Raised in a family with a physician for a dad and a nurse for a mother, Abby Rogers knows a lot about career dedication and fitting that loyalty into family life. In fact, she's living the lesson everyday as a physician's assistant for surgical oncology at Advantage Health/Saint Mary's Medical Group, not to mention her roles as wife and mother. But what makes Abby uniquely attuned to the importance of balance is her husband Jason's fourteen-year career in the Army National Guard. With two small children and two huge careers, time and energy is is premium in the Rogers house. But with patience and understanding, Abby is waking up each day with a full schedule but a joyful heart.
Above all things, Abby's sights have always been set on family life. She chose a career that fit her passion for healthcare but also allowed for a flexible schedule, "the best of both worlds." She loves her job because of the lives she can touch and also for her fellow employees who exemplify the same dedication to the job she feels.
"One of my favorite things when I first started here was hearing each employee tell me how long they worked here," Abby says. "Most people have worked here for lengthy periods of time, five, ten, fifteen plus years, which shows this establishment cares about their employees and their happiness at the workplace."
Abby's other workplace, her home, is an environment full of the same warmth and caring, even if the road isn't always easy. Since they started dating, Abby and Jason have learned to live with sporadic long-distance stretches of their relationship. In the beginning, Abby made the best of their time apart by planning a wedding before the couple was even engaged–he proposed after several months serving overseas and they were married soon after. But now that they have two children, balancing their jobs, careers, and marriage can be strained.
"I am not sure how I balance it, but I just do. Work is busy, often fifty plus hour work weeks. I do my best to leave work at work, but cancer is not something you can turn off your mind," Abby says.
Her advice to other multi-tasking wives is to be understanding. Knowing that both she and her husband are under pressure at work and exhausted from raising two little ones–not to mention building their own home–helps keep things in perspective and saves a lot of heartache. So does open communication.
"There is no beating around the bush in this family. We don't have time for it. So if I am unhappy or he is, we just have to say it and try to figure it out and do what we can to help each other," Abby says. "If we want this to be happy and healthy for the rest of our lives, we have to communicate, grow in our faith together, and not be afraid to go to counseling when it's needed."
Abby leans on her friends and family when Jason is away to avoid being overwhelmed with her temporary single parenthood. She takes time for herself to rejuvenate, and rejoices in her husband's return.
"I laugh at myself thinking I am the Mommy with a full bladder and empty stomach. What we don't do to keep a family happy."
Written by: Erika Fifelski is West Michigan Woman magazine's editorial coordinator. She was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys gardening, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses. Photo provided by Abby Rogers.