10 Things I’m Doing Right Now



Credit: David Sipress, The New Yorker


I’ve seen this graphic shared a number of times recently and I think it is something many are feeling these days. I know I am. I certainly do not have all of the answers (by any stretch) but here are 10 things I’m doing right now to try to find balance and peace.

1. Reach out to one friend or family member each day. Whether via text, email, call, or in-person, it feels like an important time to maintain our existing personal connections and build new ones.

2. Meditate 10 minutes (minimum) each day.

3. Place boundaries on social media. Now, more than ever, I need to control my media consumption instead of it controlling me. Giving my phone an early bedtime was the first (very effective) step.

4. Stay informed but carefully choose my sources. Facebook will not be my primary news source.

5. Place one call to a legislator each day. It is hard to know whether this will make a difference. But I do know one thing that will definitely not make an impact- doing nothing.

6. Read a little each day. If it is fiction, so much the better. Write a little each day. Whatever comes to me; and however short- not for any particular reason except that it makes me a better person.

7. Continue to get to know my Dallas community. Serve others locally as often as I can.

8. Dig deep into my roles as mother and pediatrician. Our children need us to be fully present with them; to support, guide, explain, and above all, to listen.

9. Practice and share self-care and wellness strategies. For me these include daily exercise, prioritizing sleep, and good nutrition.

10. Double down on radical love and kindness. There is no other way.

3 Words for 2013: Decide. Attend. Play.

I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions. It seems they often fade away by mid-year. But, this year I’m taking a page from two of my favorite physician writers, Dr. Vartabedian and Dr. Swanson and aiming for a more conceptual resolution that I hope will stick. A series of three words that I will keep in mind this year, in both personal and professional realms. Words that I hope will help guide 2013, a year that is likely to be filled with some change for me. Continue reading

The “app gap”: How parents obtain health information

The number of educational topics a pediatrician is trained to cover in a standard well child visit is a bit overwhelming.  Each topic could (and does) fill books.  A 2006 study published in Pediatrics found that there are 162 different verbal health advice directives that pediatricians are told to cover with each patient over time.  These important topics range from injury prevention to nutrition to sexual health to literacy promotion.  But, as the authors of the study point out, not only is there little time to cover these topics, there is scant evidence to suggest whether or not talking about these topics with families is actually effective.  It is often difficult to know exactly what to prioritize for discussion in a short clinic visit.  In order to ameliorate our own anxiety that we didn’t have time for everything, many pediatricians provide educational handouts.  But, does anyone read them?  What’s more, are they written in the language the parent speaks, at a level they can understand?

Continue reading

Both Sides Now

My son just turned 18 months.  Since becoming a mother, many people have asked, has it changed you as a pediatrician? Have you changed the way you practice medicine? The answer? A resounding yes!  And, the reverse is also true; being a pediatrician changes me as a mother. And, not always in the ways you might expect. I find myself searching for the balance between the textbooks I’ve read and the reality that families are living.  And, I find myself more and more with the need to write about it.  Thus, the idea for this blog was born. I am a mother to a beautiful baby boy. I am a pediatrician/child advocate. And, I will be both of these here. My vision for My Two Hats is to take hot topics in pediatrics, child health policy, and parenting and look at them from each side.  It will be part advice with a personal slant, part confession (what the science tells us versus practical reality), and hopefully part entertaining.

There are already a number of pediatricians out there writing and blogging, and there is a veritable industry of mommy blogs (check out my blogroll to see some that I think are great).  Why should you read My Two Hats?  Well, I think have a unique perspective to add.  Our family is bicultural and bilingual and I’ll definitely touch on those themes.  I am a passionate child advocate, especially for underserved kids, and will use this forum to bring their issues to the fore.

Please let me know what you think of My Two Hats!  I am always open to comments, suggestions,  and ideas for post topics.