Note from Susan: I’ve been really lucky since I started my freelance gig last fall, because I’ve had some fantastic clients. They aren’t just great to work with — they’re also lovely people that I have become friends with. One of those “friend clients” is today’s guest blogger, Tricia Croake-Uleman, M.D. I did the copywriting for her new clinic’s website and other marketing materials. She is such an ambitious, smart, kind person, and I was very impressed with her balance of work and family. So I asked her to share her story with WMAG readers. Without further ado, heeeere’s Dr. Tricia!
I am a working mother of three. I am married to a very supportive and wonderful husband. We have two girls, Lauren, 11, and Samantha, 6, and a son, Cameron 9. My husband is a pilot. I am a pain physician. We have a wonderful nanny Tahana who has been with us for years. She comes to our house and watches the kids whenever Jon and I are at work. At one point in time this included overnight stays with the kids due to us both being out-of-town with work.
We are from Ohio originally but moved to Phoenix for a couple of years when my husband went with Japan Airlines. It was in Phoenix that I started doing Interventional Pain Management with a more holistic approach. I perform injections using a non-steroidal solution that relieves the body of pain and helps the body to heal itself. I incorporate acupuncture points into the treatment and even use reiki diagnostically to help me find the areas that most need the treatment. There are no side effects with this treatment and our success rate for significantly decreasing pain is upwards of 80% and even better when it comes to headaches. Which is one of the reasons I enjoy my work so much. I have even benefited from this treatment as I am a migraine sufferer since the age of 12. Since this treatment almost two years ago I have not had a migraine headache. One of the joys of my job has been when I have had a migraine-suffering mom come back to me after the injections in tears because she can now take care of her children without a headache. That hits close to home.
We then moved back to Ohio for my husband’s job about two years ago and I continued commuting to Phoenix for my job. I would leave on a Monday morning and return on a Thursday evening. Then I would be home for ten days before repeating the sequence. It was very emotionally draining to have to be away from home like that. I had never been away from the kids that much before and I had extreme guilt over the situation. When I would tell my 6yo that I would be leaving in the morning for work she would cry and beg me not to go. I started to get a lot of anxiety over the entire situation and many times questioned what I was doing. Eventually the older two started commenting on my leaving and I just knew that I had to find another way. That’s when I started getting my pain management business going here. There are no other pain management clinics around here that do what I do so I if I wanted to continue doing what I was doing the way I was doing it then I had to start my own. So with the help and support of my husband I have started my clinic here and am able to be home with my family every night.
I have always worked since I have had children. We had our first child when I was in my internship of residency which is less than ideal. There were times when I was on for 36 hours and off for only 12. They have since outlawed this thank god! I remember wanting to quit residency. I cried and cried because I missed my daughter so much and felt so extremely guilty about being away. My husband used to bring her into my call-room at the hospital so that I could see her on those long shifts. That was probably the hardest time of my mothering career this far. We had another child in my third year of residency which was a much easier period in that training. And then I took a job working only 24 hours a week and was always home outside of that. Even then I used to rush home from work because I missed the kids so badly. Our third child was born during that period and it was a good time to be a mom. There was still guilt but I don’t know a time when a mother doesn’t feel some guilt. There just always seems to be something you could have done better. But I am also learning that kids are smart and they know we aren’t perfect and they love us anyway. What a gift that is. One of my favorite things about being a mom is watching my children and learning from them. And seeing the people they are becoming. Some days I truly question whether I don’t learn more from them than they do from me.
How do I combat the guilt? I do a lot of hugging and looking them in the eye and telling them how much they mean to me and how special they are. And I try to take time out from my busy day and listen to them and let them show me something they want me to see. When I can take time out for them like that I feel like I am doing an ok job and that they’ll be ok and so will I. My husband is great at reminding me that I need to sometimes just stop what I’m doing……that everything will get done in time….. and that stopping and paying attention to what is going on with the kids is much more important than paying one more bill or making one more phone call. I have him to ground me. And I truly need that. Yoga is the other way that I ground myself. No matter what my mood I know that I’ll feel better and more grounded after a yoga session and I am always a better mom when I am in that space.