November 8, 2002 at 12:40 am #94373mama me meParticipant
Hi. I have been in practice as a family physician for 2 years now. I have a 2year old and a 6 month old. My husband has a busy career which leaves me as the primary caregiver. When I returned to work after my 8 week maternitiy leave, I was overwhelmed. I asked for a 6 month leave of absence. Now that I have been home for 2 months, I am considering not returning to work at all. Maybe for 2 years or so. Is this crazy? Some friends and family think it is crazy to put so much time and money into a education and then not use it. Is there anyone out there who has done this? I need some advise. It feels like the right thing to do for our family . . . I don’t know????November 8, 2002 at 5:02 am #94376elisemomof3Participant
I know of many who have done this. A good friend of mine who is a pediatrician took at least 2 years off after the birth of her second child. She plans to return to work when he is three and ready to enter a pre-K program. I highly respect her for this decision. I was lucky enough to get to stay home with my daughters, and I am so grateful that i missed none of their “firsts”. I returned to school after the 3rd daughter turned 2, and I never regretted those years with the kids at home.
This is a choice you will have to make. Taking 2 years off will not be the end of your career! You will still have to take CME credits but you will be fine. Good luck with your decision!
Med 1November 8, 2002 at 10:18 am #94378MelissaGrayParticipant
I know of a number of women physicians in my community who have/are staying at home to raise their children, some for quite a few years.
I think that medicine is a feasible career for this. As Elise said, you’ll have to keep up with CME credits. You can also do some light moonlighting if you wish or need to keep up on any of your medical skills or if you just want some time away from home. One of the physicians I know (who has a 1 year old) even assists with a clinical lab class (1 afternoon per week) at my medical school.
In no way do I believe it is a waste of your long education, nor will you stop using your medical knowledge. As a former stay-at-home mom, I can’t imagine missing out on my daughter’s first years. I know your decision won’t be easy, though, and I wish you luck!November 8, 2002 at 6:44 pm #94380snsParticipant
I did general practice for 4 years and am now home with my baby. I quit 4 months ago. I am really enjoying the time with her. My family is happy that I have been able to do this. Everytime I see my old colleagues though, they ask if I am working yet.
I do most of my CME on the internet. I have attended some local CME conferences on Saturdays when my husband can stay with the baby. I would like to do some patient work on a very limited basis, maybe 2-4 days a month, to keep my skills up. Plus, I enjoy patient interaction.
I thought about working at a local homeless shelter or something but found out you have to have malpractice insurance for volunteer work. Obviously can’t afford malpractice insurance if I am not working. I am thinking about putting my baby in the church’s Mother’s Day Out program one half-day a week. During that time I may try to go to the med school for conferences or see if I can join rounds so I can keep up with changes in medicine. Something so I won’t lose all touch with medicine while I am taking time off.
I do plan on returning to medicine in a few years. When I start feeling anxious about my decision to stay home and worrying that I am wasting my long hard training or ruining my career, I try to imagine how I will feel in 20 years. Will I be more upset that I missed my baby’s first years or that my career took a detour? I can always try to repair my career, I can’t get her baby years back.
I don’t think this is the right choice for everyone. I do think it is the right choice for me at this time. If you feel it is right for you, do it and enjoy it.November 10, 2002 at 1:12 am #94382mama me meParticipant
Thank you so much Melissa, Elise and sns for your replies! I really appreciate your words of encouragement. It helps to know that some people think this is a reasonable thing to do. I’m so glad I found this web site. I am leaning toward staying home. I am going to see if my employer would consider letting me work some evening hours twice a week and some Saturdays. I would really like to try and keep some of my patient panel. However, it is a long shot. . . and if they say no, I will do some urgent care work. I decided I need to put myself and my family first. I will keep you posted. Thanks again!November 14, 2002 at 7:58 am #94385psychParticipant
Good luck to you! I think it really helps to maintain SOME patient contact if you can, and the urgent care strategy is a good backup if you can’t work out things with your group. I had a whole year off after my son was born, and an 8month maternity leave where I worked 2 eves and Saturday afternoon after my daughter was born. I’m up to 4 days a week now. The nice thing about keeping a hand in the door is that you do stay more exposed to new meds etc. and you have a starting point when you want to return or increase your hours. The good thing about being home is the little ones and just having some flexibility. I am so thankful that what I kept working for is now happening — I’m the one making the choices about how much to work. That is what your training gives you!!! It is not a waste if you don’t work full time, or even if you take time totally off for awhile. And it’s so good for families, especially because you are less stressed and more available.
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