Moving mountains

Childcare during residency: Balancing two full-time jobs

Medical residency and parenting are both full-time jobs. Learn about how some DOs manage both roles simultaneously.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

Without a doubt, parenting is a full-time job. Being a medical resident in training is also a full-time job. What does that mean for a parent who is working an average of 80 hours per week as a medical resident? A double full-time job? A quadruple full-time job?!

Some residents are fortunate to live near family and friends who can assist with childcare, but others explore different avenues, including daycare centers, nannies, au pairs or babysitters.

We spoke with one mother who would prefer to remain anonymous, so we’ll refer her using her initials, “ACF.” A DO emergency medicine resident and mother of a two-year-old daughter, ACF says that juggling the demands of residency with motherhood has been a roller coaster. While she completes her training, ACF’s daughter is at daycare or with an au pair, which is a helper who assists with childcare and household duties. Although expensive, ACF considers this a sacrifice worth making.

Staying connected

Let’s talk parental guilt. Undoubtedly, guilt is something many working parents struggle with every day.

Coping with parental guilt is something that ACF is still trying to manage, but she has found a few ways to ease the remorse. Finding a free 10-minute window to FaceTime her daughter helps keep her connected and brightens her day. Additionally, ACF says, “It always helps to find ways to talk about your kid at work. Show people pictures and talk to co-residents who also have kids about how they’re coping with things.”

Financial strain

Another resident we’ll refer to as “MM” is a mother of six who is working to balance her residency training and family. Working a schedule of 12 days on and two days off, MM says she has had to cash in retirement funds to help pay for childcare. Due to the fact that some schools have kept pandemic adaptations in place, MM’s children often have “virtual days” where they learn at home rather than going to school. This has led to increased childcare expenses, and with the current economic state of inflation, MM has found it hard to stay afloat.

There is no denying that childcare is expensive and it can be difficult to manage the physical, financial and emotional demands of balancing residency and parenthood. Regardless of your situation, it’s important to remember that residency is a temporary phase of your life and the sacrifices you make now will ultimately make you a stronger physician and parent in the future.

*Initials have replaced names for privacy.

Related reading:

Plastic surgery residency, content creation, single mom-ing and more: How this DO juggles it all

3 things I wish I knew about being a mother in medical training

One comment

  1. Christopher Gray

    Are there any advice to parents who are both in medical school (2nd and 3rd year) with a baby? How do you navigate 3rd and 4th year together and then off set matching? Thank you!

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