Monday, April 22, 2013

MiM Mail: New mom starting residency


I am starting family medicine residency in June when my baby girl will be turning just 6 months old. My husband and I live apart due to his work, but he visits once a week. While I am excited to start residency, I am scared of  babysitting issues (besides the price) as I practically live like a single mother. I suppose I am seeking words of wisdom and encouragement from MiM, as I am afraid of the guilt and afraid of  being bitter about my career choice when facing the fact that I will spend most of my salary to pay someone else to raise my child for 3 years. Can I enjoy motherhood and residency at the same time?

Thank you!


  1. My young kids were primarily cared for by a nanny while I was a resident. Not a single mother then, but physician husband was about the same. It worked out . . . they are doing fine and I get to spend a lot more time with them now that I am in private practice.

    You can enjoy both, but it's tough. Play it by ear and figure out what works best for you. Develop a wide friend/family support network, if you can, to help you ride it out. Good luck!

  2. You will survive. There will definitely be days when you feel bitter and other times you will feel like a Superwoman for handling it all. It is great that your husband will be around once a week. Is there any way that he can move closer? Make sure to reach out to your program/ current residents/ join every local on-line mommy group to find out if there are other residents who have nannies they would like to share (helps make things more affordable and socialize your children). We found a very nice young mother on an on-line nanny search who would bring her baby to our house; it was great! Also, what about daycare? There are many excellent day cares that Residents/ Attendings may love and then you could just find a stay at home mother or babysitter for aftercare.

    And when things get rough, remind yourself you are not the first or last woman to do this. You could be doing something you hate like being a maid (just an example, I have total respect for all domestic workers) working 2 jobs seeing your child even less, making even less money than you will; but YOU get to pursue your dream job and you will make enough money to afford the things that you need and even things that you want (such as a nanny).

  3. I don't have children, but my business partner has a very similar situation. She has a 15 month old, a husband who lives three hours away because of work. There are times that she is extremely stressed out about being (essentially) a single mother, but I think what she is doing is amazing. These next few years will be tough, but will, in the long run, be worth it.

    My advice to you - you are surrounded by people who like children and are certified in first aid and CPR. If they offer to babysit, take them up on it!

  4. I totally agree with Mommabee about the maid part! When I'm bitter or sad during busy rotations, I often comfort myself thinking there are many people who also do not get to see their children much (d/t jobs or family situations), but potentially with no end in sight and for very low pay. I either think of that or people who get deployed and don't see their families for months or years.


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