurse as our nanny. If there’s anyone I’m going to feel safe leaving my 7-week old baby with to go back to work, it’s a trauma nurse! Corinne was amazing with Valentina as she had real expertise with infants, and she also taught me a ton along the way. If she thought it was time to change something or introduce something, she’d tell me, and I liked that a lot. I wouldn’t have always known to do that, so I was glad she did!! She was smitten with our baby, and they had a great relationship. We were sad when she had to go back to hospital work with an unpredictable schedule.
Now we actually have two nannies who split the days (not necessarily by design, it just worked out that way), and while both are completely different personalities and energies, we love them both and so does Valentina. Amber and Valentina laugh all day together – I think they have quite similar natures – fun-loving and easy going. Amber makes playdough with her, takes her to story time and signs songs with her. Thankfully, unlike me Amber can sew so she’ll fix things of Valentina’s that need stitching. Amber is a yoga teacher, and I’m guessing that’s who Valentina learned her down dog poses from! Adelina, our other nanny, is one of the warmest, most loving people I have met. She showers Valentina with love and praise, always giving her positive feedback and direction. Adelina is an artist, so they do arts and crafts together, and Adelina speaks Spanish and Italian to Valentina.
We do the things we can do to make life work. It’s so hard for mom’s to go back to work with a little one at home. And at the same time, I know for me my work is an important part of my life and my identity, so I wouldn’t necessarily want to give it up. I just try to stay balanced as well as possible, and find ways to merge the two parts of my life so that I don’t feel fragmented. My patients know that when they come to my office they’ll find my dog all the time, my baby some of the time and my husband occasionally! It’s a family-friendly place and that’s the only way I’ll have it!