Enid Wade doesn’t collect things — she collects good days. Good, busy days. After working for the district attorney’s office and a private law firm, Wade moved in-house with Baylor Scott & White Health. Now she serves as vice president of legal services and the lead human resources attorney for the hospital system. When she’s not in the office, she’s on the highway. Wade travels to Waco, Temple and Dallas for work. Before she gets on the road, she makes sure to tell her two children they’ve filled her life with joy. Each morning Wade abides by her grandfather’s advice to “enjoy today.”
WACOAN: What brought you to Waco?
Wade: My husband, Joe, was in the Gulf War. When he got out, he wanted to use his academic scholarship somewhere. We picked Waco because he could go to Baylor University and I could get a job.
WACOAN: Where did you grow up?
Wade: I’m an Air Force brat — I’ve lived everywhere.
WACOAN: Then you settled in North Carolina to go to Duke University. Tell me more about your education.
Wade: I went to Duke for undergrad and then went to University of Texas in Austin for law school. My dad told me I could go to school wherever I wanted, but he would only pay for Duke. He had a mentor in the Air Force who was a Duke fan, and that formed an impression on him. I loved Duke.
WACOAN: How was your experience in law school?
Wade: It was law school, so I just survived it.
WACOAN: Where did you work when you moved to Waco?
Wade: I was a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office from 1992 to 1994. Then I worked for a private practice — Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee — until 2010.
WACOAN: What motivated you to move from a law firm to a hospital?
Wade: I had done work for the hospital when I was in private practice, and I always had some interest in it. I met some great people working at the hospital. I thought it would be a good move for me at that time. Some people told me that if you went in-house, it was slower pace. That is not true.
WACOAN: How is your work schedule different?
Wade: When I was a trial lawyer, I worked around the clock in the period leading up to the trial. During the trial I worked around the clock. Your kids are orphans, and your husband is a widower.
WACOAN: What is your current title at Baylor Scott & White?
Wade: I’m vice president, legal counsel. I am the lead [human resources] attorney for the Baylor Scott & White Health System.
WACOAN: What does a typical day look like?
Wade: When I come in each morning, I have no idea what I’m going to do each day. I never finish everything on my to-do list. There’s a ton of writing. I tell my kids that mostly I talk on the phone and help people solve issues.
WACOAN: What’s your favorite part of your job?
Wade: Heath care is fascinating, and I love the law. I like helping people solve problems.
WACOAN: Were you interested in health care before taking this position?
Wade: No. When I was thinking about going in-house, I didn’t think I would work for a hospital system. I do employment law here. I think health care is a noble profession, and I like helping people who help people.
WACOAN: Did your job changed when Scott & White merged with Baylor Health Care System?
Wade: Yes. I was in a different role — I wasn’t in human resources. And now I travel to Dallas to go to Baylor University Medical Center.
WACOAN: What was your previous position?
Wade: I worked in risk management. I dealt with the things related to care, and now I work with the people related to care.
WACOAN: How often do you travel for work?
Wade: Before the merger I traveled from Waco to Temple. Now I go to Waco, Temple and Dallas. On average, I spend one day in Waco, one to two days in Dallas and the rest in Temple.
WACOAN: Do you get tired of traveling?
Wade: Yes. I don’t like [Interstate] 35. It’s predictably bad traffic, and people are driving and texting.
WACOAN: With a demanding position and travel, how do you cope with work pressure?
Wade: I hate to quote a Nike commercial, but you just do it. I’m also surrounded people who are very smart and dedicated. It’s a good team to work with, which makes everything easier.
WACOAN: Tell me about your husband. How did you two meet?
Wade: Joe and I were high school sweethearts. Our dads were stationed in the same place in the military, and that’s how we met. We’ve been together forever. I met him in 1980. I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16 years old, and he was my first serious boyfriend. He was a cute football player. I was a drum major in the band and a nerd.
WACOAN: What does your husband do now?
Wade: Joe works at L-3 Communications.
WACOAN: How many children do you have?
Wade: I have two beautiful, fabulous boys, Elijah and Langston, who are 14 and 12 years old. This year my older son passed me in height, which was exhilarating and heartbreaking all at once. He is 5-foot-10 now, so he is going to be tall.
WACOAN: Where do your boys go to school?
Wade: They go to Vanguard College Preparatory School. My younger son just graduated sixth grade from Waco Montessori School. I had a kid there for 11 years. It will be strange not going there — my car will want to drive to Waco Montessori.
WACOAN: What are your boys like?
Wade: They’re fabulous. I love my job, but they’re the ones who keep me motivated and energized.
WACOAN: What activities are they involved in?
Wade: My older son is playing basketball and track, but he is having growing pains. He is always saying, ‘I’ve outgrown my pants.’
WACOAN: Do you have to buy him new clothes often?
Wade: Yes. The key is not to buy too many pants at one time. You can buy shorts but not pants.
WACOAN: What is your younger son involved in?
Wade: My younger son is unbelievably artistic. He is great at singing and drawing. But he’s very shy, so he won’t sing in front of people. He plays the guitar and played all the sports at Waco Montessori School.
WACOAN: How do you balance your kids’ activities and your work schedule?
Wade: I have some Baylor students who help me pick kids up and drop them off. I could not live without them.
WACOAN: How did you hear about them?
Wade: Word-of-mouth and some legal connections. I have friends who work at Baylor who refer students to us.
WACOAN: What do your mornings look like?
Wade: During the school year I get up at about 5:30 a.m. I wake up the kids and then try and wake them up again. We have a running joke that I can’t get to the car without saying, ‘Hurry up!’ I drop them off if I’m not out of town. On the mornings I’m out of town, my husband takes them to school.
WACOAN: What’s the most difficult thing about raising two boys?
Wade: I think the access to the Internet through social media makes it challenging. As a parent, it’s hard to limit what they have access to. They have so much at their fingertips, and so do their friends.
And it’s hard because kids don’t come with a manual. My boys couldn’t be any more different.
WACOAN: What do you strive to instill in your children?
Wade: Every day I worry if I’m teaching my kids to be healthy and balanced.
WACOAN: How do you define healthiness for your children?
Wade: I can’t speak for other families because every family is different. We all want our kids to be fed and happy, but happiness looks different. For our family, it is feeling loved all the time, even when I don’t necessarily like their behavior. I think I’m considered a mean mom, or at least a strict mom.
WACOAN: Do you think you got that from your parents? Because you couldn’t date until you were 16 years old?
Wade: I did. My 16th birthday was on a Monday, and my boyfriend asked me to the movies on a Friday. My mom said I had to wait until the next weekend. She said, ‘It won’t kill you to wait,’ and it didn’t. I think I get it from my parents.
WACOAN: What else do you try to teach your children?
Wade: I try to teach my kids to be grateful for what they have and the security they feel. I teach them to be grateful to walk across the room. Working at the hospital is a constant reminder of that. If I ever pity myself, all I have to do is walk down the hall at the hospital. I don’t seek out that reminder, but you can’t be here and not be aware of it. My grandfather used to say, ‘You better get the most out of each day. You better squeeze joy out of each day because it will be over before you know it.’
When I get on the highway traveling for work, I want my kids to know they filled my life with joy. I’ve had good days.
WACOAN: Has working in a hospital changed your perspective?
Wade: Yes. I tell my kids that I don’t collect things. You always hear of people collecting things, but I don’t collect stuff. I try to collect good days.
WACOAN: Would you describe yourself as a minimalist?
Wade: I don’t think I’m a minimalist. My mother would say I’m a minimalist because I throw everything away, but that’s because I was an Air Force brat and I always moved. I would say that I am focused. I focus on what I’m doing here and what my purpose is. I focus on what I need to be happy, and I know what I don’t need.
I think people measure happiness by things that are not important. Some people measure their happiness by how many friends they have on Facebook, and those may not be your real friends.
WACOAN: How do you teach your kids that?
Wade: That is the question. I don’t know. I ask myself that every day. How can I teach my kids what is important? How do you make a center for your kids? I’m very spiritual, so that’s where God comes in for me.
WACOAN: What do your children teach you?
Wade: Grace, patience, love, how to be less selfish. My husband and I were married for 12 years before we had kids. My brother and sister never had kids, and I was on that path. My husband and I were very career oriented. My husband really wanted kids, and I’m so glad we had them. My chest physically hurts when I think about them.
WACOAN: How do you and Joe work together as parents?
Wade: We are good partners, and we complement each other as parents. We talk things out and come out with good solutions. We support each other in being consistent with the kids. Joe is a great dad.
WACOAN: How does he help when you have to travel for work?
Wade: He is in the trenches with them. He’s a fantastic dad. When I saw him with my kids for the first time, it added another dimension to our relationship.
WACOAN: How do you and your husband stay organized?
Wade: That’s another way we balance each other. I am a list person, and I’m always working on my lists, and my husband will tell me to stop and do something fun.
WACOAN: Do you have a calendar system?
Wade: I have a fantastic assistant. I don’t schedule things for myself because she has a system. I’ll set alarms for tasks so I can move on to the next thing. I schedule times for tasks throughout the day. That’s something I’ve started doing since working here. I am constantly shifting and adapting. I’ve tried a million different calendar systems, and I’m always reading books, but there’s no secret sauce. You have to adapt.
WACOAN: As a working mother what are your keys to success?
Wade: Who says I’m successful? I do think I am a successful mother. The jury is still out, but they are happy and good students. They have good habits, and they have good hearts. They have helped me to be the mother I am. They’ve shaped me.
WACOAN: Do you ever deal with working mom guilt?
Wade: I work a lot, and I’m away from my kids a lot, and I know there is some judgment for that. I was at a panel at Baylor [University Medical Center], and they were talking about balancing work and family life. As a lawyer, I don’t think you can have it all. You just can’t. You do the best you can. And I say if there’s a woman who has gone to law school but wants to be a stay-at-home mom, she should do it. Don’t feel guilty. If your highest calling is to be a stay-at-home mom, do it with gusto.
WACOAN: What’s your advice to working mothers?
Wade: Step back and apply the logic that you have to your life. You have to apply that logic inwardly. Look at what your goals are. You probably won’t be able to do everything, but it will get you closer to what your goals are.
WACOAN: Do you bring your work home?
Wade: No, I do not. I deal with things that are confidential. That’s one of the reasons I stay at the office a lot. I brought my work home when they were younger, but it was too stressful. I have learned how to compartmentalize.
I’m not always the best, but I try to be present with my kids. It’s easy for me because I’m older. I don’t get on Facebook or text because that is time away from my kids.
WACOAN: How do you teach your children to be present?
Wade: We have hours they can have electronic time. When we’re driving, I take their phone away.
WACOAN: How would you define balance?
Wade: I think balance is about contentment. It’s finding a place where you have established comfort with your circumstances.
WACOAN: How do you de-stress?
Wade: My kids are good at that. They’re hilarious, and I love talking to them. We sit down for dinner about four nights a week, and I can decompress then. I also work out. I do cardio and weight training with a personal trainer [at Gym X Fitness].
WACOAN: How do you fit exercise into your schedule?
Wade: Right now, I go to early church, come home and make breakfast, go to the gym and come to work. That is my schedule on Sundays, but that will change because my son is playing tournament basketball.
WACOAN: How do you make time for your husband?
Wade: We used to have date nights at least twice a month, and we want to get back to that.
WACOAN: Where do you like to go for a date night?
Wade: We go to DiamondBack’s, or we’ll drive to Temple and go to Pignetti’s [Italian] Restaurant or Cheeves Bros. Steak House. Having time in the car is good time to talk. It’s a mini family summit. I’m the list queen, so I like making lists of priorities.
WACOAN: What do you and your family enjoy doing in Waco?
Wade: The park is beautiful. We love Cameron Park. We walk in our neighborhood — we have a great neighborhood. We had a picnic with the neighborhood the other day.