Jul 14, 2009
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Pre-Medical
Okay, I know this question has probably been asked a million times on this site, but I figured I would shed light on my particular situation. My husband and I have two children currently ages 18-mo and 6, and I'm about to go back to school after being stay-at-home mom for a year to finish up med school prereqs and work on a second degree in Biomedical Sciences. If all goes to plan, my son will be in K5 and my daughter in 4th grade when I begin med school. My husband is a chemical engineer so our income is fairly stable, he's always been a natural with the kids and doesn't mind being home with them, and my parents are in town and are pretty much at my disposal in terms of watching them when my husband is not available. With that said, I feel as though I have a good foundation given my circumstances, but I still wonder realistically how much time I'm going to have with them as their mother. I've managed college fine with kids, but I know med school is different. I'm aware that it will be hard and I will not be home as much as I would like, but will I be able to attend ballet recitals, t-ball games, etc? Will my mom have to fill in for me when it's "lemonade with ladies" day at their school when the kids make posters about why they love their mom so much? If I don't become a doctor then I honestly don't know what to do with my life, but I need some perspective on what exactly this is going to mean for my kids. Approx how many hours in the afternoon will I be home? Parents who have raised children during medical school please give me some advice!
 

nontrdgsbuiucmd

10+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2008
998
3
my own little world
Status
Medical Student
I'm in the same boat now that you will be in when you start. I'm starting shortly, and have researched this quite a bit.

There are a fair amount of threads regarding the number of hours one works during med school the summary of these is that typical students spend similar hours to what one would spend in a fulltime job in the first 2 years of med school. M3 is tougher and has longer hours, 4th year sounds easier than 3rd year. A number of posters mention being able to finish studying around 5-6pm and being done for the night. So if you were cool studying during the evening rather than during the afternoon, you should be fine seeing your family. Schools vary regarding class hours; anatomy lab may be essentially required so this may be something to consider.

I've gone to lots of school. During my grad program, some students worked fulltime, others were fulltime students. There was a clear demarcation in the hours spent doing things; when you have fewer hours to do something, you tend to focus on the high-return things rather than shmoozing with peers and the like.

All in all, you've got a great setup to do this, w/hubby making enough to maintain a normal life (assuming you go to med school within commuting distance of your home/his job).

The way that I thinks about this is that I've had many years of quality time with my kids, from birth. Physicians often don't have this due to call schedules, residency training, etc. Going to med school, I expect, will hugely detract from hours available for the family. It will be a tradeoff.
 

elderjack21

10+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2006
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I think the biggest hurdle to start with would be getting into the school that is closest to you. I have known a few people who got into schools that were in other cities and states than their family and couldn't make it work.

So, if you can stay local then it is totally doable. If you can manage being a stay at home mom, than you can manage medical school. I have two young children at home (2 and 3). First year I studied before school, 500ish to 7 or so. Ate breakfast with the kids then headed off to school. I could usually get some studying done during the day in between classes. Would come home and play with the kids for an hour or so, eat dinner with them. Study for another hour or so...then help with bathing, snack, books and putting them to bed. Then spent some time with my spouse and studied a little more before going to bed. I guess 3rd year is more demanding, but am not to that juncture yet.
 

cabinbuilder

Urgent Care Physician
10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2005
4,543
2,364
Texas
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Attending Physician
Ok, I started med school when my kids were 2 and 5. My husband worked full time crazy hours 3am to 3pm 4 days a week so he could be off to pick the kids up from school at 3:30.

Here is my schedule in med school is listed below. I set it up so I wouldn't lose my mom time. My school had mandatory attendance and I looked at being there just like going to work since I don't study well by myself.

Mon-Fri class 8-4:30. Visited my daughter during the lunch hour at home. Came home and cooked dinner, visited until study group. My daughter was only in daycare 2 days a week and my son was in before school care on the days my husband didn't work.

Mon- Thurs study group 6:30-10:30pm
Friday night, Saturday was my mom time, catching up on cooking, bills, mail, kids projects, etc.

Sunday cooked brunch. Study group started at 11am-? sometime 12 hours because at my school, LECOM, we had exams every Monday morning.

First semester with anatomy is the worst time eater since you have to be in the cadaver lab learning all the structures as well as the bookwork. That is 10 weeks of hell, after that things were much better. I didn't find rotations to be that hard but I tried to gear them close to home. Most of the time I was home by 6pm and very few rotations had pre-rounding with early mornings. You just have to be smart choosing rotations sites and knowing what you want to focus on. Why kill yourself on a super hard surgery rotation if you are not going that route in residency?

So, you can do it with kids. You just have to be diciplined and schedule your study time. I was very strict with my study partners because I knew I didn't have the weekend to make up lost time if we talked too much. It worked well and I pretty much was a B student in med school. I was happy with that. I actually saw my kids more during medical school than I did when I worked a 40 hour week as a CNA.

My residency was very family friendly and worked with us who had kids. I did well enough to become chief resident and taking care of 16 other residents, schedules, meeting, rotations, etc. It all works out.
 

punkiedad

punkie's dad
10+ Year Member
Feb 16, 2008
357
1
NW PA
Status
Medical Student
Ok, I started med school when my kids were 2 and 5. My husband worked full time crazy hours 3am to 3pm 4 days a week so he could be off to pick the kids up from school at 3:30.

Here is my schedule in med school is listed below. I set it up so I wouldn't lose my mom time. My school had mandatory attendance and I looked at being there just like going to work since I don't study well by myself.

Mon-Fri class 8-4:30. Visited my daughter during the lunch hour at home. Came home and cooked dinner, visited until study group. My daughter was only in daycare 2 days a week and my son was in before school care on the days my husband didn't work.

Mon- Thurs study group 6:30-10:30pm
Friday night, Saturday was my mom time, catching up on cooking, bills, mail, kids projects, etc.

Sunday cooked brunch. Study group started at 11am-? sometime 12 hours because at my school, LECOM, we had exams every Monday morning.

First semester with anatomy is the worst time eater since you have to be in the cadaver lab learning all the structures as well as the bookwork. That is 10 weeks of hell, after that things were much better. I didn't find rotations to be that hard but I tried to gear them close to home. Most of the time I was home by 6pm and very few rotations had pre-rounding with early mornings. You just have to be smart choosing rotations sites and knowing what you want to focus on. Why kill yourself on a super hard surgery rotation if you are not going that route in residency?

So, you can do it with kids. You just have to be diciplined and schedule your study time. I was very strict with my study partners because I knew I didn't have the weekend to make up lost time if we talked too much. It worked well and I pretty much was a B student in med school. I was happy with that. I actually saw my kids more during medical school than I did when I worked a 40 hour week as a CNA.

My residency was very family friendly and worked with us who had kids. I did well enough to become chief resident and taking care of 16 other residents, schedules, meeting, rotations, etc. It all works out.

Thank you so much for your post and to the others as well. I am startingin about a week. I have a 5 year old, a 15 year old and, gulp, maybe one on the way (OMG----not sure how to deal with this but will deal with whatever god gives us....)

This type of schedule is what I was envisioning. I spent the last three years doing pre reqs while working full time.....Great to see things can actually work out......still have to make it happen, but its great to know that it is doable in a real life context.

Thanks again for sharing.
 

cabinbuilder

Urgent Care Physician
10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2005
4,543
2,364
Texas
Status
Attending Physician
Thank you so much for your post and to the others as well. I am startingin about a week. I have a 5 year old, a 15 year old and, gulp, maybe one on the way (OMG----not sure how to deal with this but will deal with whatever god gives us....)

This type of schedule is what I was envisioning. I spent the last three years doing pre reqs while working full time.....Great to see things can actually work out......still have to make it happen, but its great to know that it is doable in a real life context.

Thanks again for sharing.
You are welcome. I am assuming you are the mom here? LECOM is very family friendly. I don't know if you know about the couple who finished in 2008 with 5 kids. She had the last 2 during medical school and her husband was in the pharm program. Yikes. It is very cheap to live in Erie. When I got my student loan money I did 3 things: pay my rent for 6 months, pay my day care for 6 months, go to Erie County Farms and bought about $300 worth of meat for the freezer so I wouldn't have to worry about shopping. It is the cheapest place to shop and NEVER go on Saturday, go during the week early otherwise it's crazy. I also bought my other food at Save-a-lot down on 12th or the store on Peach and 35th? down the street from the school. Can buy a ton of dry goods for nothing. I never shopped at Wegman's - way too expensive. Then I bought the rest at Sam's club. I got it down to about $100/mo in groceries for 4 people. We had simple meals that were wholesome but we didn't lack for food. Watched A LOT of movies at the dollar theater at Millcreek Mall. 50 cent tuesdays are a beautiful thing. Be sure you live so your kids are in Millcreek school district, not Erie city. Millcreek is the best school system ever. I miss that being stuck in Texas. Feel free to pm me for any other questions.
 
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Captain Fantastic

10+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2005
1,756
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Mizzou Med
Status
Ok, I started med school when my kids were 2 and 5.
My kids were 3 and 6 when I started medical school. Had the third child between 1st and 2nd year. Three people in my class had kids that summer. :)

Treat the pre-clinical years like a job and go to class/study from 8-5. Spend the evening with the kids and then hit the books again after they go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. Clinical years your schedule is dependent on the service, but again it's doable.
 

NontradICUdoc

Why so Serious?????
15+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2003
2,431
266
45
Philadelphia Area
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Attending Physician
I have been treating my medical school career as a full time job. And just like a job I created a schedule that I duly keep. In my first 2 years I had classes all day every day. In my first year the hours were typically 9-5 and in my second year they were typically 8-3. I took this opportunity to drop my daughters off at school or at the bus stop and wait with them. At the bus stop, my eldest and I were able to chat and spent real quality time together. We would talk about her birthday party, her friends, what is going on, etc. My wife and I agreed that I would come right home from school so that we can enjoy dinner as a family.

Unless it was the week before exams, I would then do the bed time routine of baths, story, and tucking in. Once things calmed down I would then study again.

I would do my major studying from Sunday evening through Friday evening on Non exam weeks. That left the weekend for family time. Since we are Jewish we observe the Sabbath on Saturdays and this is pure family time. Saturday nights, I go out with my wife as long as I can get a sitter. Sunday mornings, my daughters like to play Diner where they are waitresses and I am the short order cook. Then we do a family outing and by the time we get back it is bed time for the girls and I study. During the week before exams, this all gets suspended. but the evening of the exam, there is no studying and I am with the family.

Now that I have entered my clinical years, I do not have as much book work that I have to do but I will be in the office or in the hospital. Again, treating it like a full time job. The only difference is that if I have the 11pm-7am shift I can see them before they go to bed and when they wake up. If you have to do overtime at work you make up for it later on. Same with the clinical years. If I have off on the weekend, then I do more quality stuff with my kids. It is all give and take.

If there is a family event, as long as it is not before an exam we will go. If I need to miss class for a special event at my daughter's school, I do. In my school we record the lectures on a system that records everything that happens on the computer. I then download it to my ipod and take my notes as if I were in class.

The whole thing is a give and take schedule game just as if you were working full time. In end, I was able to go to 90% of all of the special events and be involved in my family's life. you cannot study 24/7 because you will burn out and fast. The time away from the books with my kids and my wife are a good break.