Introduction...seeking all moms

I have been silently lurking for a while. I would love your honest advice.

I will soon be 37. I am happily married and have four children ranging in ages 8-2. I have been a stay at home mom for the last 7 years.

I earned a BA in 1999. I will finish my BS spring of 2012 and have all of the pre recs completed. I plan to take the mcat in the spring.

My GPA is on the low side 3.4 (there is a 3 semester sequence from when I was very sick during a couple pregnancies and then also had my first child during one of the semesters… if those semesters were removed, my GPA would be closer to a 3.7)

I have always thought that med school was beyond me (neither of my parents went to college). The older I get, the more confident I become that I should not settle into a career that is not my passion.

My main concern is how much of my children’s lives I will lose during the time I am in med school. Will I miss 7 years of their life?

Is it unrealistic for a 37 year-old mom to four young children to enter med school and be able to be successful at both school and family life?

Thanks so much for your feedback

I purposely (and not so purposely) choose to put off med school until my one kid got a little older. Now at age 45 with a 15 year old, I feel VERY comfortable pursuing med school.

Personally, I feel that a woman with ANY demanding career can’t do the kinds of things SAHM’s do, especially one on med school/or is a Doc.

And as much as I hate to be a downer, I’m known for also being realistic, so if you’re okay with other people raising your kids and taking care of your family (which is the case for many mothers with many young children in med school and other demanding careers) then your goal is within reach.

But if you’re the kind of Mom that needs to be the primary care giver at all times, then being in med school at the same time just doesn’t seem possible, unless you’re married to Mr. Mom (and some women are!).

Good luck!

Well, I would slightly disagree with Path.

If you’re okay with NOT being a helicopter parent, then yes, med school is a possibility.

My son is an only child. My son is also the child of a single parent home. NOT a home where there was a divorce and a mom is saying she is single mom despite her ex somewhat still in the picture with alternating days and weekends, etc. My son does not know his dad. We have not seen the man since my son was 6 months old.

All decisions made by me, All diaper changes, day care pick ups, doctor appts, dentists, ball games, after school activities, sports, art projects… all my responsibility…

and yet, I had help too.

I worked full time. I was very, very successful while in my career and traveled extensively; out Monday, home Fridays mostly; sometimes out Sunday and home 3 weeks later. He then, was cared for, by my parents who came to our house when I was gone to stay with him, and take care of the dogs, and take care of my house, and …

In that vein, it was truly a village that raised him. And I had to learn to be okay with some of the decisions they made when I was in a foreign country, or on an airplane, or … and sometimes, those decisions did not coincide with my own beliefs (I’m agnostic at best, they are devout Christians).

In that manner, you would also have to learn to be okay with some aspects of your childrens’ lives being taken out of your hands.

My son turned out fine. He’s been to every continent by Antarctica. He’s seen every Winter Olympics but Vancouver, he’s… and then … and there’s that… and of course… you get the picture.

Did he miss me? Yes. He did.

Is he catastrophically ruined because I was not around all the time? No.

Was it hard not to be there when he learned to walk? Yes. Does he remember that? No.

Was it hard when he played his 2nd to last basketball game of his 9th grade year and I could not be there because I was stuck in an airport 10,000 miles away? For me, yes. For him? No.

What he remembers of me being in the career I had, and what he remembers now is this:

he had as good a childhood as I could give him and has seen and done things many only dream about.

What he is learning now with me trying to get into medical school (at 47) is this:

anyone can do anything if they are willing to work hard enough, and sacrifice what MUST be sacrificed.

He is now 19, almost 20. He sees how hard I work, and has started emulating that himself. He sees how much this means to me, and cheers when I get a good grade.

I believe that showing our kids they are important to us, and that likewise we are important to ourselves is a gift. They learn the world doesn’t revolve around them AND that school is important.

Okay, I’m rambling. Just think you have to decide how badly you want to do this, and if your husband is on board, I’m not sure why you are worrying.

That’s all

Hey there,

I say stop worrying about it. It’s been done before and it will be done again by awesome moms with well-adjusted kids. Once you decide, put your plan of action in place, be prepared and organized, and accomplish your dreams! Going to a med-school close to family won’t hurt either Good luck!

I waited until my son was in college; just didn’t think I could stretch things any thinner than they already were. It all worked out.

That being said, what an inspirational post by ADoc2b! Had I read that 20 yrs ago it may have changed my course.

I am a “single” mom and I say that with “” after reading Adoc2be’s post. I, too, have loads of help; from the ex to my parents to his parents. And, I’m okay with that. My parents have my 3 year old this weekend and she and they and I are very happy about it. She will be frolicking with them at a fall festival event while I hit the books hard. My daughter, at 3, already gets that mama needs to study and that mama goes to school (and work and many other places). It is a part of her life. Children are adaptable. I’m sure most of us parents on this board and most premed parents and med school parents are NOT selfish. Our decisions are based on personal goals, but just the fact that we make calculating decisions with others in mind is a clear sign of caring and maturity! Whether the decision is to hold off on med school, or go for it, we make those decisions from our hearts and with our children and our goals in mind. Don’t fret and compare. It is helpful to hear what others advise in this situation, but let your gut be your guide. Only you can know what is right for you and your family.

I went back to school at the worst time. My daughter was 1 1/2 and I was going through a rough patch in my marriage (that is a complete understatement, but I’m protecting others by not gushing details) involving a completely uninvolved and physically absent husband at the time, leading to a divorce process during my first semester back. I was also working a demanding job at over 40 hours a week. Having to write a few research papers that semester after having not written one in years, trying to focus on textbooks while keeping from having a breakdown was all the excuse I needed to quit. For me, though, it was all the more reason to strive, all the more reason to keep my eye on the end goal; a better life for me and my daughter, an example to my daughter of seeking and keeping with your goals, and an experience that only made me stronger. I finished that first semester with a divorce and a 4.0 gpa and a determination that wasn’t going to stop and hasn’t since. Things are much easier now, things have calmed down personally and come full circle. Maybe if I was in chemistry and physics that first semester back, I would not have held it together so well, but who knows? Ultimately, it is up to you. I love to use the inspiration of others to help guide me and OPM is perfect for that. However, before I found OPM and when I met with a premed advisor who was less than helpful and less than enthusiastic about my premed dreams, I made the decision to be my own inspiration. That gave me the freedom from comparison (to other moms, to other students) and that was a true gift to myself. I am far from perfect, though. I am still guilty of comparing myself to others and constantly finding reasons to sell myself short or beat myself up, but at the end of the day it is about me. My grades, my goals, my family, my life choices. Use the advice and stories of others to help you and guide you and inspire you but don’t forget that what is best for you and your family is a decision only you and your family can ultimately make. Best of luck! I truly believe that what is meant to be is meant to be and you will find your true path.

There are some amazing stories above, but I’m going to offer a compromise: what if you wait until the 2 year old is in school?

Personally, I’m going for it. I have a great support system with my husband and family, and we’ll work it out because we’re in it together and we’ve discussed everything. Our son is 1.5 and we’re planning to have another child during my glide year so we can have what we consider a complete family. One of our biggest concerns was not spacing our kids out by eight years, so we’re working hard to make it happen. Is it going to be hard to have a four year old and a one year old when I hopefully start med school? Absolutely. But the huge difference between a newborn and a one year old has convinced us that it is possible, IF we work together.

Hi, OldMomx4!

I am a mother of 2 and a current med student - my children are 4 and 1. And sometimes it is really hard to be away from them. But other days are just fine, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to pursue this dream. I have a lot of support - my husband literally is Mr. Mom. He takes care of everything and makes sure that my time at home is time available for the kids, rather than time spent cleaning or maintaining the house. So, I come home from school everyday and focus exclusively on the kids. We plan family outings - even if its just a walk around the neighborhood. I drop my son off at preschool as often as I can. Most of all - its working. I’m happy, the kids are happy, my husband is happy. My son sees me studying and crawls up on my lap to see my anatomy textbooks. He has grown to understanding that mommy spends her time learning, and that sometimes I can’t play with him. I think seeing your parent striving for something is fantastic - it is putting forth a model for your child to see that life isn’t just what is handed to - it is what you are willing to work toward. Overall, being a mommy med student with 2 small children can be trying. When my classmates are studying for an upcoming exam and talking about how little time they have to get everything done, I play candyland instead and bide my time wisely. I am forced to manage my time very stringently so that I have time for birthday parties, candyland, bath time, and all the other things that come with kids - and I think I’m happier for it. Its hard to be bummed about a hard test or a difficult day, when you walk in the door to little smiling faces who are just glad you’re home. So, I sit on the couch and they climb all over me, and whatever happened at school is gone.

Thanks so much for the feedback. It is nice to gain other insight from moms that are already in the trenches. I was just looking for the reassurance that med school was possible… without adopting my children out for 7 years (figure of speech). I was lucky to be home for as long as I was (although it was not planned), and I am looking forward to finally having a professional degree. I will easily be able to give up some “mom time” and “mom control” in exchange for the pursuit of a dream. I just always weigh the ramifications for my family unit. I would hate to give up every ball game, dance recital, etc for 7 years… but it sounds like I may be able to still have some balance.

My husband is very supportive. He will give up his second job to be home in the evenings to take care of the children. He did ask if I would have to move away during the week. (I would hope not!) The school is an hour away. Do any of you have a long commute that you make on a daily basis? How do residencies work for the more “immobile” students?

Thanks again for all of the feedback. It reassured me that I was not completely insane for thinking med school is a possibility at my age…and my responsibility level.

I’m a second year resident with a 4 1/2 year old and an 18 month old. I had my first during my second year of med school and my second at the end of 4th year. (Took a year to do a MPH). It can definitely be done. Lots of people out there that do it. Like others have said, kids are adaptable. You also learn to make compromises - maybe graduating in the top 5% of your class just isn’t going to be realistic unless you have a photographic memory. :wink:

  • oldmomx4 Said:
He did ask if I would have to move away during the week. (I would hope not!) The school is an hour away. Do any of you have a long commute that you make on a daily basis? How do residencies work for the more "immobile" students?

My commute was about 45 minutes to an hour. There were a couple of other students in my class who commuted that far or further. It has its pluses and minuses. On one hand, it was nice to have that decompression time in the car - listen to an audiobook or just chill to some music. On the other hand, it really sucked giving up that many hours out of your day when you really, really need to study for an exam. If you have public transportation, you can make use of that time to do some studying. With the advent of podcasts, you can probably listen to lectures while you are driving (or, alternatively, not even need to go to class that often).

As for residency, because of the amount of driving I did during med school, I was determined that my max drive to the hospital in residency was going to be 20 minutes. Having to drive two hours a day on top of an 80 hour work week is just insane (and not safe). I do have a friend who drove 70 miles a day during his internship. He is now doing the next 4 years of his residency in Pittsburgh while his family stays in the Cinci area. He drives home when he can. One of my fellow residents' families stayed in the Chicago area last year while he did his intern year (about 3 hours away). Again, he got home when he could.

Residency programs themselves are not all that flexible, but sometimes there are ways to work things - i.e. trading shifts/weekends/call with people to allow you enough time off to make it worth going home. One caveat - with the new work hour limitations, it has actually become more difficult for people to get a couple of days off in a row. Back in the 30 hour call days, you typically got one "golden weekend" a month (off sat and sun). With the new work hours, I'm hearing lots of interns saying that they have yet to have an entire weekend off.

Obviously it’s just me, but I see a SIGNIFICANT difference between having 1 or 2 kids and 4 kids in ANY career especially medicine.

That said, there are 2 moms with 4 kids on mommd who seem to be making it work!