× Women Physicians


6 years 10 months ago #88499 by displaced
I only work PT, but with the two kids, we can't even keep up with housework, cooking, shopping, quality family time, etc. Long gone are days where I can exercise, read unless it's in bed nursing in the middle of the night, or take care of a lot of basics for me. And this is not extra like CME, licensure junk, etc.
Adding to the problems is an older home that needs a lot of upkeep that I want to do myself but takes so long. And I need to lose about 40 pounds after my last baby but don't have time in the day to worry about that! I love to craft but I still haven't gotten around to a project I started on maternity leave ONE YEAR AGO!
I want to hire services (housekeeper, handy man, etc) but they are soooo expensive! I wonder if working is worth it as my kids are getting older and I seem to always be so stressed out. DH keeps saying things will get better, but they've been pretty depressing since I had my first child, more than four years ago. I just see my child starting K this year and wonder what I traded in his first four years for... a lot of cr*p, that's what. DH says he wishes he made enough so I wouldn't have to work, but I keep saying we should just move somewhere it wasn't so expensive and then we'd be fine.
But I wonder if I were a SAHM if life would truly be any different? I'd be busy with the kids at home and how do SAHM get things done with kids running around all day? Would I really have time to cook, clean, exercise, etc? Or would I just be in a different scenerio with less income? Any thoughts about SAHM vs working physician mom (PT like I do already)?

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6 years 10 months ago - 6 years 10 months ago #88501 by sahmd
We hear from lots of SAHM's here. I was one myself (maybe you could tell from my username). Here is my cynical image of the trajectory of being a SAHM, which may or may not be true for you.

1. WorkingMom feels stressed out, trying to balance work and family.

2. WorkingMom quits and becomes SAHM.

3. SAHM feels very free and can spend way more time on childrearing and domestic tasks. SAHM is happy.

4. Years pass. SAHM gradually takes on way more responsibilities at home and in the community. She is not working anymore, so she feels that she can't say no. SAHM's husband grows used to leaving everything domestic to her.

5. SAHM wonders if she will ever be able to get a job as a physician again. She misses medicine. But there is no clear path to re-entry because medicine is not set up that way.

[Here the trajectory branches.]

6a. SAHM finds a re-entry program and/or gets a job. She is happy to be back at work -- it is like riding a bike. However, she faces a lot of resistance from her husband, who resents having to share the domestic chores again. She is still trying to do as much as possible at home, but in fewer hours. It is stressful.

6b. SAHM gives up on working as a physician again. There are many valid reasons: we have to live in this small town because of my husband's job and there are no part-time jobs for me here; my child has special needs and I need to be there for him/her; I thought my children would need me less when they got older but I was wrong; my elderly parents have taken a turn for the worse and need a lot of my time; I worry that I have lost my skills and don't think anyone would want to hire me; I let my license lapse and my state requires me to jump through 1000 hoops to get it back and I just don't have the time/money to do that; I moved to another state/country for my husband's job and there is no way for me to get a license here.... These are the very real situations that a SAHM can get into because she is a SAHM.

Is scenario 6b a problem? Well, if you are happy and independently wealthy and don't miss medicine, maybe it is not a problem. But occasionally people will suddenly find that they need to go back to work, usually for financial reasons (because things change). If it has been many years, they find that re-entry is very difficult, especially if they have burned their bridges by letting licenses lapse.

Back to your situation, displaced, becoming a SAHM is an option, and maybe it is the right option for you, I don't know, but you will sacrifice significant income and professional standing and you will face re-entry hurdles if you are gone for a long time. It sure would be simpler to tweak your current situation to meet more of your needs. Tweaking might involve working slightly less, or paying people to do some of the things you want done, or deciding to give up on some projects, or getting your husband to do more. You might find that small changes can make life less stressful. Good luck!
Last Edit: 6 years 10 months ago by .

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6 years 10 months ago #88515 by AmmaMD
It has helped me a lot to think very concretely about "how much do I make per additional hour I work?" vs how much it costs to hire someone to do housework/errands - and how much I like doing each thing. So, even if it costs $29/h for someone to come clean, if they bring their own stuff, do it efficiently, and I can moonlight for $60/h (factoring in taxes, commute costs/time, etc) - well, then, heck, CLEARLY worth it. Having our childcare person stay 20 minutes longer each day and chop all the veggies for dinner? FABULOUS. All together, means that when I am home, I'm doing the things I like to do / can do with kids around.

I do feel a little strange being semi-broke with household help - but the numbers make sense, and boy has it improved our lives to just accept that!

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6 years 10 months ago #88553 by OnExtendedLeave
I agree completely about having help around the house -- there are lots of things people will do for $15 - $30/hour, including child care, cleaning, cooking, handyman work, yard work, etc. I also only worked part-time in order to have more time for the kids. I still don't have enough time for everything I want to do, and I no longer work clinically. I didn't have enough time working 100+ hour weeks as a resident, and I don't have enough time with 3 kids and working 1 or 2 shifts per week. A lot of my SAHM neighbors complain about not having enough time to exercise, etc, as well. I'm not sure I'd give up working entirely to feel like you have more time, unless you hate your job, in which case you might like to think about what alternative part-time work you might want to do. Good luck!

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6 years 10 months ago #88569 by asunshine
Thank you, sahmd. Your perspective is really valuable.

displaced wrote: DH keeps saying things will get better, but they've been pretty depressing since I had my first child, more than four years ago.

OP, do you mean that you feel depressed, or the situation is depressing? If it's the former, it might be worth addressing that issue before you make any further decisions, no?

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6 years 10 months ago #88585 by Docmomof4
Displaced-are both of your children not in school yet? I would be interested on SAHM's perspective on being home once the kids are all in school full days. I have three in full day school and only one baby and can already see the light at the end of th tunnel. I simply work while they are in school and have one day off. The day off allows me to grocery shop, go to the gym, run errands without kids. I am around for them in the afternoons to carpool or drive them to all of their activities. It is ridiculously busy but a great balance. I have sucked it up and gotten cleaning people one per week and I have someone come over on my call night once per week for 2 1/2 hours to help with kids and dinner and watch them if I have to run out. That at least is one day I don't stress about getting everything done by myself at night (DH does the morning routine so he gets home late, often at the tail end of dinner or during bath time).

It is still stressful but infinitely better than it was when I had three ages 5 and under!!

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