“How do you do it?” I get asked this question almost on a daily basis. As a female Cardiologist, in solo private practice who is also a wife and mother, I happen to be asked this question a lot by other women in cardiology. Usually, these are younger women still in training who are either thinking about their future career and having a family.
It makes me truly proud to see more women engaging in careers that are still traditionally male-dominated however, the demands and expectations seem to still be different for women.
As women, we feel the responsibility to take care of the house, the children and the husband in addition to performing well in our careers. Our phones are the first ones that ring when the school nurse calls informing one of our children is sick and we are the ones being called in the morning by our husbands and children when socks and shirts cannot be found.
At home, we are the ones holding the fort. We are the ones juggling behind the scenes making things happen. That is a great skill however, in a work environment this, may bring confusion and discrimination. I know I am not the only woman who has been rejected from a job opportunity after having children or who was thought of as not wanting the job as much as the guy next to me because I am married.
Women are qualified to do any job however, it may help to change things around a bit. In order for us to perform we have to decide what is our role in each situation. Are we the directors or the performers? Do we have to take care of every little detail and troubleshoot all the time? This is something we need to have very clear because it will determine how well we can perform and how we will maintain the energy along the day.
Being able to do it all, does not imply we have to do it all. When we try to do it all most likely we end up failing in one place. It is important to know that other people are also capable of doing lesser tasks that would take time away from those things that have a high priority and only you can do.
Whether it is relatives, hired help our own spouses and children, delegating on others makes our lives more feasible. For some, having a diverse support network may be key. In case one person is suddenly unavailable we will have the option of tapping another one’s shoulders and getting the help we need.
How do I do it? Well… I do not have a magic formula but I have learned the hard way that the more I do the less I get accomplished. While I am still a work in progress with room for improvement, I now delegate more and drop my expectations. Even when things are done differently from how I would do them, if the end result is the same I will take that any day and spend energy on what really matters.