Med students who are parents - any advice?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by one love, Nov 26, 2002.

  1. one love

    one love Member

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    I'll be entering med school next year as a mother of 3 young kids and I wanted to know from any other med student-parents if they have any advice/ tips/ etc about how to make it work...how to do well in classes while still being able to care for your kids/family.

    thanks
     
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  3. uffda

    uffda Senior Member

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  4. notstudying

    notstudying Senior Member
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    First of all, marry a great, supportive guy (hopefully you've done this already!).

    Then, make sure you are very flexible :).

    Make sure your kids have a consistent bedtime and schedule. I always studied after 8 once my kids had gone to bed, and since they were used to going to bed then, it wasn't a problem at all. Some moms I know would get up at 4 am to study-not my style at all but it worked for them!

    If at all possible, hire someone to clean at least every other week, so the pressure for deep cleaning is off of you. I'm still trying to figure out how to get someone to do the laundry for me...oh well...

    1st and 2nd years are easier in the sense that they are more predictable. I wasn't one of those people who had to study alot (I didn't need to to pass, and I wasn't trying to get the highest score every time). Be efficient in how you study, too. Join a study group, if that helps you (but if it doesn't, it's not worth the extra time).

    If your husband doesn't cook, buy lots of frozen meals, and plan meals ahead of time (I plan a week of meals at a time, and grocery shop once a week when I can. I have enough frozen stuff to make up an extra week. Don't forget kid lunches too-I do rely on Lunchables sometimes-I don't like giving them too much junk, but convenience foods can be a real friend).

    Once your kids are schoolaged, those rolling plastic drawers are great for organizing homework and papers. Teaching them to organize helps keep the clutter down (I wish I'd done that ;)).

    Third year is tough because the hours are long, and less predictable. If your kids are really young, you may want to think about a nanny. My husband has to get the kids to school, and pick them up. There's also less wiggle room for illness, etc. Think ahead about what you'll do if one of the kids (or your nanny) is sick-some daycares have sick care; or enlist a neighbor/relative as an emergency option.

    Make sure you make some time for you and your husband to go out alone (so he doesn't forget who you are!). Try to plan vacations with the family-I was able to take vacation during winter school break so we can go skiing (this was harder in the first 2 years since the break dates were set).

    Make special time to spend with each kid, no matter how crazy things get.

    Sorry this is so long-if you have other questions you can pm me.

    good luck!
     
  5. lamyers1

    lamyers1 Senior Member

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    Mom of three and pleeeze don't preach to me about needing a guy! Not needed! I agree with the bedtime. They are asleep by 8 and I stay up and study. I don't sleep at all or well since the semester started. I don't really study that much though. I wish I could bring myself to actually study each night for a couple of hours. I usually just study before the tests. Most of my friends do that too.

    The biggest problem I have is lack of money. They simply don't give enough for a family. They tell me my family can live on the same amount that a single person does. Well, my single classmates are already out of money! I work at the morgue, that helps. I guess I'll have to start donating blood to feed them here soon!

    btw, I HATE the name of that website (oldpremeds). I haven't found much useful there, and I'm too annoyed to click on it more than that one time anyway. ;)
     
  6. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
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    I usually put in 15-17 hour days at school. I couldn't possibly do this without a very understanding and supportive husband (and parents, too). I try to take off a couple of nights or weekend days each week, but with finals coming up I'll basically be gone for a week-and-1/2 straight. BTW: I tried studying at home after my kiddo was in bed and found that I was way too distracted at home (even though I had a nice, quiet place to study). I'm working on having a better balance of med school and family, but no matter what, school is a huge time drain.

    Totally agree on the housecleaner and cooking suggestions that notstudying suggested. I cooked & froze a month's + worth of meals before the semester started and did some more about half way through. I usually cook "new" food about twice a week, using the frozen meals or leftovers the other nights.
     
  7. one love

    one love Member

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    Thanks for everyone's suggestions! I'll probably try some of these suggestions soon in the coming months so they can already be habitual once school starts next year. My husband was helpful when I was an undergrad and should do the same in med school.

    Lamyers, lack of money is definitely one of my concerns. Luckily one of my kids is in school, but my other two still need full time babysitting (which is so expensive and I'm sure schools aren't going to give me that much to cover it). What have you been doing to make ends meet? Extra loans?
     
  8. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    Lamyers gets all the men in her class to buy beer for her. ;) JK I've only given her beer on a few occasions. :laugh:

    Can't wait for this X-mas break. She, myself, and the rest of our class are going to have to live it up.
     
  9. lamyers1

    lamyers1 Senior Member

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    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    Swampy/Gator: I know how jealous you are that the girls don't feed you as much alcohol as I get from the guys. (Although I know of one overly, voluptuous one that would be willing...you poor thing...snicker snicker.) Anyway, free alcohol is the advantage of having breasts! :D

    one love: My mom stays with me and doesn't work during the week. Couldn't do it without her. The schools will give some for daycare, up to 3000. a year. That's nothing. There's no allotted money for extra food, clothing, etc. I think it's crap. If you have not met your fed limits, and you demonstrate need, you should be able to borrow it! After all, we are the ones who are paying it back. I was joking with Gator today (after mooching dinner off of him) that I should be desperate enough to apply for food stamps! j/k Seriously, I work 1 or 2 nights a week at the morgue. I get to study and sleep and the silence is deafening!

    I think I would have enough money if I didn't have the few credit lines and the newer car. Also, everyone spends a lot moving in that first semester and getting set up. We are all running out of money early this semester.
     
  10. paean

    paean Senior Member

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    As to the food stamp joke, med students are eligable for food stamps if the meet one of the following criteria:

    1. Work 20 hours a week.

    2. Do work study (I couldn't find a minimum number of hours required)

    3. Have kid(s) under 12 and go to school full time.

    You also have to meet income and asset requirements, but federally backed loans (stafford, etc.) and work study is not considered income, and neither is scholarship or grant money if the amount you don't get more than tuition and book costs. You can get up to about $120 per family member.

    I met one medical student who did do this with his wife and kids, and said it made an enormous difference. There is one catch however, any nonstudent spouse must be working or actively looking for work for your family to qualify. So no stay at home parents unless they are disabled.
     
  11. Elliebelly

    Elliebelly Junior Member

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    I am a first year med student with a one year old daughter. Although it took some adjusting to, things are going just fine. I am married to a very supportive guy (although he does have his moments) and my school has been increadibly supportive - even subsidizing half of the cost of daycare! I do not think that you have to be married to make this work - however, since we do not have any family in the area, having eachother helps - A LOT. A good support system is key and learning to ask for help. both of which I still need to work on myself. It also helps that I completely trust my daughter's caregiver and she is flexible with us as far as pick up and drop off times go. I couldn't imagine spending 15-17 hours a day at school though. For some classes I study best on my own and use the lecture time to catch up on sleep, other classes I make it a real point to attend. I also have a great study space at home, so after my daughter goes to bed I don't have to go out again to study. I probably put in on average about 3-6 hr a day at school and study another 3-6 hrs depending on whats going on. Unless I have a big test coming up, I spend time with my daughter from the time she gets home (her father picks her up) and when she goes to bed between 7:30 amd 8. Although I am doing well and passing every class comfortably (I am at a pass/fail/honors school) I have to admit, I will be A LOT happier once Anatomy is over.

    Anyway, good luck to you and if you have any questions you can email me at [email protected]
     
  12. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie

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    Im a second year who recently acquired a husband and 9 year old stepdaughter (who lives with us full-time). I dont know, it seems to vary from school to school, but my financial aid increased by 12,000 dollars after I got married and had a dependent. That doesnt mean its easy, even though my husband works as an engineer and has a nice paycheck. Medical bills, daycare, and the simple cost of living just eat money up, but we're managing, with a tight budget (we also bought a house, which majorly contributes to the money thing - the 3 room apartment just didnt cut it for 3 people).

    As for time management, again, it varies from school to school what your opportunities are. We're lucky - first years have class in the morning, second years have afternoon classes. I see Boo off to school in the morning and then either study here (on the computer) or go to school to study there. I usually get in about 3-4 hours a day. John picks her up from daycare on his way home from work, and we both get back between 5:30 and 6:30. I have given up on studying at night - it just does NOT work. Dinner, homework, getting ready for bed and bedtime take the time between getting home and 9:30ish. Then John and I usually just want to spend some time together (a VERY rare and cherished thing). On the weekends, if its before a big test or paper or something, I'll take a day and either hibernate at the computer or (preferably) go study somewhere else - Starbucks, school, somewhere.

    Its hard to study at home with kids around - they don't understand that they arent the center of the universe, which is fine, they're kids, but its easy to get annoyed when you're stressed/studying, so I find it easier to skeddadle and let John do the watching. Of course you can train them not to talk to you while you're studying, but its awfully difficult, and they forget if you go more than 2 days w/o studying.

    The final thing is this: Dont expect to recieve As or Honors and still have time to spend with your family. I was a gunner coming in - even some last year. However, my life priorities have been revised. I study enough to pass, and maybe have a shot a high pass, but I will not put in an extra 60 hours of studying to get the extra few points to raise me to Honors. It simply isnt worth neglecting my family. Medical school is now a job, not a lifestyle, if that makes sense. Hope this helps.

    Star
     

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