Sunday, March 22, 2009

I hate boys!

Sorry, I need to vent:

A resident I know recently came back from maternity leave with her second child and happened to mention to another resident (a single male resident) that she was tired.

His reply: "Why are you tired? You just had a vacation!"

Hearing that story really made my blood boil. Of course, all women who have kids know that maternity leave is not a vacation by any stretch. I still remember mine as one of the most exhausting and stressful times of my life.

But what really got my angry about this was not the thoughtlessness of the comment from a single guy who really has no idea, but it drew attention to the fact that the most unreliable residents in our program are the single guys. The female residents with 2+ kids are always on time, considerate, hard workers, etc. The punctuality and attendance issues we have at our morning lectures are 100% attributable to the single male residents. Or "the boys", as I call them.

You would think that with no family to worry about, the boys should be able to be Super-residents. They should be the first ones into work in the morning and always willing to stay late to help out. They certainly shouldn't need to whine about covering an extra clinic here or there. Yet I'm finding that the opposite is true. The boys tend to be incredibly unreliable and the first to complain about coverage issues.

Of course, I'm generalizing. I know there are a lot of single guys who are great residents. But it really makes me angry when someone who can't even show up on time in the morning belittles a working mother of two for being tired.


  1. Yeah, was like that when I was a resident too. Nice to see things haven't changed.

  2. I don't think you are exaggerating at all. I would like to think somethings have changed but sadly the entitled, unconscious male is still with us after all these years.

  3. I hope he was kidding. I know he wasn't.

  4. I wasn't there when he said it, but I suspect from my own experiences that it was said in a "just kidding, but not really" kind of tone.

  5. I am not in medicine, but the same thing happened to me when I was pregnant with my first. Number of colleagues told me "So... you will have a few weeks vacation when the baby comes." I made a point to say each time : "No, it is not a vacation, it is a leave, and don't worry I am not getting paid, so I don't have any advantage over you !"
    By the way, on the subject of unpaid maternity leave, I think it is completely absurd to put this financial strain on new parents... We should get paid something... We are women, and yes we have babies, it is part or our lives !

  6. appreciate you recognizing there is generalization here.

    The single most helpful person in my residency was a guy without kids - he helped everyone.

    dads in residency whose wives work as physicians or something else are often in the same position as the working moms...

  7. Well, I'd imagine a lot of the surgery residents are single guys and I know they work their asses off. Unfortunately, I happen to be in a field that can attract shocking laziness. But that's a whole other whiny post.

    I actually don't know that many resident dads, but I'd guess they're pretty tired too.

  8. When I was in my third trimester, I was the junior resident on the neurotrauma service. One of the older male neurosurgery residents went to our chairman behind my back, complaining and demanding that if I missed a day of call, there should be serious repercussions. He and some others also made bets on how soon I would go out on maternity leave.

    Well, I didn't miss a day of call and worked right to the last day of the rotation (38 weeks into pregnancy).

    Ironically, about a month later, that guy ruptured a lumbar disc and was out for 6 weeks. And guess what - he never paid back any of the extra call we all had to take to cover his absence! Go figure.

  9. First, I have to say that I love reading this blog. I am a practicing female OB/gyn, single with no kids.

    I get your anger about the guy's comment, but I must take exception to some of your comments. You state, "with no family to worry about, the boys should be able to be Super-residents. They should be the first ones into work in the morning and always willing to stay late to help out. They certainly shouldn't need to whine about covering an extra clinic here or there." Just because someone is single and/or without kids does not mean that he/she does not have a life outside of residency. Maybe I want to go to church, hang out with my friends or just have some quiet time to contemplate the mysteries of the universe. Your needs as a parent are no more important than my needs as a single person. Whatever work needs to be done, should be shared equally.

    I don't deserve to be punished because I don't have childcare responsibilities. I say this a victim of a call schedule done by a mom who thinks the entire schedule should revolve around her needs for childcare. Woe to the evil person who complains and makes her figure out how to obtain a babysitter!

  10. Anon (people need to give names, so I can reply!): I used to be a resident with no kids and believe me, I was no Super-resident. I wanted to get out early just as badly as I do now. So I definitely get it :) But while I do understand, I still think it's a shame. I WISH I had been a better resident while I had that freedom.

    As for the "extra clinics", our clinic schedules is fairly cush and a lot of people will whine if they don't have 2-3 afternoons off per week. The argument is they want this time to do research or study. I get angry about this, because I still manage to study, even when I have no afternoons off and have to dedicate 90% of my evening to childcare.

  11. My husband the preacher says it is well known throughout "church world" that if you want a task to be completed fast and accurately, assign it to the busiest person in the congregation.

    That being said, I've noticed the same as you have and the opposite. Some new mommy docs act as though they are the first to combine motherhood and medicine and expect preferential treatment on an almost daily basis.

    I really think it has to do with basic work ethic. You either got it or you don't.

  12. I am currently a student and pregnant with my first child. And I understand your anger, it shocks me at how rude some people can be, and that means anything from the your getting a little chubby comments (no, I've just got an extra person connected), to the people who get frustrated when I say I'm tired, or that I can't go 8 hours without food without passing out or throwing up.

    And yes, as a single person, your needs matter too. But the married people have the same needs, as well as trying to balance them with a family. And mothers, that is completely another level, and something that I don't think is respected enough.

    But yes, somehow, and generally speaking, single, especially male or older, tend to be unreliable. I guess that might be why they are single. They also tend to be very inconsiderate. Having a family does a lot to help make you be a better person I think it tend to give a person better worth ethic, a proper sense of perspective in life, and better empathy towards others.

    And just to disagree with anon. actually I think the needs of a mother can supersede a single person, to a point. I have watched my mother, and I have never seen a single person balance everything she does, or measure up to the amazing person she is. Without a family, you are only contributing apart of what you can to society. And no matter how great your vocational success, how many deaths you help prevent, or how many rewards you get, I agree with the person who said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”

    And those without a family need to realize that the home life has the right to be the first priority. And if they don't believe me, go out and get your own family.

  13. Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog and I'm really enjoying it. I'm married to a first year surgery resident and I'm pregnant with our first child. He's getting a lot of slack for trying to take off a few days (like 3 days) when the baby is born... all from surgeons who have their own kids and remember what it was like with a newborn.

    I cannot imagine what it's like to be a female physician and have to go through pregnancy and motherhood with people who don't understand. The comment by this resident is just plain horrible.

    Anyway, just wanted to say hello and I look forward to reading this blog from now on.

  14. Yeah Fizzy, as a married but childless person, I have to say that while I certainly would be annoyed at having to work more than "my share" of work because of someone else's mommy duties, I will also say that taking care of a kid is way way WAY more important than any movie watching/ beer drinking/ grocery shopping I did with my spouse this past weekend.

    Just saying. I guess I'm a little hypocritical.

  15. Super resident or not, that was an extremely dumb/tactless/clueless thing to say. Vacation my left hind foot.

  16. I don't think in a residency program the mommies should have less work. But I remember before I had a kid, I'd often offer to help out the resident mommies to get them out earlier, just out of... you know, human decency. I would have felt guilty if I didn't.

    I really don't expect any exceptions as a resident mama (aside from maternity leave). If a single guy resident got stuck with the last patient, I'd offer to take the last patient next time. But I get annoyed when I find myself working harder than people who ought to have more time and energy than me.

  17. What FatDoctor said is right on the ball. I couldn't agree more. I know plenty of inspirational woman doctors/medical students with children, and a few with entitled attitudes (kids these days.....) Still when I hear things like "oh no, so many woman doctors, they will all want maternity leave and allowances!!" I roll my eyes.
    Anon March 22, 2009 10:42 PM is right that we all have needs(as a single, childless female I still do, call me selfish if you like). But these entitled people (who the tabloid media tends to panic about when running stories on "woman doctors") would quite possibly be like that whether they had children or not. The ones I know in real life certainly would.

    What Fizzy said at 11.13 about human decency is so true. It is sad how uncommon "common" consideration and courtesy is (from all camps).

  18. I am not really sure why all of you self-entitled people in medical school and residency, think that it is actually an acceptable time to be having children at all.

    Your absence put a huge burden on the remainder of your class, and your constant need to leave early to "be with the kids", "take care of sick kids", etc. just highlights the fact that maybe you should have chosen a career more inline with what you percieve to be an ideal life - like being a PA, nurse, etc.

    The ultimate problem lies in the people who seems to "want it all", but feel they are "special" and don't need to sacrifice anything. Because some of us don't want children doesn't mean that we shouls supercompensate for those that do. Not everyone was meant to be a doctor, and if other people started using similar excuses in would certainly raise eyebrows - eg: I NEED to go on frequent climbing trips because it is consistent with my world view of life and you OWE it to me.

    Basically just entitlement by another name, but not overly surprising in this society.


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