Life is a marathon—bring along your virtual hydration vest
My life is hectic. I juggle motherhood, a marriage, practice ownership, lecture schedules and writing. To keep centered and disconnect, I run two, three, even four hours at a time. When I put on my hydration vest (a backpack with a fluid bladder), I feel strong and unstoppable. I have made sure that this part of my life is a priority so that I can stay healthy and sane. I find treadmills in each hotel where I stay and find a way to fit in a run, even if it is a short one. If I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of anyone else.
Step it up on what you do best
My good friend and mentor, Dr. Debra Horwitz, told me when I was a new mom that women can have it all, but we just can’t have it all at once. I’ve learned to accept what I can’t do and let that go. For example, there are about five things I cook well: banana chocolate chip muffins, lasagna, red sauce, mushroom risotto and mac and cheese. I make those things and my husband and daughter take care of the rest.
Sprint ahead for your true love
Specializing in behavior was the most important decision of my career. I can’t imagine leaving my child to go somewhere each day if I didn’t absolutely love it. My mother taught me that there was nothing outside of my reach. When I got the chance for a residency at Penn, I gave up my job as a primary care veterinarian, moved to Philadelphia with my Rottweiler and left my husband and the rest of my pets until they could come up four months later.
Watch everyone on the road
Without fail, I learn from at least one person each day. Even if people annoy me, there’s probably something I can learn about how to behave or not behave. Maybe it’s the way they hold themselves or a phrase that touches me. I keep those lessons in my phone so I won’t forget them.
Try to stay faster than your kids
Once you find what works to motivate your pets, you can pretty much stick with that method as long as they live. But kids evolve. They’re well-rested and don’t have jobs, so they have lots of time to figure out how to outsmart you. While a hug worked to motivate my daughter when she was 2 years old, at 8 years it just doesn’t work!