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A Thursday in the Life of Dreeny Chen

Dreeny lives in Valley Ranch with her husband of 10 years, Tony, who works for the city of Carrollton in the development services department, and their three girls, Olivia, 6, Evelyn, 4, and Ava, 2. She works part-time as a community pediatrician for the Parkland Health and Hospital System. 

6:30AM The alarm goes off. I nudge my husband to wake up and hit the shower while I go to the kitchen to start making breakfast for my three babies. Fortunately, they love frozen waffles, which are easy to eat in the car along with their milk. I pack everyone’s lunch, snacks, drinks and change of clothes for Grandma’s house. Start my coffee and put my own waffle in the toaster while I go wake up the babies. 
6:45AM Dad and I tag-team getting everyone out of bed, going potty, brushing teeth and hair and getting dressed. Clothes were set out the night before, but it can be a challenge getting them onto the girls’ sleepy, limp-noodle bodies.  
7:10AM Daddy and his three girls get on the road after multiple rounds of kisses and hugs from Mommy — one or two rounds is never enough, and there would be a riot if someone were to get one extra and the others did not. Dad drops everyone off at Grandma’s house before heading to work. Grandpa then shuttles them off to a variety of summer activities throughout the day — from art class to gymnastics to science camp. Dad will help with some of the transporting during his lunch hour, and I do the transporting on the days I stay home. Not today. 
7:15AM I hit the shower, pack my lunch and breakfast to go and spend about a total of four minutes (seriously) on my hair and makeup. What you see is pretty much what you get. 
7:40AM I am out the door on my way to work.
8AM I spend the morning seeing patients at one of the Parkland community pediatric clinics. Having three babies of my own has made me a better pediatrician, and likewise being a pediatrician has made me a better mom. I can now personally relate to almost every concern a mom tells me about in the office, and theoretically, I am supposed to know how to handle every crazy medical thing that happens with my kids, although they never quite fit the textbook and it’s still hard for me not to panic when it’s my own kids. Overall though, being both a mom and a pediatrician is a blessing in many ways. It keeps me on my toes but also keeps me young at heart.
12PM My lunch hour is spent on a combination of charting, handling faxes and phone calls, making referrals, following up on lab results, calling Grandma to check on the kiddos, squeezing in some time to do free weights in my office for exercise, and lastly, actual lunch. 
1PM My afternoon is spent seeing patients, as usual, though once a week, I supervise residents from Children’s Medical Center of Dallas (where I also did my residency).
5:15PM I tie up loose ends at work — charting, following up on patients, consulting specialists over the phone.
6:30PM Depending on the day, now’s the time I either head out to meet Dad and the babies at Olivia and Evelyn’s karate class, head to the grocery store for essentials that can’t wait until the weekend, or head home and go for a quick run in the neighborhood. I’m happy that today is a running day. I get my heart rate up, sweat stuff out and then hit the showers before Dad brings all the babies back home.
7:30PM The evening is a blur of activity as the family is all back home together. Thank goodness Grandma already fed the kids dinner at her house. Dad and I just eat leftovers from earlier in the week. I try to cook on the days I am off so that there are leftovers for the days I work away from home. The kiddos eat fruit and play for a bit while we wolf down our dinner. Then we take the kiddos out for a walk to a nearby park. We try to take advantage of the long days of summer and the cooler temperatures of the evening to be active together outdoors. After the park, all the babies are bathed, teeth are brushed, bedtime stories are read, and then it’s off to bed for the kiddos.
10PM I wash the dishes from dinner and everyone’s lunches, and then I repack everything all over again. I do a quick spot-clean of the house and set out clothes for the babies and myself for tomorrow after checking the forecast. Dad and I then sort through the mail, pay bills and review the calendar for the next few days. We talk briefly about the day while we work. Since I have a little bit of time left, I try to tackle something on my long list of projects — tonight it’s sorting photos. Taking photos is one of my hobbies, and I always have a ton of photos of the kids that need to be downloaded from my camera and sorted. 
12AM Off to bed after applying my old lady eye cream (I actually remembered to put it on). I read the news online and listen to music before I go to sleep, but that’s about it. Then I pass out for the night.