The Strong MD | Episode 1

Balancing Pediatrics and Parenthood: Dr. Marie Belin’s Journey

Dr. Belin has been in private practice with Village Pointe Pediatrics since 2009 after completing her residency at the Creighton-Nebraska University Health Foundation and graduating from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Besides her college years in New Jersey at Princeton University and studying abroad in the United Kingdom, she’s lived in Nebraska most of her life, and was born and raised in Lincoln. In their free time, Dr. Belin and her husband enjoy helping their local church, history, world travel, all things British, and homeschooling their four children.

Published on
January 08, 2024

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Dr. Jaime Seeman: Hello, I’m Dr. Jaime Seeman, your host of today’s podcast, and I would like to introduce you to our guest, Dr. Marie Belin. She is from Lincoln, Nebraska, and, uh, has lived most of her life here in Nebraska and went to Princeton University in New Jersey, studied a broad in the United Kingdom. She was a graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical center, where she completed her pediatric residency at ah, Creighton. She’s also been in private practice at ah, village Point pediatrics since 2009. Dr. Belin and her husband enjoy homeschooling their four children, ages eleven to 17, and she’s very much involved in her local church, world travel history, and all things british. I hope you enjoy today’s episode. Tell us where you did your training.

Dr. Marie Belin: I went to Princeton undergrad and then to the University of Nebraska for medical school.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Okay. And you’re a pediatrician?

Dr. Marie Belin: I’m a pediatrician.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Tell us why pediatrics did you always. I mean, obviously if your road was like molecular genetics, it wasn’t peed. So where did that come?

Dr. Marie Belin: Well, I’d always enjoyed kids. Um, like most pediatricians, I love Disney, I love Sesame street. There’s like that childlike aspect to me that I never grew out of. But really it was, um, as I started to do rotations, um, second and third year, realizing I was, ah, just a really judgmental, um, uh, unforgiving adult doctor, um, when adults would come in, so many of their problems in my mind were due to their own poor choices. And so I just realized I wouldn’t want to come see me, um, and have me blame them for smoking and eating too much sugar and all the things, um, and so I didn’t want to be that kind of doctor who was essentially judging every single patient every single day. Kids are completely different. They never want to be sick. You get them feeling like a teeny smidgen better and they are off playing outside and you kind of have to strap them down to help them heal. Um, and it’s never their fault. And so I had all the sympathy, all the patience in the world for my patients when they were, um, was. It was kind of, ah, a no brainer for me.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: And where’d you do your residency training at?

Dr. Marie Belin: In Omaha.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: In Omaha. Okay, so university of, um. Ever. Did you always want to be a generalist? Pediatrician? Did you ever think about specializing?

Dr. Marie Belin: That I did. Um, so if I hadn’t gotten married and started having children, I think I probably would have done a subspecialty. But my husband and I got married my second year of medical school. And then we had my first son, um, my last year of medical school, so I had him. It is a journey. Um, yeah, so I had him all through residency. I had this sweet little guy at home, um, just making me want to get off the 80 hours work week schedule as quickly as possible. Um, but I did really like general pediatrics as well. I think if I weren’t a doctor, um, I’d probably be a teacher. I love getting to educate and kind of, um, simplify what I’ve learned and make it. Communicate it well to others and have it be memorable for them and help them to not make the same mistakes I’ve made different things like that. Um, so I do really love it. Um, but I also love being an expert, um, in general pediatrics. That’s hard to do, especially working part time like I do. So there are some things that, um, I just try to be very honest with my patients of, I can’t keep up on that. You’re going to want to go see a subspecialist for that, or even one of my partners, um, is much better at that than I am and reads the literature more. And so the idea of being really the expert in the world on something very much appealed to me. And you could only do that as a subspecialist, so I would have kept going.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Yeah. Um, what is harder in pediatrics, the patients or the patients parents? I’ve always wondered.

Dr. Marie Belin: It’s definitely the parents. Um, there’s so much good we can do as parents in influencing our kids, but they also take on all of our baggage, too. And so, um, most of the time when a kid is struggling in clinic, it’s the fear of the parent that’s being transferred. And so trying to, um, calm the parent down, um, and to help put things in perspective so that the child then can have a chance of getting through whatever we need to do.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Yeah. Talk to me about your decision to be a mom. I know I kind of alluded to the fact I had a baby when I was in medical school, ended up having two in residency. But I watched a lot of my peers. This is like a big. They’re like, oh, I don’t know, is it the right time? And I think that’s really hard. As a doctor, talk to me about your decision to be a mom. And did you specifically have that baby in medical school because you thought that was the right timing? I mean, for people listening who are kind of wondering about that?

Dr. Marie Belin: Yeah, he, um, was very planned. All of them, um, were very planned, except the first one. I had outside of residency that was like, oh, wow, let’s see what happens. What happens is I have a four month old nursing every 2 hours, and I got pregnant again with my third. So that was exciting. Um, what I always tell folks is, um, having children is never convenient. You never have enough money, you’re never ready, and you never have enough time. Um, it’s always going to be a sacrifice, um, which is the whole point. Um, and so for us, um, my husband very much wanted to be a father, um, and he is a big athlete, like you played, um, basketball in college, um, and had sort of. He wanted to be a young dad. He wanted his kids to remember when he could dunk a basketball. He wanted, um, to be able to beat them in their teens at foot races. Um, I wanted to honor that. Um, and then I’m, ah, I think like a lot of doctors, a worst case scenario person. And so I was also very aware of my fertility, um, and knowing that if I waited until I was done with everything and everything was tied up in a neat bow, and I was well established in my career that it may not happen. And so we sort of made the deal of, okay, these few months will work with how I’d kind of structured my fourth year with research projects that I’d done ahead of time and things like that. And so let’s see if it happens. And it did. Um, and so we were able to have, um, our first, and then we did the same thing in residency. I had sort of front loaded all of my difficult rotations so that the last few would be things like, um, public health, which was all about, uh, breastfeeding. And so they wanted me to bring my infant to be part of the culture, really, of what they were trying to do in the organization for that rotation. Um, so that worked really well. And then was so grateful to find a group in town of pediatricians that didn’t think I was crazy, um, for wanting to be a mom. That was very encouraging. Um, so that when I signed my contract, still pregnant with my second, and showed up for work the first day, pregnant with my third, they threw a party. Let me tell you how that happens. As an obgyn. Exactly. I was shocked. Um, but yeah, they’ve been so supportive, um, with my kind of more unusual schedule and wanting to protect my time at home. Um, it’s been a great, um, specialty to find and then a great group to find that I don’t have to fight that fight every day like I think a lot of women do.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: I mean, it seems like you kind of found the unicorn that you were looking for. So talk to me about the landscape in pediatrics. What does private practice academic for somebody out there who’s a mom, or maybe not a mom, that’s kind of looking like, what should people be kind of looking for?

Dr. Marie Belin: Yeah, that’s a great.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: You obviously knew exactly what you were looking for.

Dr. Marie Belin: Well, I was really blessed. I am the product of a working mom. And my mom, um, was dean of the business school at the university of Nebraska. So very high powered mom, um, who didn’t pretend that she did it all. That, um, was something that she always communicated. I have two sisters, so to the three of us that it’s an illusion that you can have everything. Um, and so, uh, what she communicated to us is that for each of us, she tried to figure out what we actually needed from her as a mom and everything else she outsourced. Um, so she didn’t cook a lot of meals. Um, there weren’t cookies when I got home from school. Uh, she was rarely one of the homeroom moms. Um, but none of that mattered to me. She was there for homework, for my tennis matches, whatever it was in the season that I really needed. Just her that a babysitter or someone else wouldn’t satisfy. Um, and so recognizing that, um, as I was thinking about my career, knowing and being clear with my husband of okay, that will probably mean, like, I’m not going to be the one cleaning the house. Are you okay with that? Or is that how your mom loved you? And it’s really important for you that I am the one making the bed. And thankfully it wasn’t, uh, that’s not one of the things I love to do. Um, and then I do have an incredible partner. Um, I haven’t done laundry, um, in years because now it’s my kids job. But way before that, it was my husband’s job. Um, he very much will share whatever burden I’m feeling, um, as a woman, recognizing, um, if you’re going to be a mom, if you’re going to be married and you’re going to have a career, there’s going to be give and take. And so for me it’s give and take in the career. I am not famous. Um, I am not maximizing my earning potential. Um, uh, I will not be a talking head on ABC News. Some of those things that I really probably longed for in my twenty s and I think 18 year old Marie would, would sort of snicker and laugh at, um, the smallness of my life, um, but 18 year old Marie would not have the wisdom to recognize the depth that I have, the depth of joy that I have in this family, um, and my children and my husband and our community here, um, is so much bigger than anything I could have achieved, um, through fame. Um, so in medical school, I remember kind of finding the women, um, who were practicing. Um, one was, uh, very open and honest. Um, she was in academics and clearly communicated. This is three full time jobs. I am a full time grant writer. Um, I am a full time teacher and I’m a full time practitioner. And anyone that tells you differently isn’t actually adding up the hours. And I think a lot of men don’t do that because they don’t have to. They don’t, um, really think through how many hours are they actually working? Um, but for whatever reason, I think because our mom hearts just tug us with that guilt of, uh, I wasn’t there when he took his first step or I’m not going to be at the baseball game tonight. Um, we keep tabs and we are very aware of how many hours we’re in the office. Um, and so I was grateful for that because that definitely crossed off academics and it’s, I think, also very difficult to do academics part time just because you do need to keep your skills sharp in a way, um, that I wouldn’t have been able to because for me, part time wasn’t, um. Part time can so quickly become 40 hours in full time.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Did you know from the get go you wanted to be part time?

Dr. Marie Belin: I didn’t. Not until I met my son. Um, and then when I met him, I was shocked at how much I enjoyed being a mom. Um, and then I started residency and 80 hours work weeks.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Yeah, I don’t want to do that.

Dr. Marie Belin: This was not going to lie. No. I mean, my first word was not ambulance. I don’t read medical journals for fun. I am a whole person. Um, I don’t think I’d want to do anything 80 hours a week. Um, I think it’s so admirable, though.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: That you acknowledge that.

Dr. Marie Belin: Absolutely.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Because I think it’s easy to get sucked into the grind and you’ve got to attain wealth and you’ve got to. That’s such an interesting perspective. So tell us how your day to day life is set up. Your practice, your family life.

Dr. Marie Belin: So our structure came from, um, my happiest rotation was urgent care and, er, and in Omaha, um, with children’s, they had us home all day because nothing really happens in the ER during the day. And then we would show up at six and work from like six to 02:00 a.m. I think, or six to midnight, something like that. And we loved it, my husband and I, my son. We were all so happy that month. Every time it happened we were like, this is amazing. So I wrote letters to every pediatrician I’d worked with through residency and medical school and said, I’ve got this crazy idea. I would love to work evenings in your clinic. Um, and, um, most groups in Omaha are owned by large hospitals and so they don’t have the kind of ability to be creative or think outside the box. Um, but there was one private group in town, um, that replied and said, that would be amazing. We are open from 08:00 a.m. To 08:00 p.m. And right now we’re each doing an evening shift, um, every day. And this would be amazing if you would take them all for us and we could go home at dinner. So, um, uh, when I started, I worked Monday through Thursday, four, um, to 08:00 p.m. And then I would work one Saturday a month for them, for their clinic. But the amazing thing that I was never expecting was that they let me see my own patients. And so I’m not just their urgent care. I actually have my own practice in the evening and I get to watch kids grow up and be involved in their families and be a part of their lives in the way that I think every pediatrician really longs for. Um, so that was a gift. Who knew how easy it would be to build up? I had to close my practice in three years.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Yeah, I mean, maybe a professional. Exactly. Getting my kid to the doctor between eight and five now and pulling them out of school. I’m taking a day off work or my husband is.

Dr. Marie Belin: So, yeah, my, well, visits, you don’t have to take off work. It’s really great. And then you get home from work or pick up the kids from daycare and find out they have a fever. Well, that’s exactly when I’m pulling into the office, so it works out really well. And would have never guessed that. Nor did my partners. They had no idea how popular those time slots would be.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Is that difficult? Because it’s the traditional kind of dinner time for most families. When you sit around the dinner table, is it hard having evening hours like that?

Dr. Marie Belin: It took a shift. So again, it took my family understanding the madness. So breakfast is our family meal. Um, and it’s a sacred time. And so if I need to go to the hospital to see a baby, I do it before they wake up so that I am back for breakfast. Um, and then it also works because we home school. So I am with my kids all day, otherwise I really wouldn’t get to see them. Um, and we couldn’t have the long breakfast that we have. We’d all be running off to school. Um, so I’m with them all day. Um, my husband, at the time that I finished my residency, also then chose to leave his crazy high powered law firm, um, and start working from home on his own. And so we were able to connect during the day as well. Um, so we just kind of flipped our day. So for them, dinner is kind of a no big deal. They may or may not eat it together depending on activities, which as they’ve gotten older, it makes so much sense because everything’s in the evening. Um, so I don’t know when we’d be together if we didn’t do our breakfast.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Oh, yeah. I’m just thinking of my life. I’ve got three kids and they’re at three practices in three different places, and we’re constantly running in all directions. It’s hard to even get that family time.

Dr. Marie Belin: So it’s been kind of this weird, crazy gift that we would have never guessed 20 years ago or 15, but, yeah, it’s really built and, um, it makes a ton of sense for us.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Okay, so you home school during the day and then you’re working four to 08:00 p.m. In the night. Do you just feel at 08:00 p.m. Like you’re just done? It sounds exhausting in my brain, but then I guess I probably work that many hours in clinic and at the hospital.

Dr. Marie Belin: Well, and I also always tell books, like, I don’t go to book club, I’m not in the PTA. I think a lot of moms underestimate again how many hours they’re spending doing other things. Um, but, uh, no, it’s interesting. I’m done with my home school brain definitely at, uh, three. And I’m very grateful that I’m leaving it behind as I start to prep and get ready for work. And I’m thrilled to be going to clinic because I’m going to be respected and listened to and I get to use this totally different part of my brain. Um, but then at eight, I’m really excited to get home again. So I do feel like I kind of have the best of both worlds. And, uh, we’ll see what my kids say in therapy later. But I also feel like I’m a way better mom because they don’t have 100% of me. I think I’d be too much, honestly. Um, uh, and that it makes me value the time that I’m with them, um, because it is limited. I have an alarm clock that is going to go off, and I turn into a pumpkin when I go to work, as far as they’re concerned, and then vice versa at work.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Yeah. Tell me about the choice to home school, then. Yeah.

Dr. Marie Belin: That was also just this bizarre journey that I never would have imagined. Um, it started with my husband. Um, it was something he really felt strongly about. Um, he’d met some families, um, through his work as an attorney, that he really admired and admired their children. And their children were all homeschooled. Um, I was a public school nebraska kid and had a great experience. I mean, it got me into Princeton and was fantastic. Um, but I think as my son was getting closer and closer to school age, I was realizing my school doesn’t exist anymore. Um, and then again, just really enjoying him. I was shocked at how much I loved being with my son. Um, and again, also the teacher in me, I really struggled to figure out how do I interact with this little person without reading to him and pointing out ducks? And I felt like, as I played, I was really just teaching my kid. Um, and that’s still true of me. We go on educational trips and things like that. Um, it was more just at preschool, I was like, no, I want to do this. And so kept, um, him home, and then same thing in kindergarten. And by then we had a curriculum I was so excited about. Um, and just kind of kept going. And now he’s going to graduate this year.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Wow. Yeah. How many children?

Dr. Marie Belin: We have four. Two boys, two girls.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: And they’re what ages?

Dr. Marie Belin: 1113. This is the hardest question I get asked all day. 1113, 1517.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Okay. And you’ve homeschooled them since kindergarten?

Dr. Marie Belin: Since kindergarten, yeah. So all of them, their whole lives so far.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Incredible. That’s incredible. Um, how did they get social interaction?

Dr. Marie Belin: That’s a great question, too. Um, that’s also been a lifestyle choice. So we, um, have intentionally picked a neighborhood where we don’t feel like we’ve priced ourselves out of any friendships. So we, um, have our best friends live on the same street. Um, we live next door to my brother, which isn’t as creepy as it sounds. They have four kids. We’re both introverts. We will go days and days without seeing each other, but our kids will interact every day. Um, so we’re on a street with, um, uh, ten best friends that can play constantly. Um, and then again, I married an athlete, so we’ve got some athletic kids, so they’ve got their sports teams. Um, my oldest, who is not super athletic, um, has been in robotics for almost his whole life, so it has not been an issue at all. Um, you can tell they’re homeschooled because they will talk to adults, um, and they’re very confident, um, and interactive, so they come off weird, but I think in a good way that I think by the time they’re 20 won’t be as weird. Um, so I’m an okay with it.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Weird way. Have you thought about the next stage when the youngest one graduates?

Dr. Marie Belin: Yes, I think about that a lot. I love being a mom, um, but, uh, again, there’s nothing I’d want to do 100% with my life, including being a mom. So, yeah, my husband and I love to travel. Um, I’ve done some medical missions, trips that have been amazing, um, uh, even just the ease of practicing without feeling divided, there’s like a joy in that, that I get very excited about, um, of my patients getting my full brain and not forgetting. I feel such guilt when someone walks in and I’m like, who are you again? And it kills me. I don’t want to be that kind of a doctor. So to not be so, um, divided, um, I look forward to that, too.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Tell me about your medical missions. Did you take the family with you?

Dr. Marie Belin: Was it just you this most recent time?

Dr. Jaime Seeman: We did.

Dr. Marie Belin: So we started out, um. I feel like my husband is the instigator of anything I do that is outside the box. He’s there to push my limits, and it’s been a great blessing these last 20 years, um, but sometimes a challenge. So he really got a heart for syrian refugees. It was so random, um, but so wonderful. And we went to Lebanon and Jordan to see the conditions of their refugee, uh, settlements, I guess you could call them tent villages. Um, and it was, uh, 90% women and children. Um, most of the men were either killed or, um, had been forced to serve in the syrian war in some way. Um, and so that just. How could I not respond? All of these children, um, and so there were amazing things happening, especially in Lebanon. Beirut had just opened their hearts to, um, the syrian refugees, and they had some really incredible clinics going on with american university in Beirut. I mean, being one of the best medical institutions in the world. So it was really high quality, um, and their practitioners, uh, just needed a vacation, and so I went over with a team and gave them vacation for a week, um, and did the medical practice. Um, and I was shocked at how I’d always shied away from it because I’m not an infectious disease specialist. I’m not good at jungle medicine.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: You get over there and realize your skill set has like.

Dr. Marie Belin: Yes, but this was like suburban omaha medicine. It was so they. Because Syrians, most of them came. They were like dentists and lawyers whose homes were blown up. They were not living in villages. And so their kids were the same way. They, um, had earaches and allergies and, um, just all the normal stuff. And we’re having nightmares, not unexpectedly. And so being able to talk through all of the things that I deal with here all the time on anxiety, um, and post traumatic stress disorder. And, um, their source of trauma was far greater. I mean, you should never compare trauma, but their source of trauma was very violent, um, in ways that my omaha kids aren’t. But it’s still the same, um, therapy, same interventions. And so that was really satisfying. So I did that, um, a couple of times. And then most, um, recently, uh, we just got back, actually, a couple of weeks ago. The whole family went, um, and we did a clinic in Uganda. Um, and so the boys helped at a school, um, doing a construction project. But the girls and I, uh, saw over 1300 patients. My girls took vital signs and, um, filled out the demographic information for all these patients. And that was just an incredible joy, um, to get to, um, help out in that way, but also to see my girls stepping in, um, and working with me and kind of seeing behind the curtain of, oh, this is why mom leaves.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Do any of the children have a desire to pursue medicine?

Dr. Marie Belin: I think one, yeah. I think my youngest, she’s a smart cookie in the, um, sort of, uh, again, outside the box thinker. She has this great idea. We’ll see if AI interferes. But she’s like, I could be a radiologist and read, uh, radiology reports in China from home while they’re sleeping. And then I’m like, that’s a great idea, friend. You’re wise.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: She’s got an entrepreneurial.

Dr. Marie Belin: Exactly.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Exactly. Yeah. That’s important. Uh, what other travel do you do with the kids besides the mission? I mean, do you guys make that a priority?

Dr. Marie Belin: We do, yeah, we absolutely do. It’s one of the joys of why we’ve continued homeschooling, um, that we can pick up in October and go to a random place where there are no crowds. Um, it’s almost always related to what we’ve been studying. So after we finished studying World War I and World War II, we went to Europe and went to all the battlefields and saw sites there. After we’d studied, um, inca tribes, we went to Ecuador. Um, so we try to kind of pair things up like it’s been, it’s, it’s super fun. I hope my kids like it. I love it.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: That’s amazing. Like real world field trips.

Dr. Marie Belin: Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: That’s exactly what we try to do. My kids are going to like the apple orchard.

Dr. Marie Belin: We do that too, though. That’s also fun.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: What time do you get to be alone? What do you do to take care of yourself and unplug from part time pediatrics and mob life and being a teacher?

Dr. Marie Belin: Yeah, no, I need it. I am a huge introvert, so I have to store it up each day. Um, I was aware of that weakness, if you can call it that. Um, very early on, and so needed to sort of train the kids to not need me all the time. My goal was to kind of raise, um, them so that I don’t have a job anymore and we’re sort of there. So, um, they cook all the meals, um, which I miss, but it needed to happen. Um, I love cooking, but, um, I wouldn’t have any time alone if they weren’t doing meal prep for me. Um, uh, and then I never got rid of quiet time in the afternoon. So even when my kids outgrew nap time from two to four, um, I maintained it as quiet time. You don’t have to sleep, but this is time that you can’t need mom right now. And so whether you’re reading or doing whatever, um, and so the afternoons for a while has been sort of reserved for me, whether it’s doing an interview like this or that’s when I get my run in. Um, just have time alone to kind of, and I need that separation, too. Before I go to work. I find to kind of put my other brain on from teacher.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: You have a little gap in there.

Dr. Marie Belin: Before you go to the. I have a two hour gap before I then am arriving as Dr. Belin instead of mom. Um, and that time actually has grown more and more every year. They’re so independent in learning now, m which I think most moms can relate to. When your kids get in high school, you’re not really helping them with homework anymore. Um, and my kids are the same way. Um, they’ve been taught how to teach themselves. Um, and then we do some online courses for some of the harder things, like ap chemistry, or whatever. They have an online instructor, um, but they’re very independent. Um, and so that gives me this year. I felt it dramatically this fall. Um, I do find myself with hours of, like, wait, why am I not frantic? I should be doing something. What am I missing? But they’re just growing up.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: What an incredible thing. Okay, so for other doctor moms out there, most of us aren’t living Marie Belin’s life with home school at a.

Dr. Marie Belin: Four hour clinic in the evening.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: But you have such an interesting perspective because you get to be a pediatrician and you see the babies. I mean, certainly people like me, we could be bringing our kids as our patients to you, working, professional moms. There’s so much guilt involved. Know, our career and being a mom. And you’ve certainly found that middle ground and that incredible happy place. What advice do you have for women who can’t structure their life like yours? What can we do as working moms to feel like we’re being good parents? Good moms.

Dr. Marie Belin: Well, to know you are. I mean, no matter what, you, uh, are there, um, and that’s enough. Um, I can tell in the hospital, a lot of times the parents are just getting so nervous about going home and I just remind them this isn’t an accident. There is no mistake here. This child is supposed to be with you and not go home with anyone else. And this is the way it’s supposed to be. So this is going to work out no matter what. Um, and so I think we need to remind ourselves of that. That no one can be, um, the same mom that we can be, um, and then really do taking the time at least once a year or so of trying, and it takes time. And so you do have to probably schedule it into your life of what does my child need from their mom this year? And then everything else I can outsource. Um, and so anyone who knows me, knows my children, knows that I am not at every game. Um, I’m not at a majority of the game sometimes, especially if they’re in the evenings.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Right.

Dr. Marie Belin: Um. Uh, I can carry a lot of guilt about that. I do not know the families well of the teams that we play on, um, because I am not a presence. And I interpret, um, the judgment that I’m sure they don’t even know I exist, but I interpret it as judgment of this mom never brings snacks or, um, the snacks are lame because someone else bought them, not her. Um, so having to quiet those voices, but I am not there, um, a lot. Um, and that’s okay because I’m there for what does matter, um, in their lives. Um, I hope I’m not just lying to myself, but I do feel like it’s important for my kids to know they’re not the center of the world, um, and they’re learning that every day with me as their mom, um, because I choose other things over them. And that is a very even saying it. My heart races a little bit. Like, if I were on Oprah with people start throwing things at the screen. How dare a mother say that her children aren’t m the most important thing? But we all make those choices, um, whether we are stay at home or not. And I think it’s just a lie that we’ve sort of adopted as a society that these kids are the most important thing, and they are so wonderful, and I adore them. Um, and I’ve structured my life around them, actually. But they also know they’re not the most important thing in my life, and I think that’s an important lesson.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Yeah, it really is. I remember because I had my children in med school and residency, and I had finished residency. I was out in private practice, and we drove by UNMC, where I did residency. And my oldest daughter goes, look, there’s mommy’s house. And I had this moment. I was like, oh, my gosh. And then I thought, you know, like, they were like, m they’re never going to remember this stage. And to just totally contrast that, this morning, I sprinted out of the house to go do a delivery, and I said, I got to go to delivery. And one of my daughters said, let me know if it’s a boy or girl. Love you, mom. I think you just have to model for them. Um, what’s important, I take the time when I can to connect with them. They totally understand that my crazy life is not what other moms. It’s your world. And I think you can still make it super awesome. And you’re totally right. I think you have these kids, and you just think they come before everything else. And unfortunately, I watch a lot of moms start to not take care of themselves. They’re not exercising, they’re not taking care of their mental health, um, and they just deteriorate at the cost of their children. And I kind of have this motto called pay yourself first. And it’s like, okay, if Marie doesn’t take care of herself, she’s not going to take care of her patients. She can’t be a teacher for her kids. She can’t be a wife to her husband. It’s just such an important thing.

Dr. Marie Belin: You’re exactly right. You’re exactly right. And then I think my other piece of advice, too, would be to be brave. I think a lot of times we just are lemmings of, oh, this is what everyone else does. So I’m going to sign up for. The thing, obviously, that I’m thinking of is these hours, um, if I hadn’t presented the idea of working from four to eight, no one was going to offer that to me. Um, of course, I would just be offered what they thought everyone would want, nine to five. Um, but by really thinking, does nine to five actually work for me, or does something different work better for me? And to ask for it, um, and to not be afraid, um, to do something really weird and different, um, and then to also, I think we just have to acknowledge the cost benefit analysis and be, um, realistic about it. And I think a lot of times, um, we think we need more money than we actually do, um, or we need more prestige than we actually do, and we can get a lot more satisfaction in a different place. Um, and so just to be brave, um, about that. And to not worry about what your parents think. Well, why did you go to medical school if you’re only going to work 4 hours a day? Um, or, uh, why would you take out all those loans if it’s going to take forever to pay them back? Um, I think a lot of things that, um. If we had a space, which is hard to find, that space to really think about, we might arrive at very different conclusions, um, but we just don’t have time. And so we sign the contract, um, and move on.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Yeah. Do you think when kids leave, you’ll ever be full time or have you.

Dr. Marie Belin: Don’T found this rhythm that works? Yeah, I love this rhythm. And there’s other youngsters in my life, um, young, being 20 somethings, that I really love getting to pour into them, um, and meeting with them, um, and meeting them where they’re at in their lives, that I will very much enjoy having more time, um, to spend with some of those young moms, young single women, um, just starting out and trying to figure out all this crazy stuff. So as long as people like that still want to meet with me, um, I don’t think I ever will.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Okay, one last question. You said your mother outsourced a lot of her life. Um, lived very differently, it seems like. Do you outsource? You can’t possibly do everything.

Dr. Marie Belin: No, I do not do everything. No. Um, so we have a woman that helps clean the house. Um, the kids do all the cooking, like I said. And so that means I have to release the fact that that’s educational. Well, they all can survive. I’m well aware of that. But the week that it’s my 15 year old’s turn, we will be eating ground beef every day because that’s what he wants.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Very nutritious.

Dr. Marie Belin: All right, so here we go, everyone. Um, put on your smiles. And so, yeah, if someone’s coming over, um, and I have to, again, fight that embarrassment of they might go home and tell their kids that we just had ground beef with salt and that’s what we had at the bealon’s house. It reflects on me, but, oh, well, um, I can’t win everything. Um, so, yes, outsource the cooking. Um, don’t do laundry. Um, your husband does all the laundry. My husband did. And now the kids do it all. And same thing. I have to be, um, willing to, um, have the kids ruin stuff that they wear. Um, and that’s just life sometimes. Um, but again, I’ve got bigger fish to fry is the choice I’ve made. Now, for others, that may be really important, how they look. Um, and that’s okay. It’s just a different choice that we’ve made. Um, I’m trying to think. There’s just a million things I desperately need. Um, my friends who take my children places, um, and take them home like a total village. It is a complete village. And I had to die to the fact that I will not ever be able to repay them. Um, it’s not a tip for tat in my world at all. They are doing all the driving, and once in a while, I’m available to help out. Um, but they have told me time and time again, that’s fine. Um, as long as they can text me with a medical question.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Doctor, my child has a fever. We get those questions all the time as physicians. Yeah. And sometimes hard to say no. It’s hard to set those boundaries. Well, this has been so delightful. Thanks so much. People are going to get so much out of it.

Dr. Marie Belin: Oh, I hope so. I hope it’s encouraging. And not the last thing I want to do is make people think that they’re making the wrong decision. So I just pray that no one is hearing that out there. Everyone is doing their best, and their best is amazing. Exactly.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Yeah.

Dr. Marie Belin: Take the time to really think through your life.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Hm.

Dr. Marie Belin: Uh, be brave.

Dr. Jaime Seeman: Thank you all for listening to today’s episode. I hope you enjoyed the wonderful information that Dr. Belin had to share. If you guys wouldn’t mind. Just liking subscribing to our channel and sharing this episode with anybody who would find it helpful. We’ll catch you on the next episode.