It’s Smarty Mom Saturday and I couldn’t be more honored to present Kathryn Whitten Bohmer as our Smarty Mom of the week. Kathryn is a an OB/GYN physician who job shares and seems to enjoy the best of both worlds. She lives in SouthPark and is mom to Matthew (7) and Sam (5).
A few weeks ago you may recall that I asked you to submit Smarty Mom nominations – someone who inspires you as a mother, a friend, a co-worker and any other important role in your life. Kathryn was nominated by her best friend, Astrid Jain. The timing of this nomination as well as the description of Kathryn couldn’t have been more appropriate. Astrid’s email came in on the Saturday before my best friend, Jen B., passed away. As I read it, I couldn’t wait to share it with Jen for a variety of reasons. I never got the chance. Here is Astrid’s email to me. I have to share it with you all because it brought tears to my eyes:
Hello ladies! I really have enjoyed your website, congratulations on a job well done! While I don’t seem to have as much time as I would like to check out the details of your website, I do enjoy your Smarty Mom Saturday blurb. I was excited to see what a diverse group of moms are tuning in to your site — moms working at home, outside the home, both and a little of each! My best friend and coworker/job-share partner, Dr Kathryn Whitten, would make a wonderful Smarty Mom! She’s all around the most fabulous woman I know — a beautiful, brilliant and exciting woman who is also the most loyal, kind and loving friend; most amazing partner to her husband Jim and phenomenal mom to her boys Matthew (7) and Sam (5). Kathryn and I are ob/gyn physicians at Eastover Ob/Gyn where we have been practicing for 10 years. We met on the interview trail for residency training programs and became fast friends in ‘the trenches’ of ob/gyn residency at Carolinas Medical Center. After interviewing ‘together’ for jobs (we try to stress that we are only ‘work’ not ‘life’ partners, “not that there is anything wrong with that…”), we both joined Eastover Ob/gyn where we have been practicing ever since. Kathryn has not always been an amazing friend to me but really serves as such a role model. When we met I knew she was a great, fun and smart person….she became not only a brilliant physician but one that is so caring to all of her patients that she goes so far beyond the call of duty (calling patients at home to discuss test results, etc, working on her off-days to help patients in need, etc) that she really surpasses all that my coworkers and I ever imagine to be our ideal as a physician. A couple years later she married and has really demonstrated to me how an independent, capable woman can be a powerful individual as well as a caring, equal partner to her husband, Jim. As with many women, pregnancy brought out yet another side to kathryn. With two pregnancies frought with the complication of preterm labor (she was on bedrest for MONTHS with her second son), she experienced for herself elements with her pregnancy that have only helped her become even more empathetic with her patients. We all feel so torn, trying to be a great mom, and for some, a great wife and great coworker as well. Kathryn embodies all of these and masters them to a degree that I admire and strive to match. She is there for her sons, husband, family, friends and patients 100% of the time and instead of feeling slighted by her other relationships, those close to her are only more enriched because of them. She is somehow always there for her sons’ swim meets, plays, and birthday parties, prepares their show-and-tells and bakes their cupcakes while calling patients after hours to discuss their concerns, chatting with a friend who is going through a hard time and going in to the hospital when she’s not on call to deliver a baby or perform an emergency procedure on a patient that she knows she could ask her covering coworker/partner to care for. She’s the friend that sends you flowers when you’ve had a bad day, or buys you a new pair of earrings when you’ve lost one of your favorites. She’s the one that plans amazing summer vacations for groups of families that would never get it together otherwise. She knows when and where to find every library reading hour, petting zoo, gymnastics class, soccer league, dinner club, wine tasting, book club and advanced pelvic surgery course!!!! I suppose I’ve shared with you far more than you needed or wanted to know but think Kathryn would be a perfect woman for everyone to meet! Thanks, Astrid (job-share partner and best friend of Kathryn and part-time ob/gyn and full-time mom to alexa kate…yes, kathryn’s namesake and Goddaughter…..)
So here are Kathryn’s Smarty Mom questions:
As an OB/GYN physician and mother of two busy boys, how do you find the right balance between work and family?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I thought I
needed a change in my work schedule in order to have
more time at home. I approached my best friend and
work partner about a job share situation. She was
eager to do it also and we worked it out with our
partners. We credit our partners who were agreeable to
“think outside the box” and let us do this. It had
never been done in our group (or in the obgyn
community in Charlotte up to that point). I feel I am
blessed to be able to work in a career I enjoy and to
be able to have extra time during the week with my
sons. Being able to be there for my sons’ school functions, to
volunteer at their schools and just to be home with
them some afternoons is great. Job sharing has become
commonplace in medicine now in Charlotte. It still is
an ongoing challenge to get the right balance between
work and home, but it is worth the effort to try to
achieve the balance.
Best OB/GYN advice for women?
Find a doctor with whom you are comfortable. Visit
your doctor annually for your gyn exam. Plan ahead for
your pregnancies, and be in the best health you can
prior to conception. Something as simple as taking a
daily vitamin with folic acid prior to conception can
reduce the incidence of some birth defects by 70%.
Take care of your own health, so you will be a better
caretaker for your family. The importance of exercise
and eating well cannot be overstated.
What is your favorite birthing story?
In my second year in practice, I was fortunate to
deliver twins of a surrogate mom. The patient was
carrying twins for her best friend who had a serious
medical problem preventing her from safely carrying
her own pregnancy. In the room for delivery were the
surrogate mom, her 7 year old son and husband as well
as the friend (new mom) and her husband. The delivery
went great; the babies were healthy. The joy in the
room was overwhelming. It was one of the greatest
gifts a friend could give- the gift of children. I
still think about that delivery and ask the surrogate
mom about the twins when I see her for her gyn visits.
What is your favorite weekday activity with your kids?
After school, we enjoy playing outside. Our kids
love being with friends, and I love playing with them
and watching them have fun with their friends.
What is your favorite weekend activity with your kids? Swimming with the kids is one of our favorite spring/summer/early fall activities. We swim
together alot as a family in the swimming months. We
have lots of fun in the pool.
What is your favorite restaurant with kids?
What is your favorite restaurant with NO kids?
What is your favorite weekend escape?
Visiting family in Georgia, Florida or Ohio. Our kids are at the age where they love playing with cousins. It’s great to see.
Funniest thing your kids have ever said to you? In
a McDonald’s bathroom while trying not to sit on the
seat, my then 3 year old said very loudly, “Mommy, you
go pee pee like a cow.” I didn’t want to come out of
the stall to face the other women in the bathroom.
Favorite store to find cool boys clothes?
Boden Catalog has fun, different boys stuff.
Favorite place to get a good deal on clothes?
End-of-season sales at Talbots Kids or Gap
Kids. I always buy one season ahead and love the
deals on great clothes!
Carmel Road Park
Favorite birthday party venue?
(1)Monkey Joes (Matthews location) for our 5-year-old.
Great fun and super easy. (2) Best birthday spot for our
7-year-old was at home this year with a small group of
kids and a cookout with their parents also. Small,
intimate and great fun. More of a party like we had
Minivan or SUV?
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
Charlotte is a very family-friendly town. Charlotte
has big city opportunities in terms of sports, music
and the arts, but it travels and feels like a small
town. We rarely get on the interstate in our daily
travels and love it that way. We are blessed with
great schools and sports for kids. We have been here
for over 12 years and love it.
I could not live without my…
husband who is a great dad to our
sons and a great partner, my best friend and jobshare
partner, Astrid Jain, who helps me to find the
balance, and our wonderful nanny who loves and
nurtures our boys.
I wish someone told me sooner about…
the tricks of the trade for finding a great preschool. When we put our first in preschool,
we were coming from a great full time day care. I didn’t know how competitive preschool spots are. We lucked into a great program because a child dropped out after the school year started and have been thrilled there. Getting into preschool in Charlotte can be tougher that getting into elementary school!
Best kept secret in Charlotte? The word is probably
out, but the Mecklenburg County Library Programs for
children (babies-school age) are fabulous. They were
some of the best programs for our kids and helped to
introduce them to reading at a young age. They are
FREE wonderful programs.
Thanks, Kathryn and Astrid – very powerful. Do you have a mom you’d like to nominate for Smarty Mom Saturday? If so, email us at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why. We’d love to hear about her!