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    Balancing work and home as an OD during the holidays

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    Practicing over the holidays has always been difficult for me. I like to keep everyone happy, and during the holidays I just cannot.

    I cannot please my patients, my staff, my spouse, my kids, or my parents. Do not even get me started on trying to fit in the family holiday gatherings with my aunts, uncles, cousins, and their kids. Now that I am an adult, I have to choose.

    Adulting is hard.

    Previously from Dr. Schroeder-Swartz: ODs: Rulers of the Land of Presbyopia

    Holidays after graduation

    When I was just out of school, life was easy. I had loans to pay back, gifts to purchase, and limited vacation time. I had no choice but to work. My husband was a resident at George Washington Hospital and had no life for four years.

    I worked on the weekends, both Saturday and Sunday, to make extra money. Back then, I could work 10 hours Monday through Friday and manage to wake up and work 10 more on Saturday. I could also manage a noon to four shift on Sunday while still fitting in grocery shopping for the next week so my husband and I could eat.

    We both had Christmas Day and New Year’s Day off. I have no idea how I got my Christmas gifts purchased, wrapped, and mailed to the proper recipient without losing my mind. Back then, there were less gifts. I had no children.

    My sister had no husband and no kids. I had no nieces, no nephews, and my cousins were all working just as much as I was. My mom and dad were happy to not be paying for college anymore and all was right with the world.

    Most importantly, back then I was able to make extra bonuses for working the holiday. I worked for anyone who did not want to and was willing to pay extra to get vacation time during the holiday.

    Related: Holiday gift giving for ODs made easy

    When you are young (and spry), you can work for six hours with no food or water on four hours of sleep. You can stand all day in heels, smile, and sell extra pairs all day long because you love to get those big holiday paychecks. It was worth it.

    Holidays with a family

    Jump forward a few years to when my husband and I started a family. Families make adulting extremely stressful. Now, I had to fit in time for my patients, my office staff, my parents, my in-laws, my children, my sister, and her family.

    I had to forget about the Schroeders back in Wisconsin who I now see only in the summer. Because I thought my patients could not possibly live without seeing me for glasses on their vision plan before their benefits ran out on December 31, I worked most of the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Thankfully, my toddlers did not miss me, or at least they did not voice their opinions.

    Tracy Schroeder Swartz, OD, MS, FAAO
    Tracy Schroeder Swartz currently practices at Madison Eye Care Center in Madison, Alabama. She serves as Education Chair for the ...


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