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med school and family

Discussion in 'Spouses and Partners' started by 3aliyah, Apr 18, 2002.

  1. 3aliyah

    3aliyah Member
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    Hi all

    I posed this question on one of the medical forums because I thought it was the best place to get a straight answer and then I found you people and so now I will ask it here. Momofthree was talking about the roles of mom and doctor both. I have been really really wondering about that myself. I want to go into medicine (not sure what kind just yet) and I have a 1 year old. I'm scared to death that she (and future children) will be neglected because I'm spending so much time at school and when I DO come home I will too tired to be with them. I don't my kid(s) to grow up without me. I want to be there for them but how can I do that AND have my own medical career too?????? Presently I'm a biology teacher working with at-risk teens in an alternative school. Everyday I thank God that my child is still so innocent and I pray she will never go through what my school kids have gone through!! I have dreams that my kids grow up without my guidance and they are little versions of Marilyn Manson!! I thought abotu waiting til my little one (and any future ones) are older but by then I'll also be older!

    Help...... <img border="0" title="" alt="[Frown]" src="frown.gif" />
     
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  3. Meep-Meep

    Meep-Meep Member
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    Both of my parents are physicians. My mom had me during her residency where she was also moonlighting as a nuc med tech to pay the bills. I cannot tell you what it would be like taking care of a kid during medical school; and I can only tell you what my mom told me with regards to residency. She moonlighted in a bad part of town and carried a gun with her (not kidding). Apparently (and I really believe this) she would park her car at the security station and tell the night guard to watch over my brother and I in the car. I can see alarm bells ringing off from every direction- but her options were a lot more limited when she was going through this. Its effects on me? I don't remember it, and I don't show any signs of being subconsciously scarred because of it. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> What did help her a lot was having her parents and my dad's parents to help out when they were busy. If you have extended family to help out, it is definately a real possibility.

    Now what I can speak of from personal experience is growing up in a household with super-busy parents. A lot of concern is placed on not having enough time for your kids. I've seen busy parents both do horrible and fabulous jobs with their kids. I'd say my parents did a fabulous job and these are the hints I can give to you:

    1) As you have already indicated by pondering your time availability for your kids- Always consider them number one. Even if you are not physically there, they know whether or not you care.

    2) My mom owns a private practice. In the back of her facility she had a room set aside for my brother and I. There were two beds, school books, desks and toys. We would either stay at home after school (with a housekeeper) or go to work and stay with her. If you have a private practice, this is a great option. The whole clinic is very family oriented because my mom sets the tone. I basically have 7 mothers. And the room wasn't just for us- if any employee's kids were sick or needed a place to go they could come to work as well.

    3) My father worked in a lab for the majority of the time. His place of work was less conducive to little kids running around- but he would still bring us up on occasion to see what was going on and hang out with him.

    4) Overall I was pretty much a latchkey kid. I walked myself home from school, made my own food and took care of myself. (And I think that was a good thing.) The problem with being a latchkey kid is the possibility of feeling abandoned. Here is the big key: Call them. My mom was busting balls from 7-5pm. She would call me the second I got in the door from school, one hour later, another hour later, and so on until she got home. During certain stages of my life this got very annoying :rolleyes: :p but I knew she cared. This example extends to a greater idea: good communication. Our relationship was and is very open. We have always talked about everything from school to her work/patients to boy crushes and beyond. (Same goes for my dad, but minus any sex issues <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> )

    5) In a two busy-parent household, having a housekeeper/nanny seems almost inevitable. It is not a bad thing though! Really! It is a bad thing if the nanny is all they see and HEAR from. My parents balanced it well by seeing us as much as possible, and having family weekend times and vacations. As for our extracurricular activities, the housekeeper would take us to practice (for example) but my parents would be there to pick us up.

    6) Another side note: My parents had this philosophy and also TOLD us this (always treating us like adults)- Whatever is their business is our business. No secrets and no lying. If they had a stressful day, they were allowed to act tired. They would explain why. Their lives were always open to us.

    I've been so fortunate to see it work that its hardly a source of stress for when I consider balancing career/family in the future.
     
  4. k's mom

    k's mom Senior Member
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    meep-meep, thanks for sharing from your childhood. It helps me get more perspective on where my husband and I may be in ten years. Anyway, regarding the original question re: med school and family, I have to ask, what if you were a single parent struggling with three minimum wage jobs just to keep a roof over your kids' heads? Would that make you any less loving of a parent? Any less important to your children? Absolutely not! The fact that someone is in a position to DECIDE about whether or not to go to medical school, shows that they are very fortunate indeed. My mother had to put me in childcare when I was two weeks old, and I, too, was a latch-key kid from first grade...6am until 6 pm. I turned out just fine, and my mother is still my best friend. She did what she had to do to support us, and I love her dearly for it. The way I look at it, and one of the reasons I haven't balked at my husband starting medical training at the ripe age of 32, is that I can't imagine spending my entire life with someone who didn't have the opportunity to try living his dream. If he had wanted to stay a bartender, or if he wanted to be an astronaut, it wouldn't matter. In the short run we are sacrificing the house, nice cars and fat retirement savings, but I know our son will be better off because his father is working hard to achieve something that makes him happy and fulfilled. Every parent feels guilt (BELIVE ME ON THAT ONE!!!), may as well follow your dream while you're at it! You teach your children more through example than through words.
     
  5. Rachael

    Rachael Junior Member
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    3aliyah,
    You can be a great mom and physician!! I am a 3rd year med student with 2 kids. I have really learned to prioritize and be efficient over these three years. My children and husband always come first. I see them everyday and weekend. During first and second year I studied/went to class from 7am-4pm. I only studied on weekends if a test was close. Third year is a little different. During my surgery and OB rotations I NEVER saw my kids. I hated life... but that is over. I plan on applying for a residency that is good and allows for a life. I have learned that my kids are more important than Honors. It can be done!!!
    It sounds like you have been giving medical school a lot of thought. It may be beneficial to spend time with other physicians that have children. I have shadowed many MD mom's and have learned some great ways to find balance. I don't want to ramble away so if you have any further questions just let me know. Good Luck!!!!!!
     
  6. commymommy

    commymommy *reformed commymommy*
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    Rachael,

    I'd love to hear more about your experiences. I have three children and am really going back and forth on applying to med school now...I look back on my husband's clerkships, residency, and fellowship and wonder if I could impose this on my family again. I guess I've been very fortunate in that I've been able to stay home, for the most part, with my children during the early years (they are now 7,6 and 3).

    Kris
     
  7. Rachael

    Rachael Junior Member
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    Dear Kris,

    Your experience will enable you to make the best decision for you and your family. You know exactly how time consuming med school and residency can be. You also know that being a mom is a Full-Time job. Doing both is possible but entails much compromise and sacrifice.

    There are many things that are no longer feasible since med school. I am not able to be a room mom. I have had to miss a few sporting events and many practices. Sometimes I don't even look at my son's school work until the weekend. I do not volunteer at school or church anymore. Cooking and Cleaning, what's that?? I do not exercise as I once did. Friends...who...I am not able to call. I wish I had more time to spend with my children.

    To maximize my at home time I try not to take school too seriously. First year I became pleased with just passing some of the painful classes. It was very hard for me to just let go and quit studying but kids are much more important than grades. I was able to pass 1st year (some Honors too) on about 40-50 hours week. Major cramming near tests (18+hours a day for 5 straight days in a row).

    I did well second year on about 40-50 hours week. I only went to certain classes and used a lot of internet and outside resources. Of course I crammed for the big tests. I can memorize anything for a couple days. I recorded tapes and used these while driving. No time was wasted.

    Third year, UGH!! Fun but your time is not your own. Call every fourth night on many rotations. There is also outpatient (days off to the take kids to the zoo). Third year has helped me decide that I will not do a residency that keeps my from my kids. For 16 weeks (8 OB, 8 surgery) I did not see my kids. I will NEVER choose to do that again.

    Who will be your support? Do you have family willing to watch sick kids when you are on call and your husband is also. Does your husband support you? Will he choice a practice that is less demanding so that you can fulfill your dreams? Will he take turns watching sick kids, etc? Are you willing to budget in hired help (cleaning, cooking, driving to 3 different afterschool practices :) )?

    Compromise.......Obviously I will not be the best doc.....I am limiting my options....I do fear that I do not know enough....I often think med school is a selfish endeavor....I am still trying to find that balance. There are several med shool moms at my school. They share that it is possible. One of my mentors did it with 4 kids and was also at the top of her class.

    Good Luck in your decision!!!

    Rachael
     
  8. squeek

    squeek Senior Member
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    I have a slightly different perspective, I think. I am married, but I am not a mother--and my husband and I have chosen not to have kids (of course, we may change our minds in the future, but we both feel that is highly unlikely.)

    First, let me say that moms with careers that have posted seem like amazingly hard-working, caring, and empathetic individuals. I would LOVE to work for a physician who put so much emphasis on family that even her employees could bring children to a special place at work if they needed to. And I admire women with the strength you all so obviously posess. So please, don't take any of my opinions as being critical to others...I have just chosen to make different decisions for myself, based on my life experience.

    I grew up with a full-time, stay-at-home mom. It was amazing...from the time I was 3, I was helping her make bread, she was teaching me (and my sisters) to read and to paint and to garden. Our house was full of love. I was not homeschooled, but my younger sisters were for a few years, and so she made special "awards ceremonies" for them like they had for me in school--the awards were from "Mommy's Love School." My mother is amazingly creative and loving, and she dedicated 20 years of her life to raising us in the best possible way. (Granted, she was able to do this because my father was the financial support. I know all families are not able to do this).

    When I was in college, I was a nanny for two years. I was a good nanny, but as a result of my experiences I NEVER want to put my children under the full-time care of a nanny. Simply put, children need their parents, as much as they may love their nanny (which my "kids" did). Also, I learned how amazingly difficult and tiring and time-consuming it is to be a "parent"--and I've always loved kids.

    I guess for me the options are: 1) stay-at-home mom or 2) Not be a mom at all. I've made my decision because I don't think I would be a good stay-at-home mom. I am too intrigued by medicine (and art, which will be my second career). I love the relationship my husband and I have, after three years of marriage. He is my best friend, and I've seen too many marriages struggle after children arrive (again, I know this is not always the case, but it often happens. Relationships change once children arrive...you become almost business partners). I want to come home from work and relax with my husband, and take walks, and garden, and read, and paint. I don't want to have to take Q3 call plus wake up in the middle of the night for crying babies, or have to come home after 12 hours of work to children who've not seen me in days...and who need my love and attention.

    And, I can't imagine trying to make it through medical school as a mom. It's tough enough by itself! I guess some people have the strength for it, but I don't think that I do. But that's just me and the decisions I've made for myself. Everyone is different. :)

    Good luck to you. It's a tough decision, but I know that you will make the right one for you.
     
  9. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg 1K Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by k's mom:
    <strong>meep-meep, thanks for sharing from your childhood. It helps me get more perspective on where my husband and I may be in ten years. Anyway, regarding the original question re: med school and family, I have to ask, what if you were a single parent struggling with three minimum wage jobs just to keep a roof over your kids' heads? Would that make you any less loving of a parent? Any less important to your children? Absolutely not! The fact that someone is in a position to DECIDE about whether or not to go to medical school, shows that they are very fortunate indeed. My mother had to put me in childcare when I was two weeks old, and I, too, was a latch-key kid from first grade...6am until 6 pm. I turned out just fine, and my mother is still my best friend. She did what she had to do to support us, and I love her dearly for it. The way I look at it, and one of the reasons I haven't balked at my husband starting medical training at the ripe age of 32, is that I can't imagine spending my entire life with someone who didn't have the opportunity to try living his dream. If he had wanted to stay a bartender, or if he wanted to be an astronaut, it wouldn't matter. In the short run we are sacrificing the house, nice cars and fat retirement savings, but I know our son will be better off because his father is working hard to achieve something that makes him happy and fulfilled. Every parent feels guilt (BELIVE ME ON THAT ONE!!!), may as well follow your dream while you're at it! You teach your children more through example than through words.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I can attest to meep-meep being raised great in a 2 busy parent environment. :)

    About the single parent and 3 jobs..that's what my mom has done since I was 6. She is getting remarried (yay), and I am 19, so I'm quite happy that she wont have to be carrying jobs anymore. Anyway, it is RARE, but all of us came out just fine.

    Notice: RARE. Very RARE that all three of us came out completely normal.
     

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