5 Tips From Working Moms in the Medical Aesthetics Industry
How these working moms find balance and fulfillment with a career and a family
Being a working mother and Medical Aesthetics provider isn’t just possible, it can be rewarding too. Although much has been done to remove outdated stigmas, being a working mother still requires navigating cultural expectations—the so-called “double double shift”1—and finding balance between those two roles. Spark consulted the experts—several successful working moms—to share how they balance their career in Medical Aesthetics with having a family.
According to these working moms, it’s vital that aesthetic healthcare providers are honest with both themselves and their colleagues about what their needs and expectations are, both in terms of their family lives and the demands of their practice.
So what are the top 5 insights that have helped these women achieve both a family and a career in Medical Aesthetics? “We asked, and they answered.”
1. Being realistic helps aesthetic healthcare providers structure their home life and career.
Mary Beth Hagen, CEO of a nonphysician aesthetic injector recruiting firm based in the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, doesn’t believe in mincing words. “Being a working mother is an incredibly hard job no matter what job you have,” she says. “But working in Medical Aesthetics is a job where you do have to consider how it might impact your home life.”
Mary Beth notes that the most successful injectors she’s encountered usually give their cell phone numbers to their patients so they can be available whenever they’re needed.
“If you have an opportunity to work in a small practice, it can be fantastic,” she continues. “But keep in mind, you’re probably going to be on call. A lot of times when you start as an aesthetic provider, you’re going to have to work evenings or weekends.”
Being realistic extends to communicating in the workplace, too. Calmly discussing options with your employer—such as specific working hours or a need for flexibility—can help moms achieve balance while remaining professionally valued.2
2. For working moms, greater autonomy can result in greater flexibility.
Despite the occasional night or weekend work, many aesthetic healthcare providers find that Medical Aesthetics offers greater flexibility than other healthcare fields typically do. For Nicola Lowrey, PA-C, based outside of Los Angeles, transitioning into Medical Aesthetics after working for 15 years in the emergency room was beneficial when it came to making time for her family.
“As a working mother, my career in aesthetics has allowed me the greatest amount of freedom over my schedule,” Nicola explains. “As the owner of my practice, I have full autonomy over my schedule, and I can make sure to always be available when my children need me. That isn’t to say that I don’t work a ton (I might work more than ever!), but I can balance and prioritize in a way that I never could before.”
Occasionally, Nicola’s career has even enabled her to take vacations with her family that she otherwise wouldn’t have planned. When she completed several trainings in Montana, she was able to take her children to Yellowstone National Park. She also met up with her family in Costa Rica after she finished hosting an international conference there. As she explains, “These are special memories that my career facilitated and we all cherish!”
3. Achieving balance as a working mother is a top priority.
Cherished memories don’t just happen on vacation. For board-certified and California-based RN Pawnta Abrahimi, practicing in nonsurgical aesthetics globally provides her with a sense of fulfillment. “Being a mother in Medical Aesthetics, I'm excited to go to work every day. I’m lucky to do what I love and that my patients—many of whom are also mothers—tell me I help support their confidence, all while balancing spending quality time with my family,” she explains.
However, her children also need quality time with her, which is why Pawnta makes achieving balance a priority by setting boundaries, a vital practice for working mothers.3 “When I’m with my children, I give them 100% of my time and attention. No computer, no phone, no ‘Let me reply to this email quickly.’ When there is balance, there will be no stress to bring home.”
In addition to focusing on quality rather than quantity, Pawnta also emphasizes practicing kindness. “One way to find balance is to give yourself a break. And, as you’re being kinder to yourself, be kinder to other women and support them however you can. We need this from each other.”
4. Building a support network is important for working mothers.
For many working mothers in Medical Aesthetics, having a supportive community allows them to be both practitioners and moms. While many women find it difficult to ask for help,3 they need to accept that they can’t do it all on their own.
“Know that you’re going to need to delegate as a mother. You don’t have to do it all, and you can’t do it all,” Shelby Miller, DNP, FNP-C, who runs a booming practice with 28 employees in Utah, advises. “I have a personal life assistant who also helps run my training business. I have an amazing husband who helps. I have two household managers that deal with childcare and laundry. They pick up everything—groceries, they do all of our errands—they’re amazing. We don’t call them nannies, they’re household managers. One of my favorite quotes is ‘Forget work-life balance, do the thing that you want and create systems to support that.’”
While hiring one or more people to assist you might not be financially possible for all providers, Shelby recognizes the importance of a support structure at home and at work, no matter where you are in your journey as a mother and as an aesthetic healthcare provider. From dog walkers to neighbors and trusted co-workers, a network of support helps working moms achieve personal and professional satisfaction.
Before she had children with her partner, Tennessee-based plastic surgeon Dr. Carey Campbell told the Limitless Podcast,4 that she informed her program director and chairman that having a family would be a priority for her. “I was either the first or second female resident to have a baby in my program. That required me to be transparent with the leaders of my program. They were supportive and appreciated my candor.”
Similarly, on the Limitless Podcast4 plastic surgeon Dr. Susan MacLennan says she purposefully delayed having her children until she felt that her Vermont-based plastic surgery practice was firmly rooted. “I thought I might have more control over my schedule if I was already established before I took time off. It was easier to do that 5 years in.”
Louisiana-based double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Abby Chaffin told Limitless4 that she relies on a nanny and her husband to help her with childcare. “My husband’s an attorney who now works from home doing contract law with an arrangement that he can take on as much or as little workload as he likes, which has been helpful during more stressful times. He definitely is the more flexible person. That’s really invaluable—our family wouldn’t be possible without it.”
5. Working mothers often inspire other working moms.
In addition to treating their patients and raising their families, working moms can be strong role models. Dr. Camille Cash, who runs her own plastic surgery practice in Houston, attributes her success to the positive example her working mother set for her.
“I never questioned the ability to balance a thriving career with a strong family life,” Dr. Cash says. “That’s not to say that I didn’t realize how challenging it could be, but I knew that with enough determination and ingenuity, I didn’t have to sacrifice one passion for another.”
By embracing balance, forming strong mutually supportive networks, and focusing on patient satisfaction, these working moms not only reap the rewards of a career in Medical Aesthetics—they help inspire the next generation too.5
Spark acknowledges that there are many working parents in the field of Medical Aesthetics. Our Spark community is 96% female, and we’ve encountered many expert perspectives and questions about being a working mother. Spark is meeting this need with a content series on mothers in Medical Aesthetics to help educate our audience on the benefits of mothers in the workplace in general and specifically in the field of Medical Aesthetics.
https://hbr.org/2022/03/to-better-support-working-parents-talk-to-them. Accessed June 10, 2022
https://open.spotify.com/episode/2eGXXNa8iF3hXDWxkD8giV?si=qsHOxoyoRDeg79vTlomJxA. Accessed May 31, 2022