This week, we caught up wth Dr. Brady to get an in-depth look at what it’s like balancing life as a full-time dentist with parenting young children.
She gives her candid advice on everything from babysitters and support systems to being your own boss.
On Parenting, Dentistry, and Making it All Work
Q: Could you give a quick introduction to your home life?
A: Okay…here goes. I have been married to the same fabulous man for over 22 years this April. We have three kids, Sarah, 21, Jenna, 19, and Kyle who is 16. We are on the verge of being empty nesters, as our youngest will be a senior in high school next year.
Q: What was the greatest added/unexpected stress you noticed in working at the practice after having kids?
A: Having a family and practicing dentistry can be a tough balancing act. Most people outside of dentistry do not realize the number of hours the dentist spends as the business owner. So doing tax forms, payroll, accounting issues and other business issues that have to be done after the hours you are seeing patients. In many ways it is like having two jobs. You add to that emergency phone calls and patients that need to be seen and the work hours extend well beyond 8-5. Trying to balance this along with the normal stresses any working parent has of getting multiple people dressed ready and fed every morning, an extra stop at daycare to drop off and the worries when someone is sick or not feeling well, and it can be stressful.
“We ultimately decided that he would work from home as a way to support my career.”
The key for me was to have really great support, the first came from my husband Kelly who has always been willing to be actively involved at home and with the kids. We ultimately decided that he would work from home as a way to support my career. Next I had the best in home babysitter when my kids were very little. She was like a family member and I never worried when my kids were with her. Sometimes I was a bit jealous of their attachment to her, but never worried. Lastly, I had a great support system from my family, and have over the years lived close enough to my sister and parents that they could be there as a third line of defense.
Q: What is one of the greatest joys/unexpected benefits of having kids while being a practicing dentist?
A: Probably one of the greatest benefits is that you get to set your own schedule and not answer to a boss or punch a time clock. When my girls were little I decided that I would work Tuesday through Thursday in the summer months, and Monday through Friday during school (but from 8-3pm). If my kids have an event or I need to be off of work, with enough notice I can just block the day off and make that happen. The same is true for their doctor visits etc. Lastly it was always possible to take one of the kids into the office with me if I needed to. Today I am not sure why more women dentists don’t convert a room in the office to a play space and simply have their childcare in the office.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give a new parent who is working as a dentist/in dental school considering their future?
A: The best advice I could give is that “Balance” is a verb and not a noun. It is something you will work at every day. Whether it is balancing between your career and your spouse, or the more complex balance of your career and raising a family, keep working at it. Sometimes the pendulum will swing way over to the career side, catch it before you tip over and balance back the other way. The same thing can happen in the direction of family. It’s about looking at every day and assessing the resources you have available to give the world and then deciding where they are most needed at the moment.