Grace Yum, DDS, shares how to juggle being a working mom while running a business.
Q: How do you do it all and fit everything in as a working mom?
A: Many women ask me how I am able to juggle my schedule with 2 kids (ages 7 and 5), treat patients 3 days per week, and also manage 2 dental practices without any partners or family members to help. I have developed the practice of only focusing on duties that I want to do or can do. I have built a tribe of people around me to delegate any responsibilities that should not have to take up my time—for instance, having a personal assistant that can manage my calendar and make appointments for my family, like booking haircuts and doctors’ appointments or hiring a cleaning lady to come once per week to vacuum and do the laundry. Another amazing service that we can now use to help save time is online shopping, with deliveries in as little as one day! Who needs to go to Target when Target can come to you? Furthermore, you can save a lot of money by not going!
Q: What should your office schedule look like if you want to spend more time with your kids?
A: The beauty of owning my own businesses is that I can set my own schedule. I don’t have to miss out on “everything” (such as school field trips, Christmas plays, and playdates) because I can block my days in advance. I ask the teachers for the school calendar so that my work schedule can be coordinated with any events in advance; this minimizes having to change patients’ appointments. You can also see patients earlier in the day so that you can be home after school with your kids. Some doctors even bring their newborns to work with them and have a small nursery set up in the office.
Q: When do you find “me time”? When and how do you practice self-care?
A: Many moms put themselves last! We are so busy taking care of our families, patients, and team members that we put our needs after everyone else’s. I tell mommy dentists to always squeeze in a little me time; whether it’s working out, date nights, girls’ night out, etc, these activities are important for health and sanity! Dentistry can be overwhelming and stressful, so be sure to fill your cup and routinely practice self-care so that you can take better care of others.
Q: As women leaders, is it OK to be friends with your team members?
A: When you spend more time at the office than at home, it is very natural to become close to your team members. There is a fine line to walk when becoming friends with team members as it can be difficult to determine when you really need to be their boss, not a friend. I’m not saying that it cannot be done, but with women, we have a tendency to want to be liked and want to be giving. Team members may be confused when you have to draw the line and then feel hurt because they think you are a friend and will make exceptions for them. It is always nice to be friendly, but make sure that boundaries are set in place for healthy work relationships.
Q: How do you handle “mommy guilt”?
A: Mommy guilt is so real! This is something that all moms feel no matter what profession we are in. When we are at home, we are worried about the practice, and when we are at work, we worry about our kids. It’s okay to feel that guilt at times because that means you are normal! I tell my children that “Mommy is helping other kids” and to “be proud of Mommy!” My kids often come to work with me, and they love helping out around the office. The best advice I can give to another working mom is to make sure that you have a great caregiver to entrust your children to so that you can focus while you’re at work and to hire a great office manager with the work skills it takes for you to be relaxed and present at home without being worried about the office.
Q: You founded a private Facebook group of mommy dentists. What was your motivation in forming this group, and how do you think it helps the members balance career and family?
A: In June 2017, I started a private Facebook group called Mommy Dentists in Business. It began with the intention of communicating with my friends and colleagues who are dentists and practice owners and also mothers trying to balance it all. As we began to share our secrets, tricks, and tips, the group began to grow because many women found the information helpful. We currently have more than 6,400 global members! I started a podcast a year ago, available on iTunes, Spotify, iHeart Radio, and Stitcher, in which I interview working moms and experts from different professions to show multiple perspectives on work/life balance. We have over 50,000 downloads in 14 different countries. In addition, we offer webinars so that doctor moms can be at home and earn CE credits. Our live events have also been very successful and include our annual social summit, CEO roundtable, speaker workshops, and clinical events. We strive to enhance the lives of working moms so that they feel supported in our field of dentistry!
Dr. Yum received her certificate of residency in pediatric dentistry at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She operates 2 full-time private practices, is a public speaker on pediatric dentistry, and founded the Facebook group “Mommy Dentists in Business.” She is a social media influencer, a podcaster, and an author of 2 best-selling books on Amazon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.