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A Piece of My Mind
May 11, 2021

A Good Mother

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
JAMA. 2021;325(18):1837-1838. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.6271

How do I know if I am a good mother?

Throughout high school, college, and medical school, I chased after positive praise in the form of honor rolls, accolades, and awards. With hard work and a type A personality, I collected them, each form of external validation a sort of feather in my cap. A cap that was never complete, but in constant need of bigger, more colorful feathers. I ultimately chose a career in surgery because as a surgeon, immediate feedback is abundant. A lot of it is negative, but at least it is obvious where one stands.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Silver Lining
    Eugene Breen, MB BCh BAO, MRCPI, MRCPsy | Mater Misericordiae University Hospital
    The story of Dr Snyder is repeated in many professional lives during the pandemic. The number of colleagues who have awoken to a new world of family life, time with spouse and family, and paradigm shifts in life assessment is impressive. The older generation typified by this author's mother did what was best for their kids at their situation in life. They got them a good or even better life than they had. So it seemed. The downside of this is that once achieved - all the prestigious positions and accolades and successes - it doesn't stop there, the roller coaster goes on and on and the collateral damage to self and loved ones is unseen, unacknowledged, or denied. Success is a drug and what really matters in life is subordinated to the all consuming drive to achieve more and more professional success. The pandemic has pressed the pause button and like bewildered survivors people have suddenly been deprived of their favourite toys and are left to wonder "And what do we do now?" This could be a great time to re-assess what really matters in life, and readjust our time and schedules and aspirations to see the big picture and put structures in place so that our newfound vision and hope is sustainable into the future. You could call it the Pandemic Moment - I definitely need to work on my golf handicap!