Hello, I'm a new poster here. This site is great, so informative! I've been contemplating going back to med school and have been trying to get as much info as I can.
Background: I'm 24, married for 5 years with a 1 year old son. I would need 2 yrs for pre-reqs plus a glide year, so I'm not looking at starting for at least 3 years. During those 3 years I would hope to have a second baby, hopefully soon. My husband will be graduating from law school in 2 years and should have a very well paying, albeit time-intensive, job by the time I would start.
I can see that residency is insanely busy/stressful, but my question is about the 4 years of medical school. Is there anyone out there who has done/is doing it with young kids? My son will be 4-7 years old, and if we have another baby soon he/she would be 2-5 y/o while I'm in school. My husband will not have much flexibility in his job at the beginning, so I imagine we would need outside help for sure. So how do-able is it? Were/are you able to maintain the amount of focus you need for school while still being a mom to little ones? How do years 1-2 differ from years 3-4?
As I try to determine what I am willing to sacrifice to become a doctor, I can imagine having a couple of very challenging years as a resident, even knowing that it will mean less time with my kids during that time. But it's hard to imagine 7 very challenging years without time for my kids. I know it's different for everyone, but I'm hoping for some feedback about what it looks like to go through medical school with young kids?
I have just finished my 1st yr with a 2 yr old. Here is what I do:
-My goal is to use only 6 hrs of daycare because it is not his fault that I chose to go to med school.
-I focus on cooking and eating healthy.
-I leave home at 9AM and go home by 4:30 or 5PM every day, no matter how crazy the class schedule is.
-I don't get stellar grades but I have never failed a class either and I am ok with it.
-My husband works from home, which offers us the flexibility with my kid's daycare. He does the dropoff and pickup. There is no way I can manage med school w/o his help.
-My mother in law flies in couple of times each semester and stays 2weeks each time.
-I never go shopping just for fun any more.
-I don't do yoga/aerobics/gym workouts any more. In stead, I either walk or run 1/2 hr. every day.
-No time for any kind of grooming- not even a hair cut.
Hope this helps.
Having had two children during medical school and knowing the struggles that face both new students and those already matriculated once clinical years and residency starts, my best advice would be to wait 10 years until your kids are at the stage of indifference. Your husband will be more comfortable in his job and have more security to adapt. You'll have more comfort with motherhood and family life. Finally, you won't miss the precious years where your babies live for every minute of your time.
Young kids in medical school was more heartbreaking than I realized. Though I had planned on becoming a doctor since I was 10, I seriously contemplated quitting school to spend time with my kids. The struggle between being a good mom and a good sudnet is not one I would choose again willingly.
What I realized after the birth of my first baby is that the time spent with them is precious and their youth is fleeting. Eat up these years. Medical school will always be there and they welcome non-traditional students (more responsible, more stable emotionally etc.). Even if you aren't the stay-at-home Mom type, take pre-reqs slowly, involve yourself with other activities, work part-time.
Its impossible to know until you're in the middle of it.
I'd say the most important factors in your success as a young mom in med school would be (and this is pure projection) how much husbandly help you get (i.e. is he invested in also caring for them--changing diapers, daycare duty, feeding, bathing *no matter what kind of job he has*) and what you envision motherhood to be. If you are currently a SAHM and can't imagine leaving your babies for more than a couple hours....then you might have more of a challenge. If you are happy finding a way to have quality time with your kids even if you can't have quantity time, then it will be easier. Sometimes you don't know until you do it (or choose not to do it).
Thanks, ladies, for your comments! It is probably true that you can't know for sure how it will be until you're actually doing it. My husband is very involved, and we would be hoping to live near both of our families, so we would have help from them, too.
HAM, when would you say is the "stage of indifference"? Of course I only know what it's like to be mother to a 1 y/o so far, but I would have thought having early-school-age kids would be a good time to go back to school (if there is a good time!). Old enough to somewhat understand what's going on, but somewhat oblivious to the details, getting more independent, and then in school 7 hrs a day, where they would be whether I'm a student or not. Not yet to the stage of wanting to be involved in lots of activities and needing mom & dad to taxi, cheer, chaperone, etc. But not babies anymore either! (I don't think I could do the baby years during school, that's for sure!) What do you think are advantages with older kids?
Anyone else care to share what life looks like in med school with young children? How many hours at school every day? How much outside studying? At home? At the library?
I personally didn't find doing "anything" outside the home to be easy with young kids, whether I was working full-time, going to school full-time, or both. Between never being 100% comfortable with daycare, to having to get there by a certain time in the evening or being late and charged a zillion dollars in fees, looking back, I don't know how I did it all and stayed sane.
For me, having an older child (teenager) and going to school/working a demanding job has been a breeze compared to when she was younger. I've been able to take her with me to class/lab and know that I don't have to watch her every second and that she's OK finding things to do while she's waiting on me. That self-sufficient thing is HUGE and takes away a lot of the guilt I had about doing my own thing or trying to when she was younger. Right now, we spend a lot of time together at local bookstores/libraries, me studying for the MCAT and her, for her SAT's and it works out to be great mother/daughter time too!
So to answer the question of how it looks IMHO, for me and other women who go to med school after kids are older or have graduated high school, it wouldn't have been "pretty" which is one reason why I passed on med school when DD was 4.