It Takes a Village: Brown Sugar Love
Updated: Mar 29
A big thank you to Drs Oneeka Williams(Urology), Jocelyn Joseph(Pediatrics), Jeanette Callahan(Pediatrics), Tola T'Sarumi(Addiction Psychiatry), Lucienne Sanchez(Neonatology), Clara Jones(Internal Medicine) and Philomena Asante(Pediatrics) who attended the Diva Docs dinner last night at Brown Sugar Café, a Thai restaurant in Boston! It was a multigenerational group with many longstanding diva doc members who came together to network, share resources and celebrate Dr. Asante's new position as Physician Chief of Student Medicine at Yale University/Yale Health.
We talked, among other things, about the myth of work-life balance. Dr. Williams wisely noted that we need to think more about work-life harmony rather than work-life balance: Balance suggests teeter-tottering on a tight rope, which is stressful because you are always worried about falling off to one side or another and must be extremely careful when walking on that tightrope. Harmony, on the other hand suggests various complementing parts that make a whole. Dr. Asante noted that there will be a stage in one your career where your personal life and family take precedence, while your career takes a step back. At another stage, your career goals take precedence while your personal life and family responsibilities take a step back--and that's ok!
Dr. Sanchez noted that sometimes we need to create the conditions that will make that work-life harmony work. This may mean you "outsource" the things that you don't have time for or just plain don't enjoy doing, like housecleaning. It may also mean negotiating or re-negotiate your conditions at work: for example, asking for a raise, or working part-time. The bottom line is to ask for what you need! The best time to negotiate is the start of a position but it's never too late to try! Dr. Asante added that if you ask for something and your boss says "no" clarify what "no" means. Understanding what your boss means by "no" may help you get eventually to 'yes!'
When it comes to raising kids, Dr. Joseph noted that it takes a village to raise a child and you need to be intentional about creating that village--a supportive network of people whom you can count on to help you raise your child such as extended family like grandparents, people at church, in professional groups such as the Diva Docs or social groups related to hobbies or community service. Once you have created that village use the village--for example send your child to see grandparents willing to take them for weeks in the summer. And relationships last longer if you give positive feedback to those in your village who do actually help you: Dr. Joseph suggests always finding something positive to say when someone, like your husband or partner, does help you: "Yes dear, you did a great job with...."
Dr. Sanchez added another parenting tip: Start early with young children to cultivate a peer group of friends for them who will be a positive influence for a time will come a time when your child hears what you are saying but listens to a peer. You can cultivate a peer group by, for example, inviting that peer friend to dinner or to join your family outing. Find opportunities to get to know the parents of that peer friend as well.
The group ended with giving Dr. Asante some advice for the start of her new job: In the beginning listen, listen, listen and observe the culture!
It was a great evening with some of the Diva Docs Boston matriarchs stepping out in force to send one of their own--Dr. Asante--off: She's not an empty nester but a free bird ready to fly to her next adventure. The migration has begun.