Out of office – Martina Hodgson on juggling time with the family and dentistry

Family out of officeThis week Martina Hodgson discusses the difficulties of juggling a family life and running a successful dental practice.

Please introduce yourself

When I was asked to write an article on what I do outside of dentistry I was a little panicked! I love what I do so much that I wonder if I have a life outside of dentistry at all!

I am the owner of The Dental Studio. An unassuming yet multi-award winning private family practice in a small ex-coal mining community in Wakefield.

I have the privilege of being at the same practice for over 15 years, and owner for the last 13 years.

I am the co-founder of Inspiring Women in Dentistry. And I spend at least 90% of my time now carrying out Invisalign. It is an honour to speak for Aligner Consulting and appear as a key opinion leader for Dental Monitoring.

Although I still find speaking hugely out of my comfort zone, I am really enjoying this new challenge in my career.

What do you get up to in your spare time away from dentistry?

I am married with two boys who are seven and 10. If ever there was a challenge in my life, those two are it! If you know, you know!

With all that going on, it doesn’t really leave me with a lot of time for hobbies!

I love my work so much and have a crippling amount of drive. But I suffer from huge working-mother’s guilt at the same time.

Therefore I make a conscious effort to take a lot of time off during the school holidays to balance out the fact that I am so busy the rest of the time. But I don’t think you can ever win.

I have worked really hard on compressing my clinical hours so that I can do the rest of my non-clinical work when the boys are at school.

Are you into any sport? If so what sport and why did you get into it in the first place?

I’ve always been really bad at sport – at school I was always last in the race! But I do really enjoy going to the gym and keeping fit.

I used to do a lot of weight training. But about a year ago I bought a Peloton bike and I am completely obsessed with it.

The beauty of it is I can hop on every morning and do a really tough, motivating workout in just 30 minutes before work. It sets me up for the rest of the day.

I couldn’t have got through lockdown without it – the benefit to me was more mental than physical.

Every Sunday night I take a few hours out just for myself and go to a spa.

This time is so important for me. Just a few hours to reset and recharge for the week ahead. Sometimes I get my best ideas sweating in a sauna!

I think it’s really important in our busy lives to have regular time each week where you can just let your mind be still.

Are you a foodie? Why and what particular food do you go for?

I am a big food fan! I love eating out, and am as much a fan of pub grub as I am of posh nosh!

Just as long as there’s enough of it! I hate diets and I don’t believe in cutting out food groups or ‘diet’ food.

I always carry around emergency snacks incase I get hungry (I’m best avoided when hungry). Consequently I am always telling my team off for whatever daft diet they are on each week.

My advice is everything in moderation. Especially chocolate. I am into lots of moderate amounts of chocolate.

Do you like to travel and do your hobbies take you anywhere in particular?

In December I fulfilled a lifelong dream and took the family to Australia for a month.

Spending so much time with the kids without pressures of work was wonderful. We had some truly memorable moments.

I will never forget scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef on Christmas Eve. Or the moment we entered our hotel room in Sydney for the first time.

I had to pinch myself when I looked out to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House as our view.

I am truly grateful for all these moments in my life.

Anything else you’d like to add?

So it turns out dentistry is not just a job. It is a passion. But much more than that, it is a community of very special people.

My job has given me wonderful friendships, amazing experiences, and allowed me to enrich and improve my patient’s lives.

I am learning that giving back by teaching and sharing knowledge, and being a source of inspiration for others is a humbling gift.

Dentistry has allowed me to achieve things I never thought possible. It has allowed me to dream big and help others dream big too.

It has allowed me to do things with my family that as I child I couldn’t even imagine. And it allows me freedom and choices.

It is an honour to be a member of this noble profession. We will always face challenges along the way, but if the last year has shown us anything it has shown us that together we are stronger.

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