Any single moms that have left her child with family (remotely) during the school year?

Aug 24, 2015
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Medical Student
Hey everyone! First of all, this is quite a long post, so thank you for reading it (if you so choose ; ))! I’m a single mom with a preschooler, and I just started my second year. I go to a school that’s a 6-hour drive from my parents’ home, and she has been staying with them while I pursue my studies. She also stays with her father and his wife on the weekends – they also live in the same city as my parents’. I visit every 3-4 weeks for the weekend, and it’s all about enjoying each other during these times (I do no or very little studying, and we spend our time out and about exploring and playing). It has been extremely hard on me, and our situation hurts my heart every time I think about it. She is great and has transitioned seamlessly though, as she has she has so much fun with my family, all of whom actually have the time and energy to dedicate to her.

Over the summer, she stayed with me while I remediated a class, but it was quite stressful balancing the full-time student / mommy thing. I was toying with the idea of having her part-time with me during second year and this was the “test,” but it was quite miserable for me. I was stressed out, not fun, and my patience / ability to keep my cool was much diminished as compared to my relaxed state when I come for visits. It was definitely not fair to her either, and I could sense her isolation since I have no other support / family in this area (I have a large extended family that she frequently visits, and she loves her weekend visits with her father, his wife, and their families). She attended a summer preschool program while I remediated my class, and she starts preschool next week near my parent’s house. Although I feel so broken being apart from her and she does get sad when we part ways, I know I am doing the right thing for her by leaving her with my parents / family, since she is so well taken care of and given the attention she deserves and needs during this time in her lif.

I thought it would get easier for me with time, and it did last year, but things seem to be getting much worse this year. First year was tough, of course, but I somehow got through it and I think adjusted to our situation well. I even got to a point where I was able to talk about her to classmates without tearing up or being too sad, and I felt hopeful for the future. However, ever since school started a few weeks ago, I cry and become teary much easier when I think of her. When people ask about her (which is pretty much every time I see a friend / classmate), I can’t hold back my tears, which is both a bit embarrassing and uncomfortable.

I feel like I have been in a funk since the summer, and I can’t seem to shake it. I am falling behind in my classes (but still passing), and it’s been SO hard to get out of bed each day. I’ve even missed some quizzes on the account of being unable to drag myself up to get out of the house. I was thinking that I may be having an adjustment disorder, but it’s been lasting over 2 months now, and I find myself blue even when I’m with her, since I dread being separate from her once again.

I am just wondering if there are any other parents that have had to leave their child in pursuit of their studies, and how did you adjust to the separation? Did you feel like things eventually got better and stayed better? Or did they get worse during 2nd year, just like they are with me? And how did you cope to being separated? I have reached out to the other mothers in my class, but I feel like my situation is a bit different since I am a single parent, and they are all living with their spouse and kids. Thanks for reading and for any feedback!
 

dozitgetchahi

10+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2008
1,583
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Fellow [Any Field]
Let me summarize my situation:

- 1st daughter born during 3rd year med school - wife leaves to go stay with her family 8 hours away.
- Despite trying my damnedest, I don't match in the city where the wife and kids are...rather 4 hours away this time.
- Had 2nd daughter during 1st year residency.

I'm now in year 3 of IM residency, and I can tell you that things never got any easier. I've kept it together well and have managed to be one of the strongest residents in the class, but emotionally it has totally sucked and inside I've ranged from 'OK' to 'pretty damn miserable' throughout most of residency. I never, ever, ever want to live apart from family ever again. You miss out on so much. You become a stranger to your own kids, and you waste an enormous amount of time driving back and forth to visit. And I can totally relate to feeling sad even when you're with everybody because you know the time will come shortly when you have to leave.

See a counselor, work on your studies and make it your absolute first priority to be able to match where the rest of your family is for residency. It will represent a gigantic quality of life difference, believe me.
 
OP
M
Aug 24, 2015
2
0
Status
Medical Student
Let me summarize my situation:

- 1st daughter born during 3rd year med school - wife leaves to go stay with her family 8 hours away.
- Despite trying my damnedest, I don't match in the city where the wife and kids are...rather 4 hours away this time.
- Had 2nd daughter during 1st year residency.

I'm now in year 3 of IM residency, and I can tell you that things never got any easier. I've kept it together well and have managed to be one of the strongest residents in the class, but emotionally it has totally sucked and inside I've ranged from 'OK' to 'pretty damn miserable' throughout most of residency. I never, ever, ever want to live apart from family ever again. You miss out on so much. You become a stranger to your own kids, and you waste an enormous amount of time driving back and forth to visit. And I can totally relate to feeling sad even when you're with everybody because you know the time will come shortly when you have to leave.

See a counselor, work on your studies and make it your absolute first priority to be able to match where the rest of your family is for residency. It will represent a gigantic quality of life difference, believe me.
Thanks so much for your honest response, and I'm sorry you had to go through and are currently going through so much. But, good for you and your family for sticking things through, because you're doing all you can to make a better life for everyone involved. If it helps at all, one of my classmates told me about her dad, who was pretty much absent due to work for lots of her childhood (maybe until age 8-10). However, she is VERY close with him now and carries no resentment. It is, w/o a doubt, harder (and perhaps traumatic) for the parent in these types of situations. And I definitely appreciate all you're saying about trying to match near family; there is no way I'm doing residency w/o her, but there's no way I can do it w/o help either. Let's hope the residency gods happen to be happy with me on match day ; )