It can be tough juggling to dual roles of parent and veterinary professional. Both demand a high degree of dedication, patience and care. One requires a high levels of intellect, the other requires the adoption rediscovering the child inside of us. Both can be extremely emotionally demanding. Here’s a few tips on how to balance the demands of family and work.
Mum’s the word– a series of Vet Mums articles for Veterinary Business Journal throughout 2018, discussing issues of work and parenting from conception to teenagers. Life stories, advice and information.
- From conception to starting maternity leave
- D-day and perinatal period
- Planning parental leave
- Returning to work
- Balancing work with school aged children
- The career/parenthood compromise
BVA Guide on Maternity and Paternity has information on workplace rights and obligations. There is also a very personal and honest blog on post-natal depression by Zoe Davies on the BVA blog pages: “[During therapy] it was identified that I had perfectionist tendencies so I learned coping mechanisms for managing my anxiety, including accepting that being ‘good’ was good enough”
links to relevant employment law, blogs and podcasts from pregnancy to
Working Mums has some great resources and FAQs, not specifically vet related, but goes through legal rights for employers, employees, self-employed, mums, dads, shared parental leave…
Vet Mums community a supportive closed group on Facebook for all veterinary professionals. It’s an empathetic place to find common ground and advice on everything from the best baby sling, to coping with kids and work in the school holidays. And it helps to banish the perfectionist ideals – we all struggle to get out of our pyjamas some days!
Retirement planning think piece blog by Alison Lambert, Onswitch, gives sage advice to plan for our futures. As mums often working part time and shouldering most of the child-rearing responsibilities, our earnings will often be less than male counterparts. If we want financial independence in our twilight years, we need to think about this, take advise and start planning NOW.
The Pregnant Vet – Carolyne Crowe, veterinary coach and mentor, runs a series of webinars and workshops on working while pregnant, and returning to work, now as part of VDS training
Coping with miscarriage – vet and runner Nat Scroggie has written a very personal blog about how running helped her deal with personal tragedy. She also co-founded the VetMINDS facebook closed group, a safe place to share the particular challenges facing those in our profession (women and men) coping with the emotional weight of miscarriage, infertility, neonatal death and stillbirth.
Post-natal depression– it’s hard enough being mum, but the raging hormones, sleeplessness and stresses can sometimes lead to PND. The NCT #HiddenHalf campaign highlights 50% of new mothers’ mental health problems don’t get picked up. You are not alone! Read more here. Or for a list of 5 online resources for coping with PND click here.
#BeKind to yourself when being mum;
trying TOO hard can be detrimental, especially when it comes to difficult
feeders. This personal account about PND was
written by a Vet Mums member. Always remember #FedIsBest and remember to
#BeKind to other mums, however they feed their babies.
Loneliness as a new mother? You are not alone (in feeling lonely). Especially having been part of a tight knit team in practice. Read this blog on loneliness in new mums. Or click here to join the Vet Mums Facebook group to chat to other vet mums.
Anxiety in parenting is something that can fetter or even cripple us. The Butterfly Mother is a blog by a UK mum, and she’s created a series of Facebook Live chats talking through the origins, experiences and management of anxiety in parenthood.
Want to get fit again… with your baby/toddler? Mamas army was set up by a vet mum to encourage mums to get outside and get fit with their babies. Options include buggy walks to tailored fitness programmes. I joined a local Buggy Bootcamp, set up by mum of 4, fitness fanatic and now good friend, Nicola Ostler. This provided me with strength and cardio training, as well as a great group of mums to exercise and socialise with – babes in tow.
‘Need to Know’ newsletters are a quick way of staying up to date for time-pressed vets and nurses, or for catching up during parental leave. I designed these concise monthly summaries of new drugs, important changes in drugs licensing, treatment trends and emerging diseases, to smooth the transition back into practice. But they’re useful for everyone. They are available from Vetsurgeon.org and Vetnurse.co.uk – just signup for free to receive them.
Returning to work– resources for return to work are growing, both for mums and those taking a break from practice for other reasons. Mumsvet has a page of dedicated resources and links. IVC has now created a Vet Refresh programme to support vets and nurses returning to practice over a 3 month period, with webinars, a workshop day, and mentoring.
Something for the dads: There’s a great blog on some of the fears of fatherhood at Psychology Today: “This might be the most powerful fantasy of all — that men and fathers do not need our emotional concern, curiosity, or support. The more we can challenge this fantasy, examining our own assumptions and instead exploring the emotional realities of men’s transition to fatherhood, the better we can support our fathers”