Every mother is a working mother whose job is never finished. With a career added to the already busy mix, these Cy-Fair mom doctors have learned a few things about straddling the double-duty roles of being a mother and physician. Their warm, candid thoughts on caretaking will help any woman make the most of her time both at work and at home.
Back-up Makes It Possible
“I wanted to be a pediatrician, because I thought it would make me a good mom,” says Dr. Tiffany Nguyen of Texas Children’s FM 1960 Pediatric Center. “It turns out being a mom has also made me a better pediatrician – I am so empathetic.” Dr. Nguyen was pregnant when she joined the practice, so some of the children she tends to have grown up alongside her own children, Linus, 7, and Claire, 6.
Being on-call sometimes meant talking to the emergency room while potty training a toddler, and Dr. Nguyen admits she couldn’t have done it without back-up. Fortunately, her husband, Nick has the flexibility to work from home. “He is my rock, so I don’t have to be the boss of it all,” she says. Extended family pitches in pinch-hit, too. They all live in the same neighborhood to stay close.
In medical school, a friend told Dr. Nguyen to put family first and the rest would fall into place. It has proven true. Knowing her own children are well-cared for allows her to focus on other people’s children. “I had to learn not to be guilty and strive to be the best me in the shifting roles I have,” Dr. Nguyen says. Then she laughs and confesses, “We concentrate on what’s most important in our house. We just get over it and get on with it.” Dr. Nguyen loves being a mother, because it offers her the chance for self-reflection and to practice humility. Living and working in Cy-Fair is wonderful she says, because she always runs into her patients and their families when she is out with her own children.
Making Time Count
Eye Trends is owned by two female optometrists, and between them, they have five children. “I was pregnant with my first child when we opened the store, and my business partner and I alternated successive pregnancies,” says Dr. Katie Pham, chuckling. “Every year, it seemed like one of us was expecting.” She has three youngsters: 8-year-old Noah, 5-year-old Hannah, and Joshua, who is 2 and a half. As she added children to her family, she cut back her office hours to two days a week plus an administration day to balance the workload.
Dr. Pham’s husband, Dana Ziskrout, is an optometrist, as well. “So we never talk business at home; we talk family and kids,” she says. “Dana is a hands-on, active dad. Our field is better situated for juggling career and family – we can leave early, and it’s rare to have an emergency.” Their children attend a flurry of activities, but she delights in it. Her secret to making time count is two-fold. When she is with her children, she doesn’t pick up the phone and then she maximizes her business hours when her children are at school. Being a mother is special to Dr. Pham, because she enjoys watching her children’s skills develop, as well as their personalities. Cy-Fair has been her home and office for years. “We’re the local community eye doctors here,” she says. “We’ve watched kids grow up and get married.” Cy-Fair is still small enough to seem like family, she thinks, and that feeling encourages her to give back.
Caring for Others Is a Calling
“Mothering and being a pediatrician – both jobs are definitely a calling,” says Dr. Jill Eddings, a pediatrician in Cy-Fair. She figured out she wanted to do pediatrics during her first family practice
rotation. “I loved that children were so resilient and happy most of the time, and when they whined, it was age-appropriate,” she shares. Dr. Eddings had her first child while in medical school, her second during residency, and her third soon after beginning her practice. She credits her extended family and husband, Mark for being able to fit everything into a day throughout the years. Knowing her children were safe and surrounded with love when she couldn’t be there made it possible to work long days.
She has two sons, 7-year-old Andrew and 4-year-old Carter, plus a 1-year-old daughter, Emily. Candidly, Dr. Eddings admits she hasn’t found a realistic balance yet. “Admitting I have not found the perfect balance myself allows parents to see that I am real, too,” she says. “We are all struggling and striving to do the best we can.” She has learned that quality really is more important than quantity
where time is concerned. “I want my kids’ memories not to be only that mommy was good at ‘doctoring babies’ – as my son used to say – but that I did crafts with them, played hard with them, and loved them dearly.”
Dr. Eddings likes calming parents’ fears and teaching them how to keep their kids healthy. She shares her young patients’ excitement, curiosity, and joy for life and takes this feeling home to her family.
She loves the sense of community in Cy-Fair – church, sports, school, familiar faces at the grocery store, and the take-out grill that knows her family’s order by heart. CFM