Dr. Bradley Schlaggar is shown with his wife, Dr. Hristina Schlaggar, real estate agent at Keller Williams Legacy and adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and children Simeon, 15, and Lena, 13. | Photo courtesy of Anna Harbom
What’s the hardest part about juggling parenthood and your career?
The most challenging time for our dual career household was when the children, Simeon (now 15) and Lena (now 13), were very young. Luckily, because we had children a bit later in life, our careers had somewhat firmer foundations. We both had irregular schedules with crunch time around deadlines and the need to travel. As a pediatric neurologist, I spent a lot of early mornings and late nights working in the hospital and being on call. That period was the hardest for us.
What makes trying to balance both easier?
We both share the philosophy that balancing work versus life—or career versus parenting—is not the right mindset, at least not for us. We’ve approached balance from the perspective that the richness of life includes parenting, family, career, community service, friendships, interests and so on. As parents, we strive to model this approach for our children. It has not always been easy. When our son Simeon was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 10, especially in the first year of intense treatment, career and balance were not priorities—our focus was supporting
his health and that of his younger sister. Thankfully, our wonderful friends, families, bosses, colleagues and communities embraced us, giving us balance.
What do you love about being a parent?
Getting to see, and participate in, our children’s emergence as thoughtful, funny and caring people; in their understanding and reasoning around issues outside of themselves, such as social justice and politics; and in their growth and change in the friendships they make and keep.
What’s your biggest parenting fail?
Too many little screens!
How has your family been handling the pandemic?
We feel quite fortunate that we are doing OK. The kids are homebodies in a lot of ways. They have adapted well to virtual learning. We have three big dogs who seem thrilled to have us around all the time. Of course, we miss traveling and seeing our friends and families. But we are optimistic that there is a light at the end of this tunnel.
What’s the one thing you hope your children learn from you and your career?
Even before the children came along, we spoke often about the privilege and pleasure of building your career around doing something you love.
Meal: We all have somewhat different tastes and food preferences, but we all agree that pizza is delicious, especially homemade pizza.
Dessert: Ice cream!
Book to read together: We loved reading, out loud, the entire Harry Potter series.
Way to spend a weekend with your children: We have loved weekend movie viewing or marathon sessions watching entire seasons of shows such as “Stranger Things” and “Lost in Space,” all while cuddled up with our dogs.
Vacation spot: For us, it’s not the location. It’s the company!