Seventeen is a magic number

June 24th, 2013

rao-titleAsk Dr. Ritu Rao ’03 about the inspiration for her Bizzy Tooth Mommy blog, and she may say it comes at nap time. Not hers. Her kids’.

That’s because this busy mom and practicing dentist knows how to snag time for herself when the opportunity arises. Her mission: dishing advice and creating community for female dentists via social media.

“The journey — self or career — is not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Rao says. “Anyone I’ve talked to who’s been doing this for a long time says attitude and mindset are key. And since you can’t neatly separate your career and life, working on attitude and mindset helps both.”

Rao created a blog series, “17 Ways to Grow as a Dentist,” that details her perspective on ways for dentists at all life stages “to get unstuck, improve or re-spark.” The quick-read posts offer suggestions on the obvious and not-so-obvious steps to experience life at a higher level.

“The ‘17 Ways’ series is aimed more at the person than the practice,” Rao says. “Day in, day out, the challenges of running a practice can wear you down and mess with your mindset. Even if you’re not stuck, taking stock of where you are and getting into a better place can only help.

“Again, this is where the community aspect can be useful, and the whole reason for Bizzy Tooth Mommy’s existence.”

Her journey to blog writer is not one she would have dreamed even five years ago.

“I have no English background whatsoever; actually, it’s not even my first language,” Rao says. “I have always loved to read and decided to experiment with writing a couple of years ago, primarily with blogging. It is my hope, dream — and perhaps disillusionment — that I am improving.”

Some weeks the blog receives 30 minutes of her time; other weeks may see four or five hours. She writes whenever inspiration strikes.

“Then it’s GO time,” Rao says. “Since that’s unpredictable and sporadic, I write — or at least try — on weekends during nap times and at times when I’m not running.”

She doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but this active dentist and distance runner uses life experiences for inspiration. She brainstorms everywhere; at work, at the gym, while running or before she drifts off to sleep. She also tends to her newest business venture: social media consulting for dental practices.

As the mom of two preschoolers, Rao experiences daily the challenges of juggling family and career. She credits her “wonderful” husband for supporting her many pursuits, and her nanny and office team for making her schedule possible. She adds that one of the best things she has ever done is quit watching TV regularly.

“Although it’s an ongoing effort, I don’t always have everything ‘pulled together’; maybe someday,” Rao says unabashedly. “They weren’t kidding when they said it takes a village.”

She says she has received encouragement and positive feedback from fellow female dentists.

“While I’m gaining readers slowly, it’s a sign that word is spreading,” Rao says. “My goal for Bizzy Tooth Mommy is to serve as a resource for female dentists so they can kick off or redirect their new career in the best way possible, and from the best starting point — themselves.”

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— Carolyn Cox