Dr. Bande Virgil is an author with publications on several national websites and writes regularly on her own blog ‘The Mommy Doc’ where she shares the journey of motherhood and gives practical advice on kids health and parenting. Dr. Virgil is a dedicated wife and mother to two young children which has given her insight into the challenges of balancing family life and world expectations as a parent. She is passionate about motherhood, affirming mothers of all backgrounds in their journey to raise healthy children and reclaim the fun of parenting. Without solid family networks our children can not reach their fullest potential. She is a board certified pediatrician who has worked both in private practice as well as in the hospital. You can also follow her on Facebook at “The Mommy Doc” or on Instagram @themommydoc1.
A favorite quote
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” -Maya Angelou
MW: How long have you been blogging? What inspired you to start your blog Mommy Doc?
VB: I have been blogging for almost a year now. Before that, I did a lot of article submissions to other blogs, newsletters, and media sites on issues of motherhood and child health. I started the “Mommy Doc” blog because I wanted to have direct communication with my readers. I also wanted to have more autonomy as far as content and the way in which I shared information.
MW: How did you become interested in becoming a pediatrician as your career path?
VB: It was a natural process. I always loved science and excelled in those classes. I am a ‘people’ person who enjoys interacting with different communities and individuals. I also knew I could not do a “desk job”. Lastly, I wanted to be a servant leader. Becoming a pediatrician for me is a complete blend of everything I enjoy, the science and medicine stimulates my mind, the patients and their families nurture my love of community connections, and what I do matters in my community. It helps change lives, so I am a servant leader.
MW: As a parent of two small beautiful children, I wondered what advice would you give parents since we are approaching cold/flu season?
VB: I advise parents to encourage hand washing, it’s the best way to minimize the spread of cold/flu viruses which are an inevitable part of the seasons changing. Also if you are a candidate for the flu vaccine (which is most of us), then I advise getting one. Some years our flu vaccine is a better match for the flu strains of the season some years it is not. However, the vaccine also helps decrease the severity of symptoms for those who do contract the flu. Make sure your children get plenty of rest. Fatigue and exhaustion open us up to infections as our immune system is more vulnerable.
MW: How do you balance motherhood, marriage, career, authorship, and blogging?
VB: This is always a process and some days I am better at it than others. We talk a lot about the myth of the superwoman in my friendship circles. She doesn’t exist. You set goals, and make check lists, and give the best of yourself to the loves you have. However, some days you may fall short, and that’s ok. Women put a lot of pressure on ourselves to “have it all” and “be all things”. Forgive yourself, ask for forgiveness from others, and continue on. A lot of my success comes from giving my best to my patients because I know that my husband and family are there to help with my children in those times I have to be on call. I completely immerse myself in my family life when I am not on call, so they know I prioritize them. We do FaceTime, I’ve left special notes of encouragement and love on pillows. You also have to know when to say “no”. Have a realistic vision of what your capacity is, which means declining some invitations or offers. With my blogging and writing, I try to do that during early mornings on the weekend or days that I am off from work while my kids are at school.
MW: You’re incredibly inspiring, speaking of being an author. Are you working on a new book?
VB: Thank you, I am really touched by that. I am working on a book which is almost complete. My book is for mothers (and fathers) and is meant to be a conversation with a pediatrician who shares and understands the challenges of parenting in the new millennium. We experience mommy shaming, we have social media telling us how we should raise our children, we have a constant stream of health controversies that give us conflicting and frightening information. How do we navigate this? My book “A Teaspoon of Honey” is a tool for parents grappling with all of this and still trying to have fun, and enjoy the journey! Being a parent is an amazing blessing!
MW: Who is your biggest inspiration?
VB: Women in my own life, my mother and my grandmothers. I have been very blessed to have inspiring, smart, driven, loving women as examples. I feel like they passed me a baton and I owe it to them to continue. My grandmother in South Africa raised 5 children and was a nurse mid-wife in the deep days of Apartheid. She was a balance of loving homemaker but very accomplished professional woman. My own mother along with my father brought me to the USA as a small child as she pursued her graduate degrees. She made sure along with my father that my younger sister and I had hot meals at home most nights, we had family outings, they checked homework, and cheered on our plays and sports while at the same time working diligently as a professor. These women amaze me more as I raise my own children. It takes a lot of love and labor to do this.
MW: Have you felt any mom guilt from wearing so many hats and maintaining a successful career as a pediatrician and blogger?
VB: Occasionally I feel like there could be more time spent doing things with my children. For awhile after my son was born I heavily contemplated being a stay at home parent and walking away from it all. However, I have come to realize that pursing my dreams actually makes me a more complete mother. My kids are proud of me, and I am happy with the direction my life is going. This makes me a more optimistic, and upbeat mother.
MW: When you have any downtime what do you enjoy doing?
VB: I actually love writing, specifically poetry and free thought. It’s therapy for me. I’ve been writing poetry since I was a young girl. Other fun stuff is traveling with my husband and having new adventures abroad as well as here.
MW: Where do yourself and your blog in five years?
VB: I see myself having written a few more books, specifically a book of poetry and a children’s book. I will continue to practice medicine and speak to groups and conferences about issues facing mothers and pediatric health. In five years I see my blog reaching more people and expanding as a health resource for mothers.
MW: What one word would describe you for 2017?
VB: Dynamic. There’s a lot going on in my life and it’s exciting for me! Thanks so much for this opportunity to share my journey.
MW: You are very welcome! A pleasure and honor indeed!