Balancing Act....HELP!!!!!!

SOS, SOS, SOS to all OPMers…
How have you been able to balance spending time with your kids, the housework, and quality time with your spouse while studying???
I am trying but I feel as if I am drowning!! blink.gif blink.gif ph34r.gif

Its not easy gabelerman.
However, my kids are a bit older. One is already out of college and the other just started. My older one does come home often on the weekends.
My balancing act problem is centered around being a homeowner and with my commute. I invest at least 10 hours a week in my commute to and from school, and anywhere from 5 to 10 hours per week with household tasks like mowing the lawn, painting the room that my son trashed, other painting jobs…on and on and on.
If I get accepted, I will sell the house and move very close to the school - picking up at least an extra 15 hours per week in study time. But for now, I just punt - just do the best you can. Prioritize what is important and get that done. I do something towards my studies every night so that there is no cramming.
When you cut through it all - the advise we have been getting that medicine is a sacrifice is so true - I do not see how people can pursue this field and have a normal life.
Hang in there, but try different things to find what works for you. For example, trade one time slot for another. Get up earlier, go to be later, use weekend time, or some combination - time when you can get the study time in and then spend a bit of time with the family. With the amount of study that is required, it may not be a one-for-one switch, but just freeing a little bit more time up.

You’re not the only one that is trying this balancing act… I think many, if not all of us are…
My schedule this semester is kinda weird… but it’s so far allowed me to be a lot more flexible than in the past…
I have classes only on MWF… My classes run from 8:05-3:15 straight… except on alternating Wednesdays when I have an evening lab and on Fridays I’m only on campus until about 12:30.
I do the park and ride… so I have to get to a central location by a certain time to catch the bus to get onto campus in time for my morning class… this means I have to leave the house at 7 am… so. .no biggie there…
I set my schedule this way so that I can spend more time with my kids, do some volunteer work and have time to study… it has been a major sacrifice on many levels… but worth it so far… and of course, I don’t spend all my time volunteering or with my kids… but quite a bit more than I did when I was working full time and going to school part time.
I pick my son up from school (first grade) at 4 pm and my other son goes to preschool MWTh… so I spend Tuesday with my youngest and my husband has him on Friday… my husband works from home on W and F… so that helps… ANYWAY…
the house is still always a mess… (big shock there)… and there’s always something to be done… I try to reserve some time on the weekends for “projects” which would be stuff like painting… I also frequently undertake major projects when there are school holidays and 3 day weekends… (like labor day)…
I’m not saying it’s easy… it’s not…
Oh, by having my schedule this way also… I have time on Tuesdays and Thursdays to do homework… I also try to do homework until about 7 pm every night… so I spend a good bit of time… (at least 1/2 the day on Tuesday, almost all day on Thursday, and about 3 hours Monday and alternating Wednesdays… sometimes some on Friday-depending on the workload and however much I need on the weekend to feel like I’m getting what I need to get done, done)…
Anyway… that leaves the evenings for hanging out with my husband… most of the time we do absolutely nothing of any importance and no brain activity… like watching movies…
I’m also prone to staying up late… so most nights I won’t go to bed until 11 or later… and “off” nights I will sometimes stay up until 1 or so… and then get up at 6… it just depends… if there is something due or I am behind for some reason… all bets are off… I will study all night…
I also occasionally (often once a week) go to study sessions on campus.
I am currently taking 13 hours this semester (not a really heavy load)… but the courses that I’m taking are a challeng… Org Chem II, physics, ecology, and a fitness class (the things they make you take to graduate! geesh!)
Anyway… I hope all this long rambling helps you somehow…
The reader’s digest of it all is… decide what’s important and work around it… do the best you can… sometimes stuff is going to slide… sometimes people are going to be neglected (it sucks but it happens)… you make up for it when you can and you try to have an understanding with all those involved so that no one’s feelings are really hurt.
Take care…

I feel the pain. My husband Ken was deployed back in August (not to the sanbox but to Europe) the day after I started school and won't be back until early October. But his office is soooooo busy, so he will probably only be home for a few days and will be gone again. When he's here I will try to focus on him, but it looks like the week that he will be home will be the week before my next exam.
Anyway, when he left in August, my lawn went a month without being mowed. I haven't cleaned the house since late July. I hired someone to cut my lawn and am in the process of hiring someone to clean my house. I will also be having my jeep detailed. I had to accept the fact that I can't do it all and that the money I am spending is worth it just for the peace of mind. There are many days when I wish I lived in a dorm room at school where my mom could bring me groceries and cooked meals once a week (this is a real classmate of mine).
I have been surprised at how much more information we must digest in second year. I have resorted to writing out a schedule with every minute of my day mapped out, including any me time or chore time. I look at To Do lists only to pull my tasks for the upcoming day. Since I've started doing this, I feel like I am accomplishing much more now that I am not constantly looking at a never ending to-do list.
Just thought I would let you know you're not alone.

Thanks for all the advice. No one said it was going to be easy

check this site out - FlyLady
alot of the rhetoric and cutesy stuff is over the top for my taste - but if you look within, the concepts of how to apply your limited resources (time, energy) to get the housework done (small steps, lists, goals, schedules) is pretty sound.
especially with the new baby coming to your house, I think having a schedule for the “other stuff” might help you and your spouse deal with the unscheduledness that comes with a household with kids - much less, students, pre-med or otherwise smile.gif
I know it helps me somewhat - I still live in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) much of the month, but I have hopes of moving out smile.gif of CHAOS without having to literally move out smile.gif

How to balance it all? I don’t know that any person can do EVERYTHING but you have to prioritize and leave it at that. I am in my last semester as an undergraduate, my husband switched from part-time to full-time student (along with his full-time job), we have 3 kids, the 20 year old, thank goodness, requires little, but the 11 year old started 7th grade and missing assignments while cranking up the attitude. The 6 year old just needs attention. My mom has less than 20% heart function after a severe initial bout of CHF at 59, is a widow who doesn’t have income or qualify for government help. So, what gives? MY APARTMENT. It is a TOTAL FREAKING PIG STY!!! ohmy.gif Seriously. I decided I would only do the minimum, like some food in the house, trash picked up occasionally, laundry as needed…just enough to keep CPS away. If you think I jest, you should just visit. I will clean it during Christmas break, after I graduate.
Kathy laugh.gif

I hear ya Kathy!
As I sit here, junk mail stacked on my kitchen table… piles of doubly recycled papers with random physics problems on them around my feet…
The house is usually what goes first…
I currently have 6 baskets of clothes to fold and probably 2 bags of trash that could be picked up out of various different places…
I did manage to clean the shower the other day (thank god for bleach!)
I have 2 priorities as far as house cleanliness… no bugs, no dirty dishes, and I have to have something to wear (I didn't have to say it needed to match)…
I guess I should throw away that branch from my rose bush that I cut off a month ago… hmmmmmm…
something for me to do.

Sounds like your house cleaning philosophy matches mine!! LOL laugh.gif

biggrin.gif I love the CHAOS acronym... I live in that state perpetually. I finally decided that I would still have people over and they could TAKE IT OR LEAVE ME. That eases up on the stress and means I still have friends who love me as I am. Unfortunately, the mess does get to me making it hard to think. I will check out that flylady site.

I wanted to add that I’ve found that I do have some limited free time. When Ken is home I would spend 1- 1 1/2 hours per evening with him (dinner and after dinner TV) then get back to the books. On the weekends (not the ones right before and exam though) I would usually have 3/4 - 1 day to spend with him. That was during my first year.
Now that he’s been gone for all of my second year so far, I can say that any “free” time I have is spent doing things around the house- cooking, attemptting to clean/straighten up, laundry, grocery shop, keep gas in the jeep, pay bills, etc,. While he is here, he does ALL of those things and more, which is why I do have “free” time to give him. Actually all of those activities that he does around the house takes more time than the free time I give him.
Fortunately, he is very supportive and understands that this is a team effort. My successful (hopefully) completion of med school will be as much his success as mine because I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. What all of this rambling is trying to say is that it is possible to have time with your family but that means that the family needs to help in completing tasks that you may have traditionally been responsible for so that you aren’t trying to do them during the limited non-study time that you have.

Good to know that my house is not the only one that has been neglected. My wife has been great as well, giving me time to study by doing other things and even taking the baby out for long strolls.
One thing that is tough is trying to spend quality couple time while studying.

My husband and I have “ice-cream time” every night. I’ll go down to the family room at about 9pm and Ken gets us ice-cream. While 15-20 min may not seem like much, it’s something I look forward to every night while studying.

biggrin.gif I like the ice cream idea.... I do not need the calories though.... low fat yogurt time? Doesn't have the same ring does it?
gabelerman, I was thinking about what my husband and I do sometimes when we are deprived of time together and there are 100 household things to do...
We pick one thing that is a little involved, like we "attack" the living room, kitchen or the garage and stay there together tidying up and cleaning. I know it doesn't sound romantic, but you would be amazed at what we accomplish, and we have great conversations. You could even set the timer, and work against the clock (knowing you will not be sacrificing an afternoon of study time etc).
All my babies loved watching us work (and eventually "helping"). Ok that sounds like we are clean and neat freaks, trust me we are NOT, and the kids are only just learning what the word "chore" means.... (they are 11,8,6,9mo). That is the other thing I am learning in this whole process. If the kids don't help, we will drown in the mess. So we are making a concerted effort to TEACH them to do stuff for themselves and the family (their own laundry, set table, simple meals...). It is hard though, and I think would have been better if we started out with this in mind (my 6 yo thinks cleaning is a blast and always wants to help....). Just my 2 cents.

My wife and I set aside 'date night' where we maybe rent a movie and make dinner together at the house. We tend to not answer the phone and just hang out together. SOmetimes we play Diablo II together. She networked our computers so we can play at the same time.
She's working almost 60 hour weeks right now, so I tend to keep up with the small house chores…laundry and cooking.

Hey Folks,
This “no time” stuff doesn’t end with medical school. As a general surgery resident, I have learned to let the house stay dusty and tolerate a large amount of trash. My energies are spent in the operating room and in the books as my learning curve is even steeper this year than last year. I am required to know much more this year and to assume some leadership.
I don’t expect my fiance to do all of the household chores even though he works out of the house. He does keep the dogs walked and he does more than his share of the cleaning and cooking. I find cooking pretty relaxing and I will cook whenever I can.
Even my colleagues in the so-called “lifestyle” residencies of radiology and anesthesia are working as hard as I am. They do have less intensity than I have but I keep running into them when I am at the hospital. We are pretty much in the same boat. We all try to spend as much quality time with our SO’s and family as possible. In addition, there are plenty of events such as journal club and deparmental dinners that I have to attend.
I try to do stuff with Steve when I have a rare day off. With the annual ABSITE exam looming on the horizon, it seems that I am putting in even more study time that when I was a medical student. I also have to review my surgical atlas and anatomy for the next day’s cases. This stuff gets more intensive and more detailed at the resident level.
I am hoping that when I reach the attending level, I will be able to confine myself to the journals. Here are UVA there are more than 100 surgery journals so I could be in for some long hours then too. sad.gif
Natalie cool.gif

Lots of ideas. Now here is a tough question, I hope I am not being too personal…
What about wink.gif Couple time, if you know what I mean??? With 1 kid, 1 on the way, studying, work and other stuff, I just feel too pooped or overwhelmed…
Do you think that literally scheduling it in is a good idea? I am afraid that it will be looked upon as a chore? sad.gif
You hear about marriages breaking up because one spouse is feeling left out and goes and finds sex somewhere else. This is a big fear for me. My marriage is solid, but I don’t want to even let my wife feel she is being left out.

Hey everybody,
I read all your posts and I have my 2 cents to add to this. I work full time as a research specialist in the univ. and I’m also getting my PhD in biomedical sciences. One good thing about this is they are both in the same school in the same lab. I also volunteer 1-2 times a week, go to dance lessons, taekwondo and I’m taking physics 1 with lab. I have an 16 hour day usually. However, my husband lives in another city, so I don’t have to worry about him feeling left out. When he is in town, I bring him with me to school or take him with me to service activities. I also take him with me to my dance classes. Like some other posters said, we keep week ends for household chores like yard work, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, laundry etc. My husband is not with me every week end, so I end up doing most of these chores myself. I cook a lot on sundays and carry my lunch for the rest of the week. I do have a list of to-do-things everyday and I try to make sure I have done everything on that list. It realy helps me stay focussed. Ofcourse, my post might not apply to couples with kids but I think though balancing is difficult it is very possible. Thank god, at least, so far, I have been able to swim:)smile.gif

Not sure about scheduling Gabe, my personal experience is that the scheduled time is the one time we DO NOT have “couple” time if you catch my drift <!–emo&<_dry.gif but may work for some…
Making an effort to be affectionate will do wonders. It also depends on how your wife receives love and care. Does she need affection? Projects together? Time to herself without anyone demanding anything of her? Flowers? Everyone has their own “love currency”. We tend to assume that our partner’s needs mirror our own.
Keep in mind that pregnancy changes everything!! I sure needed more affection and reassurance as I grew to be as huge as a house!!

QUOTE (gabelerman @ Oct 7 2003, 11:54 AM)
Lots of ideas. Now here is a tough question, I hope I am not being too personal.....
What about wink.gif Couple time, if you know what I mean?????? With 1 kid, 1 on the way, studying, work and other stuff, I just feel too pooped or overwhelmed.....
Do you think that literally scheduling it in is a good idea? I am afraid that it will be looked upon as a chore? sad.gif
You hear about marriages breaking up because one spouse is feeling left out and goes and finds sex somewhere else. This is a big fear for me. My marriage is solid, but I don't want to even let my wife feel she is being left out.

Hi there,
If you are alluding to time for sex, we are all pretty clinical here. Yes, we do schedule in some time for sex. It just works out that way. Great for release of tension and getting that heart rate up. Can't think of a better way to spend my recreation time. My fiance sort of likes having the scheduled thing. He says that it's something to look forward to. I kind of like it too but for different reasons.
Relationships need nurturing and balance. Even if you are not in medical school or residency, your SO can feel left out if you are not keeping good communications and nurturing your relationship. You could be having sex every night and your SO could still feel left out of your life especially if you don't make sure the whole package is there. (Intimacy, communication and romance in addition to unbridled lust smile.gif )
You would be surprised to see what you can do if you don't allow yourself to think about being tired. I can easily talk myself into saying that I don't have time for the gym or that I am too tired but I don't allow myself to think in those terms. I just add gym time and sex time to my list and keep on going. I generally feel less after getting everything done than thinking about being tired and not getting things done.
Try the "schedule" approach. It might not be as bad as you would think.