Fatherhood while in med schoool and residency

I have been lurking around on this forum for years now and have not seen threads on this topic. I am the father of 3 beautiful children and husband to the most wonderful woman. Years ago, while serving in the military, I decided that I wanted to go to medical school. This was 3-4 years ago. I have since gotten out and started the pre-requisite course series. I am currently just finished Ochem 2 and Biochemistry. I just have physics (1+2) left. I am starting to second guess my choice in leaving active duty to pursue medical school. I always hear how medical school is so hard and time consuming and that it only gets worse in residency. The worry that I have is that I will miss my kids growing up. Not like miss a party here or there, or miss little league sports once in a while, but I have a serious concern that I will be, for all intents and purposes, absent. Is this a valid concern, or am I over thinking it.

I have also looked into PA several times over the last 3-4 years and have even shadowed a few PAs, but something keeps me interested in pursuing the MD or DO. The attraction to the MD/DO degree stems from the other aspects that are attached to the degree (leadership, administrative), coupled with the clinical aspect.

Anyway, I am probably rambling, but my main concern is the availability that I will have for my family. Is it realistic to think that I will see them during med school and subsequently residency, or is PA a better option for that?

Thanks for your help!

How present you are will depend a lot on you, like how well/fast you learn, how you manage your time, and what sacrifices you’re willing to make based on your priorities. I started school with a 1.5yr old and had a 2nd kid toward the end of first year. During anatomy (first 3 months), I wasn’t around much due to the adjustment process to med school and well, anatomy is very time consuming with lecture and lab. I started working out a better schedule as the course load got a little bit lighter, and I was home before dinner and able to be a dad until the kid went to bed. During this last block, I started coming home after class so I could at least be around during study breaks, still taking a long study pause between dinner and bed time.

Depending on the school, not all classes are mandatory attendance, which will allow you to spend more time at home if you so choose.

In all honesty, I feel like I’ve had WAY more time at home during school than I did in the military (11 years active duty) even though I’m studying probably 6-7 days per week. The schedule is more predictable, and I know for sure where I’m going to bed every night.

I can’t speak to practicing PA, but you’ll have to consider what attracts you more to MD/DO versus perceived availability to the family. Our PA students are just as busy as we are if not more so, but the program is only 2 years long. There’s always the physician primary care route, 4 years + 3 year residency, then a career in the clinic working 8-5 + maybe taking call.