There's a lot of discussion out there on how to manage pregnancy and new motherhood during residency training. But what comes next?
Resident-mothers should constantly re-assess their relationships with work and family as their children get older and develop a different set of needs. Parental responsibilities will shift from breastfeeding and diaper changing to instilling your kids with good values and making sure they do their homework. Managing time between residency training and family is a constant challenge, and at the end of the day, you'll know what works best for you.
Determine your own standards for work-life balance. While there are some universals to being a resident-mom, no two situations are alike, and developing a feasible plan for achieving work-life balance during residency training will depend on your particular specialty, training center, and family situation. Communicate your goals and needs with your family to figure out how to divide home responsibilities and make time for each other.
Build a solid support network. Both residency and children are highly unpredictable, and things will not always go according to plan. Having the support of family, friends, and colleagues nearby will make a world of difference when you are struggling to satisfy the needs of both your patients and your kids.
Regularly re-evaluate your professional and personal life. As your children get older and your relationships change, your responsibilities as a mother and spouse will also need some tweaking. Check in with your family regularly, be open to compromise, and make changes if necessary. For example, if your significant other changes jobs, how will this affect school drop-off and pick-up duties? If your kids are starting new hobbies, will you be able to make time to attend their events or performances? Family dynamics are in constant flux, and it is important to be aware of these changes and adjust to them accordingly.
Make time for yourself, your family, and your friends. It is easy to be swept away by the constant demands of work and neglect personal responsibilities in the process, but spending time alone and with your family will give your heart and mind a much needed break and help you stay sane in the long run.
More on motherhood and medicine
Choosing a Family-Friendly Medical School
Having, Raising Kids During Medical School, Part 1
Having, Raising Kids During Medical School, Part 2
Choosing a Family-Friendly Residency
Having a Baby During Residency