In honor of International Women’s Day, our favorite multitasking Mom, Laura Scott, who balances family life with three young kids, a medical residency and a successful blog, shares insight into what it’s like to be a modern mom. Visit Laura’s blog, A Little Bit of Lacquer, for a dose of inspiration, and read more about her incredible drive and beautiful life.
Söfft: Having three young daughters and a very demanding career, how do you balance it all?
Laura: I think the illusion of “balance” is an unfair one that so many women try to achieve, when the truth is that although we may have many roles, we’re only playing one or two at any given time. Now – I may switch hats about 24 times a day – from mom to wife to doctor and then back to mom for a pumping break at work and then back to doctor, then to mom again, then to wife when the kids are asleep – I think that’s a more realistic way to see the “balance,” not expecting that at any given time we’re actually playing all of those roles. With that said – it takes a village! When we had our first during medical school we had daycare and a nanny (a sweet college student was what we could afford at the time!) – now with three we actually have my mother-in-law who we moved in with us and take care of so that she can help out with the girls, and my oldest is in pre-school now. I also have a supportive work environment – once during clinic I had to bring the girls (even with childcare and backup childcare there are still emergencies!) and my nurses took turn watching the girls so I could see the last few patients!
Söfft: Through your journey to becoming a physician and a Mom of three, who was a constant support and inspiration to you?
Laura: My family has always been incredibly supportive of whatever I choose to do – they didn’t know much of how to get me where I wanted to be, but they were behind me every step of the way – supporting my research in undergrad even though they had no idea what a neuroscience conference was about, giving me words of encouragement through studying for the step exams despite not knowing what that meant, and sharing in my excitement to get married to my medical school classmate and start a family. I can thank them through every single step. As far as inspiration, I’ve always found it from different places at different times, I don’t think I’ve ever had one constant source of inspiration. I search for what I need when I need it. It can come from anywhere – be it a historical figure, a personal mentor, my husband, my kids, hell even watching an animal getting it’s work done!
Söfft: You are inarguably a huge inspiration for other young women. What’s your advice for those who need a little bit of motivation to keep reaching for their goals?
Laura: The biggest motivation always comes from within, so that is always my message to young women. You need to know what you want, I mean really know, really believe it, and be able to pull those feelings up when times get hard – because they will! I also truly believe in the power of mentorship – having a mentor who can tell you “you’ll get through this, I did” is also sometimes the little bit of reassurance you need to keep pushing. I didn’t always personally have it but I searched online for people I could look up to even if they didn’t know I existed!
Söfft: Some of us have the tendency to steer towards negativity when life becomes overwhelming – what is your strategy for staying positive when things get a bit chaotic?
Laura: Life’s way too short. I grew up with constant reminders of how precious life truly is and what problems are actually real problems – from having family members murdered, to not having money for medical care, to seeing classmates put in jail – things that truly put what my current problems are in major perspective. That perspective has always reminded me to count my blessings and be grateful for what I have, and not sweat the small stuff. I also allow myself that time to be negative – just because I say don’t sweat it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t react to it or be this perfectly positive person all the time. No! Get angry, cry a little, have a minor panic attack, sure! But don’t dwell on it – give yourself that outlet and then pick up the pieces and deal with it! Because life truly is too short.
Söfft: What is your advice to women who struggle with focusing on both upward mobility in their career and the important role of being a Mom?
Laura: I think this is another part of that “balance” we all strive so hard for. And what I’ll say is this – as a working mom you’ll always feel like you’re not the perfect (sales manager, real estate agent, nurse, whatever career) and not the perfect mom. But be ok with that feeling and know that it’s sort of just BS – you’re doing your best! What hurts us is dwelling on not being a good mom while we’re at work, or on not being the best doctor when we’re home with our kids. In order to give it our best we have to try to accept what we’ve chosen (and not feel guilty about any of it) and put our best foot forward in both roles!
Söfft: Between Harvard Med School, residency and more, it seems your life has been in full speed for quite some time. What inspired you to start A Little Bit of Lacquer despite your already full schedule?
Laura: For me I always like to be doing something – I actually work best when I have a few things on my plate at once (not too many though)! I started my blog back in the beginning of second year of medical school – it’s the time that most med students start studying for Step 1 and when I saw all the students the year ahead of us basically become zombies. All they did was study, and as you know, life is too short for just that! So I started the blog as a way to sort of just hold myself accountable for the things I enjoyed outside of studying – I’d share recipes and outfits so that I’d remember to take the time to cook a meal or get dressed up now and then! Now the blog has morphed into something so much greater, and despite having a busier schedule, the messages I get from readers daily regarding how much the blog or my social media presence has impacted their lives or helped them reach their goals – it keeps me motivated to keep up with it! Somehow I’ve become that virtual mentor I so desperately sought out during the times I struggles on this journey, and I’m so humbled by that.
Söfft: When you find a moment for yourself, what is your favorite thing to do?
Laura: Jam sessions! I’m a huge music fan, and if I’m in the car by myself you better believe I’m listening to something with the sound turned all the way up! And all three of my girls love music too (we like to joke that it was because I was always jamming to something while I was pregnant with all of them) – so the jam sessions even happen when they’re in the car, albeit maybe to kidzbop instead of my not-always-kid-friendly selections. And my husband loves music too (maybe even more than I do), so he partakes as well – guess it’s a family affair but also something I love to do on my own. I also love a good mani/pedi.
Söfft: Name three essentials for tackling life as a working Mom in style.
Laura: 1) Gel mani – it’s amazing how put together painted nails makes me feel (maybe it’s just me?), but gel mani’s are lifesavers because they look perfect for at least 2-3 weeks – despite washing with medical grade soap before I do surgery or getting beat up as I carry around kids and carseats. 2) Clothes that fit properly – I can’t say how important it is for clothes to actually fit the right way – there are many gorgeous pieces I’ve had in my closet that just never got worn because they didn’t fit right – fit is everything when it comes to looking put together! 3) Shoes to pull it all together – shoes are the other critical piece, and as a busy working mom they need to not only look good, but I also need them to be comfortable – bonus if they’re easy on/off (meaning I can put my shoes on even with my arms full) and go with most of your wardrobe!