Saturday, December 12, 2009

A day in the life of an MS1 with four kids under age 8

6:45 I wake up and get dressed.
My husband wakes up a fifteen minutes before me so he is already in the shower when I wake up.
My 7 year old and 6 year old sons wake up around the same time and get dressed in the clothes that my husband laid out for them the night before.
7:00 I make coffee and an omelet for myself while I gather my books and throw the salad my husband prepared into my lunchbox for later.
My husband leaves the house at 7 to go to synagogue for prayers.  He arranged to have a different high school girl come over every morning so that I can leave without waiting for him to come back.  The girl prepares breakfast for the boys and wakes up my four year old daughter to help her get dressed.
7:15  I put my stuff in the car and come back into the house to give kisses and hugs.  The kids are all over the place so I run upstairs to find my daughter, then I find my baby, who may or may not be awake yet.  I give them both kisses and hugs and tell them how much I love them.  The boys are waiting in the kitchen for me to come back.  My six year old doesn't let go when he hugs so I have to be the one to break him away.  My seven year old tries to imitate the six year old with his hug, but he has other things to do so always breaks away first.  The boys stand by the door as I get in the car and wave and blow kisses.
8:00 School starts - lecture for 4 hours in the medical school building.  Five minute breaks every hour.
12:00 lunch
12:30 class across campus, just this semester.  Luckily it stayed warm enough to trek there until yesterday.  Today the weather took a major drop, but luckily we just took the final today for that class and next semester all our classes will be in the medical school building so we will be safe from the cold.
2:00 optional lab  (during anatomy I stayed at school to study until midnight - but those days are over thank G-d!)
3:00 I get home and see my husband and daughter who is home from pre-school.  My husband is only working part time this year so that he can be the primary caregiver to the new baby until she is a little older.  She just turned seven months this week.  She was three months old when school started.
3:00-5:00 I study in the dining room.  It is right in between the kitchen and the living room.  This makes me feel like I am part of the family.  My husband takes care of all the parenting tasks while I study.  He makes dinner, does the laundry, and breaks up any fights.  The boys get home from school at 4:00.  They like to come into the dining room and do their homework at the table with me.    My four year old does her "homework" (coloring) with me too sometimes.  I  have been able to hold the baby on my lap while I look through the power point slides, but lately she is becoming interested in the keyboard and I can foresee from experience that she won't be able to stay on my lap much longer.
5:00 - 7:00 Dinner time with everyone.  The dining room table is filled with my school books and the kitchen table only fits four people so we don't all sit together at a table except on the weekends.  Instead we feed the kids at the kitchen table and my husband and I eat on our feet.  It seems natural that way.  Sometimes, by the time we finish serving the kids, they are filled and leave the table, and then we sit down.
7:00-11:00 My husband brings the kids upstairs for bath and bedtime while I continue to study.  He comes back downstairs to clean up supper, do some laundry, and straighten up the house.  We both take short breaks to have small conversations.
11:00 I start to lose my focus but push on with studying.  If focus is gone, I go upstairs to take a shower and get into bed with my laptop.  If I regained my focus, I continue studying with my laptop.  If not, I turn on House or something else to watch.  Meanwhile, my husband is downstairs making lunches and preparing the kids clothes for the next day.
1:00 We both go to sleep around this time and get ready for a new day

A few notes:  Many people are shocked that I am surviving medical school with four kids under age 8, but now you know my secret.  I have a great husband who really understands the time I need to put in to pass my classes.  I also have great kids that bond with me on schedule.  I take Friday night and Saturday off to spend time with the family.  I do this every week, no matter what.  Sometimes I will read a text book while they are playing or reading, but if they want me, I am there.

You may notice my baby's age and wonder if I am breastfeeding.  Well, I am not.  I breastfed the other three children until they were a year and a half but I struggled with my low milk supply and never pumped enough to fill a bottle.  Before we got pregnant with number four, I was already accepted to medical school.  We decided we wanted to have another child even though we knew it would be too hard for me to breastfeed while I was in school.  I breastfed her as long as I could, which was until anatomy started - the second week of school.  We are very comfortable with that decision, and I hope you are all comfortable with it as well.

As far as exercise, I have fallen off the wagon lately.  I have a treadmill in my house, and will sometimes use my TV time on the treadmill.  I bought the SurfShelf to assist me in this endeavor.

That is a day in my life.   I hope that if you have a family and are considering med school that my day has been useful information to you.  First year medical school is hard for everyone.  Set your family up with real expectations.  If you are a single mom (or dad), make sure you have a support system.  Find a relative or a friend who you can lean on during first year.  Don't expect to be balanced until summer comes around.  Things will get better - I can tell by reading the blogs of other mothers on this site.  Good luck!



  1. Thanks for this post. You are an inspiration. I will be applying to Medical School for 2013 year. The same year that my Air Force pilot husband will be retirng from the military. My 2 boys will be 6 and 12. I worry about the impact of my being so busy will have on them at older ages. It seems lik you juggle everything extremely well. I am VERY impressed!

  2. Kudos Indymom! Medical school is fun, especially the clinical years.

  3. Wow! It sort of puts it in perspective! I'm an MS1 as well ... but not with 4 kids. I don't know how you do it. Congratulations!

  4. You have an AMAZING husband. Wow. (I would say the same if the situation were reversed, btw...I don't think many wives would be able to cope with that little assistance from their spouse.) It's great that you guys are making it work!

  5. You have an AMAZING husband. Wow. (I would say the same if the situation were reversed, btw...I don't think many wives would be able to cope with that little assistance from their spouse.) It's great that you guys are making it work!


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