“How do you do it??” – a question I have been asked numerous times since starting residency.
It is all very amazing – and exhausting. My intention is not to make this a rant-post filled with complaints about my life? I don’t know, we’ll see how this unfolds.
Typical Work Day
Hubby, baby and I wake up by 6:30 am – 7 am
I speed dash to the bathroom first, shower and get ready to be at work by 8 am (ahem, well ok, 8:15 am atleast). While in the loo, baby is outside the door screaming that I let him in.
I finish up and run out of the bathroom, look at the time – *crap* it’s already 7:30 and I haven’t had my breakfast / packed my lunch / pack my bag. If I was organized and I had packed my lunch / packed my bag the night before, I would use this time to get baby to brush his teeth, take a quick shower while Hubby prepares his breakfast and puts together his lunch for daycare (if it is not a vegetarian day).
If on the other hand I am totally running late, I quickly eat breakfast, make coffee-to-go in a travel mug and run out the door. Hubby handles the rest (brushing kiddo’s teeth, shower, getting him dressed, breakfast, getting his lunch ready and dropping him off at daycare) and THEN starting his work (virtually) by 9:15 / 9:30am.
By this time I am at work and have started reviewing my inbox (patient’s lab results/imaging results/referral replies etc.), calling patients about the results, finishing up my notes / sending off pending requisitions if I didn’t do it from the day before and also reading up on my patients for the day.
Fast forward to 4:30 pm..
I have seen all my patients, I usually don’t stay back in clinic to finish up my documentation from the day / socialize. I speed dash home, by this time Hubby would have picked up kiddo, but if not (because he has a meeting), I grab the car keys and go pick up kiddo.
We get home and these days he kicks and screams because he doesn’t want to come home and wants to play more outside. I don’t blame him. I want to play outside too.
He is home and once he calms down, we wash hands and then depending on his mood (hungry / not) snack time, take a shower and then survey the house while he is snacking – clean house? wash dishes? Hubby would be busy with meetings.
During the evening hours we try to keep him occupied with some TV, dance party, reading books, blocks/games etc.
Figure out dinner plans – if we are really exhausted (most of the time we are) we just end up ordering food.
Kiddo’s sleep schedule is ALL over the place at the moment, so we aim to get him in bed by 8:30 pm but there are days he does not sleep until 9:30 – 10 pm. On these days I cry out of frustration because we (hubby and I take turns) try singing songs, carry him back and forth, read books, play lullabies and he just doesn’t want to sleep.
I blame me and my husband for this. We did not sleep train him, we did not set strict rules and follow it. (Side note: we live in a small one bedroom apartment with neighbours who can probably hear just about everything. He doesn’t have his own bedroom and if we try to sleep train, it would just not work.)
Finally when he DOES fall asleep – I debate 1) clean up the kitchen first? or 2) finish my patient notes?
By the time everything is done it is close to midnight and we head off to bed ready to start the same routine the next day.
Additionally, the last three weeks of my block in family medicine was super stressful trying to juggle the above, study for final Nightmares scenarios (which we were scored on), other assessments, lectures, presentations, research and seeing patients. I would sometimes fall asleep with baby and then get up at 3 am to finish up work / study.
Work Day when kiddo is sick and cannot go in to daycare
These days are super challenging.
If I am not able to work from home, then Hubby somehow balances work/meetings/taking care of kiddo/feeding/nap time/dealing with his melt downs etc. Kiddo has participated in many of my hubby’s meetings. Once I am done with work, I run over and take over baby duties.
There are days when I can work from home for phone call appointments and hubby and I somehow balance taking care of kiddo during phone appointments and meetings.
If I am not on-call during the weekends, then the weekend is our time to catch up on home responsibilities – laundry has been piling up, the house is chaos from over the week, groceries have to be done…do we even make time for fun? Sometimes when we have the energy to 🙂 We go on walks when the weather is good, also keeping stupid COVID in mind we can’t really do much safely.
Do I sound burnt out? I think so. Have you really reached this far in my post? Wow. I promise, I will cover what I love about this stage in our lives.
What am I/are we struggling with?
My husband and I are young professionals, trying to build successful careers while trying to juggle parenthood. We do not have a good balance yet. We know this.
I am struggling with my time management in residency, family life and marriage life. Priority is residency, but said that I am not studying how I should be. I am not putting the time into research projects, reading up on research studies, etc. Certain things have been put on the back burner.
Mom guilt is SO real. Every time I leave my kiddo to go to work when he is not feeling well I feel horrible. I should be at home hugging him and making him feel better. Also I feel guilty when I get annoyed at him for wanting my attention and I can’t give him all my attention.
This is difficult on our marriage – we are in a rut. We don’t make time for each other. When baby is in bed we spend our time cleaning up the house / working on notes / emails / work . We are drained. I don’t remember the last time we made time just for “us”.
We don’t have family living nearby during my core family med rotation. When I had my rotation (obgyn) in the city where my parents were, life just felt less stressful because my parents took care of our little one and all we did was focus on our careers. We realize how important it is to have extra help and support at this time – whether it be through daycare, family, friends…help is SUPER important. (Paying for extra help to have someone do our house chores is not an option). Thankfully my second year is all in the GTA!
What do I love?
My husband and I are young professionals, trying to build successful careers while trying to juggle parenthood. This is a beautifully stressful time in our lives that will change in a few years. I know that we WILL have more stability. That’s what we are working towards. This time in our lives is challenging, it tests us and we will come out strong. I am confident we will look back at these years and pat ourselves on our back – how the heck did we make it?
Baby love! When I walk in through the door after work and my kiddo has a HUGE smile on his face and runs towards me for a big hug. I say “nooooo mama has hospital germs!” Sometimes he listens and sometimes he just does NOT care. I soak it all in. His hugs are everything to me.
I love reading, acting goofy and having random dance parties with my little guy ❤
My little one turns two next month and it is amazing to see him develop his personality, vocabulary, meet his milestones and grow up. I am SO PROUD of HIM!
Finally, although I am burned out, I am almost at the end of my first year and grateful. I remind myself where I was a year or two ago struggling to get into residency as an IMG and it’s not something I want to go back to.
For those of you who matched recently. Congratulations! Exciting times are up ahead. It is a major change not only for you but also your family. Think ahead about supports that your program may be able to provide you, daycare, family support etc. It’ll be OK!
How do we do it??
- adjust your expectations, no one said being a parent in residency was easy??
- lots of love, patience and find time to be silly (dance parties with my kiddo works for me!)
- lots of coffee/tea
- support from spouse, daycare, family, friends
- letting go of certain things and rethinking priorities
- accepting there will be struggles but it is only temporary
- my husband always tells me: Think of the larger picture! SO TRUE! ❤