Recently, we asked Dr. Lee Ann Brady about how she balances her family life with three kids and running a successful dental practice. She gave great insight into her experience as a mother and the sacrifices that must be made when multiple forces are pulling you in different directions.
We decided it would be great to get the perspective of balancing dentistry and family life from a father’s point of view. Dr. Jason Olitsky stepped up to the challenge, and in the below interview he details a similar experience to Dr. Brady about the choices made in opening a dental practice and unexpected stresses.
Looking Ahead and Making Time for Family
Q: Could you give a quick introduction to your home life?
A: I have been married for 13 years to Colleen. We met in dental school. She is from Philly and I am from SW florida. We decided to open our practice in Ponte Vedra Beach Florida, which is not near either one of our families. Our practice was a scratch start-up. Because a practice with no patients does not need two dentists, I would do the dentistry, while Colleen did the front desk responsibilities and the assisting.
“We knew when we opened the practice that we would want balance in our lives…”
As our practice grew, Colleen would focus on front desk and hygiene. Once we had two children, Colleen and I decided that she would be home with the children. Our practice was built around cosmetic dentistry and only has two treatment rooms and one hygiene room. We knew when we opened the practice that we would want balance in our lives, so we anticipated only working 3 1/2 days a week and planned our practice around our family goals.
Q: What was the greatest added/unexpected stress you noticed in working at the practice after having kids?
A: After having kids, I realized that being at work in a lot of ways was less stressful than being at home! My hours are focused so that I can drive my kids to school and get home from work early on some days to be with the kids. Because I lecture a lot of weekends, I need to go out of town. It is difficult to leave the family, so I like to maximize my time with them during the week.
Q: What is one of the greatest joys/unexpected benefits of having kids while being a practicing dentist?
A: We find that we are treating more families now that we have two children, since we are making friends with parents of young children.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give a new parent who is working as a dentist/in dental school considering their future?
A: Don’t forget that you have this amazing opportunity to plan your schedule in a way to achieve balance of work and home. When you are planning to open your own practice think ahead to what you want the practice to be like in 10 years and start working that way from day one. Take the kind of CE that will enable you to practice dentistry in a way that moves you toward your goals for the office.