Last night we went out to dinner with a friend of my husband as well as his girlfriend. Both members of this couple were graduate students and didn't have any kids yet.
If you were to construct a Responsibility Scale to rate the obligations that various people have in their lives, I would say that being a medical resident with children would fall on the higher end and being a childless grad student would fall on the low end. The very very low end. Like, zero.
Naturally, the topic of my own career came up. When the friend discovered that I'm a resident, his first response was, "Wow, that must be REALLY HARD."
Then he added: "You must be EXHAUSTED."
Well, yes. It is hard and I am exhausted. But regardless of the hard truth of that statement, I absolutely hate it when people say that to me. Maybe in this case we could blame it on the fact that Melly had just thrown like five consecutive tantrums (damn teething), but it seems like that's the universal response I get whenever someone hears that I'm both a resident and a mother: sympathy.
I don't want sympathy. Not unless it comes with an offer of babysitting.
Sometimes I question my reasons for going to med school and if they were the right ones, but I have to say, I'm pretty sure I didn't go so that people would feel sorry for me. And I know I didn't get pregnant so that people would comment on how absolutely horrific and miserable my life must be.
Just once, when I tell someone about my job and my child, I wish they would say to me: "Wow, I'm so jealous of you. You have a wonderful, fulfilling career, and you have a beautiful daughter."
(And not be sarcastic when they say it.)