On Episode 011 of Fulfilled – The Podcast we interviewed Dr. Anne Sharkey. Dr. Sharkey is a board certified podiatrist, a wife, and a mom. As a surgeon she juggles her OR schedules, private practice clinic, household schedules, and still manages her household, all while her husband travels 2 out of every 4 weeks! Talk about the ultimate challenges in working motherhood! Work-life balance is elusive, but achievable. Scheduling is hard but so worth it. Taking big risks can lead to big, positive, happy rewards! Sometimes to recharge as a Momma you need to un.freaking.plug!
The elusive work-life balance… well, it’s a unicorn. It can be difficult to navigate life as a working mom, especially in medicine, and most especially as a surgeon! We will dive into what work-life balance means to each of us, the real definition of work-life balance, and the shifts in balance on a day-to-day, week-to-week, and year-to-year. When your spouse travels for work it adds additional challenges and scheduling difficulties. Work-life balance is tricky, but you can achieve it if you get clear on your top priorities in life, your goals at home and at work, and then build your schedule around those priorities and goals.
Scheduling can help us take a deep breath. Dr. Sharkey plans life one month at a time, then each week dives into the detailed schedule, meal plan, school pick-up and drop off. She and her husband work together to plan family time, review birthdays, travel, surgery and clinic schedules, school and work schedules – figuring out who is going to be where and when. This has helped with the everyday scramble that is a household with two working parents.
Major moves can feel both big and scary, but they can also help you to make big changes at home – changes in the time you’re able to spend with your kids. As a practicing Podiatrist Dr. Sharkey decided to pick up and move her family from Indiana to Texas – to shift from a major hospital system to employment in private practice – with more say, more flexibility, and more control over the schedule and therefore with how much time she’s able to spend with her family! Changing her practice environment has helped Dr. Sharkey to feel more fulfilled, see a different subset of patients, and change geographically and practice environments completely.
Being present as a Mom, as a woman and as a human being involves unplugging yourself from the hospital, the office, your phone, email, and social media. Strategies such as charging your phone on a charging station in the kitchen – out of your hand during dinner, family time, and bedtime, and out of your bedroom during bedtime – can truly enrich your interactions, your relationship with your spouse and your kiddos. Try unplugging to recharge – the freedom that comes from detaching yourself from your phone is beyond compare – you will wake up refreshed and recharged!
You can absolutely be a present, loving, available Mom and a surgeon who is multi-passionate, loves her job, can rock is in the OR and at swim lessons and soccer games. Dr. Sharkey shares her experiences with picking up roots, moving across the country and re-arranging her life and her priorities so she could, in fact, be a Mom and a kick-ass Podiatrist. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed or as though you are struggling to find that unicorn that is work-life balance as a career momma, a surgeon, and a wife – this episode is for you!
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