Family vacations are wrapping up and back to school sales have already dominated store displays. As summer ends, the school year presents many challenges. Coordinating sports practices, appointments, and after-school care can cause a lot of stress for working mothers and fathers and perhaps even more so for traveling locum tenens providers. So, how can you remain both a successful physician and an attentive parent? Read on to discover a few tips for balancing your time in the medical world and your home.
- Reframe your time away
Try not to feel guilty when you head off to an assignment. You’re adding value to your family dynamic. As a working parent, you’re setting a positive model for your children, showing them that they don’t have to choose between a happy family and a successful career. You’re teaching them independence and, financially, you’re making it possible for them to receive care and participate in activities they might not have access to otherwise. Consider explaining to your younger children that the work you do is helping save other people’s lives—kind of like a superhero! You may not see yourself in this light, and it may feel weird to say this, but it can help make your departures feel more positive, even exciting. Try to word it that way for yourself, too. Instead of thinking, “I’m leaving them again,” reframe it to say, “I get to go save lives and set a positive example for my kids.”
- Family calendar
Maintain an up-to-date master calendar so you can visualize each family member’s schedule. Color code your time off and your spouse’s days off, pick a color for each child’s respective activities, and find ways to differentiate each person’s commitments! Try to coordinate your assignments so you can have time off around school vacations. This way, when your children are home, you can be, too. Even if you can’t synchronize your vacations precisely, it’s a good idea to color code the calendar so your family can visualize time between assignments. In addition to scheduling ease, younger children may appreciate this color coding to easily count down till you arrive home.
Most importantly, make sure to review the calendar weekly to ensure there are no surprises. It might be a good idea to use Google Calendar and sync it with your spouse’s and older children’s calendars. This way, no matter where you are, you can coordinate with your spouse to make sure someone is available for games or performances. Even if you aren’t in the area during a notable event, you can still offer support.
- Stay connected when you’re not there
If you maintain a current calendar, it becomes easy to stay involved with your family. Maybe you can schedule weekly video chats or phone calls with individual members. When you’re away on assignments, you’re removed from the daily routine, but don’t let that force you to sacrifice memories. If you have young children, you might ordinarily miss activities like reading stories before bed. However, technology enables you to salvage these special moments. Even though you aren’t there in person, you can still send well-timed audio recordings or video messages for important events.
- Be present when you’re home
When you are home, make sure that you’re in the moment with each family member. Try not to constantly scroll through social media or stay attached to your phone. One of the benefits of taking a locum tenens assignment is the ability to leave work at work, so be sure to fully disconnect when you’re at home. Reserving technology as a tool to help you stay involved with your family and avoiding it when you are together helps ease the transition of each assignment for you and your family.
- Create and honor family traditions
Establishing traditions creates structure and allows your family to rely on some shared time with one another. These plans also help break up your traveling! If you always go to your mother’s house for a large family Thanksgiving, then avoid assignments that will interfere with these plans. Your family grows to cherish these fun occasions, so if you also honor them, it will make your time away much easier to manage. Additionally, this instills positive priorities in your family. You’re demonstrating that not only is your job as a physician important, but your job as a member of the family is just as significant.
- Me time
Don’t forget to be selfish here and there. Although a lot of your time is spent helping others, be sure to schedule a bit for yourself. Self-care is important, especially when you’re constantly caring for patients and for your family. Take time to decompress and focus on a personal hobby or passion. If you don’t, you will quickly burnout, which will not help either your career or your household. Although it might seem extreme, consider using a color on your calendar to differentiate your personal time. You can take a block of time when you’re home or when you’re traveling. Either way, remember that you must balance your own mental and physical health to keep simultaneously providing exceptional locum tenens care and A+ parenting!
To learn more about what you could do to enjoy greater opportunities, call 855-301-0563 to speak with one of Medical Healthcare Solutions’ knowledgeable recruiters today.