When family and professional lives collide a mother can feel a sense of guilt.

As a newer mom, doctor, and business owner I have a bit of guilt. I don’t always know which hat I should be wearing at any given moment. I try to book my patient schedule so that I know when to put the doctor hat on, but even in wearing the doctor hat I also have to wear the business hat. And then there are times I need to be wearing the mothering hat. But it’s just not possible to wear all three hats at the same time, nor is it fair to myself, or those around me, to try. I end up feeling guilty for the times that I am not wearing the hat that my heart says I should be wearing.

I know there is the mom-guilt that women feel as we have to head back to work either sooner than we want to or not soon enough - depending on purpose. There are some women who are more career focused while others are more family focused. But it is hard to balance. If you are focused on your family then your career might not move as fast as you would like it. Maybe you are ok with that. But if you’re more career focused then your children might not have you at their important moments in life. I don’t know that there is one path of hat wearing that is better than the other. It comes down to each of us women choosing what is important for us and our lives.

It is also important to remember that men also have their own dad-guilt. As more men are staying home to raise children they often times put off their own dreams. Or, they’ll continue working so that their partner is able to stay at home. Being a parent is not an easy task. There are plenty of books out there to give you tips, but these books don’t know you, your children, your life, etc. These books don’t make meals, go grocery shopping, or pay the bills for you (unless you wrote one of these books!).

We as parents are left to work together to balance the hat wearing, to balance our lives. We give up things we might have wanted or desired, and even do things like get less sleep. But we also get hugs and love that can only come from children. We as parents choose the path that is best for us from the opportunities that present themselves. And, hopefully, in choosing these paths we have less guilt as these are our choices.

I feel that being a mother has made my practice better. It has also allowed me to better understand a woman's heartache, struggle, and balancing act. The same balancing act that we all try to do on a daily basis. Remember, you are doing the best you can do and give yourself a hug.

Image credit: Marie Louise Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (Wikipedia) (Public Domain)