Physician Mom Reflections

The Great Housing Search. . . With a Two-Year-Old

House hunting for a place to live during residency with a toddler in tow.Recently, my little family and I took off for what promised to be a serenely peaceful trip to our residency city to look for housing. As good fortune would have it, we had some very nice options and were quite pleased with our choices and new city. We envisioned a beautiful vacation of bonding, fun, and family time with a little house hunting on the side. Sounds fantastic, right? Wait for it. . .

So we took off on the drive with our toddler safely buckled into his car seat and movies securely in tow – ready for use, convinced we could handle this. We had already survived interview season, away rotations, and every stage of our son up to this point. He was a model kid, angelic almost. We skipped the terrible twos! How lucky were we? And it didn’t matter – we were pros at parenting, right? A family trip to find housing should be easy.


Have you ever experienced a two-and-a-half-year-old in a hotel room for a week straight? We Pricelined a mediocre hotel room we could (sort of) afford. It wasn’t too bad. We even remembered to make sure to get a room with two beds, because our son had been doing really well with his “big boy” bed adventures so far. We imagined he would stay in one bed, and my husband and I would stay in the other. That was such a hilarious thought. Rookie mom mistake.

After many nights of shrieking, giggling and total chaos, I think my husband and I were both wishing someone had a pack-n-play we each could sleep in instead of sharing our space with our little man. I only managed to sleep in the same bed with my husband once, and for another very special night, all three of us got to cram in a full-size bed as we tried to keep the toddler shouts down for the other guests.

Our son threw complete tantrums in restaurants, screamed and threw himself on the pavement outside, and refused to eat most food choices we gave him. Except for fruit, chips, pizza or SOME bread. Awesome.

Where did our angel go? I guess every parent goes through this, but we were mildly shocked as we were welcomed into the phase most people had warned us about long ago. Thankfully, when we arrived home, our angel (mostly) returned. I think a little sleep in a familiar place, less car travel, and maybe a little less movie-watching from his carseat helped restore some stability and peace. Needless to say, I’m happy this magical family vacation is over.

Best wishes to all the fourth-years and soon-to-be-graduates as they search for housing in their new cities. I hope your travels are a little more peaceful than mine were (and tantrum-free)!

ToddlerMamaMD is an about-to-graduate fourth-year medical student who aspires to have an academic career. One day, she hopes to teach medical students, residents and fellows, live near the ocean and ski slopes, and write and publish novels.