Balancing Acts: You Can Really Have it All

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Somewhere between the education, the internships and the endless medical equipment, every health professional wonders if they will ever have everything they want.
 
The great career, the wonderful family, the coveted work-life balance; with a bit of thought, planning and preparation you can indeed have it all. Each person's situation is unique. This is why there is no instruction manual for life. It is up to individuals and couples to come up with a game plan, taking into account these unique circumstances.
 
With this in mind, whether you already have children or are planning to have children, chances are you've already thought about how to balance your career with your role as a parent. We get that. As an organization we spend a lot of time with health professionals, educating but also learning. From our experience, we've identified five commonalities which permeate the lives of the successful, balanced professionals we've met.
 
Albeit there are no guarantees, if you want to put your best foot forward you will want to consider your timing, your community, your homework, your self-talk, but especially your downtime.
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It's time for you to talk about timing.
 
While the timing for having children isn't straightforward, it is important to consider. For instance, planning to get pregnant in the middle of your schooling may not afford you the best learning environment, especially if you're already working hard to make ends meet. For others, that may be the perfect time to get started. Nobody is going to be able to tell you what works best for everybody.
 
You're going to have to talk. The best answer for you and your partner's lives demands robust dialogue. It's only through total candor with each other that you can make thoughtful decisions about that eventuality. A good touchstone for this conversation is asking, "what would we do in case of an unintentional pregnancy?" If you don't know your partner's thoughts, it's time to ask.
 
If time seems to be running out, because one or both of you are older than most students, don't panic. Some women in demanding professions opt to freeze their eggs to extend this window of opportunity. Men too can put their genetics on ice. This affords more time to become established in your careers before taking a period of time off to have children.
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It takes a tribe.
 
Not everyone with children has a spouse who is able to share the parenting responsibilities. For those who do, managing schedules or being diligent with an organisation can enable both parties to manage career and family life.
 
For those who don't enlist the help of family members, trusted family friends, child care services, nannies or school-based care are all options too. A recent trend in childcare is to join a cooperative.
 
Pull up your favorite search engine and search for "childcare cooperatives in [city]." These are great places to not only stay actively involved in your child's life but to find a community of like-minded folks trying to do the same things you.
 
There is much evidence to suggest that children whose parents both work, who participate in childcare programs, fare just as well. In fact, they fare better in some areas such as developing independence than children with stay at home parents.
 
It is suggested that mothers who have a fulfilling career in addition to family life are happier in general and this has a positive influence on children.
 
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Balance is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.
 
It is not uncommon for people to apply for places at child care establishments as soon as they confirm the pregnancy. This is not a bad idea considering the fierce competition for placements in child care centres around Australia. Many new parents are placed on waiting lists or do not have guaranteed placements.
 
Contingencies can will always arise. You will have a much more relaxed experience if you have backup plans in place for emergencies, like people you can call on in times of need to keeping snacks or having a spare change of clothes handy.
 
If you're pregnant now or will be soon, start making a list of everything you won't have time to organise later. Preparation is key to success when juggling a demanding career with parenthood.
 
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Please DO walk on the grass.
 
Other people's grass only seems greener. It only takes a moment on the other side of the fence, to look back and see that your own grass was just as lush.
 
If you find yourself comparing your situation to that of others, like they have it all under control while you are struggling to keep afloat, remember, things always look better when you are removed from the situation.
 
The truth is everyone has their successes and struggles. No one is perfect.
 
Consider the fact that other people are comparing themselves to you all the time. With your career as a medical professional, with your seemingly perfect children, they do the exact same thing. The problem is that comparing yourself to others only leads to dissatisfaction.
 
Here is a quick trick. Disarming the illusion of another person's life by telling that person how much you appreciate what you see in their life. Chances are good they will immediately tell you how things aren't necessarily as they seem. They may not. It doesn't matter. There is empowerment in expressing gratitude.
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Take some us-time.
 
As a parent and medical professional, life sure can be full. It's easy to get swept up in the busyness of it all so make sure to take some time out occasionally. Take time to appreciate and express gratitude for all the wonderful things in your life. Take time to acknowledge that although you (and everyone else) are not perfect, you are doing the best that you can and you are doing a pretty great job of it.
 
Two-week vacations on the gold coast are lovely but more important to your life's balance is taking regular time out. By regular, we mean things you do every day or week
 
Some things you can do to take time include engaging in daily meditation, scheduling dates with your significant other, taking weekend getaways, getting daily (yes, daily) exercise, enjoying cat-naps, making reading time and more.
 
You have to figure out which of these things works for your life, but keep in mind, if you don't schedule it, it won't happen. People who do this right put it in their calendars or set reminders. They make a habit of personal time.
 
There is almost always room for improvement of your life's balance, but if you can learn to enjoy to process, if you can take the time to appreciate the little victories along the way, everything else will work itself out. We promise.
 
Before you go... Medshop Australia is here to support you finding balance in your work-life. We do this best by providing you with the tools you need, so without further adieu, here is a shameless plug for some really great promotions we have going on. (If you aren't into promotions, that's okay. We still appreciate you stopping by.)
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