Here’s one Smarty Mom we can learn a lot from: Michelle Capizzi. She’s a busy mother of FIVE (three of them are teenagers!) and a devoted wife. She’s also a pediatric emergency medicine physician and finds time to maintain an active and fit life style. Michelle is the friend you’d want on speed dial – not only is she funny and warm, but she’s got a lot of knowledge in her back pocket – medicine, kids in all stages of life, and a balanced work/life balance (or the best realistic version of work/life balance since we all know there’s no REAL balance ;-)). Mommy mentor in the flesh.
Michelle gives us some great practical advice that I know you’ll enjoy reading. Have fun getting to know her. If you ever do run into her in the Pediatric ER (of course we hope you don’t), know you’ll be in good hands with this Smarty Mama!
Smarties, meet Michelle Capizzi!
Smarty Mom Stats:
Married to: Peter for 24 years
Mom to: Olivia (21), Madeline (19), Paul (17), Seth (14), Matthew (12)
Occupation: Mother and Pediatric Emergency Physician
Years in Charlotte: 17
What in your life made you decide to become a physician? Was it something you knew as a little girl? My father was a physician and inspired my dream to become one. I knew in college that I wanted to be a doctor.
…and why Emergency Medicine Pediatrics? Obviously, all of us moms are so thankful for you! We just hope we don’t need you anytime soon. Like so many great things in life, Emergency Medical Pediatrics was sort of an accident. I had completed my residency training in General Pediatrics, but my husband still had five more years of surgical residency training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The only pediatrics position open was in the Emergency Department. I was grateful for the opportunity! But what happened was, when a position opened in ambulatory pediatric care, I found I had fallen in love with taking care of children and families in the Emergency Department. I chose to stay put. Fate intervened again because the director of my department created a Pediatric Emergency residency program just for me so that I could sit for the Pediatric Emergency medical boards. I completed an additional two years of training to become board certified in the sub-specialty of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, in addition to General Pediatrics. I never looked back. I love what I do.
What is your typical day like? My typical day is very average and wonderful and unpredictable. If I’m working, it’s a matter of just fitting in all the other stuff around the hospital. I’m fortunate to be a part-time physician – that was my one criteria when I went back to work ten years ago after baby #5. Work aside, “typical” means lots of family stuff – cooking, carpooling and so on. I also really try to make yoga part my routine. I think time on my mat makes me a better version of me.
What has been your most memorable experience about being a physician? Just one? Honestly, it’s always a memorable experience – and an honor – when I can use my training and experience to help a patient and family.
When a child is injured, it seems it is harder on the parents. Any advice you can give parents when they do find themselves in the ER? Remain calm! I know this can be difficult. Calming, reassuring parents are obviously a great benefit to the child and also to the medical staff. It allows us to offer the best patient care.
How do you balance work and family life? I do have four secrets I’d love to share…
2. Have kids: Peter and I have five amazing children who despite all their awesomeness still are expected to take out the trash, empty the dishwasher, clean their rooms, and on it goes!
3. Learn to let go: I find (happily) that I have an increasing ability to let go of the little stuff. As an example, I’ve let go of the laundry room. It’s chaos.
4. Unplug: Overall, I’m not a big social media person. Whether it’s family, friends or patients, I like one-on-one engagement with people. Especially since the computer and the phone are a huge part of my workday. Disconnect and reconnect.
Best piece of parenting advice you have ever received? The first thirty minutes your kids are home after school is the most important time of the day. That’s when your child wants to spill the beans on whatever happened during the day – good or bad. He wants to tell you right at that moment when it’s fresh. If you miss that time, it’s over. He has moved on. This is great advice from my mother-in-law. She always did her best to be home and waiting when her children arrived home from school. I do too!
What do you like to do with your free time? Easy! Hanging out with family and friends, cooking, gardening, yoga, working out, travel – preferably to someplace exotic but more likely it’s driving kids to AAU basketball and lacrosse tournaments all across the Southeast.
What is the last meal you cooked? Grilled salmon, roasted cauliflower and baked potatoes with a sinful amount of sour cream, and fresh watermelon slices.
Favorite spot you’ve traveled to with you family? It’s a tossup: Sicily or Spain. We love to eat and experience local life.
Favorite spot you’ve traveled for just you and your husband? NYC or Turks and Caicos.
What is something most people don’t know about you? I was on the synchronized swim team in college. There I said it. I’ve gone public! My husband gets a big kick out of that one!
Favorite CSP article? Eleven tips for looking (and feeling) younger, of course. Written by my favorite plastic surgeon!
Guilty pleasure? Just one? I’ll have two. Homemade pistachio gelato or a glass of perfectly chilled rose while watching the sunset on the beach.