Dora Calott Wang, MD
Dr. Wang is a mom of a ten-year-old daughter, Historian of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, a Unit Director at Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena, CA, and the author of The Kitchen Shrink: A Psychiatrist’s Reflection on Healing in a Changing World.
What’s your favorite parenting tip? Serve light-colored drinks, like water, milk, apple juice and white grape juice. Seriously, fewer stains means less cleaning, and less money spent on replacing clothes, rugs, and furniture. It seems so prosaic. But it’s my favorite parenting tip, told to me by a mother of four, who is now Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford. The tip certainly worked for her.
What surprised you most about parenting? Endurance-wise, parenting is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. When I was in medical school, and during my internship and residency, I routinely didn’t leave the hospital for days. In fact, I met my husband after two straight nights on call, more than 72 consecutive hours of duty. But there was always an end to being on call, an end to each rotation, and ultimately, an end to my training. On the other hand, parenting a toddler is continuous, for years. Parenting itself, never ends.
Most surprising, is how everything changed when my daughter arrived—my priorities, and everything else. Even the laws of science changed. Time, space, and distance were all new. Time became marked by feedings and sleep. Distance, with her sleeping in my lap, became arm’s reach, or not. Nothing was as important as the child I’d brought into the world.
How do you get your daughter to eat healthy food? Who wouldn’t prefer for a steak to be organic, and prepared fresh? Or love bok choy, flash stir-fried? My daughter loves autumn apples and Asian pears, peeled and cut. Pasta made by monks in Italy, rice farmed in Thailand. It’s all tastier and more exciting than chicken nuggets or fast food.
How do you work exercise into your family’s life? It’s fun to ski together or take hikes along rivers. In the summers, we swim together and go on bike rides.
How do you recharge your batteries? Exercise and friendship keep me going. For me, conversation with other women is essential. Thankfully, my daughter has brought so many wonderful people into my life. We enjoy spending time with other families. She plays with kids, and I talk with their moms. Everyone wins.