It is my pleasure to introduce Dr. Rhonda P as this week’s Smarty Mom. She was mominated by Jan Ellen Brown. (Yes, that Jan Ellen Brown, savior to many a new mom and a person I consider one of the Charlotte mommy communities greatest assets!) My family is very fortunate that Dr. Patt is one of our pediatricians and a “go to” person when something is going on with my kids, so I am very excited to let all you Smarties get to know her better. Rhonda and her husband Josh have been married for 6years and are the proud parents of Olivia, 4 years (Happy Birthday Olivia!) and Brayton, 22 months. They have lived in Charlotte since 2000 with a short break in Seattle. That is the nuts and bolts and now, I am going to turn it over to Jan Ellen for her momination:
Dr. Rhonda P. exemplifies “making it work.” I would like to nominate her as a deserving Smarty Mom. Rhonda is a loyal and caring wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and pediatrician. She is always in a good mood and has the most positive attitude of anyone I know. For example, when we recently moved our office to temporary offices in the same building (we are remodeling), most of us were having a hard time unpacking and getting settled. Not Rhonda. She exclaimed, “This will give us an opportunity to see what works and when we move back to our office we can use those changes.”
I have seen her juggling a birthday party, hospital admissions, out of town guests and home improvements with a smile on her face. She transformed her backyard into a carnival for Olivia’s birthday party and made all the favors, booth decorations and games herself. She makes it looks so easy that I think most of us take her accomplishments for granted. She and husband Josh, an orthopedic surgeon on staff at CMC, are a remarkable team. Recently when Rhonda presented at Ground Rounds, it was he who got the kids ready for the day. The support they have for one another is heart-warming to watch.
Rhonda’s family is her first priority. She rolled with the punches while moving from Charlotte to Seattle for Josh’s fellowship (34 weeks pregnant) and back again (pregnant with her 2nd baby!). Her oldest Olivia, shares her curiosity and energy. Son Brayton, is happy go luck and happiest when on Rhonda’s hip. She is a compassionate pediatrician to patients with common sense and flexibility and wonderful clinical skills.
I admire her commitment to providing her best efforts whether at the office or at home. Her optimism is contagious. It is hard to be in a bad mood around her. She leads us by example and for this reason I think she is one of the “smartest” moms I know.
How do you balance such a demanding career and your family life?
Being a working mother definitely is a balancing act. With two doctors in the house, we have learned the fine art of juggling. When we lived in Seattle, we could not afford a nanny and daycares did not open early enough to accommodate our work hours. So Olivia attended a lot of 7 a.m. meetings with me, and we became very creative with managing our schedules.
Now that we live in Charlotte, life seems so simple because of our support network. Josh is a wonderful husband and very supportive of my career. My parents and extended family live in Huntersville, so overlapping schedules do not create as much of a crisis.
One of the biggest parts of balancing a career and family is having the right childcare arrangement. We are very fortunate to have someone who is kind, intelligent, and nurturing who cares for Olivia and Brayton while I am at work. This arrangement allows me to focus on medicine when I am at work, and be a mom when I am at home. I couldn’t ask for anything better than that.
Do you find it hard to shed the Dr. P. hat and just be Rhonda?
This question made me chuckle a little because I just keep thinking of the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Sometimes I wish I could bring Dr. Patt home to take care of a few of the sleep issues around here.
I will say that motherhood humbled me, and I realized that I didn’t learn much about parenting in medical school. Then I read every parenting and sleep book that exists in hopes of finding all of the answers. What I have found is that the most important thing a parent can do is to be consistent and nurturing. And no matter what, I will never have all of the answers. And when I get into a real crisis situation, I call my sister, Lisa, who is child psychologist and mom. She is my secret weapon.
How do you make time for yourself and what is your favorite thing to do when you make that time?
Thursday mornings are my time. Although I spend the majority of the time running errands, I still enjoy just being alone and not feeling pressed for time. I love having the opportunity on Thursdays to go on a walk or jog outside and to enjoy the beautiful Charlotte weather.
What is your favorite date-nightspot?
Josh and I love the Foxcroft Wine Bar. It is a great place to go for a light dinner and a glass of wine. We love their homemade doughnuts for dessert.
What is your favorite place to take the whole fam to dinner?
The Counter in South Park
Favorite family activity?
It may seem old-fashioned and boring, but we love playing in our yard.
Smartiest way you save $?
Our Nespresso machine is the smartiest way we save money. Josh and I traded in our Starbuck’s habit for a homemade latte about a year ago. The Nespresso machine makes a great latte at a fraction of the cost.
What is the best book that you’ve read lately?
“Three Cups of Tea” By Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin
This book taught me so much about perseverance and believing in yourself even when no one else does.
What is the best movie that you have seen lately?
I had not seen the movie until recently. What a great cast.
Funniest thing that the kids have done?
My daughter, Olivia, has always been very opinionated. When she was almost 2 years old, she abandoned all clothing except her bathing suits. I tried to remedy the issue one day by forcing her to wear clothes, but she stripped in California Pizza Kitchen and ran into the mall. After chasing a half-naked child through South Park Mall, I decided that a bathing suit didn’t seem so bad after all. So we gave up on this battle and let Olivia wear bathing suits all the time. Unfortunately, this phase coincided with a European vacation. Sadly, I must admit that Olivia strolled through the streets of Paris and Bordeaux in her bathing suit.
What has been your favorite CSP article this far?
I am always inspired when I read about Tyler’s Treehouse. Tyler Scott’s family has such remarkable strength and character. I am always amazed when people who have endured such a great loss find it in their hearts to give.
What is Charlotte’s best kept secret?
The Weather! I don’t know if anyone would consider this to be a secret, but it is so addicting for those of us who are not native North Carolinians. I was born in West Virginia and lived there until I entered college at UNC Chapel Hill as a freshman. I distinctly remember a day in January of my freshman year when the sun was shining and everyone wore shorts to class. What a special treat it is to have a glimpse of summer in the middle of the winter! That day I knew that I was a North Carolinian at heart.
I could not live without my…
family. I am so lucky to have my parents, sisters, brother-in-law, nieces, and nephews all in the Charlotte area. Josh’s parents, sister and brother-in-law live in Colorado. We are very fortunate that both of our families get along very well and it has helped us to create a great nurturing environment for our children.
Thank you so much Rhonda and look for more from her as she guides us through the flu and swine flu on Monday. If you have a Smarty Mom that you would like to mominate, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.