First I want to tell you all how grateful I am to have found your site. I now check it regularly and see it as my "lifeline" to others who have been through (and are going through) a lot of my own struggles and joys of being both a mom and a doctor. I am a part-time practicing Emergency Physician 6 years out of residency. I live in the Midwest. I have two children, a 9 year old girl and a 4 year old boy.
For a while now I have been wanting to write something about choosing to work part-time. I have been inspired by all the great posts from the other MiMs, so here is mine:
I am a part-time ER doc. It is something that has taken me a while to feel proud to admit. I love being an Emergency Physician, and I know that there is nothing else in the world I'd rather (and am meant to) do. BUT....I am also a mom. I had my daughter right before intern year started, and nothing could have prepared me for that experience. I think I must have deluded myself in thinking that it would somehow be doable to juggle the responsibilities of both a newborn and intern year. Without my husband it would have been impossible. I missed out on so many moments with my daughter during her first few years! Do I regret this? I guess in a way I do, but I know that if I didn't miss out on those moments I would not have been able to succeed in this career I love, and would not be able to support my family financially as I do now. I want to tell all you other MiMs out there--nine years later, my daughter has NO recollection of the first 3 years of her life, she has NO idea that I was gone for most of those years, and despite all those missed moments we have a very close relationship.
I started working full time after residency to pay off debt and our mortgage, but I cut down to 80% when my son was born. This has allowed me to continue to support my family and enjoy our life by going on vacations, going out to eat, and spending time as a family. But after a few years the time had come to decrease my hours even more. Being in EM for so many years has taught me one thing: life is short, and you never know when it is your time--time to get sick, time to become injured, time to die. I know that there is a lot of controversy and stigma out there about "part-time docs", but in the end this is a personal, not a socioeconomic decision. I have dedicated 13 years of my life to medicine. After 3 years of residency and 6 years of practice I am confident in my skills and knowledge. It is now my children's turn to have my focus and attention. They will only be this small and will need me this much for so long. It is their time.