Thursday, October 31, 2013

quotidian

Cal was supposed to bring a pumpkin to school on Tuesday for some sort of jack o' lantern carving activity in his class. There was an ostensibly academic twist to it (I think they were weighing and measuring the pumpkins first, converting ounces to pounds or stones to hectares, whatever antiquated non-metric systems we still insist on teaching despite the fact that they make NO SENSE) but let's get real, the true purpose of such an activity is to claw out all the pumpkin guts and show your friends the clotted mass of stringy entrails while making a variety of throw-up noises.

Cal left his pumpkin at home by accident, so when I went to drop it off at his classroom (ordinarily in such cases I leave the forgotten item at the front desk and someone from the office ferries it upstairs to the classroom so as to minimize disruption--however, in this case the pumpkin was gigantic and when I offered to carry it up myself they happily left the hoisting to me) I kind of got roped into coming back in later that afternoon to help Cal's teacher with the activity. Honestly, my first instinct when the teacher asked me if I could be an extra set of adult hands (in the setting of 26 fourth graders wielding a variety of hollowed out gourds and serrated blades) was to beg off because look man, I'm busy. But that response was a reflex, ingrained from years and years of having to say no to stuff. Because I actually wasn't busy that day. And having the time to do things like this in the kids' classroom was precisely the reason that I went part-time in the first place.




Which brings me to the topic for today, which I have deliberately been shying away from because the kind of honesty with which I want to discuss this is precisely the kind of thing that causes fistfights to break out in the comments section of The New York Times "Motherlode" blog. (Leaving aside the truly questionable decision to call a parenting series "Motherlode," because random puns aside, parenting is only for ladies, y'all!)

Joe and I agree that since I have made the move to go part-time at work, the quality of our home life has never been better. The benefits are obvious--I have more time to spend with each kid, I am more connected with what they are doing at school and at home, we can actually schedule doctors and dentist and teacher appointments, we are all eating better, acting out less...the list goes on and on. And there are moments every single day when I think, "Thank god we finally decided to do this." The mornings I spend with Nina after the boys are off at school. Time that I get to carve out to spend with Mack alone, which I hardly ever had a chance to do before. Having time for actual conversations with Cal, who for all his idiosyncrasies as a young child is actually turning out to be a pretty cool and funny kid. These are the obvious good things. These are the things that make it clear that the decision to dial back at work was worthwhile.






But of course these are the things that just make parenting in general a joy, and between these clearly treasured moments are the interstices, the webbing, the connective tissue that binds the important bits in a dense fiber of the banal. Because for every morning I spend with Nina watching the sun rise over the Chattahoochee there is of course an entire day of chasing down lost shoes and changing diapers and washing clothes, cleaning up one mess in the kitchen while Nina is creating the next mess because allowing her to create the next mess is the only way I can buy time to clean up the first mess. For every special afternoon with Mack there is the endless run of school pickups, school dropoffs, making sure that lunchboxes are packed and thermoses are not lost at school, corralling shoes and socks and sweatshirts and more socks, items which surely must walk around at night after we're asleep because otherwise there's no explanation for how they spread out and hide all over the house. And for every pumpkin carving activity I do at the kids' school, there is an hour of sweeping up sticky pumpkin seeds, picking up strips of newspaper and magazines that have glued themselves to the linoleum with bioglue, and wiping down desk after desk with antibacterial wipes and hoping to god that the janitorial staff at night come equipped with mops. (Though to be clear: I was more than happy to help, and Cal's teacher was a brave, brave man to even consider staging the mass class pumpkin carve-a-thon without a second adult around. We could have probably used another two or three adults, to be honest.)

It is in these moments, with the brooms or with the wet rags or running in and out of the supermarket or picking up the dropped (well, hurled) sippy cup again for the five hundredth time that I think: It doesn't have to be me doing this. This does not involved an advanced degree, or special training. ANYONE could do this. Or, perhaps more precisely to the point: I took a 40% pay cut in order to wash dishes and do laundry? DOES NOT COMPUTE.

(This is the part where people start polishing their pitchforks. Hey, you missed a spot!)

Look, I know that it's not the special advanced skill with which I drive to carpool or wash the dishes or make the school lunches that the time worthwhile--it's the fact that I'm doing it for my kids that makes it special. I get that. And I also get that, with parenthood, the amazing moments are not in the majority--that it is, in fact, the intermittent and punctuated nature of the awesome moments that make you get up each day and do all the non-awesome stuff over and over and over again. And that's probably true about most things in life, though I'm beginning to find that there's something different about spending a full day parenting rather than a full day being a doctor: it feels less special.

(And here is where you start jabbing the pitchforks. Jab on, gentle village people! Miss ye not the tender essential organs!)

And when I say "special," I don't mean to say that my kids aren't special, or that my parenting them isn't special. It's just that in the mundane moments, it feels like anyone could be doing this. I didn't need to go to college or medical school or spend five years in residency training to do that stuff. My educational background, or training, or the years I spent before I had kids doesn't inform my daily parenting in any meaningful way. It's just me, doing what millions and millions or other people are also doing at the exact same time--probably I'm not even doing as good a job as many of them are, because HAVE YOU SEEN PINTEREST? Just me, momming it up like a character in a Sunny Delight commercial, part of the hoarde, one of a type, a piece of a marketing demographic. And that's the part that doesn't feel special.

And the thing that bothers me is that I never considered myself someone who needed to feel special, or who cared about status. I don't make people call me "doctor," I don't wear my diplomas around my neck on a giant chain, and I think I've worked most of my professional life to try to put aside whatever ego may manifest in my persona because quite simply I don't think it serves any purpose. But obviously it must have mattered to me more than I thought, because while I recognize the luxury of spending more time with my children, and for all my whining I have plenty of help in keeping this family going; I still sometimes think, this is it? THIS is what I miss work two days a week to do?

Because at work, it sometimes seems like the significance of what you're doing is obvious. That the answer to the question, "What did you do today?" could be succinctly summed up by saying: I'm a doctor, I take care of patients. Boom. Instant credibility. Credibility to whom, unclear--perhaps it's just to justify things to myself. But on the days that I'm "off" with the kids...


JOE
So, what did you do today?

MICHELLE
Well, after breakfast I dropped the boys off at school, then I took Nina to the park. Then we came home, and while she took a nap I cleaned up the kitchen. Then I started to prep stuff for dinner, but then she woke up, so I gave her lunch. Then I cleaned up after lunch. After that we kind of played a little bit out back, and then it was time to pick up the boys again. So we did! And then I finished making dinner. And then everyone ate and I cleaned that up.

JOE
Sounds good.

MICHELLE
...

JOE
What?

MICHELLE
You know, when I say it all like that it sounds like I didn't do anything.
But then how come it took up the whole damn day?


Obviously this is something I'm still working out in my brain, and clearly part of it is that there are societal indicators of what is considered "important work" that I have allowed to imprint on me (despite the fact that I obviously know that raising my children is important work, therefore the need to take more time to do it right). Also obvious to me is that this probably reflects poorly on my personality in some way--some sort of egomaniacal needs that are not being met by the quotidian tasks of parenting three young children being chief among my deficiencies. But I am curious, particularly after reading this article in the Times a few months ago--does this experience of "status loss" or this sense of becoming unmoored from part of your identity ring true for anyone else who decided to take one step back from a career that has in many ways defined them?

47 comments:

  1. I have read your blog for many, many years but I think this is my first time commenting. This article struck me because of a long conversation I had with a girlfriend the other day. I have recently realized that a huge part of my self identity and self confidence comes from being great at my job - more so than any other factor in my life. I am not yet a parent, so please forgive me for not relating specifically to that part. But I am in a long term, monogamous relationship (kind of like parenting - ha!) and there are many times that I find the teamwork and dependence of a relationship to directly at odds with the sense of self I get from my job. Being a wonderful partner and eventually starting a family together is very important to me but going home to a certian "status loss" is definitely something I have to work out in my brain.

    Being a wife and mother is an honor and a status I certainly hope to achieve one day. However it is sad that as women we can't admit, in writing, that it may not be quite enough without being threatened by pitchfork. The rewards of family life are ample but, it is true, it may just not be enough.

    The result of the aforementioned dinner conversation was my friend reminding me that it is OKAY to be complicated. It is okay to love babies and bath time at the same time as valuing the corporate ladder and sales goals. You don't have to be one-dimensional for anyone.

    And frankly, I would think it was weirder if you were spending 30% of your day picking up socks and NOT fantasizing about the rewards of your incredibly accomplished career.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous1:35 PM

    Yes. I struggle with this; for me it's compounded (or, perhaps, made simpler) by the fact that I just truly, truly hate housework/cooking - it's all drudgery to me, and I find any Martha Stewart/Pinterest attempt at making it creative work complete propaganda (and ineffectual at that). Betty Friedan, ahoy!

    (Can I add askmoxie's fabulous essay about parenting and work, here? I am, because it's great: http://askmoxie.org/blog/2012/09/free-but-not-cheap.html)

    The sum total for me is that I get tremendous joy and pride from the work I do in medicine; I'm trying to retain some of that ethic in parenting. What I mean by that is that I want to respect my emotional capital and costs; I try to keep the parts that are important, outsourcing the parts that aren't.

    However, in this process, I had to acknowledge in this process that there are parts of the drudgery that do, I think, add to my relationship with my kids (bath, getting dressed, bedtime, making lunches, art projects - all still mine, I think because of my perception that they add to intimacy, or just sheer time spent together). I wouldn't outsource those things (even if it were possible, which it is often not). And so I don't give them up. Is laundry one of those essential activities? Is cooking? Not for me, I don't think. But I might be wrong, which feels scary.

    But another important priority has to be reducing my unhappiness/crankiness. Because that costs a lot, too, and becoming resentful doesn't make me anybody's best parent. Just like working too much in settings that feel dangerous or exploitative don't make me a better doctor.

    Anyway, of course, this is a tremendously, tremendously privileged thing to be able to even discuss, adding to the guilt (hello, pitchforks). And of course, what if I'm wrong and my kids hate me forever because I send the laundry out?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous1:37 PM

    Sounds completely normal to me. I find the domestic drudgery mind numbingly boring. Nothing wrong with that. It sucks. And for people who have tasted what challenging meaningful work is, well... I don't think we should romanticize sock picking up and dish washing. Because when we do, it makes it okay to divide up things along gender lines and be done with it. Enjoy the dialing back of work and celebrate time to be with your kids and maybe find time to do yoga or sew or whatever. But don't apologize for not liking domestic drudgery--I suspect it is that frustration, more than the status thing that is bugging you. Yay Michelle, keep writing no matter if the long knives come out! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for sharing this. As a doctor who is not yet a wife or mother, I often wonder how I would process becoming one or both of those things and how the associated duties would line up with my doctor duties in my own brain. "Hearing" you process it for yourself is a helpful reminder that I don't have to have it all figured out, which is just as worthwhile, I think, as having it figured it out for me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cecily1:39 PM

    Hi Michelle, Mom/primary care physician here. I tend to think of the mundane "non-special" moments of parenting similar to patient "continuity of care" type issues. Sure anybody can fax or call up a pharmacy to fill a prescription, but doing things like these tell me a lot about the patient - where the patient lives, where they shop, how safe the neighborhood is to exercise, etc. Similar with parenting, when you are preparing the meals, dressing them/undressing them, it tells you a lot about how your kids are doing over time, etc. if you notice one of them is not eating as much as they usually do, they might be feeling sick or stressed out, etc. or their clothes are getting warned down you'll know it's time to go shopping and you can save up for this etc. I think your feelings are normal and there are days that I HATE doing continuity of care type things but in the end I am grateful that I get the opportunity - even though it is not the same high-yield validation as the usual gems

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous9:13 PM

      I think you've hit upon why I disliked outpatient medicine so much.

      Delete
    2. Cecily12:54 AM

      Outpatient medicine...there are days, and there are many, that I want to quit -- the paperwork,the phone calls, documentation, (and I really don't feel special!) ..for survival I do the tasks that I like and outsource the rest as others have mentioned, both in medicine and in parenting. Maybe once you figure out what you like to do and what you need to punt life will be slightly easier...

      Delete
    3. Emily H8:23 AM

      As a mother and a primary care physician I think Cecily's point is a great one. Mundanity comes in all shapes and sizes both at work and at home. And achievement comes in many shapes and sizes too. And remember, by working part time you are neither opting out nor opting in. You are just, well, trying to make it all work.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous1:52 PM

    You imply 'anyone' can do these mundane things as well as the child's parent... but I refer you back to what you wrote earlier "the quality of our home life has never been better. The benefits are obvious--I have more time to spend with each kid, I am more connected with what they are doing at school and at home, we can actually schedule doctors and dentist and teacher appointments, we are all eating better, acting out less...the list goes on and on. And there are moments every single day when I think, "Thank god we finally decided to do this."
    SO the reality is that having the mundane done by the loving person (either gender) DOES make it different experientially for the recipients. World-wide, there are many reasons why this is not said out loud ... But that does not make it less true. Demeaning and devaluing some mundane tasks maintains a status quo of over valuing others ... that is unfortunate and innately supportive of inequality in rights, power and rewards/money. Which gets SOOO POLITICAL.... instead just remember that you have seen in your own home the impact of you doing the mundane ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly. If "anyone" can do these things, why are the outcomes so much better when you do them? :)

      Delete
  7. I already commented on Facebook (thought not as deeply and philosophically as above- maybe the mundane is already eating away at my brain function), but I wanted to say that Cecily's comparison of daily parenting to continuity of care in primary care is fantastic, and I also like anonymous' reply below that.

    That being said, I think your feelings are totally normal. And as much as I love being home with my kid most days, I still LOATHE doing the dishes, and doing laundry, and cleaning, and I'm on the fence about cooking really.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My engineer brain tried for a long time to optimize an equation for a happy, nurturing home life. I was endeavoring to be present enough to log the important parenting hours and then pass off the anybody-can-do-this tasks to someone else. What I realized (for us, at least) is that those aren't usually separate experiences. Sometimes lunch prep and laundry folding is just that. Other times (and predicting precisely which times those are appears to be unknowable) while my hands are busy with mundane chores, my sons come close and initiate a big discussion or sweet exchange or shared belly laughs.

    I've been looking at it as giving them the gift of my availability.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous3:40 PM

    Michelle,
    I have read your blog since I was in college, and am now a surgery resident and new mom in the process of winding up to go back to work after a 2 month maternity leave. I am truly, madly, deeply in love with my son and feel incredibly fortunate that I got to take a 'real' maternity leave with him instead of the 2-3 weeks of 'vacation' that many residents get. That being said, in the past week I have started to look forward to the challenging aspects of going back to work, and at least right now intend to work full-time after residency, so your posts lately have been very interesting to read.
    I think society's devaluation of housework is subconsciously absorbed by a lot of women (and men), and when you contrast that to the value that comes with being a physician and the amount of work that goes into becoming one, it's understandable that the differences between these two types of important work can be a little jarring.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous3:55 PM

    TOTALLY normal feelings. When I scaled back to be home with my daughter about 20 years ago, I wanted to grab people in the street and tell them, "I USED to be somebody." (Not medical, but...) Add to that the fact that I actually despised everything about housewifery. But before you know it, those years where Cal and Mack and Nina need/want you will fly by.
    Yes, it probably feels much better to go do important doctor things (saving lives, stomping out disease with both feet, making the world a better place for humanity and all that) but this is the gift that only YOU can give, and you can only give it now.
    In about 37 minutes, Nina will be getting ready to head off to college. Actually, once she enters high school she may not even publicly acknowledge you. Until she does again in her 20s and then it's fabulous.
    Until then, cherish this time. Yeah, the clean up and the sheer drudgery isn't part of the fun, but it's the dues you pay for the snuggles now and the closeness that will come later.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've never thought of it in the sense of "special" vs. non-special, but I am right on board with you. I did the SAHM thing for 16 months when my first was born, and it was just not for me. It wasn't just that anyone could do the tasks I was doing, it was that other people (daycare providers, nannies) could do them and actually ENJOY them and be pleasant to be around, whereas I spent the day feeling frazzled, tired, and under-appreciated. And I mentally compared myself to Cinderella A LOT. Being 100% involved in raising kids is an absolutely Sisyphean task. As you describe, you feed them, clean them, clean up messes, and try to keep them entertained, and at the end of every day you have almost nothing to show for it. Sure, if you check in at the end of a month you can see the progress in their learning and development, but hour to hour it's like watching grass grow.

    For me, I *love* working 40-hour weeks. It's perfect. I help get the kids fed and dressed in the morning, and then they're out of my hair. I come home, make dinner, and by the time we get them fed it's almost time for the littlest to hit the hay. Of course, my kids are only 3 and 1 so there aren't many discussion topics that we're missing out on. But as they get older and stay up later, I think it'll still be a good amount of quality time. And then of course we have the whole weekend to be together as a family and recharge.

    I thought it was awesome that you were cutting back your hours, but I think you were also working (way?) more than 40 hours. And now maybe you're working less than 40. Point is, maybe you just need to find your sweet spot, where you can be fulfilled at work and still not feel like you're missing your kids too much.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous6:03 PM

    word. up.

    ReplyDelete
  13. There's a difference between spending time with your kids and housework. I outsource laundry, housecleaning, and grocery shopping, so I can maximize my time with the kids. If I were richer, I would hire a personal chef too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spending time with one's kids = AWESOME. Housework = AWFUL. Outsource the awful and do not apologize for it.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous9:05 AM

      How funny you are suggesting that everyone has a choice of "outsourcing" .i.e hiring a bunch of people to clean and cook for you? I agree with Dr Grumpy who does not hire housekeeper and use these money for family vacations. Life cannot be outsourced. Housework is not awful, it can be boring. I involve my young kids in house chores, then we can spend the money on fun. People I know who do hire housekeepers etc are always "saving" on their kids (hire less/no tutors, coaches, go to less places).

      Delete
  14. Anonymous10:09 PM

    Thank you for putting into words what I've been feeling! I am an occupational therapist, have my masters and since February dropped down to PRN, working just 1 or 2 times a month. We have 4 kids and decision for me to stay home was made after the baby was born last September. I love being home and I wouldn't change it but nothing feels special about being home. I don't feel like I accomplish anything. No pitchforks from me!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I stopped working after my third child and after 13 years working full time. It was great in so many ways but I totally relate to not loving the monotony of the housework and how quickly everything was undone and had to be done again. I started finding home repair projects to do because if you paint a room, it stays painted whereas the clothes, dishes, rooms don't stay clean for 5 minutes. Painting was much more gratifying.

    ReplyDelete
  16. New commenter, although long-time reader here. I really enjoyed this post and appreciate your candor. i am not yet a mother but struggle with the thought of how much of my career I'd have to sacrifice to be a mother and how much of motherhood I'd have to sacrifice for my career, and it seems like a no-win situation. I think you've struck the best balance possible (although of course never ideal) with your part-time position. But I can imagine that staying at home isn't quite as rewarding on a daily basis. There's really no measure for how well you're doing your job as a parent, whereas a successful surgery or a closed deal are identifiable accomplishments in a job. Your concerns are exactly the concerns of many women (and men) out there, and there's no reason for anyone to throw stones at you for expressing how many people feel about being the homemaker in a family.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your kids may only be in the house from age 0 to 18. Enjoy it and prioritize it as much as you want. If you love cooking, do it. If not and you are lucky enough to outsource, do that. Define yourself and don't let your job define you.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Exactly. This is exactly what I've struggled with since I stopped working a "real" job 10 months ago.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous6:10 AM

    Society values climbing the career ladder, producing something physical/monetary for your time. This is ingrained into us from the word go. Society does value the slow process of motherhood so much, or any caring roles. Without realising it, we have internalised this societal messages, and feel guilt, and somewhat left behind, if we are not working. I suppose we need to figure out a balance that works for us, and acknowledge where these feelings are from.
    I love Cicely's analogy, and much of what all the commenters have said.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous9:34 PM

      No. It is not "society" that has told me that I hate housework. It is not "society" that has told me that it's frustrating not to get anything done around the house because all you're doing is picking up after other people. Those activities aren't fun for most normal people, and if you don't mind me saying so, if you do find housework 24 hours a day 7 days a week to be completely fulfilling, then you probably don't have much going on upstairs.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous8:37 AM

      You have so much hatered for housework,maybe you cannot instill in your family any discipline for cleaning after themselves and/or do not have much happpiness in your life otherwise.

      Delete
  20. Unlike the majority of responders here, I'm not a doctor. I quit work to stay home 13 years ago and am still at home, though I work part-time as a writer/editor. But I think everything you are feeling is completely understandable. I quit a job I was burned out on. I had defined myself as a teacher for years, but it wasn't a definition I was happy about anymore. And I remember being acutely aware, during that first disorienting year with a baby, of just how much more difficult this would all be had I quit a job I loved, had I not been, along with tired and stressed, profoundly grateful to be out of that job. But you love your work, Michelle. So this kind of internal struggle is par for the course, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I agree with above anon poster above. Society awards careers, not Motherhood (at least Ivy League/NYC society which I come from as well). At home with kids right now, and struggling with the same feelings. I love cooking though, and making dinner and planning meals makes me feel organized.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm about to stay at home for the indefinite future, and it scares me. I scaled back to part time about two years ago, but now we're taking an even bigger chance by planning to move (if my husband's interviews work out) but definitely leaving my job. I do feel a huge part of my identity is in my job as a teacher, and I'm good at what I do. While it's not medicine, it's also true that not everyone can teach. I can. Yet, here I go. I'll be looking for tips here.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am also an anesthesiologist and a mom. I understand what you are saying about the banality of the everyday: cooking, laundry, cleaning ( although, I chose to outsource the laundry and cleaning ); however I also feel my job ( although at a level one trauma center-- plenty of high acuity) isn't all that special either. I take care of some pretty complicated patients and I like to think I do a very good job, but I am realistic in thinking that any of my partners could do the same as could thousands of other anesthesiologists out there. And if I'm to be perfectly frank, there are plenty of crnas who could do the same. I am not performing cutting edge research for the NIH. I'm not the only anesthesiologist in my practice who is really good at blocks or can do particularly critical cases. If for some reason, I am unable to do a case (previous case running late, etc) , one of my partners will step in and the patient will not know the difference. But for my little guy, there's only one mommy and I can't be replaced. That makes me feel truly special.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:57 PM

      Aww, well said!

      Delete
    2. Wow that is so sweet!

      Delete
  24. Anonymous7:33 PM

    I could have written this exact post. Hang in there, you'll get used to the "off" days.

    ReplyDelete
  25. My first thought, as I read your post, especially the last part was just "yep. And yes, and yes." I taught for 5 years, and I was very good at it. But I was only good because I poured EVERYTHING in it and I got burned out, so it was easy to choose to stay home (plus I didn't make enough to justify the child care costs). And it is hard to work at boring stuff that never STAYS done and you don't get glowing performance reviews (or even better, gets met with "But I don't WIKE SUPPER!" as I'm working on cooking. I loved the quote above "I've been looking at it as giving them the gift of my availability." Best way to look at it. And try to focus on the good/the clean as it stays put. And as cliche as it is, I'm getting why people says it goes so fast.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous1:59 PM

    My husband has been a SAHD for 9 years now. The career he set aside wasn't as prestigious or defining, but it was a career nonetheless. The monotony still gets to him some days. But what his home time folding laundry and picking up Cheerios buys us is the luxury of knowing a parent, not a caregiver, has been the one home with our children. It buys us the luxury of not having to rush around in the mornings to get everyone to day care, or spend the weekends catching up on household chores. It buys us the luxury of a slower pace of life in which to enjoy our family - not just to enjoy parenting, but being together as a family. I'm not saying people who chose differently can't enjoy family time, but you know from experience how much more hectic it is. The monotony is the flip side of added peace and togetherness.

    The days are long, but the years are short.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous10:22 PM

    one of my colleagues recently made the switch from full time pharmacy practice faculty to full time SAHM. when I asked her how it was going, she said something like, "it hasn't changed anything for me, i'm still running around like crazy. but it is completely different for my husband and son, and I suppose that is what matters most."

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hihi, I just stopped by to say thanks for being you and encouraging an M2 like me. I may have recently added a link to your blog on my post (http://wp.me/p3MQd1-ip) about women balancing kids and a career :) Keep on keeping on!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Michelle, I think you are very brave to have written this post, since it is just filled with all the chances to judge the hell out of you (as people love to judge other parents, sadly). So bravo for putting yourself out there.

    I am on the other end of the spectrum: as a part-time OBGYN, I have moments at work where I think any of my partners could be doing a delivery or C/S etc,..but I am the only one who can mother my son in the way I think is best - that I think just because so many other moms are moms, it doesn't decrease the 'expertise' it comes to being qualified to raise MY son, if that makes sense. I know this probably sounds so weird, but after almost 2 yrs of "outsourcing" to a nanny and a housecleaner when I was a resident and FT attending - when I went part-time I was THRILLED to be in charge of my house again. May sound strange and so many people love to remind me 'anyone' could do that' and 'did you really go to school/training to vacuum??' my answer is, yes I did. I did all this training so I can work 2 weekends/month and still financially support us. Few careers would allow that flexibility that medicine has, in a way. So yes, I went through all that and while some days at home are harder than others, seeing my son learn something new because *I* taught it to him brings me more satisfaction than my toughest deliveries. But that's just me - and it's OK to feel as you do. We all have different views and goals and in the end we do what is best for our families. Sorry this became a ramble. Time to pick up my little guy from school! Best of luck with this ongoing transition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen, I totally agree with you! I have only ever worked part-time as an attending because my first child was born right after residency, and whenever people ask me if I feel like it was a waste of all my training and sacrifice to "only" work part-time, I say, it was BECAUSE of all that training and sacrifice that I only have to work part-time. I can't say I enjoy housework or the more drudgery-filled aspects of childcare, but I know that that's a part of regular life. And the truth is that I would feel a little bitter towards my job if it was preventing me from experiencing what everyone else in the world gets to experience, even if those experiences are not particularly rewarding. (I know there were days I felt like this in residency, getting so envious of people who got to go to, say, the car wash during normal business hours. Is going to the car wash anything to get excited about? NO. But it just sucked to know that I couldn't, and I know I would feel the same way about the mundane chores that make up home life.) Now for me the perfect sweet spot as a previous commenter mentioned is part-time. I don't think I have it in me to give up medicine completely. But for everyone it's different, and I think the proof is in the thriving of your children (and spouse, and you.) If they're all doing well, you must be doing something right.

      Delete
  30. Anonymous10:19 PM

    Every kid needs to know that they are special enough for their own mom (and dad) to clean their undies, wipe their butts and prepare their lunch they pick and throw on the floor. that is called love. if you get to do THAT stuff part time then consider yourself lucky. it does get old. it is boring. you're not doing it for yourself; you're doing it for them. when i was a kid my mom paid other people to do all that "stuff". and our relationship suffered and still does. as your kids get older you have random conversations with them while you wash dishes and they eat in the high chair. you flirt with your toddler and give her a hug when she is hurt and sad after slipping on the damn paper she just tore up into her tornado zone #5. all those tender moments are what bond you all and give you the best of both worlds. it is mundane but your kids need to know you love them and you will do that for them if you can and when you can. and when you need a break leave them with a sitter, go get a massage, do some retail therapy and don't feel guilty and if you're lucky you get to save someone or many people's lives that week too. that sounds like the dream job to me! i'm stuck home all day long with my two kids who are home more than in school (age 4 and 1) and I can't stand them when they are awake and I miss them when they are sleeping. there is something terribly wrong with me!!! working on balancing that out. Parenting is hard. Sounds like you're doing a GREAT job inside and outside the OR/hospital.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anonymous3:26 AM

    Hi Dr Lee. It's Cherrie again. I just wanted to let you know that it all happened as you said it would. I had to be a little patient, but it was so worth it. John called me last night and told me he's been thinking of me for the past few weeks, but hasn't had the nerve to call until now. He apologized and said he was still in love with me and wanted to try again, but he hoped that I could forgive him for not realizing it earlier. I am so happy, I can't believe it! Thank you so much! I will be ordering another spell from you soon - but not for love, this time for money. The love thing is all working out fine now! Thanks a lot for your help! Ancientfathersandmothers@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

  32. I and Jeff has been together for 2 years. we have been living happily without any problem. I always discuss about marriage with Jeff but he replies me with, we will soon get married. I was surprise one Friday evening when I was in my sister's house, Jeff called me on phone and told me that we can no longer carry on with the relationship because he has find himself somelse whom he want to get married to. I was shocked and hospitalize for some days. I was so tired and tried to get my life because without Jeff but it was impossible because i truly love him. One Sunday evening when i was searching online for help, I was directed to Dr.Grant whose email is grantingheartdesiresspell@gmail.com i contacted him and he was able to bring back Jeff back to me within 3 days. Reach Dr.Grant via email on ;grantingheartdesiresspell@gmail.com Dr.Grant brought back my happiness.

    ReplyDelete

  33. Your Nice post to find an erotic escort service thanks for really nice information
    Glorious look Your Post Mumbai Escorts sower I post liked
    about escorts really give a valuable information of escort services In all Mumbai
    I like your post its really good and fabulous Escorts services In Mumbai Real & good
    Dream look Your Post Mumbai Escorts I liked so Gorgeious
    Nice place to find a fabulous escort service thanks for really nice information Post
    Interesting Post of Escort services, Great to comment on this post really cool and
    I Liked Your Post Mumbai Escorts So Sexy & Sweet look
    sexy escort in this post I saw you post it really cool and all escort pics and figure
    Nice place to find a fabulous escort service thanks for really nice information about
    Exclusive Sweet Dream Mumbai Escorts Attrective Girls In Mumbai
    escort Great to comment on this post really cool and hot sexy escort in this post !!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous1:03 AM

    Hola Michelle! Love your mind and ways of thinking! Im currently a 2nd year resident in family practice, nad have a beautiful 2 year old daughter. I thought that it was just the long days of residency that had me "being crazy" by wanting to only work part time pretty early on in my career...But reading your post, and the new york time article reassure me that im not! I think having a child early on before your career takes off gives you a different perspective on things.

    I totally agree with the commenter who finds herself being envious of regular people's monatonous events. I totally day dream about getting a hair cut or going to the bank in the middle of the day. Right now I am never bored. Im either working (no more than 80 hrs per week, thanks to the gracious powers that be for capping those hours), or im relaxing at home with my family, occasionally shopping at target. I don't have time to be bored. But I dream. I have dreams of baking a cake. Of throwing a dinner party and preparing a meal from scratch. Of going to the gym 3-5 times a week. Of keeping my hair nice and even, my eyebrows perfect. I fear these dreams are not reachable unless I work part time. And I feel AWFUL. Im hispanic. I'm one of the few, the proud, first generation minorities that became a professional. I feel like I owe it to everybody to be the amazing super woman who can treat your diabetes, make love to your husband Q 1-2/week and have an impecably dressed child. But I'm tired. And I know part of it is residency, but part of me knows it doesn't get much much better as an attending either.

    We need more doctors (especially more primary care doctors), so that we can spread out the workload. We need more time with our patients, and less paperwork. We need better vacation/maternity leave benefits. We as a society need to prioritize our personal happiness. A happy me = a better doctor, wife, mother, etc.

    Do you need to work full on hard core for the next 10 years of your professional life to be "entitled" to make a decision about becoming a SAHM or to scale down to part time, or am I allowed to make that decision early on? Thankfully in medicine, jobs aren't a problem, as long as you keep doing it part time, it's easy to scale up. Reading all of your comments make me want to skip that misery, and go for what I think will make me happy right away. And if it doesn't work, then I can go back. But at least I'll give it a shot, right?

    ReplyDelete
  35. I am on the other end of the spectrum: as a part-time OBGYN, I have moments Youporn at work where I think any of my partners could be doing a delivery or C/S etc,..but I am the only one who can mother my son in the way I think is best - that I think just because so many other moms are moms, it doesn't decrease the 'expertise' it comes to being qualified to raise MY son, if that makes sense. I know this probably sounds so weird, but after almost 2 yrs of "outsourcing" to a nanny and a housecleaner when I was a resident and FT attending - when I went part-time I was THRILLED to be in charge of my house again. May sound strange and so many people love to remind me 'anyone' could do that' and 'did you really go to school/training to vacuum??' my answer is, yes I did. I did all this training so I can work 2 weekends/month and still financially support us. Few careers would allow that flexibility that medicine has, in a way. So yes, I went through all that and while some days at home are harder than others, seeing my son learn something new because *I* taught it to him brings Youporn me more satisfaction than my toughest deliveries. But that's just me - and it's OK to feel as you do. We all have different views and goals and in the end we do what is best for our families. Amator Porno Sorry this became a ramble. Time to pick up my little guy from school! Best of luck with this ongoing transition.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hottest girl erotic, beautiful and attractive girl for sex in this escort post

    Akuti Delhi Escorts

    Sweta Mumbai Escorts

    Thanks
    Sweta & Akuti

    ReplyDelete