Tuesday's Tips from Tamara
Balancing Marriage, Family & Career
I'm pleased to share with you my good friend, Dr. Tamara Perry. I'll let Tamara introduce herself to you, but I want to share a little of our friendship. Tamara and I met later in life. I had reached a point where I thought I had all the girlfriends I needed. We met over ten years ago through mutual friends. One of the neat things about our friendship is that we both are mothers of boys and their ages all overlap each other. Tamara and her husband Robert opened their hearts and home to me and the boys during Andre's year deployment. I can't count the number of sleep-overs, meals, etc. that her family shared with mine. She's a beauty with a big heart. So glad our paths have crossed!
1) Tell us about your family-
My husband, Robert, and I have been married for 18 years. We met when I was in medical school and got married when I was an intern, so he’s definitely been supportive through plenty of all-night study sessions, late nights on call, and long hours at work. We have 3 beautiful boys, Peyton 16, Parker 12, and Preston 10. They love being outdoors, playing every sport imaginable, and hanging out with family. They still think we’re pretty cool…most of the time.
2) What type of physician are you & where do you work? (if you don't mind sharing that)
I am an Allergy and Immunology doctor and researcher at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. I am also the Medical Director of Telemedicine at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I have a very fulfilling career that allows me to do what I love. I treat patients with allergies, asthma, and immunodeficiency. I enjoy seeing patients very much and have the opportunity to take care of patients with very common medical problems like allergies or asthma as well as those with extremely rare conditions involving the immune system. As a researcher, my main areas of study have been in food allergy and asthma. Most recently, I have focused on finding ways to improve pediatric care for children around our state and throughout the region through the use of telemedicine and other technology-based solutions like mobile apps.
3) What is your biggest challenge juggling your career & family?
The biggest challenge that I have had juggling career and family has been accepting the fact that I can’t do it all. It has been a process, actually it is still a work-in-progress. For years, I tried to meet unrealistic expectations. I struggled to try to be the perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect doctor, and everywhere in between. It has been challenging to let go of those unrealistic expectations for myself, but I’ve learned (and still learning) to let some things go. I’ve learned to honestly assess the value of doing “extra” things at work and at home especially if it potentially impacts quality time with my family. If I’m asked to do something like join a new committee or conduct a meeting, I don’t automatically say “yes” as I would have a few years ago. I really think about it and feel good about the decision after I’ve objectively balanced the pros and cons. Now my kids know that if I have to miss one of their activities, it’s because of something that is really important to me or my patients. The other thing that helps me juggle career and family is holding my boys (that includes my sons and husband) accountable for things at home. Instead of driving myself crazy trying to do everything around the house, they know they have to pitch in and do their household chores or I won’t have the time or energy to do the fun stuff they like to do as a family. Don’t get me wrong, I am still learning to live with the random clutter that goes with living in a houseful of boys – cleats, balls, water bottles – but “letting go” of some of the small stuff has been a lot less stressful than trying to keep everything picture perfect.
4) What has worked for you in helping balance your schedule?
I keep a calendar with reminders. I couldn’t survive without it! I put everything including work commitments, personal appointments, and all kids’ activities on my Outlook “master” calendar. I also keep a dry erase board calendar at home that includes all of the kids’ activities. That helps us stay organized, and helps the kids know when they have after school practices, games, or other activities. It ensures that we coordinate our schedules to get everybody picked up or dropped off on time. One of the most important things to me about keeping a calendar is making sure I block off personal time. I block off a few hours every month to do something just for me – usually it’s something girly like going to get a massage or pedicure but sometimes it’s something I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t made time for like meeting a friend for lunch or catching up on my DVR recordings.
5) What are your hobbies/how do you spend your downtime?
I don’t have any major hobbies, but I like to travel and read. I usually spend my downtime and vacations with my family, including my sister and mom. Between the two of us, my sister and I have 7 boys that love sports so I’ve spent my fair share of “downtime” at baseball, soccer, and football fields. I also work out or run at least 4 days a week. It’s important to me to stay fit and healthy. I want to set an example of a healthy lifestyle for my kids.
Until next time, thank you for stopping by,,,,,