Welcome back Versher Community! I heard a commercial on the radio this morning for CVS Pharmacy touting this year as "You and Improved". The slogan stuck with me as I appreciated the message of remaining You: that You do not need to become someone else, just maybe throw in a small dose of vitamins this year!
Speaking of health, we welcome Dr. Julie Damp to our community. Read on as she shares some of her go-to tips for finding balance between work, family, friends and herself!
1. What do you do for work outside the home?
I am a cardiologist at Vanderbilt. I do clinical patient care and am involved locally and nationally in medical education.
2. Describe your family – kids’ ages, grades—and any extracurricular activities in which your family participates
Our family includes my husband (an emergency room physician), our three kids (11 year old daughter and 9 and 6 year old sons), 2 dogs, and me. We have a house of constant activity! Between the 3 kids, we are involved in soccer, basketball, tennis, dance, piano, violin, and chess.
3. Describe a typical weekday—morning routine, afternoon school pickup, evening
Well, it is a little hard to describe typical – it all depends on the day of the week and what shift my husband is working! I typically exercise at 5 or 5:30 am 3-4 times a week. I (or the two of us) get the kids ready and to school. My work day differs quite a bit depending on the day of the week, but I head off to see patients, read echocardiograms, or do administrative/teaching duties. In the afternoons, either my husband or our sitter usually does pickup, homework, and practices of the day. The evening - dinner, reading, baths, bedtime routine – is either me or the two of us (again depending on his schedule). Once the kids are asleep, I usually am headed that way right after!
4. How do you tackle a week’s worth of meals? Prepare over the weekend? Or day by day?
I try to cook a large meal early in the week that we can have for a few days. Then I have groceries on hand for easy to prepare things later in the week. I usually do the planning for the whole week on Sunday. I also try to cook ahead and freeze too – it is a huge help to be able to pull something from the freezer on busier weeks!
5. Describe some of the household chores/responsibilities that your husband manages
My husband is very involved and hands on. We share a lot of the day to day – laundry, dishes, etc – whoever sees that it needs doing and has time to do it! On days off, he also will happily take care of any “To-Do” lists!
6. What solutions have you found that you rely on each week to make your life’s pieces connect?
Support! We have someone that comes to help with the cleaning and our sitter helps with a lot of the kids’ household stuff (their laundry, organizing/straightening up, errands). This is key to me being able to relax and be mom when I am home as well as focus on work when I am at work.
7. If you could invent anything that would improve your daily routine, what would it be?
Something that made me need less sleep! Or maybe a teleporter…!
8. We talk about balance all the time--- What do you do that’s just for you that enables you to balance your family with your career?
- Exercise. It has so many positive benefits, and it really helps me keep my sanity and feel strong for my kids.
- Relationships. Maintaining close and good relationships with friends and family – whether it’s a date lunch with my husband, girls night, or a phone call to my sister/a friend/a colleague to vent and laugh about something – helps me keep myself open and happy.
9. How do you deal with the pressure to be present in your kids’ lives but also at work?
Oh, this is always such a work in progress! I try my best to not get knotted up about things or chase goals that won’t really matter at the end of the day. We can not be everything to everyone all the time, and accepting this has allowed me to say “enough” at times when my general nature might have pushed me to work myself into the ground. I try to communicate well at home and at work, so each understands if there is a moment, day, or week when I need to have more focus elsewhere. I do not try to be the best or to be perfect, but I do try to do my best, be open with those around me, and cut myself some slack. One of my mentors told me once that as we juggle all of the balls of life, we have to remember that the only that is glass is our family.
10. What keeps you motivated and positive when inside you are neither?!
For me, this is prayer and reflection. These help me refocus on what my motivation is (or should be) and help me remember what, in the end, really matters. Then I am able to put the things that are causing me to feel unmotivated and negative into proper perspective.
11. Do you have specific boundaries that you adhere to separate work from home?
For me, inflexible boundaries have not worked well. I seem to do better when work and home are on a continuum and when I am able to communicate the needs of one with the other. This allows my work to accommodate when I need flexibility, and I hope allows my kids to understand the impact I can have on others through my work (and that they can have one day through theirs!).
12. Is there a latest “you won’t believe this” story about your life that you would like to share?
Probably like most moms, I feel like these happen to me on an almost daily basis. If we all wrote them down as we went, we could write book after book!
13. What is your dream job?
Honestly, for now I kind of feel like I have it. I have the great privilege of taking care of people, and I have the honor of teaching those who will be taking care of people long after I have stopped. I am able to do this in an environment that allows me the flexibility to be an involved and present mom.
Thank you Julie! If you do run across a teleporter, please let us know as it would make navigating this traffic much easier!
Cheers to You and Improved in 2018!