Does med school create latch-key kids?

Squidaronimous J

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    My wife and I are thinking about having one parent stay home with the kids while the other is in med school. Anybody know if this is possible?

    My wife and I were both latch-key kids (kids with a single parent who worked usually long after we got home from school). Both of us essentially raised ourselves.

    We are very committed to having at least one parent, if not both, home with the kids at all times when they are growing up.

    I understand that med school racks up a lot of hours on a person's day.

    1) Is it possible to have a two-parent family, where one parent is in school all day and the other stays home with the children?

    2) Or is med school so expensive that at least one partner needs to be working to keep the family afloat?
     
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    k's mom

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      Your financial aid will not be altered because you have children, except in some cases where the student is a single, custodial parent.
      I have heard through the medicalspouse network many stories of families who have done this successfully. However, I get the feeling that you need to be very smart about your financial decisions before you start school; go to a state school, buy a house if you can (lower monthly payments) and get rid of all consumer debt. Also, look into state medicaid programs to cover family (or at least the children's) health insurance. Many students with families also use food stamp programs.
      Keep in mind that some schools allow students to work part-time, and they also usually offer the ability to take out more loans to cover the cost of childcare IF the other parent works outside of the home. Perhaps your spouse would be interested in working part-time? Unless he/she is bringing in the big bucks, it won't change your financial aid, and will help with monthly expenses, especially if you have consumer debt. I definitely recommend a parent staying home if at all possible with an infant. However, I have been very, very, very happy working part-time (15 hours/week) outside of the home. Less financial stress, my son loves interacting with the other children at preschool, and it gives me an opportunity to socialize with other adults.
       

      paean

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        Anyone know of any stay-at-home dads during medical school? My partner and I don't know when to have kids, but he's said that he would be willing to work part-time or stay at home and freelance (he's a graphic designer) when we do. The idea would be that I would be the main income earner.

        Another issue is that I really value breastfeeding, at least for the first 6 months, because of what it seems to do for children's health. Other than that, it makes sense for him to be the primary parent. The breastfeeding is an additional complication for us in trying to figure out timing.

        Any ideas would be most welcome. I'm starting med school this fall, and if I want to have one kid before 35 could wait until immediately after residency, but I'd rather have two, and to do that before then I'd have to start either during medical school or residency. My family has had mixed results with later pregnancies, so I'm concerned about waiting too long.
         

        daisygirl

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          Paean-
          I will be entering medical school this fall and I will most likely, in the future, have a situation that you are describing. My husband is 7 years older than me (I am 26, he is 33) and he wants kids before he is 40 (complicated issues at work here- he was a change of life baby and he doesn't want his relationships with his children to resemble that of him and his parents). If everything goes as planned, I will most likely have at least one baby during residency, and my husband will have to stay at home if he wants a baby. My husband is very supportive of me and my goals and I believe that he will do well as a stay at home father because of how much he wants kids and the way he is with kids.

          As far as breastfeeding is concerned, is it possible to use a pump so that breastmilk would always be available for the baby? I don't know much about these things...I just kind of assumed that you could pump and save.

          I am also interested in reading the ideas of others regarding this issue.
           

          k's mom

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            I've heard stories of husbands of MD students doing the stay-at-home dad thing. Infact, since your husband is in a profession that is amenable to free-lancing or part-time work, it sounds like you will be one step ahead of many families who try to make it through medschool on loans alone. In fact, the price of daycare can be quite a shock. Full time for one infant can easily run $150.00/week, much higher in many places. So, working part-time without the need for full-time child care might leave you with more money than if your husband worked full time. It may also make you eligible for state-sponsored health insurance for your child(ren).
            (BUT YOUR HUSBAND WILL NEED SOME CHILDCARE ASSISTANCE IF HE THINKS HE WILL GET ANY WORK DONE, ESPECIALLY IN THE FIRST FEW MONTHS, AND AFTER THE BABY LEARNS TO WALK)

            As for breastfeeding, women have successfully breast fed in much worse situations than being in med school! I suggest you invest in a really good (electric) breast pump. Some of them have really well insulated, or battery cooled compartments to store the milk, so you don't need to worry about finding fridge space at school. I worked in a catering facility with a woman years back who breast-fed her twins until their 1st birthday. She would take her 15 minute break, sit in a bathroom stall and pump. Not glamorous, but it did the job. Another woman I know had her son in a nearby daycare, so every lunch break for the first year of his life she would walk the two blocks to the school and breast feed him. I had wanted desperately to do this with my son, but my boss was less than cooperative.
            If you can live near the med school, this would be an ideal situation. It would also give your husband a half-hour break in the middle of the day.

            Good Luck!
             

            WSU02

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              I breastfed my daughter during most of my 3rd year...it was possible, although difficult (I was getting up a 3 am to pump and feed her - her on one, the pump on the other breast) since I needed to be at the hospital by 5 am.

              So thhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhht to those who say it can't be done.

              Having a baby in med school was overall, pretty easy. My husband worked and had nice benefits (free health insurance was a biggie). My daughter loved her babysitter and became very attached to her - and it went both ways.

              Having kids while in med school is fairly common now. In my residency program, about half have kids. Almost all of us are married.
              HTH
              Kristi
              PGY-1, OB-Gyn
               

              paean

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                Wow, thanks for the encouraging stories. I know that if we go that route, it will be difficult, but it's great to hear that it has been done successfuly. I didn't realize pumps had gotten so sophisticated. sounds like one of my concerns is mostly fixable.
                 

                raj2002

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                  I know this sounds imposs. but you can work through a lot of your time at med school - atleast in courses I know about. The first two non-clinical years can be literaaly largeylworked thorugh if you study hard too.
                  Clinical years are not so easy at all -but jobs do abound in the hospitals that we people train in. And there's always the med school bar!

                  But seriously you can find a lot of work in big establishments like hospitals, of clerical, healthcare, secretarial and technical natrue (depending on your individual strengths)
                   

                  im4real

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                    Originally posted by paean
                    Wow, thanks for the encouraging stories. I know that if we go that route, it will be difficult, but it's great to hear that it has been done successfuly. I didn't realize pumps had gotten so sophisticated. sounds like one of my concerns is mostly fixable.

                    Hi there Paean!!

                    Please be encouraged about stay-at-home fathers because my experience while my husband is in residency here is that there are many Dads who stay at home while their wives work as a Physician. Some are focused on being the caregiver to their children while others find a balance between completing some work at home and taking care of the children. It is a doable option! I hope it all works out for you!!!

                    Sincerely,
                    Christy
                     
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