INTRODUCING WEST SUBURBAN DR. MOM– Dr. Catherine Rhim (DMD)
How do they do it? Day after day? Many moms are often referred to as “super-moms,” being able to take on multiple responsibilities at once and conquering all just as superhero’s do. It is mind-boggling to others observing their lifestyle, confusing as to how they can handle work, family, friends, personal life, and more all at once.
It is even more impressive to have one of the most competitive, demanding occupations as a doctor. There are multiple different jobs in the doctor field. DMD, or Doctor of Dental Medicine, is one of the most common. They have numerous responsibilities while on the job. A few include promoting oral health, diagnosing oral diseases, creating treatment plans to maintain or restore oral health, interpreting x-rays and diagnostic tests, monitoring growth and development of the teeth and jaws, and performing surgical procedures on the teeth, bone, and soft tissues of the oral cavity.
While handling all of those responsibilities and more as a dentist, it is truly remarkable to be a mother as well. It takes a special person to be handle both titles, doctor and mom.
I spoke with Dr. Catherine Rhim (DMD) of Valley View Dental in Naperville about the lifestyle of handling both obligations. The word “hectic” seemed to come up a lot in the conversation. Dr. Rhim has two daughters, ages 6 and 12. While her husband is often out of town, recently getting a new puppy, demanding job, and active children Dr. Rhim explained “I feel like I can’t breathe, like I’m always out of breath.”
Dr. Rhim’s typical day varies by the difference of working or not, working at VVD on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and every other Saturday. “I get up, make the girls lunches, prepare backpacks, drop them off at school at different times, then get myself ready, take the dog out, and leave for work,” Dr. Rhim said while describing a typical morning for her. She said that she feels like she can kind of breath once getting to work but then has to switch gears from mother to dentist, focusing on the intense challenges of the job. “You have to make you’re careful with each patient. You don’t want to work on the wrong tooth,” Dr. Rhim joked.
As most working mothers do, Dr. Rhim does have a nanny to help her out. Her nanny is responsible for picking up the girls from school, feeding them dinner, and watching over them at home until Dr. Rhim arrives home from work. “I help the girls finish homework or whatever else, then I am usually scrambling to get them to bed by a decent hour,” Dr. Rhim said. “And then we start it all over again the next day,” she said with exhaustion in her voice.
On days off, Dr. Rhim described her days as more relaxed but still fast-paced. Once she drops the girls off at school, she says her days seem to fly by. “I am constantly on the go,” Dr. Rhim added. While her girls are in school, she uses that time to grocery shop, do laundry, clean the house, etc. “I then pick up the girls from school and have to get them to their activities. Gymnastics, piano lessons, horse lessons, tennis. Squeezing in dinner between their activities, I don’t have time to cook every day, most of the time we have to be quick,” Dr. Rhim explained.
Dr. Rhim grew up in a family of physicians and felt as if she was always geared towards the health field originally wanting to be a pediatrician as a girl. As a sophomore in college, she got a job as a dental assistant in Chinatown. “It opened up my eyes to dentistry at that time. I found it artistic. I was always interested in art as young girl,” Doctor Rhim said. When asked why she ended up choosing dentistry, Dr. Rhim referred back to the artistic aspect that she admired and concluded with, “I liked that it combined the health profession and helping people.”
While Dr. Rhim has a great love for her profession and an even bigger love for her children, there is challenges that come about from handling the two of them together. “I feel bad for my younger daughter sometimes because she has classmates that their mothers don’t work. She wonders why I do but just doesn’t quite understand it yet. That’s why I work part-time. I want to be involved in extra-curricular and other things,” Dr. Rhim said.
Watching her daughters grow up, time is already flying by for Dr. Rhim. “You want to be able to be there when they’re growing. It only happens once, and it goes fast,” Dr. Rhim said with love for her girls.
Doctor Rr. is the definition of “Dr. Mom,” conquering the doctor and mother lifestyle, with immense dedication and passion for both her profession and daughters.
Valley View Dental has three locations: Naperville, Romeoville, and Montgomery. With fifteen doctors in total, including Dr. Catherine Rhim, they are a full service dental practice. As a family dentist, they serve both children and adults. New patients are always welcome! Visit their website for their new patient special! www.vvdental.com.
ABOUT THE WRITER Amanda Pavletic of Naperville is an incoming senior at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan where she is studying Health Communications, hoping to follow her dreams of working in Public Relations/Communications with a health emphasis. Amanda is Glancer Magazine’s 2018 Editorial Intern who will be writing a new feature column titled "Dr. Mom" where she will highlight a west suburban area mom who is also a medical physician. Amanda will focus on a day in the life of each Dr. Mom and will share about her medical practice as well. Amanda plays club soccer at Grand Valley and loves to exercise in her spare time. She also enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and playing with her dog, Wrigley, an 8-month-old mini Pomadoodle. Dr. Mom will appear in each issue of Glancer Magazine from June through September. Subscribe today so you don't miss out on Amanda's informative, unique and totally captivating column.