Women are like tea bags. You never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.
Being strong is hard. But the more I put myself in situations (or am put in them without choice which still happens, albeit not as often as it did growing up) where I have to be strong, I come out even stronger every time. I find so much inspiration from other strong women - women who have the strength to speak out, women who have the strength to stay quiet to protect something else, women who have the strength to go after their dreams, women who have the strength to sacrifice their dreams, women who have strength to love who they want, women who have the strength to love even if it wasn't their choice - you see, we as women need to see and respect each other for where we are - we all make choices or take actions based on things someone else will never understand.
In a similar fashion we need to remind ourselves not to compare or compete with other women. There's enough room for us all to shine in our own ways, and we'll only get there faster by supporting each other.
I hope I can raise my girls to be strong, and to find inspiration and camaraderie from other girls and women. And to not be afraid of a little hot water.
In something that probably makes more sense than my sleep-deprived rambling, the folks over at Sofft reached out to me as they wanted to highlight me for International Women's Day (so humbled!) so here is a tiny bit of my interview with them. Make sure to hop over to their page to read the rest!
Having three young daughters and a very demanding career, how do you balance it all?
I think the illusion of "balance" is an unfair one that so many women try to achieve, when the truth is that although we may have many roles, we're only playing one or two at any given time. Now - I may switch hats about 24 times a day - from mom to wife to doctor and then back to mom for a pumping break at work and then back to doctor, then to mom again, then to wife when the kids are asleep - I think that's a more realistic way to see the "balance," not expecting that at any given time we're actually playing all of those roles. With that said - it takes a village! When we had our first during medical school we had daycare and a nanny (a sweet college student was what we could afford at the time!) - now with three we actually have my mother-in-law who we moved in with us and take care of so that she can help out with the girls, and my oldest is in pre-school now. I also have a supportive work environment - once during clinic I had to bring the girls (even with childcare and backup childcare there are still emergencies!) and my nurses took turn watching the girls so I could see the last few patients!
You are inarguably a huge inspiration for other young women. What’s your advice for those who need a little bit of motivation to keep reaching for their goals?
The biggest motivation always comes from within, so that is always my message to young women. You need to know why you want it, I mean really know, really believe it, and be able to pull those feelings up when times get hard - because they will! I also truly believe in the power of mentorship - having a mentor who can tell you "you'll get through this, I did" is also sometimes the little bit of reassurance you need to keep pushing. I didn't always personally have it but I searched online for people I could look up to even if they didn't know I existed!
Some of us have the tendency to steer towards negativity when life becomes overwhelming – what is your strategy for staying positive when things get a bit chaotic?
Life's way too short. I grew up with constant reminders of how precious life truly is and what problems are actually real problems - from having family members murdered, to not having money for medical care, to seeing classmates put in jail - things that truly put what my current problems are in major perspective. That perspective has always reminded me to count my blessings and be grateful for what I have, and not sweat the small stuff. I also allow myself that time to be negative - just because I say don't sweat it doesn't mean you shouldn't react to it or be this perfectly positive person all the time. No! Get angry, cry a little, have a minor panic attack, sure! But don't dwell on it - give yourself that outlet and then pick up the pieces and deal with it! Because life truly is too short.
Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
Thanks to Sofft for helping inspire this post, and coffee, all the coffee.