Wow! How glad I am to find this board! And here I was thinking I was the only one with two children - a 17 month old and a thirty year old. Just knowing that other successful women are married to the inertial equivalents of compost heaps makes me feel better. Some nights, hubby gets on the sofa and doesn't leave - while I feed, bathe, and rock to sleep our daughter, then proceed to tackle the laundry/dishes/mold-du-jour in the shower stall. While supposedly studying for IM boards, I might add - which are in SIX WEEKS. Yippee!
Despite the frustration - not I, nor one of you I would dare say, would trade life such as it is for life without our precious children. Don't they make your heart sing?
I agree with BBDoc. It is a challenge but it can be done. You just have to set your priorities and then modify your life and your practice to meet those priorities. I had one child during residency, one during fellowship, and one since I have been out in private practice. I must admit that I had more support and "protection" for maternity leave in residency and fellowship than I had in private practice. I think having your children during training can be done and the struggles of nightcall and daycare can be overcome with a little creative thinking and a little less sleep. Plus I am fortunate enough to have a spouse (also a physician) who does at least 50%. Some time away is a really good idea for making decisions such as have been mentioned above. It really gives you perspective.
I'd just like to add my voice to those who've urged that there's always more flexibility in your choices than you might realize. I've got a 5-yr-old son and a 2-yr-old son and am currently a PGY3 in Psychiatry. I left a career at a large law firm more than 9 yrs ago (and then left my 1st husband) to go back to school to pursue a career in psychiatry, and despite the obvious financial sacrifice have found my passion.
My current husband's been underemployed or unemployed ever since we moved 2 yrs ago for my residency, and our kids have been in full time daycare the whole time because he's still in the job market and has done temp work on and off. So the ~$50K/yr we needed just to live relatively comfortably has never materialized. Even so, we've survived, and I know that we can continue to do so though our cars are hand-me-downs from my in-laws and it seems like I rarely buy anything for myself that costs more than $5.
Like many of the rest of you my marriage has been under strain repeatedly during these years, even though my husband honestly does far more than half the work around the house. We finally got a cleaning service to come in every now and then (maybe about once a month) to make our house less of a wreck and there are many, many things that just don't get done (eg what is ironing, dusting, etc.).
My experience after leaving my last career has been invaluable as we weather this rough patch. I know that even though we feel broke, we're actually very fortunate--we've got a lovely house, good daycare, and will never be hungry or truly in need of any essentials. It sounds sappy, but it really is all that matters, and there's nothing better than having a career where you wake up every day (or almost every day) eager to go to work. If you're not getting that, then there is probably a way to restructure some of your priorities to make it happen, but there will still only be 24 hours in each day, and you may find that your partner's priorities are not the same as your own.
I am so happy to have found this web site today. I just want to espouse similar feelings as everyone else...
I, too, have wished for the ability to stay at home and raise the kids (I have only one right now). Through the years, my husband has taken on more and more duties of homemaking and child rearing and to the chagrin of my ego, has become the "primary care taker" of our son. I've swallowed my guilt and pride and accepted this, knowing my son is in good hands (although my husband and I do differ in opinions on certain child rearing subjects). But, as my husband has adjusted to his evolving role, I am still adjusting to mine, which is the bread winner. It makes for interesting relationship dynamics and neither of our families have ever blazed this trail before.
I do have one helpful bit of information though for those willing to listen. As I have stated in other postings, I am in the military. Although I dream for the day to be "free", I know I have a good thing at the moment. The military offers residency training, most are decent, some are not depending on the field. As an attending though, I think military docs have it pretty good. Salary with bonuses usually don't break the 100k mark but there are other perks like loan repayment. Housing stipends, very inexpensive day care. Health insurance for all family members. Reasonable duty hours. No overhead at all. Very interesting duty assignment locations (ie Japan, Germany, England, Italy, Turkey). And the experience of serving fellow man and your country.
Although, as I said before, I don't want to do this forever, right now my hours are 730 to 5, no weekends and as a flight surgeon I get to take care of pretty tight knit community and fly in an F-16 every week.