Dr. Quyen Ying, the pediatric dentist behind Liberty Park Children’s Dentistry, is a full-time working mom. She was kind enough to share some of her tips for balancing work and family as she grows her practice, and we know you’ll be encouraged!
Liberty Park Children’s Dentistry is located in Vestavia Hills.
At Liberty Park Children’s Dentistry, we strive to help every child establish a dental home and cultivate a lifelong relationship with the families of our patients. We believe in establishing a partnership among our entire staff, the parents or caregivers, and the child to provide quality dental care in a safe and fun environment. Through this partnership, we aim to assist the family and the child to overcome barriers and lay the foundation to maintain a healthy smile as he/she grows into adulthood.
We are proud to serve the dental needs of children in Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Irondale, Birmingham, Leeds, Moody and the surrounding communities.
From Dr. Ying:
In coming up with these tips, which are based solely on my personal experience as a working mother, I want to acknowledge all the stay-at-home moms out there who have full-time jobs as moms. I feel that they are not recognized enough for their sacrifices and hard work.
Prioritize family time
As a working mom, I wear 2 hats. One as a working professional who must be present for my patients and my staff. The other as a mother who must be present for my husband and children. I love organization so it is no surprise that I have a shared Google calendar with my husband and it is color coded based for each member of the family. I even go so far as to have a different color for my work-related scheduled events versus my personal scheduled events. This is particularly helpful because at a quick glance, I can see how little or how much work consumes my week. Every weekend, I look at the weeks ahead to prioritize and communicate with my husband regarding our time commitment. It is our mutual goal to be there as much as possible for our children so we try very hard to have at least one of us at every scheduled event
I try to reserve the weekends for family time and fun activities for the kids. Both of our boys are involved in recreational sports, so those seasons can be a challenge. However, we always do at least one fun thing together as a family. No matter how busy we are, I make it a point to have a sit-down family dinner together. This is a time for all of us to talk about our day, to really make eye contact, and to talk to one another.
I do all of my work after the kids go down for the night so that I can give them all of my attention at dinner and as they get ready for bed. This often makes for late nights if I have a lot to do but to me, it is so worth it. There will come a day when they won’t need me to help brush their teeth for them. to comb their hair, or to read with them and tuck them in so I’m going to embrace all of these shared moments as much as I can.
Non-urgent work can wait
Technology makes everything more accessible and convenient in our daily lives, including work. My practice management software is cloud-based. Even my phone system is a VOIP (voice over IP) line that links to my mobile phone so I can answer calls after working hours and on the weekends.
I used to feel compelled to answer every call or return every missed call through my work line, but now I have made peace with the fact that non-urgent calls can wait until the next business day. Unless there is an emergency, I no longer return messages after normal working hours. If there is no message then I will return the call the next work day. My anxiety, which was almost always work-related, is significantly reduced and my attitude after work when I’m around my family is more positive.
Schedule time for self
As a working mom, we are always on the go, either working or being a mom that we forget to take care of ourselves. I find that scheduling in time for me to go to the gym or to meet up with friends for lunch helps me to focus on the other relationships in my life. I prioritize treating myself to massages several times a year. They are much-needed time for me to relax, and I have learned to enjoy them guilt-free. If I do not take care of my physical and mental well-being, how can I be present in all of my life’s important relationships?
Know limitations and ask for help
Perhaps one of the greatest obstacles that I had to overcome was asking for help. It took a lot for me to admit that I couldn’t do it all because by that admission, I used to feel like a failure. (“Other women can do it so why can’t I?”) However, I soon realized that by employing appropriate help, I freed up valuable time that made me more effective at what I do. We hired a sitter to help with drop-offs and/or pick-ups on days that my husband and I both had work commitments. I was able to slow down instead of feeling rushed every time I got behind the wheel.
Again, my greatest enemy is guilt, but I have learned to ask for help and accept help with grace because it really does take a village. I am so thankful for all of the gracious women and moms who have helped me, and I hope that I can be like them and extend assistance to other moms who may need my help one day.
Show kids how hard you work
When I was opening my practice last year, I would often bring my husband and my kids to the office after hours and on the weekends as we prepared to open. We would order pizza for dinner and work well into the night. As my own boss, I have taken them to work with me when school is closed so they could sit in my office to read or work on their homework while I saw my patients. They have first-hand experience in seeing what I do for work and some of what it involves.
Last Friday my husband was out of town and I had to be in the Operating Room as early as 7am for my cases. Unfortunately, the kids’ school does not open until 7:15am. Fortunately, a friend was able to walk my sons to school with her kids. When I picked them up later that day, one of my sons wanted to know why I have to work. I had to pause for a bit and found myself answering him: “I work because I want to be able to provide for you guys, but more importantly, I work because I really love what I do, and I like that I can help other people through my work.” After a few moments of silence he came back with: “After I’m done with college, I’m going to work and I can drive you to school mommy.” It has always been my hope that by showing my kids how hard I work, I am teaching them not to take things for granted and promote good work ethics. From my conversation with him, I think we are inching closer to that goal!
Thank you to Dr. Ying for sharing about your experience working full-time outside the home!