Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just an Observation

So the week before Christmas I got to attend my son's first holiday program at school. My husband and I watched with video camera in hand, as he and the other kindergartens sang along to to familiar Christmas carols. I waved to several other parents I knew across the gym and had caught up with a few collegues as well (The majority of the doctors at my hospital send their kids to the same private school). As the first-graders took the stage, I noticed the chief of surgery's son was singing a solo. He was adorable and did an amazing job. Surgeon's trophy wife was there taking video, but surgeon was noticeably absent. As the program came to end and we all gathered for cookies and cocoa (yum!) I looked around and noticed that despite overall an equal number of moms and dads, where physician parents were involved, it was only moms. Probably 6 female physicians/moms were there and no physician dads (though probably 10 of their kids were represented).

Just an observation.

10 comments:

  1. This year my surgeon father spent X-mas eve putting someone's perforated bowels back together. He missed our family's annual Christmas party--but someone else got a Christmas miracle.

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  2. That SUCKS. :-(

    I feel bad for the kids.

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  3. I was guilty, in residency and fellowship, for missing some of this stuff. Now, in private practice, I move the sun and the earth to be there. Even if it means getting a babysitter and working late. Or begging a partner to switch with me so I don't have to travel to the smaller town hospital. I can't be the stay at home mom that volunteers at all the activities, but I made the Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas programs this year. That felt amazing. Where there's a will, there's a way.

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  4. My husband is a private pulmonogist and takes hospital ICU call. He, like Gizabeth, will move the sun and earth to make sure he can make it to the kids' stuff (though, rarely, even that is not enough). As such, I make a point of only taking jobs that have no call or phone call. That way at least one of us will always be there.

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  5. But, RH+, it IS interesting that it is me as the mom who goes out of her way to take minimal call jobs.

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  6. Somebody has to take call. I don't want to be that partner who is always ducking out. And I know my son will pay a price for that.

    When in medical school, I talked to the pediatric oncologists about how they juggle mommyhood and a truly demanding job- and they simply had to explain to their kids why they had to miss their activities and that they didn't have a normal childhood. They admitted that they did miss out on the important activities. However, they justified this by walking other parents through the scariest scenarios that we, as moms, could imagine - including attending funerals when necessary. Their own kids did not always understand.

    Ha! At least that surgeon was smart and married a trophy wife who can actually attend all the stuff he misses. We could all take a lesson from that. :)

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  7. I think it has to do with the expectations placed on us in our workplaces. The doctor mums juggle to get there and our colleagues moan, but do the switchs anyway. They expect it of us. our male colleagues, many of whom want to be just as involved don't get the same understanding. And of course, some of them, just like some of the mums, just don't want to. My male colleagues want family time just as much as my female colleagues, but it is still more expected of the women. Just an observation...

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  8. The unbalanced expectations apply to dads outside of medicine. My husband gets--or got--no respect for taking time to be with his kids when they were growing up.
    Then again, he did not feel obligated to attend EVERY performance, including the ones where the girls were only on the stage crew. (Great lights, kiddo! Loved that tree...)

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  9. Can't tell you how much my engineer husband missed...mostly because of travelling at the drop of a hat, but also on days off. Going in to the office "for just an hour or so" and winding up there for 8 + hours because something "just had to be done". In most cases in engineering it isn't as though you have somebody on the table bleeding....just sayin'

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  10. Find something and assign it to Dad. My husband was in charge of haircuts. They were much more flexible than school concerts. Nobody really minds if your kid gets a bit shaggy because Dad has been out of town.

    They'd go off to the mall for a haircut, lunch, a stop at the toy store, later on the video game place..... I think it was a success. I never had a long-haired teen-aged boy and for that I am grateful.

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