Balancing Roles

How do you balance work and family?

Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: I work, teach, invent, consult, play golf, did tae kwon do, travel, coach kid’s basketball, and the list goes on and on. I have the ability to organize my schedule in a way that is conducive to doing these things. I try to incorporate many of my activities with my kids so that I am able to do things that I like and spend time with them at the same time.

For example, I rarely play golf with other adults. I tend to play with my son and then meet the girls at the pool afterwards. This turns a fun golf outing with my son in the morning into quality family time in the afternoon. I really cling to the saying, “work hard and play hard!” Not much interest in golf from my girls, but I’m still trying.

We try to be the best doctor that we can be to our patients, so it makes sense that we do the same for our children. And who knows, they might just be the doctors of tomorrow. Regardless, no matter what they do, or who they choose to become, they are my children, and I love them unconditionally. After all, to a child, the initials MD don’t mean medical doctor, they mean so much more: My Daddy!

  — Paul R. Lucas, MD, a dad of 13-, 11-, and 8-year-old children and  a surgeon with the Vascular Center at Mercy in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: I always tell everyone that you can change your work, but you can’t change your family. I see a lot of doctors going through divorces, changing wives, and destroying their families and creating new families. You don’t walk away from your children … no matter what. They are always going to be your children, and people should be more understanding of the stressors in the modern world. Financial stresses are prevalent much more today than in the previous generation. We have both parents going to work, and we are more dependent on nannies. Make sure both spouses are equally busy with their careers. Otherwise, it will be really tough.

Marriage has a lot of compromises, so use your negotiating skills, and don’t bury your anger. Talk it over: Being parents is a team effort. Help each other out, and remember that your kids are watching the both of you, which will be their role model for the future.

Carson D. Liu, MD, a dad of nine- and five-year-old daughters and the founder of SkyLex Advanced Surgical, Incorporated, a bariatric surgery clinic in California

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Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: As a divorced father and self-employed practitioner, I control my schedule. That said, I’m late frequently! My patient load changes with emergency patients and calls. I try to give patients the time they need, as well as my children. There simply isn’t enough time in the day. But in moderation, it all gets accomplished!

Stephen Soloway, MD, a dad of an 18-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son and a rheumatologist in private practice at Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates in Vineland, New Jersey

Q&A by Wyatt Myers