I really hope this isn't taken the wrong way at all. Not a great way to start a post is it? Just wanted to throw out some food for thought. With the cost of living today most mothers have to work but how many have a great education and the job choices a Dr. has? I guess what got me on this topic was reading how unhappy so many moms are with medicine. But. I don't think this is unique to medicine. Most moms these days have to work full time and a lot feel the same way. So, my question... is the misery from medicine or is it just the fact of being away from the kids? I will read more about this for sure. If it is being a dr. itself that is miserable, I have more homework to do than just my pre-reqs.
It is probably both (medicine itself and being a working mom). Medicine may be more problematic for moms than other fields because of the long tradition of super-long hours and inflexibility. Medicine is also problematic for doctors of both genders because of lawsuits, declining autonomy, declining reimbursement, etc., and it is unclear if things will get better or worse with health care reform. However, there are also a lot of great things about medicine, and other careers have their own problems. It really depends on what is important to you.
For me it really was medicine. Now working full-time as a physician in industry. My job still has long hours and stress (very different than the stress I experienced practicing medicine but still stress/high pressure work environment) but I am 100% happier.
Interesting question. I'd venture a guess that Moms working at McDonalds don't have the choice to quit while their husbands pick up the financial slack. However, I disagree somewhat that all working Moms complain about their jobs (I do agree that complaing isn't just limited to Dr's.) because I think it depends on your "background". Traditionally, the overwhelming majority of women of color have ALWAYS worked in additon to raising families (ie taking in laundry for example), so I've always found it interesting that most of the women complaining about working particularily in science/medicine, aren't women of color. Most women of color are just "happy to be there" in the first place given all the obstacles. Still I find myself wanting to ask working women the same question "what in the world did you expect" balancining work/life responsibilites was going to be about???
I've worked fast food gigs before to support myself (again, unlike so many premed types, whose first jobs were as a Resident), so while these jobs aren't academically stimulating, they're not as "easy" as the appear to be either.
What I, and a lot of other MD's I know expected was that medicine would be primarily about the patient. My personal opinion now is that it's not. I think that the health care system is a f-d up 3-ring circus that does not serve patients well. I don't know how to fix it yet but I know it needs fixed. It is so complicated (insurance coverage, in network, out of network, switching drs is very difficult, waiting 3 months to get an appointment etc)that it is nearly impossible for the average patient to navigate efficiently. Every single MD I know pulls the "I'm a physician" card to navigate the system. For the average Jane it simply sucks. An example...my 50-soemthing mother in law recently visited an ER ended up having minor surgery and was handed an enormous bill later for $ her insurance company was refusig to pay b/c the ER doc who saw her - without disclosing it - wasn't an employee, but rather a contrator and therefor not "in-network". She's tough, educated, and with-it so I know she'll get it figured out, but not without a fight. I know that many other patients simply cannot adovocate effectively for themselves when they get screwed. For me personally I do not dislike the practice of medicine b/c the work was too hard or b/c work-life balance was impossible. On the contrary, the hard-work part is something I thrive on. Like many people who choose medicine I am type-A. I enjoy challenge and I'd rather miss out on sleep if it means I get to do something exciting or interesting instead. It was hard to feel balanced for me while practicing medicine b/c I absolutely did not enjoy it once I was in practice. I now realize it had absolutely nothing to do with how many hours I was working or how "hard" I was working. In fact, I now (non-clinical job) work roughly the same hours I did in clinical practice and I actually overall see my kids slightly less b/c my job now involves significant travel. Despite this I am a much happier person and now able to feel that I can easily achieve work-life balance b/c I enjoy what I do. It is plain and simple fact that not all people who turn out to dislike practicing medicine - notice I did not say dislike medicine -once they get thru the training are delusional, spoiled, lazy, white princesses as you SO OFTEN imply PATH. I also wish to point out that PATH has not yet practiced medicine as an attending physician. If I am correct, PATH hasn't yet completed medical school. A point I think PATH and I agree on...I do think it is slightly delusional for women to enter medicine thinking from the get-go that they will have a guranteed part-time job as soon as they finish training or even crazier, that residency should somehow be a walk in the park. Keep in mind that many, maybe most?, woman who enter the field of medicine will ultimately enjoy practicing once they complete training.