[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Views 17,555
Citations 0
A Piece of My Mind
November 22/29, 2016

The Good-Enough Parent

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.

JAMA. 2016;316(20):2089. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.10249

The venue was a career development session for pediatric infectious diseases physicians, and mine was the voice of experience. Tension sizzled in the conference room air. “How do I do this?” someone asked. “I’m a constant wreck.” The comments continued. “My spouse travels a lot.” “My spouse is also a physician.” “Will it ever get better?” “I don’t see how I can keep this up much longer.” “My kids are so important to me, but so are my patients. And my research.”

“Life/Work Balance” was the title of the session. Balancing personal life and medical life? I thought. That’s a Sisyphean challenge, one doomed to failure, and to try to push that rock uphill will only feed into the problem: yet more anxiety, a greater sense of inadequacy, more internal torture. “Let’s be honest here,” I told the group. “There is no balance in personal life and medical life. It’s a matter of lurching from one crisis to the next.” But glorious islands of joy wedge themselves between the calamities.

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview