Apr 7, 2016

Life In Residency // "Single" Mom of Two

It's been quite some time since I have updated y'all about life in a surgical residency.  Life is no longer like it once was while we were in medical school, things aren't constantly changing anymore, and for that I am thankful.  But the monotony of residency can begin to take it's toll on even the most independent of spouses and physicians alike.  Josh edges nearer and nearer to the end of his PGY1 year every day.  This has truly felt like the never-ending intern year for us because of his preliminary year last year.  And while we are so thankful for his full time position, we are both more than ready to finally leave intern year behind us, 2.5 months to go and counting.

Josh has "easier" months and harder ones.  He has months where he operates almost daily and months, like this month, in the ICU where he won't really see the OR.  The days do change for him in terms of his hospital setting but for me, my days with the girls are rather predictable.  No matter the service he is on, he leaves before the kids are awake and more often than not, he gets home after Rory is asleep and sometimes after Ryan goes to bed as well.  He works most weekends out of the month and it's not uncommon for some of the only weekend time that he spends with us to be at the hospital for a quick lunch in the cafeteria.  There are many many days where I do this parenting thing completely solo.

I know I'm not a single mom.  I don't claim to be.  In fact, I know a number of single moms and my hat goes off to them.  They not only do it on their own 24/7, but many of them also bring in the sole source of income for their family.  Luckily, we have Daddy to bring home the bacon, even if that means we rarely see him and that he makes somewhere around $12.00 an hour to operate on people and keep patients alive.  #residentsalary  Josh regularly tells Ryan that he's going to work to save lives.  Her two year old interpretation of that is that he "eats fries."

The girls and I spend our days as a threesome.  And while there are many great moments with my children, there are also countless others in between where I feel like I am on the verge of losing my sanity.  Between tantrums, missed naps, rough nights, sister fights (I swear it already happens), refused meals, teething episodes, diaper blow outs, endless messes, grocery store meltdowns, and not nearly enough time to myself, I have certainly had days where I feel resentful of the resident family life and the fact that we live across the country from any of our extended family.  Some days it feels as though my arms aren't big enough, my patience isn't long enough, and my coffee isn't strong enough.   If I need a Mommy break I have to call a babysitter and pay her about as much to watch my kids hourly as Josh makes as a physician.  When I think about it like that, it's just not worth it and I reserve the babysitter use to the occasional date night with Josh or really fun things like dentist appointments.

When my kids are sick, or heck, if I'm sick, I don't have anyone to call to come help me.  There would only be rare circumstances where Josh would be able to come home if I called him at work.  And that's if and only if he's not in the operating room and could actually answer the phone or respond to a text.  The one benefit of this resident life is that it has created in me a certain amount of motherhood resiliency.  There are no longer many things that phase me.  I've found things that help me cope like coffee, mom friends, and wine.  Not necessarily in that order.

What I do know is this.  Residency is tough, and it's also a long haul.  I could not have known the reality of the medical profession life when I entered into it.  Nothing can prepare you.  Every part of life is a season and I try to remember that.  I'm sure there will come a day when we have more money and I have more help and I'm also sure that there will be parts of residency that I miss very much, just like there are parts of medical school that I miss.  What I'm also positive of is that Josh works extremely hard for this family and Ryan and Rory, despite how much he works, know that their Daddy loves them very much.  He just has to go to work a whole lot.  Ya know, to eat fries.   Or something like that. :)


  1. That's my girl! Always finding the humor in reality!

    Hang in there. You are doing a fabulous job, even if your mom is the only one telling you that. Your family appreciates you more than they even know.

    Love you,

  2. Amen sister! I can't even imagine the hours Josh has to work as a surgical resident, given that Warren as a FM/EM resident sometimes works 100 hour weeks. It's times like these when I miss the SOs the most. Even when you have other mom friends, no one really understands better than a fellow wife of a resident. You're a great mommy to those adorable girls Steph!

  3. You are at the end of one of the hardest phases that I know of with young kids . Things were sO much easier when Abby was one and Jas potty trained :) Now you know the full blessing of you and Julie babysitting for free in England. You truly saved one of my kids from "going out the window" that week.Jason never came home that year...our place was too loud and too small.

  4. Wonderful brave, real, post. Awesome mom, dad and kids...growth and real reward comes through challenge...for all of you. You are so lucky to have such a solid foundation relationship of mutual respect and understanding. As long as each of you really recognizes the other's contribution/sacrifice...great rewards for all of you are ahead! (Sara R.)