In Her Shoes: Navigating Motherhood and Medicine

In Her Shoes: Navigating Motherhood and Medicine

As Mother's Day approaches, we take a moment to celebrate and honor the incredible mothers who gracefully balance the demands of work and family. Today, we have the privilege of interviewing a remarkable Veterinary Doctor, Melissa Davis, who exemplifies the strength, resilience, and determination of working moms everywhere. Through her insights and experiences, we gain valuable perspectives on how she navigates the intricate dance of being a wife, mother, veterinarian, and entrepreneur.

1. What do you do for work?

    • “I am currently a relief veterinarian.”
2. Who all are in your family?
    • “My husband, step-son, toddler, and baby.”
3. How do you manage the busy schedule that includes wife, mom, Veterinary doctor, and entrepreneur?
    • “I am still learning but taking it day by day and having realistic goals in mind have helped tremendously. Being able to communicate with my husband about our work schedules and plans for the week is crucial to help keep everything organized. We are fortunate in that we both choose our schedules so I can really focus when I am at work on work things and I can focus at home when I am with the boys on my days off.”
4. What strategies or routines have you developed to manage your time effectively between work and family?
    • “With relief work, I have the benefit of not really “bringing work home.” I finish everything I need to do at my job so that when I walk out the doors, I am truly done for the day before I head home. To mentally prepare myself, I always wake up a bit earlier daily to ensure that I have my “me time” before anyone is awake.“
5. Can you share any specific challenges you've faced as a working mom in the veterinary field, and how you've overcome them?
    • “One big challenge for me was not prioritizing my pumping schedule. At work, I have made it a priority to ensure I pump when I need to. When I had my first-born, I did not prioritize this and my milk supply dropped significantly. Now, it is something that I make it a point to let my clinics know instead of brushing it off.”
6. How do you prioritize self-care and maintain your own well-being while juggling multiple roles?
    • “I try to make sure that I take care of myself first. Whether that is mentally, physically, or even alimentary, I try to begin the day focusing on me and filling my cup before I spend the whole day pouring into others.”
7. What support systems or resources have been most helpful to you in balancing work and family life?
    • “My husband helps so much in that we support each other and work really well “sharing the load.” For example, some days he is watching the kids and I will cook or vice versa. I am also a part of several DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) mom Facebook groups which is such a helpful resource of other DVM moms for advice and ideas.”
8. Have you faced any judgment or criticism for being a working mom in your field, and if so, how do you handle it?
    • “I have not. In the past few years the veterinary profession has turned from a male-dominated profession to a primarily female profession. So I have been fortunate enough to have support and positive responses to my pregnancies, maternity leaves, and pumping at work.”
9. How do you stay motivated and encouraged during challenging times, both personally and professionally?
    • “My family as a whole truly motivates me. My husband is such a huge supporter, and I really lean on my relationship with God during challenging times. Balancing a baby and toddler along with a new middle schooler can be tough, but I also know a lot of the challenging aspects are only temporary; and may be some aspects that I may end up missing once they are older!”
10. What are some of the most rewarding aspects of being a working mom in the veterinary field, and how do they outweigh the challenges?
    • “I think in general doing things that I would have never thought I could do. During my first pregnancy, I accomplished so many unique surgeries and I felt so proud of myself! I don’t know if being pregnant just gave me more confidence but I felt like I really pushed myself in trying new things. For instance, in my first pregnancy I spayed an iguana and performed surgery on two pigs for the first time! It feels even cooler getting to tell the boys what I did that day . My toddler proudly says that I am a doctor for animals and it makes it all worth it with just those words.”
11. What advice would you give to other working moms, especially those in demanding professions like veterinary medicine?
    • “There is no sugar-coating to the fact that times will be tough. Being sleep-deprived from pumping and feeding at night and going into surgery the following day is no joke! The biggest thing is setting realistic expectations. Reaching out and discussing these expectations with your boss or office manager is crucial in setting up success if you are returning after maternity leave. I have worked with other veterinary moms who advocated for themselves where they leave work 2 or 3 hours earlier so that they can have extra time for their kids or attend their games. I have also worked with some that work 2-3 days a week rather than 4 to spend more time with their families. There are always options, and so many people are willing to accommodate within our profession!”
12. Any relationship tips you can offer to other working moms?
    • “Everyone says this but communication is key. Being up front with your partner about what you need in each stage of life as a family is crucial. For instance, my husband and I made it a priority to discuss how we can make my postpartum recovery easier this time around compared to our first and we were able to make a much smoother transition this time around! Being open about wants and needs is so important.”

On behalf of TopStitch Scrubs, we extend our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all the hard working mothers out there. Your dedication, sacrifice, and unwavering love are truly inspiring. Happy Mother's Day!