Work hard, play hard: part 2


GP Dr Karen Skinner writes her second post on  balancing having 2 children, homes in England and Lagos and  no less than 8 different portfolio roles.


Prioritise, Prioritise, Prioritise

This seems obvious and simple but all too soon, multi tasking women can find ourselves tidying the bathroom and not doing the appraisal write-ups.

I’m sure many of you have suffered from tidy house syndrome especially when it came to exam times.

Don’t do jobs you can pay others to do for you, and often much better

Once I thought I was lazy for not cleaning the house but I’m over it now. I hate doing this and so does my husband. I’m trying to train the kids but I’m a bit of a way off with that. So, I go and do an extra out of hours shift and pay someone to clean.

I adore Tuesdays when I come home to find the house clean and tidy. I breathe this in for a few moments before the kids create their usual mess - usually within about ten minutes, hey hoe.

So, think about this: if you don’t like decorating, gardening, cleaning etc., just DON’T do it! There is plenty of work available out there, so find an extra shift and give yourself enough money for the job.

You will almost certainly have some left over to go to the zoo with the family, and in the time it would have taken for you to wallpaper the lounge –badly.

precalpol Pre calpol

Have good contingency plans, nurture your family and find yourself a Philip

We all know what its like when we hear that dreaded “I don’t feel well Mummy”. One day my son said this to me on the way to school, I replied, “ you’ll be fine”.

One hour later, in the middle of a busy locum shift, I picked up a voicemail from his school saying could I go and collect him as he had vomited all over the table and his friends. Oops! This message had been left sometime earlier.

By the time I could do anything I discovered my sister had been called, who had in turn called my Mum (who was fortunately staying with me, because sadly she normally 350 miles away) who had already collected him.

On another occasion my daughter awoke with a fever of 40 after a bit of Calpol. You can guess: she was running around like butter wouldn’t melt but I didn’t really think I could drop her at nursery, so I called my trusty retired friend Philip.

He, without hesitation, came round to my house to be with her whilst I went to my meeting, I returned later to find them playing snap on the floor despite her again feeling like a small oven.

post calpol Happy children post calpol

Find jobs that fit in with you

If you want to know how to manage work and life, then do just that. Take control, it’s your life, no one else’s.

There are many ingenious ways to earn money as a GP that don't involve sitting in a surgery consulting with patients during "normal working hours". I do that one day a week. In small amounts I actually enjoy it; the challenge and the mysteries you sometimes need to unfold.

But this is not the only way. Look out for other roles that you can fit around you and your family.

Be an appraiser, be a memory assessor, do housing assessments; the list is endless. Most of all enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Life is short and not a rehearsal – you only get to do it once.

Right now Karen is a salaried GP, VTS programme director, appraiser, senior appraiser, OOH GP,  RCGP CSA assessor, housing medical assessor and a GP with special interest on ophthalmology.  She is also about to embark on a diploma in dementia.  We wish Karen the best of luck with all those roles!  (Claire, ed.)

Read the first part of Karen's blog here.



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