Nurturing Your Relationships With Your Children
As a mom, some days are so busy I feel like I'm racing through my life, frantically trying to cross as many things off of my to-do list as I can. "Pillar to post," my best friend calls this crazy life of ours.
In my flurry of busyness, I worry: Am I taking enough time to connect with my sons? Am I really seeing them? Listening to them? Do they know how much I love them?
The best advice I tell myself? Stop in the name of love! Stop racing around doing things; take time to be a mom. My sons will remember the time I spent paying attention to them, not how neatly folded the laundry was or how clean the floors were.
Here's how our mommy M.D.s -- doctors who are also mothers -- nurture their relationships with their own children:
"When our second daughter was born, my husband and I were concerned that our 2-year-old would feel neglected," says Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, M.D., a mom of two daughters and a pediatric gastroenterologist on Staten Island in New York City. "We planned a few trips to the movies and park for some 'alone time' when my second daughter first came home. These were mostly Daddy time, and she loved every second."
"I'm a very busy person," says Dina Strachan, M.D., a mom of one daughter, a dermatologist, the director of Aglow Dermatology and an assistant clinical professor at New York University. "I started my practice after my daughter was born, so I work even longer hours now than before she was born. I capitalize on the time that I do get to spend with her. Every chance I get, I tell her I love her. I want her to really feel that love in her heart."
"Even though I wear many different hats, I carefully protect my family time on the weekends," says Christy Valentine, M.D., a mom of one daughter, a specialist in pediatrics and internal medicine and founder of the Valentine Medical Center in Gretna, Louisiana. "That's special time with my daughter. We love to go to the park, watch movies and just spend time together. It's very important to me that my daughter knows she's my priority. I leave my phone on, but my colleagues know my weekends are sacred, and they would only call in an emergency."
Dr. Rallie's Tips
My oldest son was nearly 13 years old when his baby brother was born, and then he got another baby brother just a year later. He went from being an only child who was a little set in his ways to the big brother of two wild and crazy toddlers. It was a huge change for him, but he took it all in stride.
Babies and toddlers demand a lot of attention, and I didn't want my eldest to feel like he had been forgotten or neglected by his parents. Once a month or so, my husband and I would do something really special with him and leave his little brothers with a sitter. We'd take him skiing, go to a pro basketball game or see a concert. I think that because he got our undivided attention every once in a while, he was happy to share his parents with his little brothers. Sometimes, older kids really like it when their parents aren't completely focused on them!
We'd also encourage our eldest to have his friends over at our house fairly often so he wouldn't feel like he was always living in a day care. My husband would take him and his friends camping and fishing, or we'd just let him and his friends hang out and play video games.
I made sure that my eldest realized how much his little brothers loved him and looked up to him, and I encouraged him to be a good role model. He took his big-brother responsibilities very seriously, and I think that helped him gain a lot of maturity as a teenager.
It was sometimes a bit of a hassle to bundle up two toddlers and take them out to watch my oldest son's football games, but I did it anyway. I always wanted him to know that he was just as special and important as ever to me and to the rest of our family. -- Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky
Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran-owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy M.D. Guides team of 150-plus mommy M.D.s and co-author of "The Mommy M.D. Guide to Losing Weight and Feeling Great." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.Copyright 2019 Creators Syndicate Inc.