problem solving on several fronts

September 7, 2015

I have been feeling rather negative for the past few weeks [specifically:  distracted, anxious, self-flagellating, and sometimes sad].  I finally sat down to try to analyze my issues last night, and came up with the following problematic areas:


1) Feeling overextended at work.  It’s getting real.  I’ve now been at my job for just over 2 years.  I still really love where I work, and consider myself lucky to do what I do.  However, lately it has been busier (in part due to staffing issues which are temporary!), and I end many days feeling like I’ve run a race, particularly since I have to leave at 5 pm to relieve our nanny.  I also have several projects on the back burner that need to be completed, and these are starting to ping my anxiety centers on a regular basis.

I also have been seeing a huge (HUGE) number of growth patients, many of which are basically coming to me to outright ask for growth hormone.  This is a sensitive and ethically-charged topic, and it is just wearing on me.

2) Feeling overwhelmed at home.  Not all the time.  But, as I’ve written many times before, A&C are a tough combo right now.  Annabel has matured so much, and in general she is the easier of the two right now, but when she is bad, she is mind-numbingly so.  I have found some strategies that work some of the time, but sometimes nothing does.  It makes me anxious about going out (because what if she stages a public mutiny!?).  C is extremely active and he’s at an age where there is it impossible to reason with him and yet difficult to distract him from what he wants (even if it’s something absurd).  He’s also not very verbal, which is starting to frustrate him.

3) Feeling low on downtime.  Because A&C get up after me and go to bed before I do, I do get a least a little bit of downtime, but I haven’t been using it well.  Yesterday, I realized that part of me always feels like I have to “earn” rest/relaxation by having everything done, and since that doesn’t happen, I end up frittering away spare minutes.

4) Feeling low on support.  As I wrote a little while ago, we’ve lived here 2 years.  I just don’t feel integrated into the community yet, and I do not have friends that live close enough for casual park meetups on the weekend.  I also find that friends who have older kids would rather do big-kid things, and I don’t blame them one bit!  I need to find more friends who have kids similar to the age of A&C.   I want to be invited to something once in a while and not always be the one inviting.

1) Write out work projects and create a schedule, which will include the necessary babysitting coverage to get things done on some later evenings and weekends.  I have 3 talks to create — one on transgender medicine, one on polycystic ovary syndrome, and one on growth — and just need to carve out chunks of time to get them done and polished.  
2) Stay late at work once/week to catch up so that each day doesn’t have to feel like such a race — I will have built-in spillover protection.
3) Create growth handout so that I have firm, clear answers to treatment guidelines and insurance questions.  
4) Focus.  When with A&C, I need to actively try to keep my mind right there with them.  Not thinking about my to-do list.  Not thinking about work.  Not counting down minutes until nap/bed/whatever.  But right there.  
5) Discipline.  Work on finding better discipline tactics for A.  Read Janet Lansbury.  

6) Weekend plans.  Continue to make at least one effort each weekend — inviting someone for a playdate or a meetup.  I have to believe that eventually it will pay off.  
7) Other sources of friends.  I may consider looking for a book group or running club to join, too.  I would love to find a FL running partner.
8) Schedule this in, too.  Even if it’s just “write post” / “read book” / “watch X show” written in my planner, I am more likely to allow myself these truly restorative moments if I have thought about them in advance.  I also am going to schedule the occasional massage and pedicure, even if it means securing childcare once in a while.  
Okay.  I feel better already having written all of that out!  Tonight’s goal will be to create the aforementioned work schedule.  Today’s goal will be just to be present with A&C.  I will report back.


  • Reply Nan March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Looking forward to your post on Janet Lansbury. I have LOVED reading her books. I started with Magda Gerber books who started RIE and then moved on from there with anything I could get my hands on about this topic and have loved Janet Lansbury. Are you reading " No Bad Kids" right now? While some of the ideas in RIE can be a little too much for me, so much of it has been so useful in helping me think about my son, his behavior, and development differently and most importantly, reducing my stress and anxiety when dealing with different things. Im very interested in hearing what you think! In terms of a social life, I think its a great idea to look into a book or running group. Something focused on something that you are passionate about, aside from everything else. I think having good friends at this time in our lives as being mothers is really challenging. I have friends that I spend time with that also have children the same age but when we are together, we are all so distracted and can rarely get through a sentence or two without an interruption that it can feel terribly unfulfilling. I also have found it difficult to get beyond the "mom friendships" with some women that I see all the time, where all we speak about is our kids, and I miss those really deep and fulfilling friendships that I used to have more time for.

  • Reply Laura Vanderkam March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    I wish you lived near your extended family – then our daughters could play and we could run!

    I tell myself that right now is partly about hanging on, trying to keep the foot on the gas where I can. In a few years life will be very different. When my littlest was about 2.5 (before I had the 4th baby) I could relax at home while they were there. I could work more hours when I wanted. I will get there again.

  • Reply Arden March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Just wanted to pop in and say that while I was always friendly with my son’s friends’ mothers, (I’m sure my plurals and possessives are wrong somewhere in there!) they were never my friends. It wasn’t until he started playing hockey that I found my "people". It will happen. Not sure why this particular sport was it, but it’s great to have real adult friends again!

    Hang in!!!!

  • Reply Sara Baker March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Just wanted to say that I appreciate your thoughts and your writing – as a runner / planner nerd / physician / mom (well, newer mom) it’s gratifying to hear from others. Wish I didn’t live halfway across the state! Hang in there!
    (Incidentally, since you mentioned your transgender med talk – are you on the FB PMG? Someone posted a question you might be able to help with, but I didn’t want to just tag you)

  • Reply Sara Baker March 10, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Glad you were able to chime in. BTW, Its my secret dream to sometime give a (real) talk on time / planning / making the most of life for physicians (I’m really that kind of planner nerd) – if you ever get the opportunity to do something like that and want additional voices, let me know!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

      that would be so awesome. maybe we should start a company! (like, really!)

      so, I went to a work life balance seminar at duke during my fellowship and it was the most disturbing thing ever – it was given by a male physician who basically talked about how he outsourced everything to everyone else, including his wife. UM THANKS.

  • Reply andrea March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Hi Sarah, long time reader here (but never commented!) I’m a PhD student in the biosciences and found your mentioning hGH treatment really interesting, particularly because I had never considered voluntarily subjecting oneself (or child) to treatment for which the benefits do not clearly outweigh the risks for vanity’s sake. Coincidently, I came across this nature news article (with reference to the actual nature article) linking hGH treatment with Alzheimer’s and thought I would pass it along – perhaps this will substantiate your stance on the issue with parents. I know you mentioned that you now treat with recombinant GH, but is that always the case? Anyways enjoy!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

      I almost wish I could use that defense, but 100% of the GH we use now is synthetic recombinant. So, would not carry the same risk. That said, who knows? WE just don’t have data. Maybe it does cause something bad in the very long term, but we won’t know for several decades.

  • Reply Ana March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Realized I never got around to ommenting on this…I love the idea of staying late at work once/week. I am going to steal that.
    I found a book group online, I think I googled "my city book groups" and it came up on some list. I’d argue against doing a couple’s or mom’s book group (I tried joining a mom’s book group, the group dissolved quickly bc scheduling was SO HARD). My book group is a real mix of single/married/mothers. Its honestly a LOT easier to schedule (but still really hard, since a few travel a LOT for work) and the conversations we have are sometimes so interesting, since everyone has a very very different life experience.
    I’ve never heard of Janet Lansbury! Do a review after you read it please

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