× Family & Parenting

Questions from a Father

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8 years 5 months ago - 8 years 5 months ago #79527 by **DONOTDELETE**
Hello. I don't know how it might work during medical school or residency, but I wanted to let you know that my spouse and I are both physicians and have each worked out part-time work schedules that allow at least one of us to be home at all times. One of us is a sub-specialist and the other is in Primary Care. We have not used outside childcare of any kind since finishing training. So it certainly is possible once you become an attending.

Best of luck to you and your family.

Last Edit: 8 years 5 months ago by .

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8 years 5 months ago #79528 by sahmd
I just wanted to add one more thing about studying in med school. It's not just about passing your classes, getting good grades, doing well on boards, and getting a good residency. It is also ultimately about patient care. Some of the things you are learning may seem irrelevant, but you are building your knowledge base and your thinking skills so that you will be able to take good care of your patients for the rest of your career.

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8 years 5 months ago #79530 by English
I just wanted to echo some of the above comments. I hope I am not coming off rude, but it is incredible naive to think that you can raise a child without childcare in a 2 physician household, especially when you are not done with your training. I am an attending who is married to an attending and I am sure if we downsized our life enough that one of us could stay home to take care of our child, but you are still in training. Unfortunately, something does have to give & if you are going to take out a lot of loans then that sort of binds you to the workplace. Depending on your med school (required class attendance or not, etc.) you may have some flexibility, but what about your clinical years? On rotations you have to do call, etc & long hours. The truth is that even those that stay at home get help raising their children & I do agree it takes a village (as it should).
As for your wife and the "whatever" job -- she should do what is important to her & your family. The thing is that those "whatever" jobs that still offer flexibility to take care of your children are few & far between-- usually people who have them get them because they have a certain level of seniority & have proven that they are invaluable to the employer. The other thing is that it will be likely for less pay, benefits, etc.-- which is something that you should consider when making your final decisions.
I think it is great that you are thinking about all this ahead of time & there are many people that have been in your situation & have had children & done fine. But I think you should re-evaluate some of your expectations.
I totally agree with sahmd-- it is absolutely about the patients & when you start taking care of patients you realize that it is great to score high on boards, etc., but the value is in good patient care. Nothing drives that home like being a patient yourself or having someone you love in a health crisis-- you become incredibly grateful for competent physicians.

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8 years 5 months ago #79532 by kpzr/9145
One point I would like to make is, if you both take out lots and lots of loans to finance your medical educations, you may find yourselves both unable to work less than full time for several years due to your loan payments! Just when your child / children are young and you might like a reduced or flexible schedule! Sorry to be a downer but it important to be aware of what you are getting yourselves into. And avoiding childcare of any kind may be impossible, even if your wife does not attend medical school. I never worked more than part time as an attending yet I relied pretty heavily on childcare of various types. Like you, we do not have family near enough to help out on a regular basis.

kpzr

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8 years 5 months ago #79535 by southernmd

English wrote: I totally agree with sahmd-- it is absolutely about the patients & when you start taking care of patients you realize that it is great to score high on boards, etc., but the value is in good patient care. Nothing drives that home like being a patient yourself or having someone you love in a health crisis-- you become incredibly grateful for competent physicians.


Oh gosh - I agree with both of you guys. Hope I didn't come off like I don't believe this. I take medicine and patient care extremely seriously. You have to understand the place I originally came from, though. I was like the uber-extreme gunner of the world. I had to put life in perspective a little bit when I had a child. I still work my tail off in school, but if I didn't know every single little tiny detail second year - I finally got over it. Sometimes reading my baby a book was more important that evening. It took me a long time to also not judge myself by "numbers." I'm still working on that one. But patient care and clinical skills etc. etc. never ever are something I take lightly. In fact, I took very seriously the time I spent with a clinician as part of a year-long, second-year program. Loved it. And I am really looking forward to being on the medical team for third year.

And yes, I agree - unreasonable to think you could do this without childcare. And if my husband had not gotten laid off - we would have hired a nanny or done daycare. This is simply not the profession where you can avoid it. Seriously.

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8 years 5 months ago #79536 by asunshine
Questioning, look at these fantastic responses you got! Whew! I give you a lot of credit for being so concerned over starting a family and being there for your wife and kids. You will be a role model to your male classmates (most of them definitely need one!).

Questioning wrote: (1) Will I be able to pass my classes in spring 2012 with a newborn at home? (My wife will be the primary caregiver that semester, but I'm worried about sleep.)


Easily. The sleeplessness will be practice for wards.

Questioning wrote:
(2) Should I take a year off? If so, when?


If you want, but it's another year of interest accruing, plus another year losing the knowledge base you're building up (I'm on a year off currently). Since you're not giving birth/breastfeeding, you really don't need to. The only reason I would would be if you wanted to stagger things with your wife, and then you'd both graduate and couples match together. (It may be a good time to have a second kid, also. Did I just say that?!)

Questioning wrote: (3) How much does a baby really cost?


A whole heckuva lot of money. Childcare by far is #1, medical bills #2, but then there's baby clothes, maternity clothes, breast pump, baby food, cribs, diapers, wipes, all sorts of random things you never realized you needed. The truth is, I would say having a kid doesn't cost that much (besides childcare), but honestly we have been very blessed with hand-me-downs and gifts from family and friends.

Questioning wrote:
(4) My wife is concerned that she's not "Type A" enough to handle both a baby and school, and she's thinking about leaving school, getting a "whatever" job, and focusing on parenting. I think she's too intelligent and will be bored crazy. Are there mothers out there who aren't efficiency-expert gunners, but have figured out ways to get through medical school with a very young child? How?


I am so NOT type A....but then again, that's compared to other medical students. Nonmedical people think I'm insanely ambitious...so in your wife's case, it's hard to say! If your wife does not want to go to medical school, she should NOT DO IT. She will be miserable and forced to continue on because of debt. There are SO many jobs out there for people who are intelligent and hate being bored (e.g nurse anesthetist, health policy wonk, physiology professor, journalist)....you really have to love medicine and be willing to make sacrifices in order to do it.

I am definitely not the type to have everyone's lunches laid out by 5am, then stroll into the hospital by 5:30 with perfect hair and makeup, latte in hand. Definitely not the efficiency expert. I'm still surviving because a)I love what I do (the mom part and the medical part) and b) I'm willing to make concessions in, say, housekeeping in exchange for 15 more minutes of playtime/study/sleep.

Questioning wrote: (5) As a medical school student, what steps can I take to be present as much as possible, both to raise my child and support my wife? (e.g. Is studying at home really a viable option?)


I studied from home while my kid was little, but she was at daycare when I did. There is no way you can study effectively and also care for a baby. Both are over-time jobs. Maybe study somewhere that's a short walk away...just not at home. (I also second the people who said you sometimes make concessions with grades. I think southernmd is right on the money by putting everything into boards study rather than preclinical grades. Preclinical grades hardly matter to program directors compared to step 1 scores.)

And what English said was right--it is all about patient care. There will be times where you will have to pick between your family and your patient, and the patient will win (even when that "patient" is a subject you need to master to practice good medicine).
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