Growing up, my solitary ambition was to be a doctor. Not. Anything. Else. Becoming a wife and mother were the theoretical things on the check list of my youth. College. Medical school. Marriage. Kids. Check. Check. Check. Check. As time moved on, my ambition became my reality. I was Dr. Hines. It was wonderful! I worked a ton of hours- always finding new things to strive for. I was tired, but satisfied. And then, I became a mother. As all mothers will tell you, motherhood changes you in ways that are unimaginable and difficult to articulate. There I was with everything- career, love, and now a beautiful daughter. And I was exhausted…. And I wanted out. I needed out. My life had become overwhelmingly stressful. I loved being a doctor, but at the end of the day, I dragged an exhausted, frustrated, cranky bitch home to my family. My daughter deserved better. So a choice had to be made. For many reasons, I could not leave medicine. But something had to change….something had changed. I no longer wanted to be the career-driven woman that I once had been. So I leaned out of my career, and leaned in to being Mommy. I thought I would miss her- my work self. Funny thing is, I don’t. Some days, I hardly recognize myself. Long gone for me are the days of working 18 hour days, leaving home in the dead of night to go to the hospital, calls that interrupt family time, missed opportunities to participate in my child’s life…. Nowadays, I work as little as I need to. I realize that my fear was not in being judged as a bad mother. My very real fear was of becoming an absentee one. Now I don’t miss anything. I don’t miss school plays, field trips, birthday parties. I am able to participate in my daughter’s school, and get great satisfaction from volunteer work. After many years, and many attempts, I found a balance that works for me. It came when I realized that I didn’t have to juggle all the balls- some of them I could just set down.