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Med school/residency with kids - who's done it?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by spacecadet, Jun 10, 2002.

  1. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Hi, I'm going to be entering medical school at Baylor next year (deferred this year). At that point, I'll have two little boys who will be 3.5 years old and 10 months old.

    I guess I'm looking for advice/reassurance that I will actually be able to do this without totally neglecting my family. I have an extremely strong desire/need to be a doctor, but it is scary to think that my kids will be 11 and 9 before I am done (if I'm lucky).

    How do you handle it? About how much time do you get to spend with your kids during: pre-clinical? clinical? residency?



    P.S. My husband is very supportive and an excellent dad (he already does more childcare & housework than I do). He won't be home full time, but I have family nearby too. He is behind my going to med school, but I know he is scared too.
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  3. k's mom

    k's mom Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2001
    Pennsylvania, via Tucson
    No can do it.
    Take a look at the spouse/partner forum and post the same question. You will be pleasantly surprised at how many med students with families are out there.
    Best Wishes!
  4. jlw2004

    jlw2004 Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    philly area
    I'm doing it. I have 2 daughters ages (now) 4 and almost 7. As a parent, you won't have as much time as your "just out of college" classmates, but you probably have more experience at prioritizing. The hardest part is the never ending guilt (I'm not spending enough time with the kids / I'm not spending enough time studying / I'm not spending enough time with my husband / I'm not spending enough time sane!)

    During class room, I was actually able to spend MORE time with my girls than I could working full time. If I wanted to do something with them, I just skipped class (Shh.. Don't tell the promotions committee!). You can't just skip work if you don't feel like going. I start my clerkships in a few weeks, so I know that my time with them will be greatly reduced, but they will be and are my top priority. If the house stays dirty, so what. If I don't get to the grocery store, we can have PB&J another night. My time will be spent with them.

    I recommend checking out the website <a href="" target="_blank"></a> for advice from other Mom docs / med students.
  5. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Thanks k's mom and jlw, I appreciate the responses. I cross-posted to the spouse/partners forum (hope nobody gets PO'd about that) as well but haven't gotten any responses there.

    Jlw, thanks for the reference to MomMD. I've actually been a member there for a long time (before I found SDN even, I think). It helps a lot to know that other people have been through this. I'm sure guilt is going to be a big issue...

  6. go GOP

    go GOP Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    McLean, VA
    I don't think that it is too hard to strike a balance between family and med school. I just finished my first two years with a wife and daughter. There is no doubt in my mind that I could have locked myself away for two years and pulled nearly straight A's. With a balance, I am a strong "B" student. Further, this balance has allowed me to deal with the stress well and keep my sanity.
  7. Mad Scientist

    Mad Scientist Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2001

    Actually, I'm at Baylor and I have two young children, not that much different ages than yours. I know a lot of people who have managed it; many of the MD/PhD's have started families by the time they return to med school.

    I think the important thing is to think and talk (to your spouse) about what kind of support system you will have. During the basic science years it's not that big of a deal--you can study at home, and very few things are so critical you can't miss them. (Note: I DO recommend going to class/study sessions as much as possible.) But during clinics you are going to have to work out with him how the kids are going to be taken care of (day care, whatever) and what is going to happen when they are sick, for example. It is difficult to get out of clinic responsibilities for that kind of thing.

    For residency, it will be a lot worse, in a sense. You'll be working long hours and won't have the ability to take off for any but the most dire family emergencies. A support system is critical in this case. I have determined that there is simply no way I could do residency in Houston, as we don't have any family here, so I am working out a way to go back to my hometown for residency. Fortunately they have a pretty good program there in what I want to do. You said you have family here in Houston; they may be able to help for things like sick kids. (Also it is important to have someone around who can take the kids once in a while so you and your husband can have time alone!)

    Two more things:

    1) There is a big difference between how much work it takes to pass (a decent effort) and how much it takes to be at the top of the class (an incredible effort, only possible for a few). Unless you are absolutely bent on dermatology, orthopedics, (maybe) radiology, or one of the other hard-to-get-into fields, just aim to pass and have a balanced life.
    2)Also note that what field you choose to go into will have a big difference in your experience during residency in regards to family.
  8. applicant2003

    applicant2003 Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    Mad Scientist: Which fields would you consider to have the most family friendly residencies?
  9. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Thank you Mad Scientist and go GOP. I appreciate the encouragement. I'm so glad to know that others have done it and survived (especially others at Baylor!).
  10. Mad Scientist

    Mad Scientist Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2001
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by applicant2003:
    <strong>Mad Scientist: Which fields would you consider to have the most family friendly residencies?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Well, all else being equal I would say that Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and some of the so-called "lifestyle fields" (e.g. Derm, Ophtho) are more family-friendly. There are many exceptions, though; I am aware of one Family Medicine residency that seems to have as a goal to be sure that no one leaves their residency still married.

    Another big thing that will determine family-friendliness will be the location. In general, smaller towns will be more family-friendly because in general people in smaller towns (including faculty and residency directors) are more oriented toward family than career. Obviously, this is a broad generalization, but I've found it to be true.
  11. colorado_1

    colorado_1 Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    well depends on the school. my school is less lecture and more 'learn on your own' and my 18 month old was 6 months old when i started and i provided most of the daytime child care. my wife works full time to make our ends meet, but yes you can do it. it just depends on what your priority is. mine is my family 1st, career second, period. i know the history of this profession is career 1st, family second but no way for me. if you want to honor every class, your family will suffer. if you want to pass most and high pass/honor from time-to-time only your family can be your 1st priority. i always say, "if i can't take care of my family by making them a priority how can i ever care for my patients by making them a priority if i have had no experience doing something like that before."

    just a 2nd year med school dad
  12. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    Moving to the Everyone Forum...

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