Tightrope

So, as you probably guessed from my last post, I’m now a proud father of two kids. My wife gave birth to a healthy boy for which I truly praise God for. When he was born I was truly reminded of the awesome gift that God has given us to create; its a gift that the angels and even Satan were not allowed to have. Almost every day I have to remind myself of the happiness of his birth, because the tightrope balancing act that comprises my everyday currently is almost maddening.

My wife was given 5 weeks after she gave birth to stay with my son. Afterwards she started back on her residency training which wasn’t too bad. We would wake up in the morning, me around 3 am, and her around 4 am. By that time my daughter would have already waken up, walked from her room to our bed, climbed into our bed, and promptly fallen right back to sleep. I would shower, log onto our computer, check labs on my patients, prep their progress notes, etc. If I had an extra 5 minutes I would read a devotional out of the Great Controversey or the NIV Bible. At the same time my wife would be getting ready, pumping milk for our son to drink for the day, packing her lunch, etc. We would have a quick morning prayer together and go on our seperate ways. When we would get home that night, I would normally take my daughter for a walk, then put her to bed,while my wife would take our son, feed him, and put him to bed. This system actually wasn’t too bad, especially with an understanding and loving family member/nanny at home to watch our children during the day.

When my wife started on night float (6pm to 6am shifts), the whole plan went to hell. My day would usually start with me waking up around 3 am with my daughter right beside me after her usual routine of waking up at 2 am and walking from her room to our room. I would bath, log onto the computer to check patient labs, etc, then go to work. At around 7 am, my wife (after being up all night delivering other women’s babies and taking care of them post-partum) would arrive home to #1 a daughter who had gotten a good night of sleep and was now ready to play, #2 to a son who was ready for some good ole milk from the breast instead of the bottle, #3 a nanny who had not gotten any sleep overnight because our son was crying from 8pm to 3 am straight. So my wife fights to get a couple hours of sleep with the baby on the breast and a daughter who is just at the beginning of her terrible 2′s. At the same time, our nanny who did not get any sleep really takes our daughter so that my wife can get a couple of hours of sleep for work which will begin again at 6pm that night. Now I’ve been lucky to be on a light rotation, Sports, so I’m actually home by 5 p.m. usually. If something occurs and I’m home at 5:45 pm, I don’t get to see my wife because she is off to work already. When I get home, I immediately take my daughter while our nanny takes our son. I give my daughter my iPad so that she can be occupied while I try to get a little reading in. But often times she gets bored and wants Daddy’s undivided attention. So I abort studying, play with her, read to her, take her on a walk. Then I try to put her to bed, often only suceeding in putting us both to bed and waking up frantically at 11pm because I haven’t ordered labs for the next day or read for cases. So I stay up until 2 am, wake up again at 4 am, leave for work, again not seeing my wife who gets home around 7 am.

As you can see from my short spiel, it is like walking a tightrope when you have two doctors, both with busy residencies and two young kids. There are many nights that I ask God why He would allow us to have kids if I wouldn’t even have the time to raise them adequately. Then I realize how stupid the question is, as there are thousands of parents who want children but aren’t able to conceive. But my wife and I sure picked the perfect storm when it came to professions and kids. The only way this is even manageable is that we have a family member who is willing to stay and help and we have our parents who can take the kids on the weekends.

When are we supposed to study? As an orthopaedic resident at a program where the residents run the service, the only time to study is at work. I’ve tried to whole studying at home thing and its just not possible when you have a daughter who is intent on being the center of your attention 24×7. So I stay at work for an hour later to read and do questions for the upcoming OITE. What does this mean of course? It means that my nanny and my wife are taking the heat while I study. It means that I can’t do this consistently or my wife won’t get much time to study. It means that we are just screwed for now while my wife is on night float. This is the reality of the two resident physician home. If either of us were doing a peds, internal medicine, PM&R, etc residency, life would be better. But we aren’t.

I am not at all dissuading other couples from going the same route; just know that you will have to be okay with either 1 of 2 things, #1 excelling at parenting while not excelling at work, #2 excelling at work while not excelling at parenting, i.e.-someone else is raising your kids. We are lucky in that our nanny loves our kids as we love our kids  so we are confident our kids will be taught the right way, but its hard to let someone else do your God given job. Also when you are in a surgical residency, you really can’t be content with not excelling because if you suck at work consistently, then you get on the attending’s radar, if you stay on the attending’s radar for too long, then you could get fired. And then you really won’t be able to provide for your family.

And let’s not even mention the other things like #1 when do you cook dinner #2 when do you exercise #3 when do you go grocery shopping #4 when do you have time to be intimate with your spouse #5 when do you have time to deeply study your Bible…and the list goes on.

So in summary, life is pretty tough right now. But God would not give me anything that I couldn’t handle…its just hard to realize that while you are in the midst of it. I find solace in that my kids are too young to remember how much their parents are gone, but its still tough. Anyways, thats whats going on on the family front.

2 Responses to Tightrope

  1. Me says:

    You two are doing GREAT!!! Please keep up the great work!!!

  2. Anjali says:

    Congratulations on your careers and your beautiful children :) You and your wife are going to be such an inspiration to your kids-and you both are an inspiration to me as I start this journey!

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