Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Should I have kids while doing my residency?

It's a stupid, clunky title, but I'm hoping that maybe someone will google it and this post will come up.

Bottom line: if you have family close by who can support you, then yes. But it will still  be hard work.

If your parents and your partner's parents live more than a half hour drive away, then no.

If your partner does not work, then yes. If you are independantly wealthy, then yes.

Note I haven't mentioned friends. Your child-free friends will probably be thrilled that you are having a baby, and they'll offer to babysit "any time you want". Now, I love my child-free friends, but they really, seriously, have no idea. The first time you call in that favour they'll line you up for something next week. And after your hour away from your infant they'll profess to have loved it, but will alwyas be busy the next time you ask. Except for the occasional blue moon. And then you'll spend the next three hours cleaning up the laundry, towels, blankets, toys and mess they've been happy to let your toddler spread around.

People who don't have small children wonder why I find it so hard to study. Let me give you an example.

Just this morning, my boys were playing in the back yard. I had extracted all my ingrown hairs and split all the ends I could see, and then had the bright idea to bring some journal articles out to read while they boys played. The first three minutes were fine. But then Oliver noticed my highlighter pen, and grabbed it from me. He then proceeded to draw randomly all over the article I was reading. Seeking to harm minimise, I went and got some drawing paper and pencils. By the time I reappeared there was blue highlighter all over ollie's face and clothes. No biggie, I'll wash it off later. I put the paper and pencils in front of him and attempted to retrieve my article and highlighter. I got the article back, but not the highlighter. He was eating that. No biggie, blue poo. He drew happily on the paper for oh, about 30 seconds before we were joined by Patrick.

"Hello, Mummy, what are you doing?"

"Well, I'm trying to read all about people with broken necks" (how this kid will ever grow up sane is beyond me)

He then snatches Ollie's pencil from him, and begins to draw. Ollie cries.

"Look, mummy! It's a rainbow train!"

"That's lovely darling, but can you give Oliver's pencil back"

"No it's mine. He can have this one" (hand Oliver a blunt white pencil. Why do they always insist on putting white pencils in packets of pencils for kids?)

Oliver cries. He makes a lunge for Patrick's pencil (which, of course was originally his) "Mine! Mine!!" (it's such a sibling word)

"No Oll-eeee!"

"Patrick, let him have the pencil. Look! Here's a green one!" (green and orange are P's favourite colours)

"No but I want that wuuuuuuuun" (opens and closes his hand in pincer fashion in front of Oliver)

"Look Oliver, a butterfly!" (try to quick change the pencil he's holding)

Oliver cries. Patrick demands milk in a cup. I return to find Oliver has drawn all over Patrick's rainbow. My journal article has been pulled apart. I retrieve my pile of articles to find Oliver pulling the cup out of Patrick's hand and the milk spills all over the pair of them, and the pencils, which will forever smell of sour milk.

Study done: 3 minutes. Time used to clean up both children and mess, and emotional energy drained by pacifying unhappiness caused by spilt milk- oh, why bother.

It will, I have to keep reminding myself, all be worth it some day.

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