The PA mama

Feb. 24, 2015

By Rachael Jarman

Dial it downRachael Jarman

When I tried to come up with words to describe being a “PA mama,” the things that came to my head were the following:


That’s quite the list. And you’ve likely experienced all of those before 8 a.m. if you are a working mother! But the PAMA (PA mama) is its own beast. We have a very blurry role in the workplace, and then, come home and turn the switch to another blurry role.

PAs are becoming more and more accepted as clinical practitioners, but we still end up having to justify our role to hospital administration, doctors, nurses … and practically the whole of Western civilization. Constantly trying to convince others that we are happy with our career choice, and no, we are not interested in going on to study to become a “real” doctor.

As soon as we punch out for the workday, we step into another world. One that is more foreign to me than the Krebs cycle. A world where we are called “mommy.” Being a “mommy” is not for lightweights. We get loved hard. My kids know how to make my heart melt, and in the next breath, say something that makes me feel approximately one inch tall.

Then, there is the struggle to understand our partners. We must remove the craft project from our face, and try to stay connected to our husband or partner. When you have two working parents, the traditional roles are thrown pragmatically out the window. Who does what on the to-do list? It never seems to end, and romance doesn’t come as easily as it once did.

Although raising children and nurturing a relationship is hard, it’s nothing compared to the pressure we feel from other parents. Trying to keep the kids and house in order, working and still having friends are hard enough without trying to impress the PTA members. But we try to anyways. We try to make life look easy and stress-free … but keeping up the facade is exhausting.

One thing I am trying to work on in my life is to dial down the crazy. Trying to be everything to everyone is not sustainable. We need to dial it down. We need to realize that struggle and tension are a part of life, but so is joy.

I want to stop trying to prove myself at work, or to the other moms in the playgroup, and just be thankful. Be thankful that I have a career I love. Be thankful that I have a loving family. Stop constantly trying to keep up, and just embrace the chaos. And let others in so I can let them have a chance to say, “Me, too!” We are all just trying to “do” life and do it well.

This week, my goal is to not focus on my to-do list, but reading extra bedtime stories with my girls. My goal is to worry less about RVUs and more about hearing my patients’ stories. I’m gonna dial down the crazy to make room for joy!