Teresa Truong is an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist and associate professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy. She and her husband, Steve, are parents to 5-year-old Chloe and 2-year-old Eli.
In addition to her work in the pharmacy world, she does payroll for her husband’s dental practice that the couple opened in downtown Oklahoma City in 2014.
They’ve lived downtown since 2006, starting with a 900-square-foot studio where they lived until their oldest daughter was 18 months old.
It’s tough at times to juggle her day job, her husband’s dental practice and being a parent. But she said she does it because she wants to be an example to her kids that it’s possible to be a good parent and a good wife and still work.
That’s not to say she hasn’t had her struggles. She said she used to have a hard time admitting she couldn’t do everything, but she eventually learned to swallow her pride and ask for help.
“You just have to surround yourself with people to help you,” she said. “Don’t let that guilt get in the way of your success. In some ways you can have it all. You’re not going to be extremely amazing at all of it but you can find that point that’s good enough.”
Here’s a look at a typical day in Teresa’s life:
6:15 a.m.: The alarm on my phone goes off and I hit the snooze button. The alarm goes off again. I usually hit the snooze button one more time before begrudgingly getting up. I love to sleep and prior to kids, I would sleep about nine hours per night, so this is probably the hardest step in my day. After I drag myself out of bed, I make sure Steve is up as well. Then I pick out the kids’ clothes for the day and quickly get myself ready.
7:00 a.m.: I wake up the kids, head downstairs, turn on cartoons and head to the kitchen to make breakfast. As the kids are eating breakfast, I am getting together their daily medications (and breathing treatments during times of asthma exacerbations), followed by packing their lunches for the day.
7:30 a.m.: Start the process of getting the kids in the car: putting on socks and shoes, asking them to finish breakfast and asking them (often repeatedly) to head to the car. We then head to Chloe’s school then to Eli’s daycare for drop off.
8:00 a.m.: I head to the College of Pharmacy where my work is both challenging and fulfilling. As a faculty member, I am fortunate enough to get to teach and train the next generation of pharmacists, take care of patients with multiple chronic disease states and help the healthcare team to identify and resolve medication-related problems and perform clinical outcomes research. As manager of Pharmacotherapy Services, I also use this time to strategically plan the future of the service and ensure that all service needs are met. Lastly, as director of the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency Program, I help to ensure specialty pharmacy residents are getting the experiences they need in order to become successful clinical pharmacists in the evolving field of pharmacy. With multiple roles and responsibilities, no two days are alike, which is the best part of my job!
5:00 p.m.: No matter how difficult of a workday I may have had, picking the kids up from “school” is my favorite part of the day. The joy and excitement in their faces while they are running into my arms helps to bring the meaning of life back into perspective. As we sit in traffic heading home, Chloe and I always have a conversation about what happened during our day, what we learned and how we helped someone else for the day. This is my favorite bonding moment! When Eli learns to talk, it will become a three-way conversation that I look forward to. Then I listen to the kids sing their favorite songs (currently “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack) on the rest of the car ride home.
6:00 p.m.: We have dinner then head out for a walk to Steve’s office to help bring a smile to Daddy’s face after a hard work day, say “hi” to the other team members at Dental32 and to get some steps in for my Fitbit challenges before enjoying our walk back home as a family.
7:00 p.m.: We head upstairs to start the bath battle. My kids view taking a bath as a punishment, so bath time can be challenging. After we get those pajamas on, we head downstairs and it is pre-K homework time, playtime, family dance time and maybe some extra screen time for the kids.
8:00 p.m.: Bedtime routine starts for Eli. Steve or I take him upstairs, brush his teeth and we read all the books he wants to before heading to bed. As he falls asleep, we gently peel away his fingers wrapped around the toy cars he has fallen asleep with in each hand.
8:30 p.m.: Bedtime routine for Chloe is like wrangling a wild unicorn, beautiful and exhausting at the same time. She attempts to brush her own teeth followed by a run through by Steve or myself. We listen to her “read” (make up the most creative stories), then we read several books to her before turning out the lights, saying our prayers and snuggling a bit before she falls asleep.
9:00 p.m.: This is another highlight of my day: intentional time spent with my husband. Steve and I tidy up anything that could not get done before we sit side-by-side to catch each other up on the day and what to expect for the next day. We also make sure to share stories of the funny things the kids said or did today before getting back to “work”. For me, this might include doing payroll for the dental practice, checking and replying to work emails, preparing lectures, prepping for meetings, reading research articles, grading papers, reviewing documents, preparing presentations and/or planning home schedules and vacation.
11:30 p.m.-midnight: I end the day with an uninterrupted shower and a few mindless games of Candy Crush before heading to bed, saying my own prayers and falling asleep.