Dentistry is a demanding career. When you have children, you learn what it takes to balance the separate needs of home and work life.
Our next parenting Q & A comes from Dr. John Nosti. Dr. Nosti examines the differences in his life before and after children, as well as how he has grown in his personal life and career.
Q: Could you give a quick introduction to your home life?
A: I have two children. Isabella is 12, and my son, Anthony (AJ), will be 4 in January. I have been married for 5 years to my wife Jennifer, who retired from dental hygiene to be a stay-at-home mom and took the opportunity to run her own business from home in wellness/nutrition. We are a pretty active family and one of the things we are currently doing is opening a fitness center/gym.
Isabella is from my first marriage. Her mother Tara, Jen, and I all have a great relationship together. Tara and I have been divorced for 10.5 years. We got along during that process and continued to get along when Jen and I got together. We both share the common desire to have the best life for our daughter. I know we have a unique relationship with how well we all get along (Tara came to the Dominican Republic this year on our family vacation), and I don’t mind bringing this up because it may help others to strive to have the same type of relationship with their ex partners.
Q: What was the greatest added/unexpected stress you noticed in working at the practice after having kids?
A: Prior to having children, it is of course easier to manage your free time to spend with your wife and do the extra things you want to do for your business or your career … even travel. This meant I had a lot more free time to spend on building my career. I was more easily able to attend and write lectures, write articles, and handle photos for my office website and social media.
Having children, I now have to check several calendars before committing to something. Traveling several weekends in a row is now difficult because we cannot bring out kids to all the lectures I do, which means I am traveling alone now to most events. I also don’t enjoy being away from home like I used to because I was born and raised in a close family and I enjoy having that same relationship with my children. There is more time obligation driving the kids to their activities and attending their events.
If I had to say anything about “stress” involving the children I can think of two potential areas. First is dealing with their health. My son AJ was born premature at 28 weeks and weighed 2 pounds 7 ounces. There are many health issues that some premature babies have throughout their lifetime. Thankfully, AJ has had few, but has had issues with his lungs/breathing and catching colds easily. This means that he many times has asthmatic type reactions to things or when he gets a cold it is a little worse than the average child would have. A parent never wants to see their child sick so this is probably the biggest stress as a parent.
Secondly, I would say it’s different having to push myself to make sure that I am out of the office on time to be home for dinner or their events, whereas before if I was 5-10 minutes late leaving the office I didn’t see it as such a big deal. I don’t even pair this as being a stress when it involves my children because it is an unbelievable joy being a parent … but it can be stressful in the dental office to handle emergencies and a busy practice and stay on time when you know you want to leave the office for a family event. I think many dentists can relate to how the days we must be out on time end up being the days that 100 emergencies call the office and all want to be seen that day.
“I can honestly say that I feel my compassion has grown significantly.”
Q: What is one of the greatest joys/unexpected benefits of having kids while being a practicing dentist?
A: Up until the point of having my own children I though of myself as a compassionate person, but I can honestly say that I feel my compassion has grown significantly.
On the flip side, it’s ironic how both my children have been afraid of me while they were at the office at one point in time or another. Each time it happened I was shocked to see my own children more afraid of me than other people’s kids, especially since I had brushed their teeth at home and they never showed fear when I looked in their mouths then. It really hit home when patients tell you, “there is just something about being here …”.
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: Dentistry can be both fulfilling and rewarding while also being demanding and time consuming. It is important to learn how to balance your time between the business and family. I highly suggest you treat your daily schedule at home the same way you treat your schedule at your office. Schedule time for your husband/wife and children the way you do for your patients. When it is family time … shut everything else off, walk away from the business, and spend that necessary time with your loved ones. You can always return to the work-related stuff later!!
Likewise, schedule time to continue to invest in your future! Learning doesn’t end after dental school. I wouldn’t be the dentist I am today if I hadn’t committed to a lifetime of learning and investing in quality continuing education.