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A good mum

Discussion in 'Parents at Medical School' started by grub, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. grub

    grub New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I am 33 years old and long story short, I have wanted to study medicine since I was 23. Anyhoo, Im married with a 14 month old, I work 3 days a week, and, I may like to have another baby at some point. I am simply unable to decide what to do. It would be my third attempt over the years. Financially, I dont know if i can make it happen, got the mortgage, higher salary than husband, nursery fees, but, the greatest dilemma, the one that is the decider, is that I just dont know how or if I can be a good mum, and do medicine.

    I would be so grateful for parents at medical school or beyond, to share your thoughts. I really need some perspective.

    Thanks
     
  2. James

    James New Member

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    Of course you can still be a good mum. All over the country women work in high pressure, long hour jobs and still manage to be good parents. Being at medical school with young children is no different to the thousands of female doctors who work and bring up a family.

    The big question you need to ask yourself is how much else are you willing to compromise for your family and career. Juggling family and career is tough, but doable. Doing this and maintaining a good social life, hobbies, other interests is near impossible.

    My wife and I are doctors and have a 14 month old. On a normal day we get up at 6:30am, spend 10 mins with the baby then drive to the child minders. We then do a full day at work and whichever of us is finishing closest to 5pm picks up the baby on the way home. From 6pm to bedtime (7:30pm) it is play time with the baby, everything else waits. From 8pm to 9pm we eat dinner, wash up and get all the babies stuff together for the next day. After 9pm we try and sort ourselves out and start on work (audits, rota writing, replying to e-mails...it never ends), bed by 10:30-11pm. We watch hardly any TV, rarely see friends or go out. But I still consider myself to have a good, happy life which I enjoy (except when the wife is on nights and then it gets really tough!)
     
  3. Kim leanne

    Kim leanne New Member

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    yes

    I consider to myself to be a great mum, in fact i'm a better mum since starting medicine. The kids really respect me for what i'm doing and are also learning the importance of working hard and working towards a goal. Student life is much more flexible than most fulltime jobs so I see an awful lot of the kids. Like James, my social life is very poor but I couldn't care less because I love medicine, I love my husband and most importantly I love my kids.

    I get the same holidays as school holidays and get to pick them up from school every wednesday (sports afternoon at med school so you never have to go in on wednesday afternoons). Also if I finish early I pick them up on other days too.

    My kids were 2years and 5 years when I started medicine and I have never regretted it. I promised myself at the beginning that I would quit if I felt the kids were suffering as a result of me studying, and it has never been necessary (not even close).
     
  4. grub

    grub New Member

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    James thank you so much for your reply. Its very insightful to hear details such as your daily routine. But, as much as you say that you think it is possible, I am concerned about these points.

    If i do medicine, my husband will have no social life becuase of me. He is not enthusiastic about my wanting to be a doctor; he thinks it is impossible to be able to juggle giving time to him, our son and with friends and family. I feel he is right, but I am finding it impossible to let go. Actually, I am finding that my obsession with becoming a doctor, yet deep down feeling that I just dont see how it is possible, is ruining my life.

    I want to stop feeling this way. I am very close to my parents, my dad is 70 and my mum is 67, would I be able to spend as much time with them? I cook most of my son's meals so that they are home made, I go to soft plays, socialise with other mums, would I be able to do this? I like to chill out by the telly before I go to bed with my husband and watch neighbours (sad!). will life as a medic take all sense of normality as I know it away? Will I lose my relationship?.....I have a constant stressful agitation in my stomach.

    I miss learning so much, I love learning, I feel I have nothing to acheiive anymore; I work my 3 days as an optom, then come home, and like martigan said in another thread, becuase of the nature of my job, which is more clinical in scotland (we manage red eye conditions, glauoma suspects, etc), my dream is "dangled in my face" too....och, what should I do??!
     
  5. grub

    grub New Member

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    Kim leanne, thank you for your reply too. Can I ask, what support did and do you have with the kids? Your 5 year old would have been at school, who picked him up if you couldnt? Where was your 2 yr old? What was a typical week like for you? when did you study and when did you spend time with your husband and kids? Did you see your other family? Sorry for all these questions, I just need to figure out if this is possible?
     
  6. nabbe

    nabbe New Member

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  7. kaodeve

    kaodeve New Member

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    I'm reading this post with interest as I'm a mum to a 2 year old and have applied for entry this year. I read James' post and this has kinda scared me a bit as there seems a distinct lack of time with his other half and his child.

    Currently, I am at uni finishing my Masters that I started then paused. I love being back at uni as after 21 months at home, I was definitely stir-crazy and realised that I am just not cut out as a SAHM.

    I started my son in nursery gradually and built it up to 3 days per week just before I started back to make sure he was ok. The other 2 says he is at gran and grandpa's or with his Dad when he is home (works offshore). Anyway, I spend c. 1.5 hours in the morning getting myself and him ready. I manage to be home by 5pm everyday at the moment. Get c. 3-4 hours with my son in the evenings although have to prep for the following day (getting lunches ready etc) but no uni work is done at home whatsoever. At weekends, the same applies - no uni work gets looked at so time with my son and partner (if home) is quality time.

    I'm a little worried about how I'll cope with timetables etc should I be lucky enough to get in and they are not as flexible/manageable as my MRes hours/demands but will cross that bridge should I come to it.

    Not sure if I'v helped at all but I cope with my MRes and my son seems none the worse for me being out every day and ultimately, I'm a happier mum so that must be good for us both.

    Good luck with your decision.

    E.
     
  8. Kim leanne

    Kim leanne New Member

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    My 2 and 5 year old were dropped at a childminder at 7.45am, I then would catch the train in for lectures. I'd later collect them both from her at 5.30. On Wednesday I didn't need a childminder cause I only had 2 hours of lects that I often missed to spend time with the kids - quite easy to catch up using txt books. I did all my studying 9-5pm. Monday to Friday. Lectures are only a few hours a day so by studying in the library between lectures or after lects if they finish at 2 or 3pm I could get all my studying done in that 9-5 period. It's not too hard really. I would only work in the weekend at exam time. Otherwise I devoted weekends and evenings to my family. I have a twin sister who I'm very close to so I have to make time to see her regularly too, so there is time for family and friends.

    I find most med students waste a lot of time drinking coffee and chatting during the day and then study in the evening. If we had a 1 hour gap between lects I would go and study where as they would all go off for a coffee. That's the main difference between me and them - I waste NO time, time is very precious to me and I always have work with me in case I have a spare 10 mins!!!

    In the evening I always put the kids to bed, then get bags and lunches ready for the next day, then cook dinner and eat with Hubby and watch tv. I NEVER work in the evening. That is my relaxing time, and to be honest I'm too tired anyway.
     
  9. grub

    grub New Member

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    Kaodeve, thanks for your reply.

    My son is at nursery 3 days a week when i work, but i still have 4 days with him. I know that when he is 3 he will likely go in even on half days im not working as they will be paid for by the government and it forms part of their pre-school, so then it doesnt feel so much of a sacrafice.

    But, if I have another baby, which I would like to so that he is not an only child, I cant figure how this would work as if i am honest, i just couldnt put him into nursery every day, not to mention that I couldnt afford to pay for this.

    I keep trying to think of alternatives, but I cant. Do you ever consider pursuing anything with your masters subject, especially if the medicinet think doesnt work out?
     
  10. kaodeve

    kaodeve New Member

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    Thanks for posting this. It is encouraging to know that 9-5pm is about as late as timetables get. I would be the same when it comes to free time and use it for studying rather than coffee and socialising. I think with kids you have to ultra-organised so that you can get some relaxing time with them and your partner in the evenings and at weekends.
    E.x
     
  11. kaodeve

    kaodeve New Member

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    Before looking into medicine again, I was thinking of pursuing a PhD but when I found out that the age-restriction of 30 had been lifted (was in place when I started my Biology otherwise would have applied back then in 2000 for medicine), I just had to apply as it has been my dream since I was in my late 20's. Should I not get in this year, I will apply again for 2012. In the meantime, I will try and secure a job within the health sector to boost my application either in the biomed field or try for an HCA position or similar and if all else fails then voluntary work in healthcare.

    I have looked for suitable PhD's because I do enjoy research but until I have tried to get my dream and failed, I don't think my heart would be in it fully.

    Anyway, by March I should know the outcome of my applications this year. Only the 2 left so here's hoping.

    E.x
     
  12. dotvicky

    dotvicky New Member

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    Heya,

    I don't login to here much anymore (a sign of how busy one gets!) but thought I'd say 'Hi'. You can go read my diary as someone suggests. Other points - do not underestimate how ill you will/may get trying to juggle it all - I've been ill almost constantly since I started in October and you don't get any sick days as a parent or a medical student. Also make sure you have good backup support for when your kids are ill.

    Med school for me has been a bit more than a full-time job but only just - I'm probably maxing out at 50 hours a week but generally it's between 30 and 40. I'm not aceing the course but I'm hanging on in there. It's significantly more than 3 days a week so if you can't manage more than that, you need to think hard about other options but it's not stupid hours if you're efficient with your time and are prepared to do some early mornings/late evenings when the other half doesn't mind you not being with him.

    Also, remember that you can go part-time on the first day you start F1 (at least, you could in this year's intake, I believe) - it'd still be a near-full-time job especially if the EWTD gets binned and the money would be a joke (£12k in the first year?!?) but it's an option.

    Good luck with your decision. Ultimately, if it's more your partner's issues than your own, you may need to ask the horrible question of which is going to be better/worse for your marriage - choosing to do this without his consent or the resentment you may build up if you decide not to. Hopefully there's some compromising that can be done on either side to make it work.

    Vicky
    xxx
     
  13. grub

    grub New Member

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    Hi vicky, thank so much for your thoughts - i have read and re-read your blog and it is really infomative, thanks again for all your time that you put into doing it to help people like us!

    The sickness/support issue: actually, had a mare today at work. 15 month old son sick at nursery and they called to get him taken home....spent all morning running in and out of test room whilst testing a fully booked clinic trying to get hold of either my mum or hasband to see if they could help. my mum isnt reliable (my sister died a few yrs ago and she gets very down) and eventually hub collected him as he only had a meeting. receptionist was very annoying and made it very awkard, i.e. if i cancel clinic = no money for shop. tomorrow a problem agaain as nursery wont take him as 24hr req post-sick, but thankfully mum so far has promised to help tomo. so, can missing uni possibly be as stressful as this? maybe im deluding myself, but at least at uni, if this happened could leave without the added stress ofthe receptionist mumbling over and over "oh what you gona do, you have a full clinic tomrrow!!!".....what support do you have in such situations? How have you managed with your spate of being unwell?

    When are you doing your 50hrs uni work? is this mainly during the day? weekends? evenings? doesnt your hub feel you are neglecting him? (thats what my hub seems to be worrying about, as well as that i may neglect our son...). are you finding you are being with your wee ones enough?


    Oh,s o many qustions.....but i so so wanna make this happen!
     
  14. dotvicky

    dotvicky New Member

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    Is missing uni stressful?
    You can certainly miss any/all of your studies should you so wish but depending on the quality of the lecturer, you may find an hour's lecture missed is 3 hours of catchup time that you have to find somehow. Tutorials - again, it depends on the quality of the tutor (although a lot of absences are likely to get you a black mark). Practicals vary - for me, anatomy can *not* be learned from textbooks so if you miss that one, you're stuffed, histology the same to a certain extent, the others less so but again, you have to sign in (all this may vary with different universities) so if you keep missing them, you're likely to get into trouble especially if you don't do too well on the exams. As for backup, we have my husband's parents but they tend to need a bit of notice, similarly with the nanny we used to employ who now has a different shift-based full-time job. So, not much, mostly, it's my husband who is a work-from-home sales manager so either absolutely can't do it because he has a meeting or sometimes can if he doesn't.

    How have I managed with my spate of being unwell? By trying not to go nuts, crying a bit/lot and remembering why I did this and what the alternative is?!? Seriously though, it's been very hard work. Parenting is quite tough, medicine is difficult (although I would say easier than parenting but I think that may be more what I find easy/hard rather than a generalisation), doing both is seriously demanding and doing both while permanently ill is approaching impossible but I knew this wasn't going to be easy and I don't like the alternative of the easy but soul-destroying job.

    As I say, my normal week is probably standard full-time hours so that'd be 9 to 3, 4 or 5pm every week day with a very short lunchbreak. Then 2-3 hours 2-3 nights a week. That adds up to 30 - 45 hours-ish. Sometimes I manage to persuade the hubby to take the eldest out for a couple of hours at the weekend while the youngest is having a lunchtime nap giving me a few more hours then. Close to exams, the husband sometimes takes both kids off to the grand-parentals giving me a good 6 hours one day at the weekend.

    My hubby is lovely and very understanding and also studying a degree through the OU so our evenings are often spent in the study each of us at our desks working away. Very little telly gets watched (maybe 2 hours a week) and we try to make every Thursday night 'date night' if we can get babysitting sorted to make sure we remember what each other's voices sound like. :D

    As for neglecting the little ones, I was doing a 9 to 5 job before this and they were fine and I try to protect the 5pm to 8pm time to allow me to enjoy time with them in the evenings before they go to bed. This is also good time with the husband although we need time without them as well, hence the date-night.

    Of course, all this is university and I'm only a first year, and being a doctor will pan out a lot differently so don't take my current situation of sign of how it may be in the longer term.

    Cheers
    Vicky
     
    #14 dotvicky, Feb 9, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  15. grub

    grub New Member

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    Hi vicky, thanks so much for your reply again. Ok, what you have told me so far is kind of what i would expect my life to be like if i do medicine, except, one thing that bothers me is whether i would be able to find the time to do some socialising with other friends with the bubbs like what i do now, for exaample, go to the odd kiddie art class, soft play, activity type thing?...although, i know that he would be almost 4 when i would intend to start the course (i would ideally like to apply this yr for deferred entry to 2013) anyway so just one yr pre-school....but if i have another bubb before then, then this could be an issue as i esp wouldnt want to not be able to do these things with bubb2 if i did so with bubb1, i would feel like a crap mum!
     
  16. dotvicky

    dotvicky New Member

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    Well, each to their own - I'm not a naturally mumsey-mum so for me, being a good mother is about giving them lots of love, support and a positive role model. I am happy to see other people (teachers, care workers) providing them with those sort of experiences and we have every weekend to spend special time together. Ultimately though, I think if you want to be a very hands-on mother (or rather consider that an important part of being a good mother), medicine may not be the ideal thing. You can have everything just not all at once, there are only 24 hours in a day and spreading yourself too thinly may mean you can't do anything to the standard that you want.

    And even myself who is happy being quite hands off has many moments when I feel I'm not doing anything brilliantly but I think that's just life really.

    Cheers
    Vicky
     
  17. grub

    grub New Member

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    Its such a difficult decision. My mum never worked, so I think I compare myself to the expereince i had; my mum always being home when i got home from school etc. but, i realise also that even if i dont do medicine, it will not be like that for my son as I would be working, and i am career minded despite my mum not being so. Deep down, i still need to do this, to apply again. But, this time I feel in my gut that I really do want to make it happen, i just need to get my head around it; the sacrafices. I do admire you for being so decisive and you seem confident in your ability to be both a good mum, and a doctor, i just wish i had the same faith in myself, but as you intimate, each to their own, and i guess it depends on how much pressure i put on myself to do one or both...as to which is the least sacrafice, i really dont know.
     
  18. grub

    grub New Member

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    Kim leanne, i was jusr re-reading my replies and i realised i hadnt thanked you! Thanks for your input, i LIKE what you have said: seem to have it cracked AND no study at evenings and weekends....nice, i am feeling more optimistic :)
     
  19. welly

    welly New Member

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    Hi,

    I had kiddie #1 in my second year and #2 in the third year (on a 4 year course) - finally in final year!

    I also don't have a lot of time to come here anymore, but like others have said:
    By the time I've got in, spent a little time with the kids, got their dinner, bath and bed done .... Reset all their stuff for the next day, cooked, eaten and cleared up our dinner, checked emails its about 8.30/9pm which is just enough time to watch some junk on TV for an hour before going to bed and starting again.

    I haven't managed to do any work at evenings or weekends as that is home time. I'm not a genious by any stretch of the imagination - infact I failed written finals. I do (obviously) sacrifice my hour down time in the evenings and weekends in the run up to exams.

    Its not easy, but if you want both medicine and a family, it is manageable.

    Good luck!
     
  20. grub

    grub New Member

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    hi welly, thank you. wow, how have you managed that?! 2 preganancies whilst studying medicine...my mind boggles! can i ask what childcare support do you have?
     

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