moms in practice, speak up!

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  • #39772
    psychpsych
    Participant

    I like this site but it seems to be lopsided with more premeds and students than residents or women in practice. That may be because we have less time or less computer access, or for other reasons, but I’d really like to hear more from moms who are done with residency and see what the issues are. Specifically, who is making more than their husbands, and how does that impact on your marriage?

    For us that means that since I’m paid fee for service while my husband the academic is paid a salary no matter how many hours he works, I feel some pressure to work more in order to earn more money. Although I am specifically choosing to work part time (4 days a week, 26 patient hours) so I can have more flexibility and pick up and drop off my kids, I always have this temptation to work more in order to make more. And since we still have a boatload of debt it would help. Anyone in a similar situation?

    #39773
    MomMDMomMD
    Participant

    Yes, physicians speak up. I KNOW you’re there!!

    Sethina 🙂

    #39774
    maureenRmaureenR
    Participant

    Originally posted by sethina:
    [b]Yes, physicians speak up. I KNOW you’re there!!

    Sethina 🙂 [/b]

    I just joined and like the forum. I am out of residency for 6 years now.
    Wanted to also comment on the prior message aboutimpact on spouses when you earn more money.
    We are in a similar situation. I work 4 days a week, sometimes more. If your husband is like mine, he is well aware of the income difference, and deep down it probably bothers him. I’ve found that he needs a lot of reassurance and appreciation. He works full time, carries our health insurance(which I couldn’t readily afford), and is a wonderful dad. He is also much more practical and organized than me, and can cook. But if I don’t say these things, he feels taken for granted. So I try to acknowlege that his contribution is very important.

    #39775
    ladysurgladysurg
    Participant

    I am the breadwinner in the family and probably put more stress on myself than my husband does. He retired from the military 8 years ago. I have been in practice for 13 years since residency but have gone from military to clinic and now private practice. I have to also give him a lot of credit since it was his decision to stay home and he actually does a lot of work with our 3 girls aged 13, 11 and 11. I try to tell him and I think just talking helps. When I clam up then we get into trouble.

    #39776
    drmoo55drmoo55
    Participant

    Hi

    I see that there are few practicing MomMDs writing in. I am a practicing MD BUT I don’t have kids. So I haven’t chipped in. Just thought I’d say hi.

    #39777
    psychpsych
    Participant

    drmoo55, thank you for chipping in and please keep on board! I guess I feel in some ways like I have more in common with other women in practice that with moms who aren’t doctors yet. I think there are some specific issues with being in practice that I’d love to talk about.

    I totally agree with the comments about keeping the communication open and appreciating your husband’s contributions. My husband is also a super-involved dad and I see how much my kids benefit from that. But how do you handle the pressure to earn? I guess men have had to deal with this for a long time. I think it’s trickier for women (at least me) in part because part of me is so proud that I can earn this money and do a lot of what I can do independently, and then I feel guilty at least a bit that I am so proud. Like I shouldn’t have the financial ambition. It’s okay to want to be a doctor to help people, but I’m not supposed to want to make money. Is that crazy? (I know, I’m the psychiatrist.) And I don’t mean that I’m only doing this for the money. I love what I do, and I love taking care of patients, and I love my family. It’s just fascinating to me to watch this piece of the puzzle develop in my life and in my marriage. For so long we have been so strapped financially, and even now we still have a huge debt, but it is really neat to finally see some turnaround and a real income connected to how hard I work.

    #39778
    drmoo55drmoo55
    Participant

    psych

    you have legit concerns- but that’s OK. Enjoy the ability to earn and help get your family out of debt. Don’t feel guilty about your earning potential- you worked damn hard for it!!

    I make more than my husband soes even working part time. I am sure deep down there is some discomfort about it but not any kind of competition or anything. In a way, though, I sometimes wish I didn’t make more money and that I could just take off time and not worry about where the money will come from. :guilty:

    I feel that kind of pressure on me. And I know that that’s the pressure men have had to deal with for so long.

    Anyway, that’s my perspective.

    #39779
    DrSleepDrSleep
    Participant

    I hope you don’t mind me venting a little bit here today. I am an anesthesiologist in a busy practice and at present pregnant with twins. I am almost 25 weeks and getting extremely tired. Today I decided that I need at least a day off, so planned to take off tomorrow. I have not been taking calls since about a month ago. But the daily pace is too fast for me now. I am very frustrated and stressed. I earn more money than my husband and me taking off completely until the babies are born has a big impact on us mostly that we bought a new house before knowing that I was pregnant. He takes care most of the time of our 2 year old daughter and does a great job. So he in a lot of stress too (thinking about how much he will be able to handle with 3 kids after I go back to work).I feel a lot of pressure now because if I stop working now until delivery we will have to go ahead with my husband’s salary and the money that we have been trying to save since we realized everything that twins mean…(double expenses plus the higher risks involved in the pregnancy and after born if premature). My blood pressure is starting to go up (151/97 today) and getting frustrated a lot. I can’t sleep well, can’t eat confortably and at my own pace, can’t go to the second floor at home – I am sleeping in the guest room or the recliner in the living room).
    So I do feel the pressure of staying at work, at least until we save some more money for a month or two more. But at the same time I know I need now to cut down the hours I work. I can feel also some of my peers frustrations. I still don’t know how this will be handled. Probably will not know until next week, since our manager took off this week. Well, sorry for the long reply.
    By the way, ladysurg, I might write you soon with some questions since you told me about your twin pregnancy and will like to know a little more.
    Dana

    #39780
    FPmommyFPmommy
    Participant

    I am out of residency 9 years, and I am indeed an FP. My kids are 5 (boy) & 1 (girl). Very busy with parenting so I am being paid 60%. (note I didn’t say working 60% but I am working less since baby #2.) We have always used daycare so there is a lot of taking & picking up. My husband and I split it. I used to make more than he does, but my compensation had been dropping for years (due to various not-good internal & external changes to our practice 🙁 ) and his income had been rising, so we were about equal, and now I make a lot less of course since I am 60% pay. I think he kind of likes being the major breadwinner but he was sort of OK with the previous situation, too. We are both really bothered more for now by how many hours my work takes up for the pay, despite no call for the moment. Despite “investing” in me being part-time we are both just exhausted and stressed out all the time. The whole system practically collapses when one of the kids get sick. I have come to realize that there isn’t really any way to easily fit it “ALL” (as in having it all) into your life. Something always has to give. Soon I will not be pumping daytime milk and I think life will be a lot freer and stress will be less, but the pressure to be there with our kids and still fit in work and any kind of small additional things (like neatening and major house clean out for example) will still be substantial. Is there anyone out there who feels like their life is actually easy to accomplish on a regular basis? I have got to run home… (And seeing the happy faces makes it worth it!!)

    #39781
    dryesdryes
    Participant

    I am currently a disabled ob/gyn with two kids and have been a single mom for 12 years – one could say even longer if we looked at reality.

    We live very stressful lives that no one except another physician can appreciate. I was married to a non-working engineer with a personality disorder (another story). It was always I needed to earn more money and I also needed to be home more. It doesn’t work both ways.

    Feeling like you should be able to do it all is ridiculous. Hire help. Paying someone to do the housekeeping, cooking, childcare etc. is far cheaper then you trying to do it and saves lots of stress. I am sure the budget doesn’t look like you can do it but figure what you can earn an hour and doing things you are trained for and like doing v. what you would pay for help.

    Before my divorce, I was paying for full time housekeeping (in addition to keeping this unemployed husband playing). After the divorce, I had a full time housekeeper and had someone spend nights when I was on call. Then I moved to a smaller town and less stressful office (worked for a group rather than run my own practice). I hired a wonderful college student (happened to be male) who lived with us for four years and did the housecleaning, cooking, picked up the kids from school and helped them with homework and music. We made him a member of the family and even though he is now a banker, is like another son. We also went through about 6 other students who lasted anywhere from 3 months to a year.

    Eventually the kids got older and I hired help for after school and housecleaning only. Now they are both in high school and I have a housecleaner still even though I don’t work. Just not my thing even if I was physically able to do the work.

    I’ve met many physicians over the years and wondered how they did it all. Well, one lady doc from a by-gone era had at one time 2 cooks, 2 housekeepers and 2-4 nannies at any given time for her 4 kids plus a few extra kids now and again. Both she and her hubby were physicians albiet in the golden age of medicine (pre 1980’s).

    It is a struggle with costs high and reimbursement low. The expectation of big houses, fancy cars, trips to exotic places every year doesn’t seem to be in the realm of most physicians these days. Expectations may need to be lowered.

    Enough of my soap. Maybe giving yourself a few gifts would help.

    #39782
    docnrolldocnroll
    Participant

    It definitely bothers a lot of men when a woman doctor makes more than the husband… but we find it bothers other men almost more than my husband. I believe we are a team and that all money is totally shared… We have had to work out the day to day sacrifices and change things over the years. My husband works full time and is great at whipping up some food but believe me we have seen more restaurants than anyone can imagine. We were told once to pay someone to help you do everything possible when your kids are little… it eases up later. We went from a full time Nanny, a weekly maid, a yard man and other various help and eating out to no nanny, no yard person and an occasional maid now that the kids are 9 and 12. (Forgot to mention we lived in a teeny house and it was still chaos with all that help)… Resist the urge to try to make too much money ,,, take that day off because you will never get it back and we have all given up more weekends , nights, holidays than most people will in a lifetime…

    #39783
    TaurusTaurus
    Participant

    Hello,
    I could not help but reply to DrSleep’s “venting.” I am also an anesthesiologist and was in a very busy practice in a smaller city. Very old population with lots of co-morbidity. So almost all of my cases were challenging. I was full partner in my group (4 men) and believe me when I was pregnant with my second child 4 years ago, I worked myself to the bone. I took my share of call plus took extra from my partners so that when I was out (less that a month) after delivery, they would not feel so put out with doing my share of call. I worked until the day I went into labor (thank God my ROM occurred at home that night) and it was the Friday before Monday’s planned induction. So the timing could not have been better. Those last few months were exhausting. There were some evenings on call when I was just about stumbling down the halls from fatigue. I took a nap every afternoon that I had any kind of break in the schedule, but it was in the doctor’s lounge where all the men had to deal with it. There has never been a pregnant female physician on staff to my knowledge. It also seemed for a while that on my call nights, as soon as I got home from finishing the case load for the day and got a chance to sit down for a bit of dinner (dear hubby was so good to me), it seemed that I would get a call requiring going back to the hospital within 10-15 mintues. I would stuff my face with a few bites and go back. I felt that I could not take a leave of absense since I was the only income provider at the time, and also, if I was gone, it would close down an OR, something the hospital was very (quietly) concerned about as they were in a struggle to win a war of survival against the other small hospital across town. Of course, there was no real appreciation of what I tried to do for them. I have since left the group (which has an exclusive contract with the hospital so I cannot work there anymore except for the occasional locum tenen) when our group started to collapse and went from an all MD group to 100% CRNA supervision, not a style of practice to my liking. I am doing some locum tenen and have started a mobile, office-based anesthesia. practice. Still have a way to go to get it as busy as I would like it, but I have to work with my home life, not give my life up completely to work (the hospital). OK…I quit this vent.

    #39784
    MD mother of 2MD mother of 2
    Participant

    TO THE PREGNANT ANETHESIOLOGIST: Your working beyond your physical limitations will NOT be appreciated by your male collegues. Don’t do it. You, your health and your baby are the most important. It is NOT important what your male practice collegues think of you…their thoughts of you won’t change just because your are pregnant (they were either supportive of you before you were pregnant or not….and that attitude will continue during your pregnancies and after the children are delivered). You need the rest! Take time off! Stop working for the last 2-3 months! It is well known that female physicians who have very stressful jobs and require alot of standing and long hours have a higher prematurity rate! Don’t put yourself at that risk!

    My gyn was concerned I may have an incompetent cervix, so I not only had a cerclage but was placed on bedrest for the last 6-8 weeks AND I took off another 2 1/2 months before returning to work. And no, I did not get paid for my time off (execpt for the little bit due me for paid vacation; I collected unemployment though and got a tiny check from my disability income insurance). We had to live on my husbands earnings alone. Taking the time off was worth it! I only regret not taking more time off!

    It wasn’t that difficult with expenses, because we had set up a rule to try to live off of one of our incomes alone at all times (preferably the lowest income), just in case one of us became either disabled or unemployed. The income not used for living expenses then went into retirement, vacations, savings, & goodies. [wish we still lived like that….]

    NOW BACK TO THE ISSUE OF FEMALE MDS MAKING MORE THAN THEIR HUBBIES…. Ever since I left residency, I have made more than my husband, except for perhaps 1-2 years. He is also a physician, but in a specialty with poor reimbursement. While he was completing his fellowship, I worked part-time in a county clinic outside of my specialty and still made more than him. Now that he is in private practice, I have made oodles more than him. When I worked full-time, I made double. Now that I work part-time (20-hrs/wk), I was making the same as him, but he resently dropped one of his out-side clinics and is now relying just on his private practice so this year he will have made about 1/3-1/2 of my income (1/2 of my salaried income, or 1/3 of my salaried + locums income). I think he finds this quite irritating…I know I do. He’s never home. I often wonder why he spends so much time at work and makes so little; he is extremely disorganized and very time inefficient, but even so???!?!??!?!?!?? I not only work my 20 hrs/wk in a salaried position, but I am also my husbands business manager. He bitches and complains about how hard he works….”You’ve never worked so hard…”, and here I am with absolutely no free time to myself because I’m consumed with parenting (pick-up and delivery of the kids at childcare or high school, homework, etc.), running his medical practice, being Chair of a medical society committee, doing occasional local locum tenens, chief cook and housekeeper, and I also manage the household finances. I have all the responsibilities! The only responsibilities my husband has is feeding the 2 cats and dogs in the morning, making my son his sandwich in the morning and occasionally taking out the trash/recycling and occasionally cleaning the litter boxes. I can’t hire a cleaning service because there is too much clutter and nobody will straighten things up…I have tried them in the past when there was less chaos, but I had bad luck with several and decided I didn’t have to pay $60/week for a dirty house, I could have one for free!

    So, I’ve come to lower my expectations. My house is a pig stye. I function as a single parent. As long as I accept those two facts (and don’t dwell on how I wish it was), I stay fairly content. I’m very happy with my part-time job and the extra time I get to spend with my kids.

    MD mother of 2

    #39785
    DrSleepDrSleep
    Participant

    Well….. sorry to turn this into another issue, but wanted to thank the advices and stories shared by Taurus (nice to know of another anesthesiologist aroung here) and mother of 2.
    I already spoke about working less in my group and changes will be done soon, so I can work 4-5 hours only and just to finish this month of November.
    Hopefully my husband and I will have the expenses reduced so we can make it through with the money saved and his salary. So we are starting to feel a little bit better about this. And he has been pretty good about taking care of our 2 year old most of the time even if I am at home so I can rest.
    Later on we will figure out about a nanny or help so I can return to work.
    Have a nice day everyone. :wave:
    Dana

    #39786
    psychpsych
    Participant

    WOW! I feel like I really missed a lot. We went to Orlando for a week (piggy backed vacation on my husband’s conference). Finally, some REAL discussion. Thanks everyone for sharing.

    My husband wants us to give up the weekly housecleaners to save money and go to every other week. We only got them 6 months ago (when I went back to daytime work when my daughter was 8 months old) and I completely flipped out. I told him forget it. The weird thing is that I have started to price household expenses in terms of patient hours. Like, if I have to add an extra patient to cover the housecleaning, I would do it. But then I get frustrated again — since I’m the one for whom more hours equals more money, then I’m the only one who can bring in more when we need more, so I feel like I should. It’s hard to stick with my original limits on the time I work which I chose very deliberately for my family and personal time, when I think that if I just work more I can make more and try to take off some of the financial concerns.

    The other hard part is that many of the things I do to be more efficient or have more family time cost more money. Prepared foods and eating out for example. Definitely easier for me, definitely better for the framily since I’m less stressed out if I don’t have to put much time or energy into cooking, but costly. I’m still working on this problem …

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