• 10 Things I Know about Motherhood

    Smart Parenting's resident pediatrician shares her insights on being a parent.
  • mom and baby

    Photo from onsecrethunt.com

    My adventures as a mom and my career as a pediatrician were launched almost at the same time. Barely two months into my training program, I gave birth to my eldest daughter six weeks earlier than expected. Everything I know about kids sprang from that time - with motherhood and medicine inevitably intertwined. Some of these nuggets I picked up from journals and textbooks, some from very wise mentors, some from my own kids. Allow me to share a few of them with you:

    1. Not all battles need to be fought.
    When I was a new mom, my mother lived with us to help out. She brought with her a bigkis along with many other beliefs and practices from 30 years before, when I was a child. Often, these would be in direct conflict with what they were teaching me at the hospital. To keep the peace, I would fight hard if it were a gamechanger, bordering on a health hazard (coin-on-navel). I would let it slide if it were not (hamog, sterilizing bottles). Everyone won some.
     

    2. Needles hurt.
    That is a fact and there is no dancing around that.
     

    3. Children reach developmental milestones at different times.
    Most parents know this to be true, and yet many fret when their own children seem to lag behind their friends’. It is a developmental spectrum. Consult and listen to your child’s pediatrician (yes, this is self-serving).


    4. Fever is not the real enemy.
    Many times, I get calls from moms asking advice about their child’s temperature. My answer is often the same: What does your child look like? Fever is almost always just a sign (a good sign!) that the body is fighting off an infection. In itself, fever is not harmful and does not need to be beaten down each and every time. It is the illness behind it that we need to focus on. For most kids, fever is caused by a minor viral illness that goes away on its own after a few days. In any event, keep your doctors posted. They will let you know when fever is no longer your friend.

     

    5. If there is ever an option of when to toilet-train, it almost always pays to wait.

     

    6. There will be enough real-life monsters; there is no need to paint new ones.
    Very few children are born with fear, and yet many learn to be afraid of ghosts, dogs, doctors, and policemen when the grown-ups cannot enforce discipline without a bogeyman: “Ayan, kukunin ka ng mumu (pulis)” ” or my personal pet peeve, “You want doctora to give you a shot if you don’t behave?”

     

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    7. There will be trade-offs.
    It is a disservice to teach our girls that they can have it all: a full career (especially one in medicine) and a full home-life. Honestly, most mothers in medicine will make sacrifices.

    8. Readers are made.
    They need nurturing early on - even when they beg for the third book before bedtime.

    9. Healthy children can be sick every one to two months.
    Normal, immune-competent children can have between six to eight minor viral illnesses per year. Considering a simple cold can last anywhere from two to three weeks… the math is staggering.

    10. If a prescription is the solution, with kids, it is rarely a simple one.
    The prescription does not include the whining you put up with before they take the medicine, the full Nelson headlock so they won’t struggle, the cleanup of vomit after, and finally, the wait for them to get better.

     

    Photo by pudgeefeet from flickr creative commons

     

     

     

    10 Things I Know about Motherhood

     

    My adventures as a mom and my career as a pediatrician were launched almost at the same time. Barely two months into my training program, I gave birth to my eldest daughter six weeks earlier than expected. Everything I know about kids sprang from that time - with motherhood and medicine inevitably intertwined. Some of these nuggets I picked up from journals and textbooks, some from very wise mentors, some from my own kids. Allow me to share a few of them with you:

     

     

    1. Not all battles need to be fought.

    When I was a new mom, my mother lived with us to help out. She brought with her a bigkis along with many other beliefs and practices from 30 years before, when I was a child. Often, these would be in direct conflict with what they were teaching me at the hospital. To keep the peace, I would fight hard if it were a gamechanger, bordering on a health hazard (coin-on-navel). I would let it slide if it were not (hamog, sterilizing bottles). Everyone won some.

     

    2. Needles hurt.

    That is a fact and there is no dancing around that.

     

    3. Children reach developmental milestones at different times.

    Most parents know this to be true, and yet many fret when their own children seem to lag behind their friends’. It is a developmental spectrum. Consult and listen to your child’s pediatrician (yes, this is self-serving).

     

    4. Fever is not the real enemy.

    ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

    Many times, I get calls from moms asking advice about their child’s temperature. My answer is often the same: What does your child look like? Fever is almost always just a sign (a good sign!) that the body is fighting off an infection. In itself, fever is not harmful and does not need to be beaten down each and every time. It is the illness behind it that we need to focus on. For most kids, fever is caused by a minor viral illness that goes away on its own after a few days. In any event, keep your doctors posted. They will let you know when fever is no longer your friend.

     

    5. If there is ever an option of when to toilet-train, it almost always pays to wait.

     

    6. There will be enough real-life monsters; there is no need to paint new ones.

    Very few children are born with fear, and yet many learn to be afraid of ghosts, dogs, doctors, and policemen when the grown-ups cannot enforce discipline without a bogeyman: “Ayan, kukunin ka ng mumu (pulis)” ” or my personal pet peeve, “You want doctora to give you a shot if you don’t behave?”

     

    7. There will be trade-offs.

    It is a disservice to teach our girls that they can have it all: a full career (especially one in medicine) and a full home-life. Honestly, most mothers in medicine will make sacrifices.

     

    8. Readers are made.

    They need nurturing early on - even when they beg for the third book before bedtime.

     

    9. Healthy children can be sick every one to two months.

    Normal, immune-competent children can have between six to eight minor viral illnesses per year. Considering a simple cold can last anywhere from two to three weeks… the math is staggering.

     

    10. If a prescription is the solution, with kids, it is rarely a simple one.

    The prescription does not include the whining you put up with before they take the medicine, the full Nelson headlock so they won’t struggle, the cleanup of vomit after, and finally, the wait for them to get better.

     

     

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