Resize Text Search
  • Call 888.905.6071
  • Doctors offering 24/7 online appointment scheduling
  • Request an appointment
  • MyChart current patient scheduling
General Inquiries

Being a Working Mom

Posted 11 August 2011 by Dr. von Gruenigen

It is human nature to work. Some say you can't be a good mother and a good worker. My mother worked while raising us kids- and she was great at both. I believe it is possible that one enhances the other making us better as a whole. In other words, I'm a better physician because I'm a mother and I'm a better mother because I am a physician.

I travel at least once a month for work. I enjoy traveling, but as I've gotten older it has become more burdensome. I confess that there have been meetings where I've flown in and out and never left the hotel.

Occasionally, I've taken my kids on these work trips. Years ago I took my daughter to an ovarian cancer survivorship talk sponsored by the Foundation for Women's Cancer. She was too young to be left alone in the hotel room, so she sat in the back of the lecture hall. At that conference, my daughter learned very young that bald is not only beautiful, but it is an image of strength and resilience. The event was an opportunity for her to learn something she may have never experienced elsewhere.

 width=Recently, I took her to a work trip in Philadelphia. It was a meeting of the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG ), which is a research clinical trials group sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). I've been to Philly several times for work but confess I've never explored the city with a 13 year old. We ate Philly cheese steaks and dim sum, rode on a trolley, and went to the aquarium. I worked with my colleagues from all over the country then rode a swan paddle boat in the Delaware River.

I combined work with parenting and both were enhanced. No one should have to choose — if it makes you a better person it will make you a better parent. I encourage all mothers to realize it is possible to work and be a fantastic mom. It worked for my mother and I hope my daughter someday thinks it worked for me.

What do you think, working moms?

Dr. Viv

Vivian E. von Gruenigen, M.D.
Chair, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Gynecologic Oncologist
Summa Health System
View Posts


  • Sarah said: 8/12/2011 11:53 AM

    Thank you for sharing this perspective! I agree with you 100 percent, and it's always nice to know others share the same experience. As a side note, I love this blog! Keep all the good information coming!

  • Dr. von Gruenigen said: 8/12/2011 12:00 PM

    Thanks for your feedback, Sarah!

  • Wendi Lawson-Gissinger said: 8/12/2011 3:18 PM

    Such a nice article & great photo! Miss you & your family!

  • Luann said: 8/12/2011 4:34 PM

    Viv, You have been an inspiration to all our daughters! You have showed them it can be done and done well. Thank you from us non working moms for showing our daughters that they can have it all!!! Love you. Lu

  • dominic said: 8/12/2011 4:48 PM

    Just have to say those are my girls in that picture. i believe it's all about quality of the time you spend with your children and the examples you set. And Dr. Viv does a great job of that,. if i do say so myself...Love my girls!

  • Elisa said: 8/12/2011 10:23 PM

    As someone who will have been married a year-on August 14 no less-to a wonderful man, and become an instant mother to a now 8 year old, who I completely love. It is so inspiring to know that you can do it all, and do it well if you take the time to make time for all important people. (which includes yourself) Viv, you have been an inspiration to me, and am thinking of printing it out and keeping it in my journal so that when things get tough I can read it and know that I am not alone! Miss you bunches, and am so glad(and proud) to call you my friend!! Elisa :)

  • Allison von Gruenigen said: 8/13/2011 1:21 PM

    Great article! You're right on the money, Viv. We looked to our mothers and now our daughters look to us. I think we help shape their attitude about family, friends, spirituality and work. Working is a huge part of our lives and it can ...bring us fulfillment and allow us an avenue to help others - not to mention paying the bills. I wish for my daughter a career that she enjoys, that challenges her and one in which she can continue to grow both personally and professionally. Love mixing work and parenting. I'm hoping my daughter can travel with me some. A great opportunity for mother/daughter bonding and experiencing new places and people. A win-win!

  • Dr. von Gruenigen said: 8/14/2011 7:42 PM

    Thanks to all for your love and support!

  • Michelle Kusic said: 8/18/2011 11:40 AM

    Hey everyone! After seeing Dr. Viv's picture with her baby, it reminded me of when my boys were little...they are now 11 and 7. I cannot stress enough, though, that for a working mom to remain on the job, she needs an understanding employer to allow work and home life to blend. And understanding coworkers, such as my colleague who shares an office with me who did not mind all the vomiting when I was pregnant, or who could put up with me and my breast pump as I reviewed charts and made phone calls to patients. I have been lucky enough to have all of that. I also am a firm believer that working has made me more organized, as I have to be organized...there is no choice or it wouldn't work. Plus, I have a Crock Pot. :)

  • Kim Smith said: 11/15/2011 8:51 AM

    LEAD LEAD by example is so right!! Kids sure see more than they hear. I see my boys growing into fine young men (15 and 10) and continue to be amazed how much my 4 year old daughter understands. Teaching our children that you can accomplish anything you set out to do, as long as you put in some hard work.... do what makes you happy!! When I train individuals that have chronic disease, disabilities, or cancer, my children usually go with me, so they get to see how much enjoyment I get out of my job and I hope they find the same satisfaction in the jobs they will choose as well. I love Dr. V's picture.... it reminds me of when my daughter gets up on my lap and asks me to read my book to her (anatomy and physiology is the most common one).... I always get a kick out of that.

Leave a Comment