fashion, medicine + motherhood
Name: Christina and Jennifer Rhee
Workplace/Business: Anesthesia Associates of Ann Arbor / Ajeless Medical Spa
Favorite app/website/blog: Instagram and Lightroom / We love Celeste Barber (on IG) and fellow twins Tia and Tamera Mowry
Go-to outfit: We love classic dresses
Go-to power anthem: U2 - Where the Streets Have No Name
Go-to local restaurant: The Garage - downtown Northville
Go-to coffee shop: Tuscan Café - downtown Northville
Introductions: Name, Career, Business and # of kids
Our names are Jennifer and Christina Rhee. We are both physicians (anesthesiologists). Jennifer also owns a medical spa with her husband. She has two children and two step children. Christina has three kids - two of which are a set of twins.
Tell me about yourself and how you became an anesthesiologist.
We both knew that we wanted to become doctors at a very young age. There are so many interesting fields in medicine, but the fast, exciting pace of anesthesia won us both over. People think it's crazy that we both chose the same field of medicine, but we have always functioned as a team. For us it was totally normal!
What were the challenges you faced as moms in the medical field?
Moms in the medical field face a lot of challenges that other women in different fields probably also encounter. The time commitment is one of the most challenging aspects of our job. Missed holidays at home and missed school functions are tough to handle. There’s a lot of “mom guilt” associated with not always being available for your family. Also, we feel that there is a perception that you can’t possibly do both jobs well when you are a mom and a physician, although we think this is slowly changing as more women go into the medical field.
How do you balance being a mom and the long hours that the typical medical field requires?
It's always difficult to balance our work hours with our family life. We both try to take the maximum amount of vacation that we are allowed. On those weeks off, we always try to do special things with our kids. We also try to fill in for each other. If our kids have special events, and Auntie is on vacation or post call, she will step in. Auntie is always the next best thing after Mom!
Walk us through your morning routine before heading out
The one good thing about having a job where you need to be in the hospital by 6:30 am is that you’re out of the house before the kids get up! This has made our morning routine a lot less complicated. It usually involves a quick shower, 5-minute make-up application, and grabbing left overs out of the fridge for lunch. Sipping on coffee on the way to work is also a must!
Being an anesthesiologist, what does your typical work day look like?
Usually we arrive to the hospital around 6:30 am. The mornings are very busy prepping patients for various surgeries. We provide anesthesia for multiple cases including orthopedic surgeries, neurosurgeries, obstetrics, trauma, and vascular cases to name a few. Anesthesia tends to be a very fast paced field where anything can happen at any time. It's definitely exciting, but it can also be pretty stressful. Our hours on a day-to-day basis vary a lot. Sometimes we leave the hospital by 3:30, other days we don't leave until about 7 pm, and occasionally we work a full 24-hour shift.
As a mother of multiple children. How are you navigating childcare?
We both have pretty young children and have to get out of the house really early for work, so for us, having a nanny that comes to the house has been extremely helpful. Jennifer has a nanny who comes in early, and Christina has an au pair that lives in the house.
How has being a woman or mother affected your career, business and relationship with your children?
There's a lot of opportunities for women and moms in medicine today. Our kids have actually taught us a lot of lessons we can apply to our careers. As a mother, you need to be an expert multitasker. You also really need to know how to strategize and prioritize. All of these traits have really helped us at work!
Do you find that balancing motherhood, family, work and your business to be a challenge? If so, what support system do you have in place to manage that.
Balancing life is a big challenge. We don’t think there’s really such a thing as a perfect balance either. Demands of a family and work are constantly there, but these demands change as the kids get older or your work obligations evolve. We both accept any help that’s offered to us, and we don’t feel guilty about outsourcing work like house cleaning or grocery shopping. Sometimes as a mom it seems that we put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything that’s traditionally expected of us. We both let go of that expectation years ago! Our best advice to busy moms is find all the help you can! Don’t try to do everything by yourself.
What made you start your side-hustle Mimosas Munchkins and Muffintops?
We have always both loved fashion since we were very young. Once we started our careers and became moms, we both realized that we just didn't have the time for so many of the things we once loved to do. We missed having hobbies. Christina thought of starting our Instagram page and blog as a way to re-introduce a hobby back into our lives. On our birthday last year, we had a meeting and came up with a plan and our blog/insta name. It's been a lot of fun ever since!
Your fashion blog and IG account is amazing. What fashion tips do you have for working mothers?
Have fun with your wardrobe! Try something on that you never thought you would wear - you may be surprised by how great you look! Don’t take fashion too seriously. Find something that feels good and makes you look amazing. We guarantee it will brighten your day!
How do you spend your free time? Do you incorporate self-care into your weekly to-dos?
The majority of free time that we do have is on our weeks off. We really try to spend time with our kids during that week, but we will set aside time for ourselves too. We love to work out, and we used to be able to do this a lot more before we had kids. So, on weeks off, we will try to go to the gym and incorporate more "self-care" into our routines. Who doesn't feel great with a mani/pedi, facial, or day at the salon?
Which ambitious mother inspires you and why?
We have a great group of physician moms that we work with on a daily basis. We all work together very well, and there’s not that stereotypical female jealously that people seem to talk about. It doesn’t need to exist. Confident smart women can work very well together. We both feel very inspired by our fellow female coworkers. It’s great to work with a group of ladies that face similar challenges. We all give each other advice about our careers and motherhood. And we can't forget our favorite ambitious mother: our own mom! She was a "stay at home" mom who helped raise four doctors (our older brothers are doctors too)! Sometimes we feel that people don't really view "stay at home" moms as ambitious, but we guarantee raising the four of us was no easy task! Cheers to all the moms who work in the home. Never doubt the power of love and encouragement - without this from our mom, we possibly wouldn't be where we are today.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you get there?
Honestly, our definition of success right now is really shaped by our children. We want to be moms who raise great, respectable, well-rounded children. We want them to feel like we will always be there for them no matter what, and we want to be people they can look up to and be proud of. We've also both put in a lot of time and effort into becoming doctors. To us, success in medicine really centers around taking great care of our patients and always advocating for them in all situations. We hope our kids can look back one day and say, “Mom worked a lot, but we're so proud of all that she does for us and the patients who need her!”
Do you have any advice for mothers who are on the fence about starting their own businesses?
Come up with a specific plan to start your business. Ask yourself what you’ll need in terms of space, marketing, licensing, and financial support. Make a very detailed anticipated monthly budget. After doing this ask yourself if it’s something you’re passionate about and willing to work hard for. If it is, then definitely go for it!
All Photography by Kat Stevenson for Mother Honestly